I seem to have bought another pen
The Precision is one of TWSBI’s latest fountain pens and their first truly new model in a while. I wasn’t going to buy one. After all I
have had 7 TWSBIs and didn’t need another one. Also, I didn’t really have the spare cash. As it turned out, I didn’t have the requisite willpower to resist temptation either. So here I am with another TWSBI. At least it’s not another demonstrator…
Which of course it isn’t. If you’ve seen anything of TWSBI’s latest issue, you’ll know it’s an all-metal affair. In keeping with other TWSBI fountain pens, it’s a piston filler but this time it’s a piston filler that’s channelling the spirit of a Rotring 600.
The clue is kind of in the name – it’s meant to line up with the Precision range of mechanical pencils and you can see some of the design features – like the clip – in both. Other bits look like they may have started life in other parts of the TWSBI range. I’ve never used or owned a TWSBI Classic, but just from looking at photos you can get a hint as to where inspiration for the design of the section and piston cap came from.
Living with the TWSBI Precision
On to the Precision and what the first few weeks of ownership have been like.
The Precision is a handsome looking pen – all brushed aluminium and chrome. It comes in the same packaging as the Diamond and Vac pens, including a wrench and small pot of silicone grease if you’re feeling brave enough to dissemble and service your TWSBI.
The barrel and cap are hexagonal, complemented nicely by the circular finial and piston cap. There’s a nice tapering and change of profile to blend the ends with the middle or the middle with the ends, depending on your point of view.
The barrel, cap and section are brushed aluminium and all finished in what some would call grey and marketing people would call gunmetal. The finial and piston cap make a nice contrast in chrome.
The cap unscrews in less than one full turn. There’s an O-ring (TWSBI do like their O-rings) at the top of the section where it joins the barrel, and this helps to ensure the cap is done up firmly. This should help prevent the pen from drying out, but it also helps ensure that the facets of the cap and barrel line up when the pen is closed. TWSBI had to get this right, otherwise the pen would look downright odd when the cap was done up. It would also be embarrassingly imprecise (if you know what I mean). You have to use a reasonable amount of force to do this, which makes me wonder how the O-ring will hold up to repeated compression over time. No problems so far though…
When it comes to inking the pen, the piston mechanism works smoothly and does its job well.
The quoted weight is 30 grammes, but around a third of that is accounted for by the cap. This is a little more than for the Diamond 580, but it makes the barrel/section/nib combo proportionately heavier (20 grammes for the Precision vs 14 grammes for the Diamond 580). It’s not outrageous, but it’s not a featherweight either. Capped length is 137mm. The barrel diameter is 12.8mm, while that of the section is 9.5mm. I always struggle to visualise these sorts of numbers, so here’s what the TWSBI Precision looks like compared to some other pens…
The ergonomics of the Precision are quite interesting. The hexagonal barrel is quite chunky, but sits comfortably in the hand. The junction between the barrel and section is quite busy. Here you’ll find the O-ring I talked about earlier, the thread for the cap and a relatively small ink window. The section is cylindrical and quite slim compared to the barrel, but it doesn’t feel slippery due to the brushed finish. The length of the section also means that the thread for the cap didn’t get in the way of my grip, so no comfort issues there. However, the diameter of the section took a bit of getting used to. Being a bit thinner than most of the other pens I own, I found myself gripping the section more firmly than usual. This led to a bit of fatigue and discomfort for a while, but as I’ve got used to the pen, things seem to have settled down. This could be a bit of an issue, though, if you like your pens on the chunky side.
The act of writing
There’s not much to say about the nib – but I mean that in a good way. The Precision uses the same nib unit as you’ll find in the Diamond 580, and it performs as you would expect. I’ve yet to have a problem with a TWSBI nib. The fine nib I chose is a smooth writer with no hint of skipping or hard starts.
For its first outing, I picked Diamine Graphite. It’s an ink that I like and which I think matches the pen quite nicely.
To round things up, I really like the design and execution of the TWSBI Precision. It’s not a “pretty” pen, but it has a rugged charm that appeals to me. The all metal construction makes for a substantial pen that manages to feel comfortable in the hand. The weight and the narrow section may cause some comfort issues for longer writing sessions, but I’ve got a bit more used to this now.
Price-wise, the Precision is a bit more expensive than the Diamond 580 and a lot more expensive than the Eco. I got mine from Cult Pens for £71. Prices from other UK vendors seem to be in the same ballpark. US prices seem to be $80+.
If you’re looking to buy your first TWSBI, this is an expensive entry point and you might be better looking at something like the Eco (probably still my favourite TWSBI to write with). If you know your TWSBIs, the Precision is an interesting addition to the stable and worth a look. Owning one is a very different experience to other pens in the range, but that’s no bad thing…