There are lots of reasons why I like TWSBI pens.
- One is their outrageous price/performance -- other pens of similar quality are an integer multiplier more expensive.
- They are attractive. That's a second-order effect, but it's a plus, if you spend a lot of time using a pen.
- They are quality pens: well balanced, feel good in the hand, and they write well.
- Yet, if I damage or lose one, I'm only out fifty bucks. So I'm willing to stick a TWSBI in my pocket when I head out to work in a coffee shop; I'm not frightened into leaving the pen in my office. This makes them pens that you use, not simply pens that you admire in a showcase.
- A major reason I use them is that they are designed to be disassembled. This is critical for me, because I use nano-pigment inks. The whole point of using a pen, for me, is permanence. But inks that are waterproof, resist organic solvents, don't bleach, don't fade under sunlight and are highly saturated in color imply more maintenance and cleaning, else they will clog up my pen. It's easy to strip a TWSBI down to its component parts once a year and flush them under running water, soak them overnight in Koh-i-noor pen cleaner, or drop them in an ultrasonic cleaner. In particular, being able to do this to the feed of the pen is really valuable. TWSBI pens are perfect for people who want to use nano-pigment inks.
But there's one more reason to buy a TWSBI pen: for $50, you get something like a personal relationship with the people at the company. It feels like the act of purchasing the pen bought you admittance to a private club. The service is incredible.
I sent the following email to TWSBI support this morning:
From: "E. K. Hornbeck" To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Seek spare parts for damaged pen Date: Sat, 04 Feb 2017 10:42:50 -0500 I have a TWSBI 580, which I have enjoyed very much -- it is a *great* pen. Tonight, my five-year old child destroyed it: somehow, she managed to shove the cap on so hard it jumped over the threads, jammed on the barrel, and then sheared off at the metal ring on the lip of the cap. Everything on the pen is perfectly fine except the barrel and the cap. This, to be clear, very much falls under the category of "not covered by warranty" -- my daughter is a destructive force who should rightly be classed as a weapon of mass destruction. Would it be possible for me to purchase a new barrel and cap? Thank you. Prof. E. K. Hornbeck
I sent this on a Saturday morning. I got the following reply:
From: Philip Wang <email@example.com> Date: Sat, 4 Feb 2017 07:44:03 -0800 Subject: Re: Seek spare parts for damaged pen To: "E. K. Hornbeck" E.K., no worries, what is your shipping address and phone number? We can send you a spare cap and barrel. You just have to pay for shipping.
Note the time-stamp on Philip's message: that's a minute and thirteen seconds turnaround time.
$900 doesn't get you that kind of relationship with Montblanc or Pelikan. Or free parts. Just sayin'.