Hand Over That Pen, please!
Franz: If I am not mistaken, the TWSBI Eco fountain pen has been in the works since 2013. Fast forward to late 2015, I held an Eco with the black cap and piston turning knob. The pen looked cool and reminded me of the TWSBI mini I had. Actually, the Eco’s nib size is the same as the mini. I really like the design of this pen but for some reason, I never got myself to purchase one.
Pam’s Eco in the clear version is very nice as well. As seen in the photos, it is a piston-filler pen and the capacity is very nice. I really love seeing ink sloshing in the pen as I use it. I’m sure that this is not the first time this was said about certain demonstrator pens but I wish that the plastic liner in the cap was transparent.
Pam: I have had a TWSBI before. The TWSBI Diamond mini with a fine nib was lackluster to me so I gave it to a colleague who would appreciate it better than I could. Nonetheless, I was really curious when I saw the TWSBI Eco. I was very excited when TWSBI released the clear “demonstrator” version of the Eco. It was well worth the wait for this version than the colored versions in my opinion. Given the reasonable price for the look and a decent nib, which I was able to test out at a SF pen posse meet up, I took another leap of faith and bought the pen from Goulet Pens.
The plastic feels better than the plastic from the TWSBI Diamond mini and from what I have heard, less prone to the “defects” of the previous TWSBI models. Unlike other models, the Eco is a piston filler with a friction fit nib. So the nib units from the 580 or diamond mini are not compatible with the Eco
The length is longer than my preferred length, especially posted, but the plastic is light enough that it’s not crazy bothersome. When capping the pen, the plastic-y sound is pretty satisfying and it’s very smooth with each turn. My only complaint for the Eco is that there is only a rubber ring to secure the cap when posting to the back of the pen. It is a cheap but effective way to secure the cap when posting, but it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing and also results in the cap not posting very deeply, leading to a slight imbalance.
Katherine: I love the way this pen looks! I know this isn’t technically a demonstrator, but everyone seems to use the term to mean “pen you can see the insides of”, so I’ll keep doing that. I love demonstrators, and this is a clean looking demonstrator without breaking the bank. My one nit is that the translucent white liner inside the cap is visible — but it is a pen after all, gotta be functional!
The Business End
Franz: From prior TWSBI pens I have owned, their nibs have never been a disappointment for me. This is the first time I’ve written with an extra fine from their lineup and this was no exception. It wrote smoothly and the feedback felt nice. I used the Eco for two weeks and I have not had any negative issues with the nib as it just wrote as it should.
Pam: I wasn’t impressed by my experience with other TWSBI nibs, as they were not the Japanese EF or F that I was looking for. Maybe my taste in nibs are changing, but I find the EF nib on this TWSBI to be a wonderful nib right out the box. It’s more of a Japanese F which works out just fine with me. Inking it up with Franz’s stash of Bungbox Sapphire, the pen provides just enough wetness and line width to enjoy the color and sheen of the ink. I found the nib smooth and really enjoyable to use. I even considered using this nib and feed unit in a custom pen because the pen itself is too long, but I find myself wanting to use the nib more and more.
The nib and ink combination does wonderfully in my Hobonichi and great on Midori paper, however, it feathers on cheap paper.
Katherine: This is a very solid nib on a cheap pen. If I bought the Eco as my first pen (instead I got a Metro), I’m not sure I would have ever ventured out to other pens. It’s a very comfortable, smooth and wet nib on an affordable pen. I’d compare it to my Metro’s Fine in terms of line width — pretty fine, but not the Extra Fine I’d expect from a Japanese pen (which makes sense, since this pen isn’t Japanese…).
Write It Up
(20-minute writing experience)
Franz: I wrote very comfortably with the Eco posted for the first ten minutes, and unposted the next ten minutes. Because of the pleasant nib, and the abundant length of the pen, I did not experience any hand cramps or fatigue. This is a great pen to use for my journal time. If I were to choose, I’d write with the pen unposted because the balance seems better.
