I have written quite often on whether fountain pens and other hand-writing implements lead to different, or perhaps even better thinking than typewriters and keyboards. As anyone following the blog knows, I am extremely skeptical about such claims. This does not mean that I do not use fountain pens and very much enjoy using them. I do—and in a kind of self-experiment I have consciously made myself write every day in a notebook away from my computer desk.
It has led to more writing, but, I am sorry to say: it has not led to more brilliant ideas. (But then again, I may be prejudiced and thus just not notice ...).
However that may be, I discovered about two months ago a fountain pen that soon became my favorite. It is the L-Tech by Levenger.
Obviously this pen is inspired by the Rotring 600 (old style). Some people have even gone so far as to claim that Levenger bought the machine tools from Rotring to make them. But this is in all likelihood false. The L-Tech looks like the Rotring 600, if you do not look closely. But is is not only bigger and heavier, but also has a screw-on cap, something the Rotrings never had. While the 600 was hexagonal, the L-Tech has seven sides. Another difference is that the Levenger has a nib unit that can be exchanged with that of any other pen of their Truewriter line. It screws out easily just like the old Esterbrook pens and any new Waterman pen. Nor are you restricted to the Levenger nibs. Edison #5 (and similar nibs) also fit perfectly.
I do own a number of Rotrings 600s (as well as some Rotring Newtons) and I am extremely disappointed that Sanford (or Rubbermaid) discontinued this line. However, I must say that the L-Tech is much better than the Rotring 600 which inspired it.
Levenger also made a mechanical pencil in the same style, but apparently it had problems. This is not a problem as there are various manufacturers (like Retro 51) which do make copies. The weirdest one is from a company called "Redcircle" (i.e. "Rotring" in English). They are situated in China, and they may actually have made some the last Rotrings, as their products are hardly distinguishable from the original, as far as I can see. I own some of these as well (they cost a fraction of the Rotrings and are easily available on eBay. Sadly, however, they don't seem to make me smarter either. But they look smart, anyway.
1. Before they did this, they made some truly absurd "design" choices, however; and I surmise that they closed down all of the production of fountain pens and some of the production of mechanical pencils at least partially as a result of it.
2. For a review, see here, for instance.