The Twsbi 530 Demonstrator fountain pen is a very interesting product, as it was designed with significant input from the online fountain pen community over at The Fountain Pen Network. All of the features, colors, and design elements were intended to appease the experienced fountain pen user, while also coming in at a price that was lower than some of the more “high end” pens out there.
I was initially going to get the clear version of this pen, however I kind of have a thing for orange, and since there are very few orange demonstrators out there, I figured this would be one of my only opportunities to own and orange demonstrator. I purchased my Twsbi fountain pen from Goldspot after seeing it at the Philadelphia Pen Show a few months ago, and to be completely transparent here (no pun intended) I did get a nice little discount from Goldspot on my purchase of the pen. We will talk about price a bit later in the review.
First, if you are not familiar with the concept of demonstrator fountain pens, they have a completely translucent body and cap so that you can actually see the inner workings of the pen. They are a more difficult to manufacture item because unlike other fountain pens, the inside of the resin used for the body also needs to be as highly polished as the outside to get the crystal clear effect that allows you to see inside of it. I’ve seen the clear version of this pen, and one of the really cool things about that one is the effect that you get when it has ink loaded up in it. The clear body and the multi-faceted surface of the pen really makes the color of ink you have loaded in the pen jump out, adding to the overall visual appeal of the pen.
Another really cool thing about the Twsbi fountain pen is that it was designed so that it can be completely taken apart, cleaned and maintained by the user. Disassembling and re-assembling the pen is pretty easy using the one wrench that is supplied with it. All you really need the wrench for is to loosen the knob at the back that you twist the piston filler with, the rest comes apart just by using your hands and the included instructions. One of the reasons it is so great that you can take this pen completely apart is that demonstrator fountain pens can often get ink in some hard to reach (and hard to clean) areas, taking away from the visual appeal of the translucent bodies.
In addition to the wrench (pictured above) the Twsbi also comes with a small bottle of silicone that is useful to keep the piston properly lubricated once you have taken the pen apart and cleaned it. In the photo above, I have the wrench and silicon removed from their home, which is actually in the underside of the base of the box that the pen comes in.
My version of the Twsbi fountain pen is orange (obviously) and has the extra fine nib. If you click on the photo above, you can see that the Extra Fine (EF) marking is clearly printed on the upper side of the nib closer to the body of the pen.
The detailed work on the Twsbi is really nice, I particularly like how the ring on the bottom of the cap has the “Twsbi” name and “Diamond 530” model number printed on it using a frosted effect, which is very subtle, but nice. Additionally, a closer look at the nib in this picture will show you the intricate design of the brands logo and some other nice effects. I also like the clip on this pen, it is simple yet quite substantial in both its size and strength. I’ve used some pens where the clip feels like it might wiggle around a bit or break off, but that’s not the case here, and it is that type of attention to detail that you will find all over this fountain pen that makes you realize what a fantastic pen it is.
Here is a quick picture of the top of the cap and the Twsbi logo. This is one of the few things that I don’t like about my version of the pen. Although I do think the logo is really cool looking, I don’t like the way that the red and orange kind of clash, although it is quite minor and not much of a distraction at all.
Writing with the Twsbi Diamond 530 has been a great experience for the few weeks that I have owned it. I have been getting a very smooth and consistent line, that holds true to what I would expect from an extra fine nib. The grip section is made from the same plastic material as the body, and has a tapered middle that flares back out, giving your thumb and forefinger a bit of leverage and a place to rest.
The writing sample above shows the performance in a Black n’ Red notebook with some Sailor Blue Black ink, and it holds a very fine line on this paper, although in some other more thirsty papers you do see a wider line, which has more to do with the paper and ink, not the nib. The pen itself has some fairly decent heft to it, considering it measures about 5 1/2″ with the cap in place, and nearly 7″ with the cap posted. With the cap posted, the pen does feel a slight bit top-heavy, so if you are sensitive to that, this might not be ideal for lengthy writing sessions. One other minor issue I have comes when posting the cap. As you push the cap down onto the top of the pen, tension builds as it comes around the knob for the plunger, and the cap posts securely. The issue though is that the cap now becomes posted on the piston filler knob, and not the body of the pen. I have not had any issues with this, but each time I do remove the cap from the posted position, I do get a little nervous that I might accidentally twist it too much and in turn twist the piston knob and release some ink. Again, not a major issue, but it would be nicer if the cap posted by griping onto a part of the pen that was below the piston knob itself.
One last minor nit-pick item I have is with the box that the Twsbi comes in, which is pictured above. It is a hard acrylic-type material that as I mentioned before also has the wrench and bottle of silicon in it’s base. The issue with the box is that the lid and the base do not lock or snap together in any way at all, so if you store the pen in the box, the lid never seems to stay on if you plan on moving it at all. Personally I don’t keep my pens in their original boxes, however I thought this was worth mentioning if you are someone that repackages their pens in their original boxes.
Like I said earlier on in the review, I purchased my Twsbi from Goldspot, although I know that you can purchase directly from Twsbi on eBay at a slightly lower price. I chose to pick it up from Goldspot because of the aforementioned discount, but I also needed some ink at the time, and I like getting everything from one plce and knowing the level of customer service I can expect when purchasing from them. It also doesn’t hurt that because I live in NJ and Goldspot is also located in NJ, my UPS shipments from them usually show up at my front door within 24 hours of placing the order. That is just specific to me, and probably anyone else who lives in the general vicinity of the Goldspot shipping facility. Either way though, I wanted to make it clear what your options are with the Twsbi, and regardless of where you get it from, I highly recommend you go out and get one. It is a fantastic pen to own and write with, and I think it is just as nice to look at as well. I’m already contemplating picking up a second one although I know I don’t really need it. I kind of wish there was a smoke colored version though.