I’m quite the fan of TWSBI products. The first TWSBI I owned was the TWSBI Diamond 580, of which I have reviewed before. I believe it was the fourth of fifth pen that I had in my collection, which now spans ~70 pens – and I am one pen away for TWSBI to constitute 10% of the collection, so I’m rather cosy with the brand.
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The thing with TWSBI is that they have a few different models, but what they like to do is to play with colour schemes. Which is why I have three Ecos (hmm). What TWSBI have done this time is use a model that was originally a mechanical pencil and ballpoint line and use it for an additional fountain pen to their line up. It’s very TWSBI-esque with the piston filler, being reasonably priced for what it is and “technical”, or “industrial” (being able to play with the workings, that sort of thing). I wasn’t sold by the design, however, and so I was very interested in getting my hands on this to review.
The Precision comes in one colour, which is similar to but darker than the silver pencil. I wonder if TWSBI will come out with a black version, like they have with the pencil..?What is interesting about this, though, is that it is more like the Classic range than any of their others as this is not a demonstrator model; something that TWSBI has been known for. The colour choice you have is a matte grey and it looks as though it should have some texture to it, but it is very smooth.
However, a characteristic that is different to the classic but more in line with TWSBI’s other models, particularly the Diamond series, are the facets. This is a very faceted pen and in total the pen has 7 of them. The Diamond series has faceted designs but not as pronounced as the Precision. This gives for a very stylish look but without being gaudy. I’m quite the fan of faceted pens – my exam pen is faceted (pictured) and the elegance that this gives should really be appreciated more and I hope more brands do this:
The design of the pen was originally something that worried me when pictures begun circulating. Personally I think the kit pen aesthetic is utterly awful, and as soon as I saw this, I thought “kit pen.” I don’t like how the piston turning knob is smaller in diameter to the rest of the pen: I wish the pen was more akin to the Classic (or, come to think of it, literally any other TWSBI in this respect) and the finial is just silly. It would have been perfectly fine as a flat top, or even without that ridiculous protrusion on the cap. But again, smaller in diameter and for lack of a better term, it just looks stupid. Of course, each to their own.
Taking off the cap, the pen does look more like a kit pen. Again, while I thought I would be totally turned off by this (and don’t get me wrong, I’m still not totally impressed), my reaction from seeing it in the flesh was more positive than when I saw the pictures of it. I think mainly the reason for this is the fact that kit pens typically bulge out in the middle of the barrel, but this doesn’t. So I’m more content.
The clip is interesting as well – this is new for TWSBI as usually the clip is incorporated into the cap. But this time.. Well, to put it one way, the clip is hugging the cap, which is a rather nice description I think. It makes it sound like a koala bear. It’s a koala bear clip (can we make this a thing?)
As mentioned above, a difference in this pen to conventional TWSBI designs is that this isn’t a demonstrator. Thankfully, TWSBI have included an ink window, and I rather like the idea of an ink window in pens. It’s functional and you get a good idea of the ink flow as it’s not a diddy window either.
The piston knob has “TWSBI Precision Taiwan” written on it. It’s quite reflective, in case you’re writing and need to check your hair.
Here are a few size comparisons:
The furniture is all silver. Grumble, grumble.
I’ve never had a TWSBI nib that has given me a hard time. The Eco nibs all seem to be very similar to each other in terms of width, despite having an extra fine, fine & medium nib, where the fine and extra fine are quite close and the medium is more of a fine. I think this may just be a problem with the Ecos. The stub nibs write very stub-like, so there’s that? The nib I have here is a medium nib and this is definitely a medium line. It writes well – it’s reliable. I just don’t have anything negative to say about TWSBI nibs in general, besides maybe the variation between medium and (extra) fine nibs. The nib puts out a nice juicy line.
The nib is stainless steel. It does offer you some line variation, but there isn’t much. Of course, this isn’t advertised as a flex nib but you can get a very very small amount of flair to your writing.
Reverse writing is okay, but slightly scratchy on the downstrokes. I wouldn’t recommend it too much without smoothing it out – other than that the feed doesn’t dry up or anything like that so it does have potential. This isn’t mine to smooth out, however.
Besides the Vac 700(R), all of TWSBI’s pens are piston fillers; this is no exception. The piston works well, it’s reliable and you always have the opportunity of disassembling it should you need to do minor maintenance such as grease the piston if it feels a bit stiff – with the supplied silicone grease. You get a good fill and with the ink window, the piston mechanism works well. The only downside to pistons, which I often say, is that you can’t use a bulb syringe to clean them out. That being said, it really isn’t that hard to clean out a piston anyway.
This pen is very smooth. It would walk up to you in a club and you’ll be wooed by its smoothness.
Despite the matte look and the apparent texture, this is all an illusion. The pen is extremely comfortable to hold and fits very well in the hand. You can’t post it (which is definitely misleading, as the piston knob makes it look as though it could be, but the cap gets stuck on the O-rings on the piston knob) but you really don’t need to – I’m very much against posting pens, but TWSBI pens really don’t need to be posted. They’re really designed to fit well in the hand. The pen is on the heavy side, however.
The section is smooth and quite large – I appreciate a large section due to my odd grip. The threads on the section (as the cap screws off) aren’t sharp or anything like that.
TWSBI pricing is a bit difficult to follow because a number of different places have different prices for different models. Some places you can find the Vac 700R for £75, while others carry it at values less than that. The Precision comes in at £70-£75, so it’s amongst the priciest in their lineup. I don’t think it’s too terrible, all things considered. It doesn’t break the bank, but it’s not as cheap as the Eco.
Would I buy it?
If this pen was more streamlined and flush then I probably would have bought it. But this looks too much like a kit pen for me. I think it’s reasonably priced, I love the facets and other design features besides.. Well, the design.
To put it one way – the macro-design doesn’t attract me, but the micro-design elements such as the colour (aesthetic), facets, ink window etc. are something that I really enjoy. This is why I might consider the Classic over the Precision. Which segues nicely into…
If not this then what?
Well, pretty much anything within the TWSBI lineup is a great alternative to this. There are also Chinese pens on eBay that have begun using the piston fill mechanism which will be considerably cheaper (though less reliable).
It depends on what you’re looking for: if you want an opaque barrel piston filler, the Classic may inspire you, while other models will satisfy the demonstrator quality. At £70, you’re not stuck for choice in the steel nib category in terms of anything equal to or cheaper than this pen. Though with the specifications that this pen has (<£100 piston filler for example) I think you’ll struggle to find anything outside of the TWSBI lineup that really hits the spot.