Pretty early on I knew I had to get a TWSBI. People have some strong feelings for TWSBI: either love for the Taiwanese pen company's smart offerings with advanced filling systems at affordable prices or complete disappointment with the quality issues. I followed the TWSBI discussions and held off from buying for a few months. When I saw the limited edition AL model in Orange being released in spring 2015, I was sold. It looked so good that I had to take a chance with it. So how did my luck turn out with this pen? Read on to find out.
Appearance and Packaging
TWSBI packaging is minimalistic and stylish with an Apple aesthetic. The 580 comes in a crystal clear plastic box. The pen itself is cradled in place by 2 plastic risers. The whole thing gives the feeling of a museum display.
It comes with a mini jar of silicon grease and a wrench to disassemble the pen for cleaning. I think it's great that TWSBI made the pen easy to tool around with for those handy types. Personally, I've never had to take it apart for maintenance. I find the pen easy to flush out the old fashioned way for a piston filler, that is, fill and empty the pen by twisting the piston knob.
The pen itself has a somewhat traditional flat topped cigar shape.
But that's where the traditional aspect ends. The demonstrator pen is made of a crystal clear acrylic. As the Diamond in its name suggests, the pen is shiny and sparkly. The pen body is faceted with 10 sides such that light dances off the sides as I roll the pen around to admire the ink sloshing around inside. The facets also mean the pen won't roll around if I place it on the table without capping it.
The piston knob is quite big which I like. It makes cleaning and flushing easier.
The piston mechanism inside, clearly viewable in this transparent demonstrator, is orange and matches the aluminum orange on the grip section.
The section tapers towards the nib but flares out gently to a metal ring at the end. There are a few shallow threads between the section and the body. The threads are smooth and don't bother me at all.
The cap is large and heavy. On the finial is the cool silver and red TWSBI logo.
There is a large geometric silver clip that complements the diamond facets on the body. A wide silver cap band is etched with the word TWSBI on one side and Diamond 580 on the other.
This pen is well-balanced in my hand unposted. It is a full sized pen, large by not overly so. I never use it posted as it would be ridiculously long and back-heavy for my liking.
As for the business side of the pen, the 580 has a size 5 stainless steel nib. The nib has some simple scroll etchings and the TWSBI logo. I think the nib design suits the pen and is not overly flourished to detract from the modernistic feel of the pen.
I got the EF nib. This nib has performed flawlessly and the black plastic feed delivers a slightly wet flow for a nice smooth writing experience. Depending on the ink and paper, I can sometimes feel a little feedback from the paper but I would still consider this pen to write smoothly.
The nib is made by JoWo so it writes like a typical European nib, a bit wider than it's Japanese EF counterpart, more like a Japanese fine-medium. This is a-ok for me as I knew that when I got the pen. I got the EF knowing that I would prefer something fine with this daily writer type of pen.
This piston filler has huge ink capacity. If you are a voluminous writer this pen would be perfect paired with the EF nib. This is especially good as a daily writer for vacations. Fill it up and off you go. No need to worry about running out of ink. For this reason, I've taken this pen on multiple vacations. It's also a pen I won't cry over if it gets lost or damaged. Oh, of course I'd miss it but I wouldn't be distraught or feel a major financial pinch to replace it.
The TWSBI 580 AL has been a valued pen in my collection for one and a half years now. It is a trusty workhorse pen that has held up well. I love the orange aluminium accoutrements. If you ever wondered about the AL-Orange you should definitely go for the recently released AL-Lava. From what I can tell, based on social media and other pen bloggers, the Lava is the same colour as Orange. It won't be long before this new batch sells out too. TWSBI made a good looking pen that has so far held up well under my use conditions. I highly recommend it for those looking to get into a piston filler with huge capacity and a smooth writing experience.