Saturday, April 28, 2007

Rotring Trio Pencil

Rotring Trio Pencil
How have I missed this!!??! In MechFrankenPencil I suggested the idea of a Rotring Newton type gravity selector mechanism multi-pencil but with 3 different pencils instead of different ballpoints. Now I find out they actually made it!!!! How did I miss out?

I recently chanced across the Rotring Trio-Pencil on eBay and my mind boggled.

I rushed to my Rotring catalogue, or rather “Schreibgefühl 2001 / 2002 rotring” as Rotring call it. Apparently that’s a bit of marketing speak, meaning “The feeling of writing”, “That writing feeling”, “The look and feel of writing (instruments)”, well something like that anyway.
LOOK, there, in the catalogue section “rotring Multipen”. Right before my very eyes for all these years! Blind, illiterate, idiot…clearly I am one or more of these. Man, this blog really does keep reminding me how little I know, and how much I don’t know. The shame of it all.
R 502 705 0 trio-pen, Schwarz, 3 Feinminenstifte (0,35mm, 0,5mm, 0,7mm)

Oh the Germanic precision of it. They even use commas instead of decimal points, and spaces instead of commas in their numbers, reminding me just how wrong I am.

Like so much of their range, Rotring apparently stopped making the Trio-pencil quite sometime ago, but good ole eBay still has some “new old stock” available. Obviously price was irrelevant, I had to have one!

Actually mine is slightly different to the picture in the catalogue, having a silver push top button rather than a black one like the catalogue.

The card box that the plastic presentation case comes in states “Sanford rotring GmbH” so it dates after 1998 when Sanford took over Rotring. It also has the old Rotring website on it, “rotring.com”. That’s long since gone. The current Newell Rubbermaid (Sanford) website doesn’t even list the Rotring brand anymore, just Papermate, Parker and Waterman of their “pencil” companies. I’m fairly sure that the website did list Rotring a year or so ago, when I last looked, so who knows what’s going on.


Printed on the body is 0.35, 0.5 and 0.7. Just like the Newton, there is a gravity selector system, so whichever size is held upright is the tip that comes out when you push the top button down. 10 clicks of the push top ratchet lead advance mechanisms extends 6mm of lead, irrespective of lead diameter.
You retract the pencil tip by pushing down the small lever that sticks up in the pocket clip. The spring loaded mechanism then retracts the tip back up inside the body.

There is a small eraser under the top cap. Leads are refilled by unscrewing the body to get to the three pencil units. The grip section is a slightly wider diameter than the rest of the body.

Dimensions – Length 138mm, 10mm diameter body.

34 comments:

A.E. said...

I'm a huge fan of my Rotring 600 mechanical pencil in matte black, but now I feel like I need to pick up one of these multi-pencils. Thanks for the great review!

Kirk Seth said...

That's one heck of a pencil. I use a 2.0mm Leadholder because I can get it down to any width I need to (and because of the cool factor). But that Rotring would be pretty cool.

Rotring isn't around anymore though are they? Ebay would probably be the only place to find one eh?

Anonymous said...

wow theyre 60 buck without the knurl and 80 buck with the knurl. Not to mention im getting them when i get my check

Anonymous said...

There is a similar pencil made by Platinum and it also has 0.3, 0.5, and 0.7 all in one pencil. It's called Platinum Pro-use 357.
I saw them at https://www.penwish.com
They have A LOT of mechanical pencils.

Black Bacchus... said...

i have to admit that when i initially purchased this pencil i was very excited. however, it ultimately presented itself as an unreliable instrument. honestly, unless one is doing artwork or drafting in pencil, there's no need for 3 different lead sizes. 0.35 is to thin for regular use, therefore you'll more than likely end up using your particular preference of 0.5 or 0.7. One can buy a much better single lead pencil for a tantamount or lesser price. it is very inconvenient to change the lead as well. one day, while i was writing a note on an amsterdam straat, the damn pencil just self destructed like one of those notes that inspector gadget used to get. honestly, the clip fell off it and couldn't be fixed. to hell with rotring. anyhow, you have an excellent blog here. i thought i was the only prick that only writes with superior utensils...

onasuss...

blackbacchus.com

kiwi-d said...

