Like many in the pen community, I was anxious to get my hands on the TWSBI ECO. I saw it as an important release for one primary reason, a reason no other manufacturer has been able to pull off with any success, or even attempt. Could TWSBI deliver a quality, low cost, piston filling fountain pen? Without question they can, and they did with the TWSBI ECO.
The idea of the ECO goes back almost two years. TWSBI likes to share design prototypes and ideas through their Facebook Page to get feedback along the way from their customers and fans. Not all pens that show up on Facebook make the final cut, and for a while many wondered if the ECO would come to fruition. I wondered that myself, especially from a pricing standpoint. There would have to be a large enough gap between the new piston filler and their existing ones in the Classic and 580 lineup.
Then one day it happened. TWSBI announced a release date and a price. For less than $30, TWSBI was set to compete with any entry level fountain pen on the market. Especially the Lamy Safari, the long-standing dominant pen in this realm.
The overall design of the pen is an economical one in an effort to keep the cost down, hence the name ECO. There aren’t many moving parts outside of the piston, and the clear barrel is accented only with a white or black cap and matching piston knob. I think the cap itself is a little chunky compared to the rest of the pen and wouldn’t mind if it were slimmed down a bit. It is also too big to post and keep a good writing balance.
The ECO’s piston filling mechanism works smoothly and effortlessly, just like in their other models. If, over time, the piston needs to be re-lubricated, TWSBI includes the tool and silicon grease to do just that. I’ve done this on my TWSBI Mini before and it is a simple task. Instructions are even provided in the form of an insert.
I’m a big fan of all of TWSBI’s nibs, and the #5 steel nibs in the ECO are no exception. The extra fine nib in mine is firm and smooth, with little to no feedback, no hard starts, and no skipping. It is spot on, and a pleasure to write with.
This is a flat-out cool pen, and one I have been recommending constantly since its launch last summer. For someone like myself who has some experience with fountain pens, the ECO is a daily workhorse that can be taken out, used and abused, refilled, cleaned, nib swapped, and any other worry-free fun you want to have with a low cost fountain pen.
For beginning fountain pen users, it is a fantastic choice as well, and second on my Top 5 Pens Under $50, behind only the Pilot Metropolitan. If you have never used a fountain pen before and want to jump right into bottled ink instead of cartridges, the ECO is the way to go.
It’s clear by now that TWSBI has another hit on its hands. They are already teasing new colors in the lineup and I know I won’t be able to help myself when they launch. I bet many of you feel the same way.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)