My Top 5 Pens list is long overdue for an update, but if you are familiar with the list you know the praise I have heaped on the TWSBI Diamond 580. That is going to change in this next update, as the TWSBI Diamond 580AL has taken over.
The standard 580 has been a staple of mine for years, but when plastic parts are replaced with aluminum (and in some cases colored aluminum!) and the price goes up only slightly, it's a no-brainer to replace one with the other.
The most recent release of the 580AL features blue aluminum highlights in the form of the grip section and piston mechanism. Orange and Purple came before Blue, and in the case of Orange they are essentially gone, and Purple is heading that way. So this is your PSA. If you want the Blue TWSBI Diamond 580AL now is the time to buy.
What do you get for your $60? One of the best fountain pen values on the market. The steel nibs on the 580 are firm, fine, and smooth. I generally go for the EF nib, which is what you see in the writing samples here. In the non-Japanese category, these are some of my favorite nibs. I don't recall ever having an issue with any of my many TWSBI's when writing.
The biggest selling point is the piston filling mechanism. No cartridges allowed here. If this is your first fountain pen, you want to be sure to purchase a bottle of ink as well. Unscrew the piston, dip the nib into the ink bottle up to the section, screw the piston back in to suck up the ink, and start writing. It's really simple, and works well in the 580.
From a feel perspective, the 580 is a large pen, but not overly so unless you want to post the cap. This pen is really not designed for posting. It can happen, but it throws off the balance. Unposted, the 580 is right on the money and you can write comfortably for extended periods without issue.
There is no question that I am a TWSBI fan and get a huge amount of enjoyment from their pens. Especially the 580AL.
(JetPens is an advertiser on The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)