How I ended up with a Koh-hi-noor Rapidomatic 5640

At 10:00pm this past Sunday, an auction ends……

I’ve just let a Kohinoor 5640 0.5mm slip through my fingers, like an idiot…. “I SHOULD have bid at the last second on eBay…. How do I STILL fuck-up something SO easily??

But something Unbelievable occurred two days later…. I receive and email stating the EBay SELLER is offering you the item you lost… a “SECOND CHANCE”…. (As it turns out, if the original buyer falls through, or the seller has MULTIPLE items fitting the same description as their O.P. , they can THEN offer it to OTHERS)

I actually ended up paying LESS than the first winning bidder.

This cost me $115.00 after tax…It was mailed Wednesday (miraculously enough, the eBay seller lives in my city…) It was delivered today.


They didn’t put just any spring in it.

I’m not very knowledgeable on Koh-i-noors but what is special about the 5640?

Right? It’s quite the beautiful beast.

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It’s a bridge pencil between Rotring and Kohinoor’s division/transition . From the 5640 to the Rotring 600. I’m sure someone else MUCH more knowledgeable about the history can chime in. Pretty sure @Drifand knows a thing or two :grin::+1:


How is it different from the current Rapidomatic?

From a little reddit browsing, it appears to be the OG OG rotring 600. Rotring rebranded the 5640 as the 600

Metal vs Plastic

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The timeline is a bit up for debate. Rotring’s own history says 1989 for the 600, but the Sweden catalog from 1988 shows the the 600 and 500 series – all with the thin red rings:

And, it is interesting that Koh-I-Noor USA didn’t really advertise for the 5640. It’s like they preferred to stick with the business-like 5630 series and let Rotring hog the ‘premium’ space with the all-metal 600, like this pamphlet from 1993:

Compared to a 1995 poster for KIN Rapidograph series… No ‘premium’ models in sight.

There was also a sea change in the USA professional market. CAD was firmly in place in the 1990s. In my exploration of the US Modernist library, advertising for mechanical pencils and lead holders faded out to zero by 1994.

In 1993, Rotring had one tiny ad for the 600 in Progressive Architecture, with the visual featuring not the pencil but the fountain pen.