Hi Black Bacchus,
I won't disagree with your comments on this Rotring. They are all valid points, but...it's still a mighty cool pencil :)

Maice Sally Lee said...

how do i get this pencils? i want to buy this some

Jeremy said...

how do you do lead refills? i haven't been able to figure it out.

kiwi-d said...

Jeremy, my Trio is packed away where I can't get to it for a while, but as I recall you unscrew the body just above the grip. That will show the 3 tip units. Simply pull the end of a tip unit and it will stretch out and then pull out of its holder so you can refill the leads.

ian said...

I have one of these and generally like it, except the lead holder feels a little wobbly (for want of a better word).
I prefer my silver finish Rotring 600 (the old style) - which I consider to be the best mech pencil ever made. Jeez I wish they still made them!!

kiwi-d said...

Hello Ian. You have an awful lot of company in missing the old 600 and thinking it was the best ever.

zahar said...

Hi all - as a relatively new pencil collector I would like to add some info about Rotring Trio pencil and one more trio pencil that I found. I bought my first Rotring Trio few weeks ago without knowing anything about it. I found it in some old stationery shop in Tel Aviv and paid 198 Shekels (55 US $). It is Rotring 600 black trio pencil with 0,3 (not 0,35!), 0,5 and 0,7 leads. So it is a little different from those described here – it's hexagonal and the signs of different leads look different. Anyhow – I was very excited from the beauty and elegancy of this pencil and tried to buy some more – but this was the last one… After some research and found (and bought on Ebay) two additional trio pencils. One - Pentel F.357 already described in this blog. The price was 15$. The other one was Niji 357 – and I think this one is not included in this blog. You can find it here:

http://stores.ebay.com/AdvancedSupplier

The price – 23 US$ + shipping. I received it two days ago – it is a very similar to the Rotring Trio and looks well done, nicely designed and works good.

AssortedPixels said...

My Rotring consists of a 0.5mm pencil, a Red biro and a Blue biro, which I find a good combination for traveling. I've had it for two years now and have not yet needed to replace the leads, which is lucky as I've never been able to work out how to until reading your review.

Anonymous said...

I have a rotring 600 in black. It takes .35 lead. Does any1 know a store that sells that kind of lead?

Gunther said...

You can use 0.3mm lead without problems.

Anonymous said...

Ilove these pencils. Years ago I lost one and am still looking out for it. That's how much I love them

Anonymous said...

Are the 600 series pencils being sold on Ebay and such really the old ones? Or are they remakes of the classic?

And is the 600 pocketsafe?

Thanks

PointFour said...

Anonymous asking about eBay:

I bought my Rotring 600 in 0.7 from someone on eBay - "OneStopShop Japan" or similar name, forgotten the exact form. First pencil was missing the clearing pin under the eraser. Vendor sent a complete replacement pencil at no extra charge, can't do better than that. He said he'd sold lots of them without problems, but that was the second one lately with a missing pin. Pencil looks like "new old" stock for Japanese market as instructions are in Japanese, but everything seems OK otherwise and certainly appears genuine to me. I could be wrong, but it's certainly a well-made pencil. It isn't pocket safe: about 4mm of fixed protruding lead tube.

HTH.

Anonymous said...

Alright, Thanks a lot! I might go on and proceed with the purchase.

Gunther said...

I have also bought several mechanical pencils at One Stop Japan Shop (mainly old Rotring models) and have always been very happy.

A few weeks ago Rotring Japan has released the 800, a pocket-safe variant of the 600 that was sold as 600G in Germany many years ago. The tip of that model can be retracted by a twist of the knurled part below the push button. The 800 is available from Bundoki, another retailer I am very happy with.

Stephen said...

Sanford, a division of Newell Rubbermaid, purchased Rotring in 1998.

