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Rotring Core Fountain Pen

5/24/12
This is one of my favorite fountain pens. The pen shown here is actually a replacement of my very first fountain pen. My first Core was a white and black model, and it is one of those pens that I know I have around here somewhere, and sometimes it comes to the surface, but since I've moved I can't seem to put my hands on it. this black and grey model is called "Titanium" by Rotring, and it's bound to be a divisive pen.


Appearance & Design:
I really like the way this pen looks. It is some kind of crazy design from outer space, but it does draw the eye. When I use it people notice, and I'm into that sort of thing. If you want to be subtle, then this isn't your pen. The over-sized cap and pocket clip are almost certainly the thing you notice first, and they come in lots of different color combinations ranging from my old white and black model to a retina-burning red and orange combo. 


Construction & Quality:
The barrel and grip section of this pen are made from a lightweight plastic that just barely avoids feeling cheap. There is no flex in the plastic, but it's so light that you might feel that you'll break it. I can say that I've carried these Cores for well over a decade and they haven't suffered so much as a nick or scratch on the barrel. They're tougher than they appear.
The cap is a much heavier plastic that is mostly covered in a soft and smooth rubber (the grey areas you see in the pictures). The rubber is perhaps a bit too soft, if anything. The pocket clip is a big and fairly stiff, and the combination of a stiff spring and rubber coating means that just a little bit of the rubber under the spring will be chaffed when you clip it to, say, jeans.

Nib & Performance:
Rotring marked this nib "XS", and I'd say that it puts down a fine line. It's not as fine as the line you get from a fine-nibbed Hero, so it's fine enough to see some nice effects from your ink while not worrying about it bleeding through the page or blending your letters together if your writing is small like mine. 
This is actually one of my most consistant writers. I've used it with many, many different inks over the years, and it has handled everything from thick Private Reserves to fairly thin Noodler's Habanero with aplomb. It doesn't clog or get out of control regardless of what I've put it through. It has never skipped as long as I've had it.



Filling System & Maintenance:
The Core takes a cartridge (tall or short) or a converter. Mine has only used the Rotring piston converter, and it has never leaked or come loose. 
I've read that you can remove the nib and feed from the pen if you need to, but I have never tried. Now that the pen is out of production I don't think I'll attempt anything drastic unless I absolutely must. 
The pen rinses fairly well, but there is some extra work involved in cleaning out a pen when you can't remove the feed, and so I don't change inks as often as I do with an Ahab, but it's no more annoying than the Lamys that I have.



Cost & Value:
I really like this pen even though the design is weird and some will dislike the saddle-grip design of the section. I think these used to be around the $20 mark, but the prices are all over the place now that they're not being made. I've seen them for up to $300, and that's preposterous. It's a good pen, but that's beyond the pale. I'd say that if you can find one for $30 or less you should snap one up. Darn Rotring for discontinuing this line (and almost all of their FP lines). I would really like to get my hands on a couple more of these.






Post Comment
Lee said...

I believe Rotring discontinued this and other pens before I ever came into the hobby (maybe 5 years ago?). I know that for ages Chuck Swisher had these listed for a cool $9.99. I never bought one. I don't really care for the look, but I have always heard the nibs are excellent. Since you're a fan I'm glad you have two. If I run across a deal on them I'll keep you in mind.

Michael Matteson said...

Yeah, they're weird looking pens. That's really their only fault, though. If you see any deals on them, I'd love to know about it.

Lady Fluff said...

Don't know if they are discontinued, but I picked one up here in Pontypridd, UK, for £4.99 this afternoon. Knew nothing about it, but have been working with it for a few hours this evening, and am loving it so far. Got an XL nib on mine (I loves me a bit of chunkiness!). Didn't have any bottled ink I wanted in the store, so am using some bog standard black ink cartridges for now. An excellent bargain, hoping this will last me for many years, but if it doesn't, it was only a fiver.

Michael Matteson said...

I didn't even know there was an XL nib. I know the XS is nothing like an extra fine nib. What's the XL like?

~$10 for a Core fp is a pretty sweet deal. I'd get a couple of them at that price. Hope you like it!

JaganshiKenshin said...

It's a Klingon pen!

Love the nib, hate the section. Mine is orange and gray.

Great review.

- Kenshin

JaganshiKenshin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meko said...

Hi! I have three I have acquired over the last 15 years, and they are VERY durable. The nib does come out if you use a piece of paper towel and grab the tip of the nib with your finger nails and gently pull. I haven't tried the feed though, like you said now they are discontinued...Happy to know theres other pen weirdos out there! ;)

Diana said...

I am a huge fan of these pens, tragic moment is when I LOSE one - which I just have. I carry one with me all the time, so this can happen.
Maybe it is lurking somewhere still but I am afraid it is lost. I have 2 spares of the core, but currently making do with a Lamy someone gave me for Christmas. Very lightweight in comparison. Tip for cleaning the Core pen - I use a kind of syringe with long thin nozzle to flush the nib out. Good idea to do this regularly anyway, so they say. Happy writing!!