TWSBI is one of the latest and most spectacular entrants to the exclusive Fountain Pen Makers’ Club. In fact, if you have not heard of it, I wouldn’t blame you. TaShin Precision has been a very reputed vendor supplying OEM plastic fountain pen parts to a number of prestigious European pen makers for over 40 years. This company based in Republic of China (ROC- Taiwan ). When TaShin Precision decided to try their hand at designing and manufacturing their own brand of fountain pens, it created the new Brand name TWSBI by combining “San Wen Tong” (TWS) symbolizing the three rare treasures of calligraphy and “Bi” to mean writing instruments in Chinese.
In a bid to produce unmatched quality and customer satisfaction, TWSBI conducted extensive surveys among fountain pen aficionados in China and all over the world through Forums like the Fountain Pen Network. The TWSBI Diamond 530 is the product of the surveys and the feedback from the members of the FPN after trying the prototypes.
The pens were sold originally through E-bay and Amazon only, but now the company is selling them also through a few selected retailers. I ordered mine through the E-bay.
A number of very knowledgeable experts and professionals have already reviewed the Diamond 530, and I have no desire to or expertise to add to the detailed report. I am merely giving a more personal impression rather than a technical review. For those interested in the detailed technical reviews here are two links:
A few special things about the Diamond 530
Firstly, this pen is made only in clear plastic and not in solid colours. In other words all TWSBI Diamond 530 pens are demonstrator type only.
The ink filling system is also rather rare and unique. The piston filling system very popular in the Fifties are getting increasingly rare to come by these days, except in piston filling ball point pens like the Noodler or the pelican. Diamond 530 incorporates this system for filling ink.
Another unique feature of this pen is that it is designed to be completely user serviceable. Even a person like me who has little mechanical skills can easily dismantle and reassemble every part of the pen including the piston and its washers and ‘O’ rings. The manufacturers have thoughtfully provided the necessary tools and instructions with diagrams.
When the packet arrived, I was impressed by the packaging. The beautiful clear plastic box is packed in a well made cardboard case. The box includes the pen, booklet, tool, a small bottle of silicon grease and guarantee card.
The first impression that once gets on taking the pen in one’s hand is one of solid well made writing instrument. The clear body is deceptively heavy and gives a feeling of costly resin rather than cheap plastic. The chrome clip is shiny and strong. The red logo on the top of the cap is intricate and exotic and stands out against the clear plastic.
The pen balances in the hand very well. The grip is comfortable and the pen feels very solid in the hand. Overall, the pen has a good, solid, expensive feel. My main complaint with the Diamond 530 is that when I post the cap, the overall feeling is one of discomfort. As if the pen has become too long, too top heavy and my handwriting gets affected. As a person not used to writing without posting the cap, I feel a bit odd holding the cap in one hand while writing with the right hand.
The pen is among the larger ones I own. Almost as big as the Pelikan 400. It measures 5½” capped and 5” uncapped. With cap posted it measures a whopping 7” accounting for the discomfort I feel when posting. The Diamond is as thick as
The 530 is fitted with a Schmidt steel nib. I believe the new 540 is switching to Bock soon. I find the Schmidt nib excellent with very smooth feel and adequate ink flow. The nib has TWSBI engraved on it. I find the pen has a tendency to mist a bit, between the section and the nib and some inside the cap itself.
The Piston Filling System feels very solid and the pen has good capacity for holding ink. Left to me, I would not have gone ahead and increased the ink capacity in the newer 540. The bottom cap which works the piston fits smugly into the cap but then it might pose a problem. Sometimes, if the pen is full, while removing the cap, there is a chance of unwittingly turning the filling mechanism resulting in ink spill. I am not bothered as in any case I do not post the TWSBI for reasons mentioned earlier.
How do you like it. In one sentence; I love it! Except for the problem of not posting the cap, I find nothing to complain. The nib is solid, the ink capacity is great and the writing is better than my hitherto favourite the Lamy Safari. The pen is a stunner and it has not failed to capture a few admiring looks whenever I have taken it out of my pocket and start writing.
Will I recommend it to friends? I have already ordered a spare fine nib. I first ordered a new 540 for myself and then another in M nib for my son. Now the new ROC version with Bock nib is coming, I am ordering one of that too. Hope you get the drift.