Demonstrator, piston converter
Steel EF nib
$39.85 CAD (wonder pens)
Currently inked: Private Reserve Ink – Black Magic Blue ($7.50CAD on sale in a stationary shop in Ottawa)
This is a part two look at another TWSBI pen, the Eco, a cheaper (more economical) version of the Diamond 580 I looked at in the last review. This was another pen that was gifted to me — you may have noticed I have been gifted pens from some very generous and loving people in my life. Clearly they are either enablers of my addiction or very encouraging of my drawing efforts! There are not a mountain of differences between the two pens aside from price point, but there are still a few things to look at, so it’ll be a shorter review, but same level of doodles and thoughts. Here goes!
Does this pen look super awesome? Quite so!
I actually really like how the Eco looks, despite it not looking as ‘upgraded’ or fancy as the Diamond 580. Some of the major differences include the main barrel — The Diamond 580 is facetted and the Eco is a straight extrusion. The cap of the Diamond also has a little more chrome, a fancier logo top and more smooth shaped; while the Eco has a hexagonal shaped cap and a plastic logo top. The Diamond does offer the option to switch out nibs, while the Eco does not. I also found a difference in the nib sizes, the Diamond having a much wider nib and the Eco nib is quite narrow. The last major difference is in the packaging. The Diamond comes in a sort of display case box, with all the extra accessories (the wrench and silicone grease) hidden away below. The Eco comes in a thinner plastic box, and all the pieces are inset in the foam once you open it. Also the wrench is a little chunkier and plastic compared to the thinner metal wrench in the Diamond packaging.
Other than these small things though, the quality of the Eco is on par with the Diamond in terms of the overall build and the internal parts — ie the piston. The pen is also just as easy to take apart and maintain, since the mechanism is the same. While I still admire everything about the Diamond, I have to say I quite like how simple the straight cylindrical barrel looks on the Eco. Its clean and minimal and it works great.
The Eco is marginally lighter than the Diamond, likely because it is using a little bit less metal parts. But other than that, it feels quite similar. The balance, I could argue, is almost better — at least for me, because I have smaller hands? I feel like I have a lot of control with this pen, especially when I’m drawing. I would compare this EF nib to my penmanships, and almost (gasp!) better than them, save that they are slightly thicker than the penmanships. The EF nib is excellent though. It feels sturdy and solid, and relatively smooth writing (a slight tooth depending on the paper and ink), and has really good control. Ink flow is also great as I have yet to experience skipping or splotching. Having control and a good weight balance in a pen is really important when I’m drawing. This pen has all of those good qualities. The grip is pinched for better ergonomics, and the proportion is designed so that I can use the pen (in either grip) for an extended period of time without fatigue.
I will, however, divulge that I was an incredibly inexperienced pen fanatic when I first inked this pen. I filled it with a sample bottle of Noodler’s Baystate Blue…and lo and behold, my beautiful demonstrator is quite permanently stained forever. And thus, I have resorted to filling it with equally dark inks to hide my mistake — but there will always be visible scars to this mistake. For those who don’t know, Baystate Blue is an absolutely beautiful ink, but it stains permanently, on anything. All of these I have found out only after filling up my Eco with this ink.
On the bright side, performance is not dipped by this blunder, so the pen still works like a charm, and I enjoy using it almost everyday for doodles and such. Also the nib works in reverse, unlike the Diamond for some reason, I am quite happy with that. I’ve been in a bit of a fanart-y mood this week, so I drew Satsuki from Kill la Kill! I have also been trying out some new things with the review doodle pages, using my water brush pen to get larger swabs of the ink so the drawings have a little more depth to them. Always a work in progress.
If you’re itching to try out these lauded TWSBI pistons but found the Diamond 580 and 580AL pens to be a little too expensive, this pen is perfect. It has the same great mechanism, same great quality, but at a lower price point. It also gets some nice special edition colour options (this year is a super loud bright turquoise!). I wouldn’t recommend this pen to a beginner or as a first pen option (because there is a little bit of extra maintenance involved), but it is certainly a great choice for any other situation! It isn’t one of the cheapest pens, but for the price of an Eco, and what you get with it, I think it is quite worth the money.
– cheaper option compared to the Diamond 580 and 580AL
– Excellent quality build
– Piston fills a lot of ink in one go
– Nib writes smoothly and great ink flow
– Nib works in reverse for even thinner lines
– comes in cheaper looking packaging
– Nib can be scratchy depending on paper or ink wetness
Post Baystate Blue disaster, I filled this pen with Private Reserve’s Black Magic Blue. I picked up this bottle from the stationary shop I got the Lamy Petrol ink from in Ottawa. I had never heard of this brand, but it was a great deal as they were on sale, and the colour was exactly something I was looking for! The ink itself runs a little bit drier than other inks I own. Although this allows it to produce even crisper and cleaner lines on the EF nib of the Eco, it also tends to make the nib a little scratchier on paper. But on the positive end, it also ends up drying a little faster than other inks which has its benefits too.
I do find that this ink has a tendency to bleed and showthrough on paper I normally don’t have problems with using fountain pen ink. Examples include my passion planner paper and my pen review booklet. This tends to make me a little more cautious when using the pen, but overall am still very happy with this deep indigo purple ink, and would be interested to try it out in my other pens.
Thanks for tuning in for this shorter Part two. Things are going to get a little busier as summer winds down , but I have some things planned, including reviews of some new and old pens as well as new notebooks I’ve picked up most recently!