There's at least one universal truth in regards to the machined pens market: It's never dull. Every time I look up, it seems like there's a new metal machined pen making a debut in our little corner of the internet. The most recent one to come across my desk is the new BN Works Twiist 2-in-1 pen. Why 2-in-1? Well, aside from the pen refill, it also features a silicon stylus tip in the top of the pen instead of a finial.
Like the name implies, you twist the pen to extend and retract the refill. Likewise, you twist the top cap area to extend and retract the stylus. When not in use, the stylus stows away nicely, which is something I really appreciate. I've never liked the look of the large silicone stylus tips, and if pen manufacturers insist on including them on their pens, providing an option to hide it is best. This stylus works well enough, but I honestly don't use them much. One downside of this design is that lint and dust are attracted to the stylus cavity when it's retracted.
After tearing in to the minimal packaging, the BN Works Twiist immediately catches the eye. It's a good-looking pen, and it will make a nice gift for most people. Along with the pen, BN Works include a Schmidt P8126 refill and two additional stylus tips in case the included tip wears out. The stylus tip simply unscrews from the pen if you want to replace it or remove it. Inside the pen, there's a Schmidt P900 ballpoint refill. As for the clip, it's incredibly strong. It's so strong that I might call it a down-side. It works well in most cases, but you might experience some trouble when trying to slide the pen into a pocket or sleeve sometimes if the material is just thick enough.
The twist operation of the pen refill is smooth and sure. It really is a pleasure to use, and it feels well-made. The twist mechanism for the stylus tip can be a bit tight, but it's still easy to use. The pen is made of copper and aluminum, and from what I can tell, the copper makes up the foundation and the aluminum is used on the outside to provide a nice texture and color. There are four total options in regards to pen body colors: Silver and Black, Rose and Black, Black and Copper, and Black and Silver. It seems confusing, but just remember that the first color in the name indicates the color of the top portion (the part that includes the clip) of the pen. Price-wise, all four pens come in at $85 each.
At first glance, this is a gorgeous pen that feels great in the hand and has a nice design aesthetic. Once you pick it up and start writing, the good times keep rolling. The finish on the silver barrel on the model I have has a very pleasing texture that offers a great grip while writing. The matte black half of the pen compliments the silver grip perfectly. There's a bit of weight due to the brass body, but it's not so heavy that it makes it difficult to write. It still has a good balance that makes long writing sessions enjoyable.
But, the Twiist is not without its problems. My main complaint involves the included refill. I've never used a Schmidt P900 refill before, so I did some research. From what I can tell, the P900 predates the EasyFlow 9000 refill that Schmidt is known for. When it comes down to performance, the P900 just can't compete with the EasyFlow. The P900 leaves a light, skippy line that has trouble starting. Compare that to the dark, smooth, gel-like EasyFlow, and you can see why I'm confused with this choice. The makers obviously know a good refill when they see one, because they chose to also include a P8126 in the box (as a reminder, this is the refill that Retro51 Tornados ship with). I'm not sure if there's a large cost difference between the P900 and the EasyFlow 9000, but I think BN Works would have a much better product on their hands if they chose the better refill as the default.
My other complaint is a simple one: this doesn't feel like an $85 pen. To reference Retro51 again, the manage to pull off a similar design for a much lower price. That's not a completely fair comparison, but it's also hard to ignore. Knock off $20 or $25 from the price, replace the P900 with an EasyFlow 9000, make shipping free, and then you've got a great deal.
Overall, this is a great pen. It features a unique aesthetic, it feels great in the hand, it's made extremely well, and it would make a great gift for a graduate. If you enjoy the look, don't mind the price, and know your way around alternative Parker-style refills, I'm sure you'd enjoy it for many years. BN Works is a fairly new player in the stationery world, and I look forward to seeing what they come up with next.
(BN Works provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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