Overall, the TWSBI is in a league of its own at that price level. There is a strong "Geek" factor being able to take everything apart, and having it all built into the ergonomic plastic shell box. Supplying the (out of the way) wrench and silicone grease was a superb contribution. It conveys to the buyer: "This is my pen, I can work on it myself, and tweak things my way." As Dizzy's review pointed out it was a real joy to see how you artistically packed all the pieces in the plastic box, and how everything could be disassembled. I adore the jewel emblem, and laser name etching of the quality, polished cap ring.
While this pen screams "You can customize & fix it yourself..." the first issue is not having replacement parts available. Every major pen brand has replacement parts, so I consider this a must fix issue. The seals have been reported and shown to leak, and even if the new 1.5 design improves that, eventually seals will wear out. Being able to upgrade the nib and feed with a simple screw in like Pelikan Souveran (or even Lamy's pull off nibs) would make this much more user controllable/customizeable. I would really like the capability of interchanging the nib and feed especially because of the second problem I found below.
I was surprised to see that the Medium (but not the Fine) skipped, despite the tines being well aligned. Even with slit adjustment the Medium still has inadequate flow for my tastes. I tried Waterman Purple, Sheaffer Skrip Blue, and MontBlanc Royal Blue. It got better by carefully separating the tines, & a touch of smoothing, but that is not easy to do safely for most entry level users. If you mess up the tines, without the replacement parts, it becomes a wasted $40. This flow issue did not occur with the Fine nib, which led me to speculate the feed diameter was too small. Indeed, I was recently talking to a a knowledgeable expert who took this pen apart to review it, and he said the type of feed and its internal diameter inherently has a lower flow rate. I'm only repeating what was said, as I don't know enough about how to evalutate the feed diameter myself, but can see an objective flow problem next to other pens I have. This has been mentioned by other people, so it is worth noting. My best solution was to use a highly lubricated type of ink like the Noodler's Eel, or Sailor Carbon Nano, but adequate flow with fast writing (with Medium) is still a slight problem for my tastes.
One thing I would like to see is the cap not being so hard to tighten down fully, as it is easy to slide the pocket clip sideways with the force required. I would prefer the clip be a solid one piece, rather than folded over metal which invariably will catch on fabric/fibers and pull threads. It has too much side to side movement slop of the bottom of the pocket clip.
This pen is way too short to use unposted for me, and I do not like how hard it is to securely post the cap, and how short the distance before it grips. It's posted position makes it too back heavy with the weight of the cap's metal parts for my hand. Of course if you try to adjust the clip during posting with any twisting, you will eject ink, which happened to me. Perhaps the filling end cap could be shorter/smaller diameter, and add threads to the outside of the main barrel, so the cap slides over the filling knob, and thread-attaches to the barrel instead? I have a Taccia Snowy Dreams that gives that secure posted screw cap attachment that you know will not fall off or move, nor would it interfere with the filling mechanism. Taccia made sure the ending of the posted cap threads puts the pocket clip in line with the nib. I'm also reminded of Smeden's Dollar Pen as another possible solution which has the screw off back protective filling piston cover, so if you post it, the filling threads are out of play.
I think with some minor improvements, interchangeable and better flowing/quality nibs & replacement seal parts, this could end up being one of the very best pens I could imagine owning.
My rating overall: 7/10
Value for price: 9/10
Edited by SamCapote, 28 October 2010 - 14:47.