Newell Rubbermaid are clear that their brands are open for licensing:

http://www.newellrubbermaid.com/newellco/licensing/licensing.jhtml?id=id2

This includes the Rotring brand:

http://www.newellrubbermaid.com/newellco/licensing/licensing.jhtml?id=id2&frag=brandOverview

I don't think there is any entity (at least today) called Rotring Japan. But there are definitely new high quality "Rotring" mechanical pencils coming from Japan. So two possibilities come to mind. One is that Sanford has shifted production of some former Rotring lines to Japan (but oddly not the famous Rotring fountain pens). The other option is that the name has been indeed licensed by someone behind the scenes. If so, they are doing a good job.

(And I can also vouch for the quality of customer service at OneStopJapanShop.)

Gunther said...

Stephen, thank you for the very interesting information – I wasn't aware of these details.

I don't know where I have heard about "Rotring Japan" but I have jumped to the conclusion that there was such an entity. – By the way: All three pencils I have bought came with Japanese instructions but with the same cardboard sleeve that state "Made in Germany" and show the same article number (R 026 897).

Stephen said...

Gunther, thank you for that information.

So maybe there are even other possibilities - such as that the traditional product lines like the 600 are only being manufactured for export to Japan.

simranjit said...

Hi Dave very nice website could you please tell me where to buy a trio 357 because where ever i look i only find the one with the 0.5 and red and blue pens please help

Kiwi-d said...

Sorry simranjit, I don't have any idea. I think it was deleted many years ago and I got mine on eBay.

matt said...

Is it possible to have three different pens in a rotring multi-pen?

ShrimpPizza said...

Will the paint on the body deteriorate over time of use like other matte body pencil Rotring 600 and 800. It looks quite cool though.

Ed said...

Now that I have this pencil for halve a year except with the big thick clip, I can understand why it so cool. I tinkered with it and put 3 0.5mm sleeves in it, one for typical pentel lead and blue and red leads... really cool.

Jim said...

You all are great posting this information. I also have MANY Rotring pencils and pens, including the Trio-Pencil. I love it! Even with the 0.3 tip, using a slightly harder lead, I can write with ease. I just bought a new Sanford Trio Pen for $25 (us) an am quite disappointed - it was advertised as a Rotring design made by Sanford and no longer available, but when I got it it was PLASTIC of all things! It's called the "essential" so beware when looking! BTW - anyone know how much the original Trio Pencil is worth and where I might be able to locate one?

ryan said...

^^ jim i have been searching for a replacement for quite some time now. i have one of the originals from when it was released, but desperately want to pick another one up for a spare. i have nearly lost mine a couple of times and tore the entire house / office apart looking for it.
i saw one on ebay about 6 months ago and they wanted $150 for it....in hindsight i should have jumped on it because i haven't seen another one since. i have a friend in germany and he can't even find it over there.

.dvin. said...

i finally came across 2 of these on ebay. i ordered one for an eventual replacement to the one i already have...there's still one available.

scott said...

found it totally solid,
a great bit of stationary
had mine for 14 years and its still fine (granted, limited use over the past 6 or so, but still..)
wish they still made them.. i don't use mine now, just get it out and marvel at it once in a while !

Anonymous said...

I came across your (excellent) blog when I tried to find more info about the favourite pen/pencil of my childhood. It was most likely a Rotring Trio variant (the blue-red-0,5 type), unfortunately, all documentation was lost. It has a diamond-shaped groove finish on the grip, which I haven't seen anywhere on pictures found online.
It was given in the early 90s to my mother by French business partners (the Alcatel SEL print is still visible). I have it for 20+ years, it put me through high school and university and it's still fully operational.
The gravitational selector has always caused funny moments at the expense of the uninitiated ("Hey, got a pencil?" "Sure, here it is" [I'm smiling inside] "But... it's a pen!" "No" [I look positively surprised that they're unable to operate such a simple equipment] "look, it's a pencil." [When I give it back, I innocuously switch it off again... Oh boy, they never notice the slight flick of the wrist...])

Paukum said...

I got one of these for my birthday when I was still in primary school, back in early nineties (it might have been mid-nineties), being fascinated by mechanical pencils at the time. I remember using the 0.5 for maths and 0.7 for writing, and I never really found any proper use for the 0.3. Loved it and used it until it became unreliable some time during my first year at university. Have been longing for a replacement since, and googling it was how I found your blog, which by the way is awesome.