I have been looking forward to doing a review of this pen since I started this blog, and it’s one of my favourites, so I’m really excited to finally be doing it! This is one of TWSBI’s signature pens, the Diamond 580, clear version. (not the nicer Aluminum version that I have yet to get my hands on) Unlike some of the previous pens I have looked at (save for the wink), this one is a little on the pricier end of entry-level pens; and therefore on the higher-end level of the pens I tend to review here. This pen was also actually a gift, which makes it quite meaningful to me, on top of it being an excellent pen. 🙂 I have been using this for quite some time, probably almost two years now, and have only found more things to like about it. So here goes!
Does this pen look super awesome? You bet.
This is a beautiful pen! As you may have surmised, I really love demonstrator pens. The more clear parts there are, the more I like them somehow. Sometimes one could get weary, because clear plastic sometimes looks a little cheap, but fear not, this pen is anything but cheap looking or feeling. The parts that are not clear plastic are chrome or black plastic (for the piston and feed), and they’re all nice quality parts that add to the overall look of the pen. The one part that may be questionable is the darkened translucent top half of the cap, which is probably done to hide any messiness on the nib. Otherwise, everything is quite visible and clear.
The barrel has a nice diamond pattern, adding to the pen’s elegance and adds a little flare to what could be just another clear demonstrator pen. The biggest attraction to the TWSBI brand is of course the piston converter, allowing for a superfluous amount of ink to be stored in the barrel. This is great for people who use their pen often, whether for writing or drawing, and don’t want the trouble of always having to refill their ink. The only downside, if there had to be one, is that since there is so much ink in reserve, you don’t get to switch out and try out new inks as often. Granted, you’re welcome to fill it with as much or as little as you like!
The pen is also designed to let owners self-maintain it, the package coming with both a mini wrench as well as a small bottle of silicone grease to keep the piston working smoothly. It is quite fun to take the pen apart and very satisfying to clean all the parts before putting it back together. It takes a little bit of getting used to, and careful hands to make sure you don’t damage or lose any pieces. But overall I would say it is an easy mechanism to work with, and adds to the overall appeal of this pen.
Of course, looks can only get you so far (well I don’t have a problem with a beautiful shelf sitter…but it is a pen, so function and form must work together!), so how does the pen fare as a writing/drawing instrument?
No complaints here, it’s both a beautiful pen and a beautiful writer. The nib feels sturdy and reliable on paper, with a slight toothy feel. The nib is quite large both physically in size, and also because I have an M nib. Ink flow is quite good, consistent and comes out relatively dry. (Not very gushy — which is good for me). Also I have noted that this nib does not work in reverse, and tends to only write perfectly when at the right angle and alignment to the paper. Not the best for me since I like flexibility all around (not necessarily flex), and would have preferred that this nib work similarly to say the Lamy nib, where it works almost no matter what angle I’m using it at. Not the end of the world, because the feel of drawing with the pen is still excellent.
Drawing wise, the toothy feel makes it quite enjoyable, as well as giving me more control when I’m doodling. The inflexibility I mentioned earlier does come into play here, and therefore I would conclude that this pen might be better for writing than for drawing. But, just like a good drafting pencil, since this pen works excellent at one angle, it actually can do quite well for more accurate drawings that utilize a ruler! I will also say that the toothy feel can tire out the hand a little more than a super smooth roller, only because of the minor resistance you get with every stroke you make.
The weight of the pen is a little on the heavier side, especially with the cap posted, but I actually really love the balance of the pen. I find that both posted and un-posted, the pen still feels quite nice to use, but definitely the weight of the cap on the end may throw off the balance. It does end up being quite a lengthy pen when posted, so while it looks super awesome, it may not be preferred.
This pen is worth what you pay. It is a really solid pen, sturdy and well-built, and it definitely feels like it’s worth some weight when you hold it. The piston filler is unique, and offers something many other mid/entry-level pens don’t. I wouldn’t recommend it to someone buying their first fountain pen, only because it isn’t too affordable and the mechanism may take a little getting used to. But anyone looking for a quality pen at this price range should look no further! While this was a gift, I would definitely purchase one myself, especially the AL editions that offer pretty limited edition colours. (Already have my eyes set on one…) For those who are looking for a more affordable option, the TWSBI Eco is an excellent choice for practically the same quality, which I will go into more in Twizbee Part II!
– Beautiful pen and cool diamond pattern barrel
– Quality build pen despite all clear plastic
– Piston filler holds a crazy amount of ink in one go
– Nice solid feeling nib, with a little tooth on paper
– Nibs are replaceable
– The nib doesn’t work in reverse, tends to work only at the right angle
– A little bit of a learning curve to take apart and maintain the pen
– Huge piston fill is not always preferred when one likes to swap inks often
I sometimes refer to this pen as my ‘blood pen’, one because it means a lot to me, but mostly because it’s filled with some awesome blood red ink. This is the J. Herbin 1670 anniversary edition ink bottle of ‘Rouge Hermatite’. This ink varies between bright red to deep red, which occasional slashes of gold sparkles. This is on the more expensive end of inks, but the bottle is very beautiful, and the ink is also quite nice — with all that shimmer and colour variation. The only downside might be that the ink is dye-based, but completely not waterproof. I have occasionally splashed some water on my notebook and whatever I had written or drawn gets destroyed. Other than that, the ink dries pretty quickly, and I have also mentioned it comes out of the pen relatively more dry than gushy, which I like. The golden specs floating around in the ink does tend to clot up on the nib after leaving the nib for a while, which just requires a little wipe-off and it’s good as new. I wouldn’t recommend keeping the ink in a pen for too long because of this clotting issue, and so requires some maintenance and cleaning every now and then. Not a problem for the 580 since it’s made to be taken apart and cleaned!
So long, thanks for reading~