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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The ultimate TWSBI review! Part 2!

Make sure you don't forget about the free give-away going on! Check it out here for a chance to win!

Today we're going to move on to part 2 of my ultimate TWSBI review! If you missed out on Part 1, go back and read it right now. It will help you better understand this part (#2) and all the other parts of this review.

For a quick recap I'll show what was reviewed in part 1.

Recap of Part 1:
  • How did the TWSBI come about?
  • What is the TWSBI all about?
  • What exactly is the TWSBI Diamond 530?
Now we can move on to part 2 of the ultimate TWSBI review. In this part we'll be discussing some important elements of the pen design.. Some will be more interested in other aspects of the review but to me, looks are almost everything when it comes to buying a new pen. This applies even to the smallest details.

Part 2:
  • Packaging
  • Presentation
As we dive into this, again keep in mind that I'll be ranking each aspect of the pen in two ways.
  1. What the pen is in comparison to others in its price range
  2. What the pen could be
That being said lets now move on to the real meat of today's review. We'll begin with the first topic:


The TWSBI, for its price range, easily has the most impressive packaging I've ever seen. When I got this pen in the mail and saw the presentation set-up I was thoroughly impressed by it! I was expecting something along the lines of a Lamy Safari - A simple cardboard box with tabs to hold the pen in. The TWSBI came in something much more professional, quality, and sophisticated then a simple cardboard box. Words will not describe it properly, which is why pictures are in order!

Here is the TWSBI outer box. It's a very simple yet nicely designed package. Stiff cardboard with the TWSBI logo in red on it. It also has a design-award sticker on it. I personally think the sticker detracts from the clean design of the box. Perhaps the bottom would be a better place for this...

Upon opening the box we are greeted with a piece of soft foam.

After removing the foam we see a slip of paper and a clear box containing the pen. The slip of paper was a recent addition due to people inserting the nibs into the section improperly when they were taking apart/re-assembling their pens.

Here's the pen in the box! We'll talk about the inner box more in the section on presentation.

When the inner-box is removed you see that their is a nice layer of foam all around to protect the pen.

Overall the TWSBI packaging is excellent! For the price range I'd rate this packaging at a solid 100/100! For what packaging could be, I'll still give it a 80/100. There is no other pen I'v ever seen in this price range with this kind of packaging. Everything from the solid foam inserts to the logo on the cardboard packaging smacks of quality and a pen 5 times as much has the TWSBI costs.


I'll go into presentation as a separate thing from packaging. Presentation to me is how the pen presents itself to new owners. I consider the outer-box the packaging and the inner-box, containing the pen, the true presentation.

All I can say is this: show me another pen for $40.00 with this kind of presentation and I'll buy you a TWSBI! (joke...) But really, I've yet to find a pen for $200.00 that matches this ones presentation! Again, pictures are the only way to capture it properly.

Here is the inner-box. Its clear design goes very well with the look of the pen. It has won two awards (the two stickers on the box) for an excellent design. I must say, it's impressive so far, but it just gets better!

After removing the cover you are greeted by the pen itself, in all of its glory! I will give the lid to the box a hit: It's very loose and does not snap on at all. It just sits on top of the bottom piece. When you first get the pen it is taped together but once the tape is gone the box will not stay together.

The white plastic part removes from the bottom piece and a sheet containing filling instructions, how to disassemble/re-assemble, and a brief description of the pen is visible.

Check this out. This paper sheet tells how to take apart your own pen. Nice touch TWSBI! On the reverse side is the description of what the TWSBI is in English and Chinese.

Here's where I'll give you a real challenge. Show me a pen for under $300.00 that gives you the tools to take apart and service your own pen! What you see here is the inner white plastic piece flipped over. Inside it is a wrench for taking the pen apart and a bottle of silicone grease for the piston. I'll be using these to take apart the pen on camera in a later part of the review.

