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Twsbi Diamond 530 Review


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#1 jonro

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 21:04

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First Impressions (5.0)
The pen arrived in an attractive, nicely designed transparent plastic case with a white plastic base. The case, I think, is very much in keeping with the pen's design and the company's philosophy. Underneath the base was a nicely printed set of instructions as well as a tool to remove the piston filler mechanism and a small bottle of silicone grease. You get the impression that this is a fountain pen user and enthusiast’s pen and that TWSBI evidently intends that this pen will be used for a long time to come.

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Appearance (4.0)
It’s an attractive pen. This first version of the pen is only available as a demonstrator. The cap and piston filler knob are round. The barrel is round with a faceted diamond pattern. The trim is sturdy and attractive. The company’s name and the pen’s model number is laser etched on the cap band and the company’s logo is suspended in a cabochon with a red-orange base on the end cap. It’s nicely done.

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Design/Size/Weight (4.0)
The size and weight are just right for me. The Diamond 530 is about the same size as the Pelikan m800. The company obviously put a lot of thought into this pen and there is a lot to be said about the design. I don’t agree with all of their choices, but it is quality construction from the jewel to the end cap.

The body is faceted, probably the inspiration for the model name. The design looks nice enough and the faceted body won’t roll of your desk if you put your pen down uncapped, but I would have preferred a smooth round barrel. The facets slightly obscure a clear view of the interior, but this is a demonstrator and a clear view of the interior is its purpose. I find the mixed shapes between cap, barrel and end cap a bit jarring, and while the Diamond 530 is comfortable to hold, it would be more comfortable with a round barrel. This, of course, is my own personal preference. Some may feel they get a more secure grasp on their pen because of this design.

The TWSBI has a twist cap and it takes a revolution and a half to remove or replace the cap. This is pretty good, but I prefer caps that can be removed in less than a full turn. Not many pens can make that claim, although I had a Pelikan that did. There is an o-ring at the end of the section, giving the cap a slightly “mushy” feel when tightened. This was probably a design decision that helps keep an airtight seal when the cap is on the pen. I wish that TWSBI would turn their design talents to something a little more high tech, like a bayonet or magnetic locking system that is fast and secure.

The clip, cap band and the top end cap are all heavy duty stainless steel. The clip is spring loaded and the jewel makes the pen easily identifiable as a TWSBI.

The TWSBI posts securely, but does not post all the way down the end cap. It looks a little funny when posted and is quite long -- a full 7”. The designer could have tapered the end cap more, but that probably would have looked a bit strange. Regardless, the 530 is long enough to use unposted and it’s one of the few pens that I prefer to use that way.

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Nib (4.5)
The TWSBI has a Schmidt stainless steel nib engraved with their logo and some decorative markings. The nib width is laser etched near the edge of the nib. Out of the box the flow was excellent and the nib performed well. While smooth, I wish the nib had been polished with a slightly finer grit. My TWSBI came with an extra fine nib. To me, the nib runs a little wide and is what I would expect from a fine nib.

Filling System (5)
The 530 has a smooth piston filler mechanism. Interestingly, TWSBI included a tool for you to disassemble the piston if you wish. The manufacturer also includes a small bottle of silicone grease to lubricate the seals and O-rings in the future, if needed. The piston mechanism is plastic, helping to keep the pen’s weight reasonably light. I imagine that this won’t affect the longevity, but if the piston mechanism ever did need to be replaced, you could do it yourself in a few minutes.

Cost and Value (5)
What would you compare it to in this price range? The Waterman Phileas, Lamy Safari? I'm pretty sure that the Diamond 530 is the best built modern $40 fountain pen that I've seen.

Conclusion (4.5)
Intelligently designed. I think that if Pelikan released this pen and charged $150 for it, they would probably earn accolades. TWSBI’s first offering is a winner. It's a high quality fountain pen at a price that nearly anyone can afford. I look forward to new designs and styles from TWSBI.

Edited by jonro, 12 July 2010 - 02:30.


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#2 Jimmy James

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 22:27

You know, this is the first time I have noticed the facets (I'm stuck waiting for general availability). My thoughts run the same as yours that I'd prefer a round barrel, but I have a feeling it's going to be a quibble with me like it is with you. The overall package is just too outstanding to worry much about barrel shape.

#3 Enai

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 22:37

It does look funny when posted, doesn't it? Very nice review, thank you.
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#4 Bluefinntuna

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 23:05

Thank you for the review... Now I want one....er... Maybe two :P

#5 Dewilliamson

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Posted 11 July 2010 - 23:24

Excellent review. How do you order one

#6 Doug C

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 01:56

Great review Jonro.


Your description is almost spot on with what I expected, that there is much more that is done correctly than not.

Even though I have $1500 pens, I am anxiously awaiting this one, and really looking forward to the vacuum filler.

