Twsbi Diamond 530 Piston Filling Extra Fine Point Fountain Pen

18 06 2011

This is a pen where one writing sample is not enough.

So I did another writing sample, valiantly carrying on even in the face of the obvious degradation of my already awful handwriting (the degradation, I'd like to note, was more due to me writing while being a passenger in a moving vehicle than due to any defect of the pen)

Then more drawings were necessary to balance out the extra writing. The Strathmore Drawing paper I used is FANTASTIC for fountain pen drawings.

If you don’t know the story about the Twsbi fountain pen by now, look it up. I’m not your Googlemother. You’ve presumably got the internet right there in front of you.

Let's just drool for a moment, shall we?

I’d been eyeing this pen for a while; as the end of my last job’s contract drew near, I wanted to get something to celebrate the completion of my first real job. I liked the look of the Twsbi. I liked what I read about the Twsbi. It was certainly more than I regularly pay for a pen—$15 a pen is usually what constitutes puttin’ on the Ritz in my pen case—but this was a special occasion, and the overwhelming consensus I read was that this was a really great pen at a really great price. Full disclosure on price: Goldspot Pens gave me a discount (you can get such a discount too if you’ve got /start a blog and have at least 5 pen-related posts in the past two months (and review at least one of the products you get)), but between you and me I was ready to pay full price, and it would’ve still been worth the money.

Enough disclosures and disclaimers; let's look at shiny things

What do you see when you see this pen? You see a pen that’s fancy, yes, but not ostentatious. Most of the design is brought out through repeated geometric patterns—the faceted barrel, the various rings around the inside of the barrel consisting of parts of the piston mechanism, the logo on the jewel-like cap and on the nib. There’s something neat and pleasant about a design like that. And, in spite of the increase in visibility of my grubby fingerprints, I still love the design of the demonstrator pens, allowing you to see everything inside the pen.

With the cap posted, this pen is approximately way too many inches long.

This is probably the heaviest pen I own. The weight is reassuring, solid. Of course, half of that weight is in the cap; you’ve got the metal clip (sturdy, holds on pretty well) and the metal band around the threads on the cap. I can’t really write with the cap posted for several reasons: it makes the pen ridiculously long, it makes the pen feel like it’s perpetually at risk of falling over backward, and it makes me feel like I’m going to twist the piston and shoot ink out one of these times when I go to take the cap off. But since adding the cap on the end takes away from the writing experience for me, I don’t mind that the cap posts onto the end of the piston; I’m not interested in posting the cap no matter where it’s gripping the pen.

How can anyone not like the faceted barrel? It keeps my uncapped pen from rolling off the table AND it makes my Noodler's La Reine Mauve look every bit as luxuriously haughty as an ink with that kind of name deserves. You can't just use any pen when writing with liquid opulence.

The only beef I have with the design is that, at the time of writing, I (like many others) find the cap is a bit tight in the screwing on and screwing off department. It makes noises when I twist the cap on and off. We’ll see if that remains a problem in a year or so.

No, I cannot keep a nib clean to save my life. No, I did not take any pictures of my Twsbi before I inked it, such was my excitement at the prospect of using this pen.

 There are two types of nibs that I love. There’s the kind of nib that glides across the page as though without a care for even the idea of friction, the kind that’s all smooth and silk and warm butter. And then there’s the kind that has this certain something that I can’t quite put into words—there’s a sensation you can feel as you write, the contact of the nib on the paper and the exchange of ink between them, there’s something there that’s solid and real, you feel the pen on the paper and it’s fantastic. That is the kind of nib my Twsbi has. Often when I feel the nib on the paper it’s a bad thing—something’s gone scratchy, no ink is coming out, etc.—but this is different. Don’t get me wrong, I love a smooth sailing nib, but I also love whatever it is this quality is called. It’s not just writing, it’s Writing, true and proper and every bit the way it should be. There’s a certain satisfaction I get when writing with a pen that has that sort of sensation to it.

EF stands for "Extra Fantastic"

I’ll probably end up favoring this pen more for writing than drawing; though it did very well with the doodles I did (ESPECIALLY on that Strathmore paper), I’ve already got two/three powerhouse drawing fountain pens, and it just feels so nice to write with. The construction also seems sturdy enough (I’ve already dropped it once from desk height, no damage) that I’d feel comfortable carrying it around as a dedicated writing pen.

I can’t think of much I find wrong with this pen.

gratuitous nib shot

The only thing wrong here is that I didn’t buy this pen sooner. Provided I remember (don’t let me forget), I’d like to come back in about a year and do an updated mini review on the performance of this pen after more wear. I anticipate that it will age well.

One more picture. Just because I can.

Twsbi Diamond 530 Piston Filling Extra Fine Point Fountain Pen at Goldspot Pens




13 responses

18 06 2011
Francisco Duran

That quality you mention is what turns a good pen into a great pen for me. It’s not scratchy, but it’s not glassy, it’s…. Fantastic!

18 06 2011

Great review!

18 06 2011

You’ve convinced me. I need one. Great review.

19 06 2011

Nice review. I agree about the posting the cap. When posted, the pen is ridiculously top heavy. However, I do not post any normal sized pen, so this may be an issue for some but is of no consequence to me. I also think the pen looks better unposted. I feel the cap is less aesthetically pleasing than the body. The body of the pen looks significantly more expensive than the actual cost. While the cap is nice, it doesn’t quite reach the same level.

I think I must have been lucky with my pen. The cap is not tight to unscrew and my nib stays very clean (using Waterman Florida Blue). Although, the EF is not as fine as I hoped. I have just ordered a Pilot Vanishing Point to see how fine a Japanese ‘fine’ really is.

Overall, an excellent pen at a good price (I had to order direct from TWSBI due to may location which bumped up the price a bit).

I very much enjoy your enthusiastic reviews.

19 06 2011

Excellent review. I have the very same pen with the same nib and I’m loving it. It’s also my most expensive fountain pen.

The cap tightness also bugs me. It’s a serious flaw in an otherwise perfect pen. Well, almost perfect.

20 06 2011

You are Satan!! Between your review and Julie’s, I am convinced I MUST have this pen!! In a medium nib, though.

25 06 2011
Note Booker, Esq.

Loved my first TWSBI so much I bought two more in other colors and nib sizes! I do not have the tight cap problem in any of them.

I think the tooth you feel is largely a function of the EF nib size. My F and M don’t feel toothy at all, but perhaps I am not sensitized to it.

3 02 2012
Noodler’s Ink Ahab Fountain Pen Lapis Inferno Flex Nib « No Pen Intended

[…] feeling the trepidation of taking apart something more expensive but equally serviceable, like the TWSBI (first time taking apart felt like I was breaking into a museum, or taking apart someone’s […]

27 10 2012

I own a Lamy Al-Star F nib. Do you think Twsbi’s F nib is thiner? Thanks.

25 03 2013

Hi, I really like the colour of the ink you use. May I ask what this ink is? Thank you.

19 12 2013

‘Noodler’s La Reine Mauve’

14 08 2014


31 10 2014

Hi. I realise this review was years ago, but … does the La Reine Mauve ink stain the insides of the pen at all? Am thinking of buying it.

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