These tools are the final icing on the cake of this awesome presentation! I could hardly believe that you could get such a box/presentation from even a $100.00 pen. TWSBI completely blows other pen-makers out of the water with this extra-touch!

Lastly, here is the pen. It is held in by two plastic "clips" that slide upward to release the pen. I will give these "clips" or tabs a hit. They are just a bit annoying to remove when you want to take the pen out. I personally prefer a strap, where the pen just slides out as opposed to having to partially take apart the box to get to the pen. That being said they still work well and look very cool. On the back of the box you can see a computer-drawing of the pen and some text in Chinese.

Overall the TWSBI presentation is out-of-this-world for the price you're paying. Again for the price range - 100/100. For what it could be - 90/100.

I really like the box design. It's very industrial compared to the more "elegant" boxes of expensive pens (Pelikan, Pilot, Nakaya, etc.). I find this industrial look very appealing when combined with the TWSBI pen. The TWSBI Diamond 530 itself is an industrial pen so it would make sense for the case to be this way. My only improvements for the case would be:
  • Make the lid snap on tightly. This would take it from an interesting display case to a portable fountain pen carrier. A simple modification like this would really step up the pen case...
  • Perhaps change the removable plastic tabs for holding the pen in. Though these are a cool design feature they can be somewhat, I emphasize somewhat bothersome to remove, take the pen out, and then replace them. It's not difficult but it takes two hands. Take for example the simple strap design used by most pen cases. It's easy to slip the pen out without removing pieces of the case. This is such a minor gripe though. I would hardly even consider it a flaw, just something that could be improved upon.
Both of those aside the box and case are superb and I think TWSBI has outdone themselves in the making of these elements of the pen.

That concludes this part of the ultimate TWSBI review! Stay tuned for the next part:

Part 3:
  • Appearance and design

Part 3 is only going to have one topic for discussion because this topic is very important. How a pen looks is 50% of why I enjoy it. Here's a teaser photo for you!

Make sure to subscribe so you don't miss out on the next part of the review! Be sure to drop me a comment and give me your thoughts on part 2.

777 - Tyler Dahl


  1. I would also mention that the case itself received an award for industrial design.

    I have the same peeves with the box: the lid would do better if it had a hinge of some sort or something to keep it in place. If you grab the case by the lid, it could slip out. Also those plastic tabs need a different design. There's no reason why you are forced to remove them in order to get the pen out.

    That red ink looks awesome in this pen.

  2. Hello again! I'll add the design award info when I get some time. Sorry I forgot about that.

    I agree totally with what you say about the case. Fixing the tabs and the lid would take it from a display item to a usable carry-case.

    Yea, that ink is a favorite of mine. Noodlers Cayenne. Everybody should try this ink at least once. It's a great color!


  3. I agree on the lid comments.  Wow, they sent you the TWSBI inked? :P

  4. Yup, seems to be the general consensus... Perhaps in a newer version they'll fix it.

    Yea, right. :) Sending me an inked pen... That would have been a pretty bad touch.


    777 - Tyler Dahl

  5. I agree that the lid is a little disappointing, but if they put a hinge on it that would be the 'weak spot' and the hinges would eventually break, especially if you used it as a travel case, and then EVERYBODY would be really mad. An elastic hair band holds mine in place. No biggie. Also, though I find the tabs awkward, again,  I feel the tabs would eventually snap if they were locked in place and then the box would be useless for storage because the pen would rattle around in it. So I'm ok with it the way it is, plus I've seen pictures where people have removed the tabs and used them as a pen rest (like a knife rest in formal dining so the dirty knife doesn't touch the tablecloth--the pen nib won't touch the table).

  6. You're right about the hinges Karen - They would end up as a weak point.

    I would prefer a simple snap-on mechanism. One that wouldn't require much mechanics so it would last longer.

    The tabs are both good and bad. A simple strap like a Pelikan case is more efficient but the tabs look cool, and hold the pen in VERY well. I don't mind them to much. :)

    Cool idea on using them as a stand like that.

    777 - Tyler Dahl