Good job.
the Danitrio Fellowship

#7 jonro

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 03:09

Excellent review. How do you order one

Thank you. There's a thread in the marketplace for the TWSBI, but I don't think they have any ready for sale at this time:
Link to Marketplace

#8 Philosoraptor

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 19:31

I asked about the pen, and as it turns out, it was actually designed to be used without posting.
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#9 Silvermink

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 20:14

Excellent review. How do you order one


There's a new thread about impending availability on their eBay store here.
http://twitter.com/silvermink
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#10 MrBlue

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 20:51

I'm still waiting for mine to arrive. I am eagerly anticipating getting and using this pen. My only potential hang-up is the posting issue. I strongly prefer pens that post well. Something about having a loose part of the pen that I have to hold onto, or worry about misplacing when I'm using the pen, bugs me. I have 2 pens that cannot be posted (an Edison Herald and a private pen turner's creation), and I have to admit that the inability to post keeps those pens out of my rotation most of the time.

#11 Lloyd

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 21:38

I'm still waiting for mine to arrive. I am eagerly anticipating getting and using this pen. My only potential hang-up is the posting issue. I strongly prefer pens that post well. Something about having a loose part of the pen that I have to hold onto, or worry about misplacing when I'm using the pen, bugs me. I have 2 pens that cannot be posted (an Edison Herald and a private pen turner's creation), and I have to admit that the inability to post keeps those pens out of my rotation most of the time.


Mine posts fine (securely) but makes the pen a bit awkward.
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#12 jniforat

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Posted 12 July 2010 - 22:05

Great review Jonro.


Your description is almost spot on with what I expected, that there is much more that is done correctly than not.

Even though I have $1500 pens, I am anxiously awaiting this one, and really looking forward to the vacuum filler.

Good job.


i'm looking forward to the vac filler as well

#13 hecya

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 00:32

Great review. I specially appreciate the info about the faceted body. I thought it was round. Some days ago my Pilot Prera rolled from my desk as it was uncapped and now I see the reason for a not round body.

#14 untrueparadox

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 01:00

you can email info@twsbi.com to order them through paypal. they already have some of their production stock ready, but their ebay store isn't due for a few days.

#15 Raiche58

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Posted 13 July 2010 - 17:33

Thank you jonro for an excellent review! I just received my medium nib TWSBI today and thoroughly enjoy it! I filled it with J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite and it wrote beautifully and immediately. If they ever do an italic nib, I'll surely have two TWSBIs in my collection.


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#16 deckerbj

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 15:01

I too just received my TWSBI. While I haven't filled it, I commend them on their excellent packaging . . . especially considering the price point. From the outer cardboard box with the logo, to the foam inserts, to the sturdy, clear presentation, it is amazing.

Great job.
Brian

#17 Enzo & Ziti

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 17:44

Agree with everything you wrote and I will confirm that the pen is meant to be used with the cap unposted. Posting the cap sends all the weight backwards and will give your fingertips a real workout if that's what you want.

My only complaint about this pen is ink is able to get behind the first leaf of the piston. This doesn't affect the function, but it does detract a bit from the beautiful clean lines of the pen. So far no ink has gotten completely behind the piston.



#18 mjkuras

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 17:52

Agree with everything you wrote and I will confirm that the pen is meant to be used with the cap unposted. Posting the cap sends all the weight backwards and will give your fingertips a real workout if that's what you want.

My only complaint about this pen is ink is able to get behind the first leaf of the piston. This doesn't affect the function, but it does detract a bit from the beautiful clean lines of the pen. So far no ink has gotten completely behind the piston.


Speedy is aware of the leakage problem and has a fix:
http://www.fountainp...ond-530-owners/

Mike

Edited by mjkuras, 15 July 2010 - 17:53.

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#19 Dan Carmell

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 18:25

Very nice review! A couple of quibbles: the nib is a JoWo nib, not Schmidt, isn't it? And while the trim may be stainless steel (I don't know), it's chrome plated, wouldn't you say? Per Speedy's post below, you are correct on both counts, sorry!

I'd also suggest that the o-ring at the section is less to make the cap air tight than it is to seal the section, but I could be wrong about that (and everything else, of course!).

I was also super impressed with the pen. I like the fit and feel of it quite a lot and when I brought it into work and used it all day, it performed like a champ. The size is great and since I don't generally post pens, that's not an issue for me.

I remember during the design process several people indicated they'd prefer a round barrel, but I was urgent in my plea to keep the faceted barrel. I think it adds visual and tactile interest to the pen.

I was looking at the images of the plunger filler version, now in the design stage, I believe, and I notice that Speedy has maintained the diamond facets on that model, but moved them to the barrel end and cap, with most of the barrel then being smooth. Again, hurrah! These are pens to really use in the daily grind.

Dan

Edited by Dan Carmell, 16 July 2010 - 16:34.


#20 51ISH

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Posted 15 July 2010 - 20:53

Excellent review Jonro.

I'm really enjoying my Medium nib.... :thumbup:






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