Body Material: Plastic
Posting: Yes, threaded
Length (capped): 124.8 mm/4.91''
Length (uncapped nib-end): 115.1 mm/4.53''
Length (posted): 151.7 mm/5.97''
Barrel Diameter: 13.3 mm/0.52''
Section Diameter: 10.0 mm/0.39''
Weight (all): 24 g
Weight (cap): 9 g
Weight (body): 15 g
Nib Material: Steel
Fill type: Vacuum-filler
Nibs Available: XF, F, M, B, 1.1 mm stub
Price: € 69,00
Ink Capacity: 2 ml
Where to buy:
Code: GOURMET10 for 10% off your purchase!
TWSBI 580 AL, the lid can be removed completely. The pen sits on two display stands, which looks really nice, but it's a pain to reassemble.
Underneath the white section labelled TWSBI, TWSBI includes a plastic-covered metal wrench, two spare O-rings, and a small bottle of liquid silicone grease. (Fun fact: this wrench also opens the Pelikan Souverän M800 and M1000 pistons.)
The clip is attached internally, through a small slot that is very clean cut, so it looks clean and well done. The clip is plain and simple, with no markings. It has a sloped ball on the underside. The center band is located on the end of the cap. It is fairly wide and shiny and is laser engraved with TWSBI, Vac Mini, and TAIWAN.
This is not a bad looking pen. I think the plastic looks a bit cheap, especially when it's been handled for awhile, because it gets a bit greasy. It doesn't have the same glittery quality the Diamond 580 seems to have, unless I've completely lost my mind...? It looks well made - not premium or super fancy, but there's no weird edges or gaping holes, so that's pretty decent.
NIB & PERFORMANCE
The steel nib is a broad. It has a single slit, a round breather hole, and is engraved with: TWSBI, the logo, the nib size, and some flourishes.
The vacuum-filling system works well - without added measures, the barrel fills about halfway with ink, once the feed has been saturated (typically after one or two plunges). Couple the pen with the Vac20A bottle and you should be able to fill your pen completely.
This clip is quite springy, with decent tension. It slides easily with the sloped ball at the end. Be careful releasing the clip - if you let go, it snaps pretty hard against the cap. Probably not a wise thing to do with a company in which the pens have a history of cracking... Although I like the spring of the clip, the clip itself wiggles side to side a bit, which is annoying. It doesn't wiggle while I wrote, but it moves so easily if touched. It should be tightened.
After being disassembled, the clip could then be aligned with the nib when it was posted - so you could always do that. However, I spent weeks with this not disassembled so it was rather annoying. Having the clip align with the nib helped keep the clip out of the way, and it felt a little better.
I'm probably going to ramble forever here. I like a lot about this pen: the nib is quite pleasant to write with - it could use some tweaking to make it a little wetter, the pen is pretty - I love clear pens, it has a large ink capacity for such a little pen, it has a unique filling system (at least compared to a cartridge/converter), it's relatively affordable, it's easy to disassemble completely and maintain yourself (and all the tools required are provided), and it's a great way to learn about your writing instrument.
A lot of the reasons I don't care for this pen are aesthetic: the plastic looks cheap and lacks the brilliant shine and glitter the 580 has, the threads are so obvious, and the amount of times I have cross-threaded the cap ... sigh, the O-rings look funny on the barrel, the engraving of Vac Mini on the center band looks so childish to me - like a childish font that doesn't match the rest of the fonts. Moving on.
Personally, I still like the 580 best and wouldn't bother with any of the others. I just hope the one I currently have (the 580 AL-Purple) doesn't ever crack. I'm rather underwhelmed with this one, especially because the nib dries out completely (at least six times while drafting this review). It's not a terrible pen, it's just that I'd rather take the € 69,00 and get a 580 or something else entirely.
I received this pen free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion. There are no affiliate links in this review.