Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review: @TWSBI Diamond 580 Clear Fountain Pen - 1.5mm Stub

This is the pen I somehow ended up ordering by the end of a live Anderson Pens broadcast. Talk about mind control, right? No. They're just that magical. I already own the TWSBI Diamond 540 with a juicy, divine 1.1mm stub nib so I knew I had to get the 1.5! I won't be doing a written comparison between the 540 and 580 in this review.

ABOUT

Brand: TWSBI
Model: 580
Body Material: Clear plastic
Trim: Chrome
Length (capped): 5.6"
Length (uncapped nib-end): 5.1"
Length (posted): 7.1"
Barrel Diameter: 0.5"
Section Diameter: 0.38"
Nib type: JoWo
Nib material: Steel
Weight (inked): 31g/1.0oz
Barrel design: Round, faceted
Fill type: Piston-filler/bottled ink
Price: $55
Where to buy: Anderson Pens

PACKAGING
TWSBI Diamond 580 In Box
Shows off the pen inside quite nicely! Obviously, I opened the package and inked the pen already.
For $55, I am quite impressed with TWSBI's packaging. That's not to say TWSBI packaged this pen because they felt it needed this impressive packaging to impress me. It just has very tasteful packaging that is pretty cool. Inside this cardboard box that has TWSBI's logo in red on the top, there is padding, and a clear plastic box that makes me think "demonstrator box" inside a plastic bag. Inside this bag, I can see my TWSBI. I want to rip into the box. But it is sealed by this tape that I must get into, not unlike Apple packaging. I'm telling you, it's really nicely done, and it really does impress me. I have kept all my TWSBI boxes to date. Inside, the pen is held in place on these little plastic bits, which must be removed (and which are easily lost so be careful). Underneath is where you will find your TWSBI wrench and silicone grease). While a Lamy Al-Star is $35, I do compare the packaging of the two pens. The TWSBI is a more complex pen and it has better packaging, so the $20 price difference isn't just going into packaging. Thank you for the nice packaging, TWSBI.
TWSBI Diamond 580 Opened Up
The wrench and silicone grease inside.
APPEARANCE

The TWSBI Diamond 580 is very similar to the Diamond 540 - I selected the clear plastic demonstrator body. There are a few obvious chrome pieces on this pen - the slim ring at the top of the piston knob, the band at the end of the cap, where TWSBI and Diamond 580 is matte screened on, as well as the ring around the top of the cap. There is also a metal ring in the nib section. The clip is also chrome and is faceted, as is the body of the pen. The top of the cap has the TWSBI logo. All the parts of the pen are visible through the pen, since it is a demonstrator!
TWSBI Diamond 580
A very attractive pen!
TWSBI Diamond 580
NIB & PERFORMANCE

This nib is a JoWo steel nib, stamped with TWSBI's logo and identified as a 1.5 below the logo. It is broad and attractive, and tastefully complements the appearance of the clear demonstrator. The nib may appear a tad small for the size of the pen, especially if posted.
TWSBI Diamond 580 1.5mm Stub Nib
A tasteful nib.
I had high expectations for this nib because my Diamond 540 + 1.1mm stub nib blew me away - this one is juicy, springy, and super smooth. It did not require any adjusting or tweaking or even rinsing. It wrote right out of the box. This nib was no different. I wasted no time inking up the pen (after briefly debating then deciding not to flush the pen first, which I didn't end up doing), selecting Pilot Iroshizuku Ku-Jaku ink.
TWSBI Diamond 580
After inking, writing is beautiful and smooth. For the first few minutes of writing, there is great ink flow as the feed easily keeps up with this broad nib's ink demands. This 1.5mm stub nib is just as juicy as I had hoped, nice and wet and inky. I love it. After a few minutes of writing, the nib runs a little dry. I'm not saying no ink comes out - what I mean is, instead of the ink coming out nice and juicy, it comes out a little more dry. It still writes! I can't say I'm too surprised as it is a pretty big nib! I usually just shake some ink through or push some through with the piston. Would constant, magically perfect always juicy ink flow be nice? Yes. Is that realistic? Well, with a 1.5mm nib, maybe not. My extra-fine TWSBI nib never does this - the feeds are not built differently for each nib, and it's just a matter of the broad 1.5mm nib needing more ink.
TWSBI Diamond 580 Writing Sample
Relatively quick drying time - in this sample, I had been writing for awhile and the nib was a little dry. You can tell because the ink looks a little light. However, you can tell from the wetness sample that it still writes well.
Every now and then, a piece of a letter will go dry and I'll have to go back and fill it in. Despite this very minor issue, I am still very pleased with its performance, even though after several minutes of constant writing, the nib runs a little dry of ink. This probably won't happen to most people because it's just not the size of nib you use for lots of writing.When I am practicing calligraphy with this, I go slowly and the feed keeps up.
TWSBI Diamond 580 Writing Sample
The broad, wet nib highlights many lovely features in several inks I used, such as the sheen and outlines of the inks. It looks really attractive and offers great line variation and character.

IN HAND

Since the nib is so smooth and ink flow is so consistent, very little pressure is required to write with this pen. As such, writing is a pleasure with this pen. My hand did not tire after writing extensively. The pen itself feels strong and sturdy, and it doesn't feel like it's going to break. Have I dropped it on the floor to test this? No. Will I? Well... no. The 540 did have cracking issues (which TWSBI will take care of if you contact them). But the body of the pen itself feels really good to hold. Neither of my 540s have cracked, and my 580 is a hand pleaser. That sounds weird, I know.

PROS
  • Nib units are replaceable and interchangeable. 
  • Lovely, juicy, springy stub nib.
  • Piston-filler has great ink capacity. 
  • TWSBI provides wrench and silicone grease so you can service your pen yourself and learn more about fountain pens while you're at it.
  • Body is faceted and does not roll away when not posted.
CONS
  • If you like postable pens, this pen does not post comfortably.
  • Nib runs a little dry after a few minutes of constant writing. Feed needs to be primed with ink. 
 OVERALL

I highly recommend the TWSBI Diamond 580 fountain pen. The 1.5mm JoWo stub nib is just amazingly juicy, wet, and smooth. I am so delighted with the writing experience with this pen. This nib will offer gorgeous line variation and highlight lovely characteristics of many fountain pen inks. The pen is easy to maintain and has great ink capacity. TWSBI also backs all its pens with wonderful customer service. The only downside I can foresee for some folks is if you like to write with a posted pen, this isn't really possible. Even with the nib running a little dry after a few minutes of writing, I would still highly recommend this pen!

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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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