Today we have a review (and giveaway) of the TWSBI 540 Demonstrator fountain pen. Previously we reviewed the TWSBI 530 fountain pen, and this model has only very minor differences, but one is actually major in the impact it has on the pen.
If you are not familiar with the line of TWSBI fountain pens, they are a pretty unique product even outside of the fountain pen world. The original design and features of the pen were actually determined by the fountain pen community as a whole through feedback that was collected by the folks at TWSBI. The above picture shows what I believe is the coolest part about this pen, which is that it can be completely broken down which makes it super easy to clean and / or repair….hopefully you won’t need to do any of the latter though. In order to break the pen down into its individual components, you only need the one metal tool that you see in the background of the photo, and it comes with the pen.
Now as I mentioned in the beginning of this post, there is one really significant difference between the TWSBI 540 and 530, and that is the size of the ink chamber. In the photo above, the orange pen is a TWSBI 530 with the smaller ink chamber, and in the foreground is the new TWSBI 540 with the larger ink chamber. You can see the difference by looking at the space between the silver rings on the left, and the end of the plunger which is the thick black section to the right of the silver ring. To me, this was a big enough improvement to warrant purchasing the new version (at a slight discount thanks to Goldspot) since I was also in the market for a new demonstrator anyway.
One of the really nice things about the TWSBI 540 (even the 530 for that matter) is that the outside walls have multiple facets that reflect the light well, and really show off the color of the ink inside. With darker inks like the ones I typically use, this is not AS obvious, but it is still noticeable.
One of the other advertised feature improvements is that they have made to the new version has to do with the cap threading. On the previous model when you twist the pen open or shut, the motion is slightly unforgiving, especially when closing, it just kind of grinds to a stop. With the new threading, it feels more like a hydraulic process where the final closing twist actually comes to a gradual and controlled slowdown. Not a major improvement, but certainly nice feeling once you notice it.
Something else that I noticed is that the clips on the caps of my two different TWSBIs are different. On the left in the photo above you see the original 530 and on the right is the new 540. It doesnt jump out at first, but you can see that the clip on the right has the underbelly tapper inwards, while on the original it is flush with the sides of the clip. Again, not huge, but noticeable if you fiddle with the clip when you are holding or using the pen.
Another difference with the clip is on the other end where the clips just look a bit different. You can see on the left, the old TWSBI has a square hole in the top, and the new one is lacking it. Again, not major but I thought I’d ooint it out.
The TWSBI is a pretty fantastic fountain pen, however there is one issue that I called out in my previous review that I wish they would have addressed in this upgrade. It still bothers me that when you post the cap, it latches onto the twist knob for the piston filler, which gives you the “opportunity” to twist it by accident and sppill ink. I know many people don’t post their caps, especially on a pen this big, but I do, and I personally think it is a bit of a design flaw here. Otherwise though, this is really a fun pen to write with and I think it looks absolutely fantastic. My review version here was an EF nib, which is made of steel, but it is also available in Medium, Broad, and Fine sizes.
Similar rules as the giveaway for the Stainless Steel Sharpie Pen, which you still have time to sign up for. For this giveaway there will only be ONE winner thoughm, but you can pick the nib size that you would like. Also, many thanks to our friends at Goldspot.com since they are the ones that will be fulfilling the prize for the TWSBI 530 giveaway winner.
Rules are as follows:
1. You must be a US resident
2. Entries must be left by 11:59 PM Eastern time on Wednesday, December 14, 2011
3. Up to 3 entries per person, but only one of each method (ie. 1 straight comment, 1 twitter comment, and 1 newsletter comment)
4. Winner will be announced on Thursday December 15, 2011. Winners will have one week from that day to claim their prize
How to Enter:
1. Leave one comment
2. Sign up for the newsletter and monthly giveaway and leave an additional comment here, if you are already signed up just leave a comment as well
3. Retweet the following: “ Enter to win a TWSBI 540 Fountain Pen @OfficeSupplyGee #Giveaway Week http://goo.gl/0Wizr ” and leave another comment with a link to that particular status update. To get a link to your status update, just click on the time stamp below it on Twitter.
So to summarize, a maximum of 3 individual comments, one per entry method and you have until 11:59 PM eastern on on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 to enter. Also, there is no need to include your email address in the body of any comment, that is just asking for spam to your email account. There is a place for your email address in the comment form itself that doesn’t get displayed and we don’t use it for anything here.