Pam: Unsurprisingly, I find the length of the Eco to be too long for me, especially posted. The balance isn’t perfect in my tiny hands, however, maybe if the cap posted deeper? Unposted, the pen is an okay length, but still not ideal. Not to mention, I prefer posting my pens, especially at work, given how easy it is for me to forget anything that isn’t already attached to me. (Just ask my keys, wallet, thermos, other non-fountain pens, etc.)
Overall, the writing experience is comfortable as the plastic is light. In my iron grip, the width of the pen is great. Again, the nib is the best part of the pen and the piston filler filled with ink is beautiful to behold when you are not using the pen.
Katherine: The Eco is a little large for me posted, so I wrote with it unposted. Overall, a comfortable and solid pen. It puts down a fine, wet line that makes it quite comfortable to use, even with more “interesting” inks that sheen. I would have no qualms about this being a pen in my regular journaling or letter writing rotation. An added perk is that it’s fun to watch the ink slosh around and settle as I think about what to write next.
Franz: At work, this pen came in handy as the extra fine nib was actually nice to write on the copy paper we use. Unlike the two ladies, unscrewing the cap did not bother me at all. This may be due to my daily use of a Pelikan M805 at work for the past three years. When a pen uncaps in less than one and a half turn, I am actually pretty happy with it. I actually can see myself use this pen on a daily basis.
Pam: The Eco has been clipped to the pen loop of my Hobonichi specifically for both quick deployment as well as the longer journaling/planning sessions. The cap is on securely enough that I don’t worry about the pen and planner getting tossed around in my backpack. The plastic isn’t the best material to get scratched up, especially if you enjoy watching the ink slosh around without distracting scratches or scuffs. No scratches on this puppy yet, but I wouldn’t chance it by throwing this pen into the same pocket as my house keys.
It is inconvenient for me to use the pen at work due to having to screw the cap on and off. And given that the nib and ink has been feathering, it’s less than ideal for work. This is a great beginner fountain pen and planner companion.
Katherine: I like the Eco at work because it has an easy to see ink capacity (big plus so I don’t run out of ink partway through a meeting before… it’s happened before), it’s cheap (I’ve never lost a pen, but there could be a first!) and it’s comfortable to write with. The one downside is that the cap takes more turns than I’d like to unscrew. As I’ve mentioned before, I tend to be pretty stop-and-go with my note taking at work, so being able to quickly uncap and cap a pen is a big plus for me.
Final Grip-ping Impressions
Franz: The TWSBI Eco is a nice pen with great, great value. I do recommend this pen for anyone who likes the pen size, and is looking for a large ink capacity. The Eco just writes and there’s really no frills to it. Okay, maybe aside from watching the ink sloshing in the pen. hehehe…
Would I recommend this as a first fountain pen for newbies? I would probably recommend it to be a second or third pen to own. When I started, I got a cartridge/converter as a first fountain pen and I appreciated the fact that I can just insert the supplied cartridge and write. It took me a couple weeks to buy my first ink bottle (Waterman’s Serenity Blue) and filled up my converter with it.
Anyway, I am quite impressed by the TWSBI Eco and I’ll probably purchase one. I just need to decide between the clear or the black version of this pen. Thanks Pam!
Pam: Katherine has a self imposed 15 pen limit where as the Eco convinced me to have a “beginner pen” collection. It’s also my excuse to keep the TWSBI Eco. (There goes those rationalizations again…) This will be, of course, in addition to my “completed” grail pen collection.
I enjoyed the Metropolitan and the Safari, but in terms of performance and aesthetics the Eco is my favorite of the three. A $29 piston filler with such good steel nib beats the Lamy Vista by miles. The comfort and EDC-ness of the Eco has the Metopolitan beat hands down. TWSBI really did hit it out of the park with the Eco. I have finally been converted to a TWSBI fan!
Maybe this nib should go into a custom pen body after all… it’s just too much fun!
Katherine: As previously mentioned, if the Eco was my first fountain pen I may have not ventured further into the world of fountain pens. But, it wasn’t, so instead I’m here blogging… Back to the Eco — it’s a very solid and nice pen for the money. The writing experience doesn’t have a lot of character, but it’s a great workhorse pen. For this review, I borrowed Pam’s Eco, but I’m seriously considering purchasing my own. In the end though, it’s not a pen with a lot of character so I’m not willing to “cut” another pen for it.