The TWSBI Eco Smoke and Rose Gold Fountain pen

I remember when TWSBI first announced that they were working on a new pen which would be a return to the much loved rose gold trim. I knew that they had already produced a black and rose gold Diamond 580 several years ago and there was a lot of talk about what the new model would be. The white and rose gold Eco was then released in January of 2020 and I was underwhelmed. I personally did not think that the rose gold trim worked well with the white plastic, so when the Diamond 580 Smoke Rose Gold II came out a few months later, I was thrilled. I still, however, had hoped that a smoke and rose gold Eco would be released. Well, finally, almost a year later, it was.

Like any other TWSBI Eco, it comes in the usual plastic case which includes a set of disassembly, maintenance, and filling instructions. The instruction set is quite clear and useful for anyone needing to service the pen.

TWSBI, as usual also includes a vial of silicone grease and a wrench for disassembly during maintenance. For these special rose gold Eco models, TWSBI has also dispensed with the usual cardboard outer sleeve and went with something a bit more upscale. The white box with black border adorned with the TWSBI logo and the words “Improved by writing” instantly give the impression even before seeing the pen, that this is not the standard Eco.

There is one more very important part of the package (besides the pen of course). This very important warning tag is clipped onto the pen directly and states that alcohol should not be used to clean or wipe off this pen. Normally, this would be an afterthought. But I would be remiss if I did not point out the increased use of alcohol based hand sanitizer and other alcohol based cleaning products being used during the Covid-19 pandemic. This is not unique to TWSBI pens, but it something to keep in mind with any pen: it is best not to clean pens with alcohol. The only other warning that comes with the pen is that great care must be taken when disassembling the nib and feed. The feed is delicate and easily damaged. The nib and feed should not be removed unless absolutely necessary.

So, what is it that makes the TWSBI Smoke and Rose Gold Eco different from all of the other ecos? Is it just the rose gold plating on the trim and nib? The smoke plastic parts on the cap and piston cap? When I look at the regular TWSBI Eco editions, the last think that’s on my mind is to take the pen to an important business meeting, or to take it to any other formal function. Don’t get me wrong, I think the other colors are beautiful pens. But to me, they are meant to be fun. The colors of the other editions of the eco are striking, but elegant is not a word I would use to describe them. Now, with the introduction of the Smoke Rose Gold Eco model, I finally have a TWSBI Eco that I dare say is an elegant pen.

There is just something about the combination of the rose gold and transparent smoke colored plastics that seem different than the other Ecos out there. I would not hesitate to pull this pen out in a formal setting, or board meeting, or anywhere. But at the same time, this pen is just as much at home with other versions of the Eco.

As you can see in the above photo, the pen has not only a rose gold plated nib, but there is a rose gold plated trim ring at the piston knob. On the cap, both the clip and cap bands are done in the same rose gold plating, saying both the pen’s make and model.

The plating appeared well done. I did not notice any plating imperfections or any other issues with the metal work on the pen save for one small exception. When looking at the clip, there is a long cut out in a channel in the clip’s center. The very inside edge where the clip was stamped did not get the same level of polishing as the rest of the edges of the trim metal during production. While this is fairly normal with Ecos, the rose gold plating causes it to stand out a bit more than on others and was something I noticed whenever the clip caught the light.

Still speaking of the cap, another thing that sets this pen apart from the other non-rose gold models, is the finial. On most TWSBI Ecos, the finial is a molded red plastic raised TWSBI symbol. However, like it’s white rose gold sibling, TWSBI chose to go in a more elegant direction. The finial is a reflective matte red coated metal insert with the logo etched into it. This small departure from the standard model makes a very different impression than the look of other Ecos. One other thing about the cap, it feels tighter than other Ecos I own. It’s not overly tight, but it is a noticeable difference. The cap takes a full 1.25 rotations to uncap the pen.

Ok, Back to the pen itself. Other than the cap, the only other place with the smoke plastic is the piston cap. The slight transparency gives just enough of a look inside to be interesting. With the piston fully extended, the cap opens to reveal the notch where the included wrench fits to disassemble the pen.

Like any other TWSBI Eco, the barrel is transparent which shows the piston mechanism. It also has the standard round tapered grip section with a slight flair at the tip which works as a finger stop. At the base of the section there is an O ring which creates an excellent cap seal keeping the pen ready to write. One thing I did notice about the pen is the seam from the mold with which it was made. It is visible and can be felt. While this is simply a constraint of this type of construction, I do wish it wasn’t there. On the cap, the placement of the seem makes it not so apparent. I noticed it most in the section.

Normally, at the end of my reviews, I list where the pen came from. But in this case, that is part of what makes this pen stand out from the others. This pen was provided for this review from a store called Pen Realm run by Kirk Speer. So why is this important? One of the many services that Pen Realm provides, is to check the tune on any pen sold and make adjustments as needed in order to ensure that the pen flows well and writes smoothly before going out the door.

One other thing I must mention, is that despite the best intentions of the post office, some packages do not arrive as expected. But, due to excellent packaging, everything in my shipment arrived in perfect condition.

For my test of the pen, I filled it with one of my usual inks, Monteverde Midnight Black. Upon my first few words on the page, I immediately noticed that even though this is a fine nib, the pen is very smooth with only the tiniest hint of feedback. This feedback is just a product of how fine the nib is on the paper. I did not have any issues at all with ink flow. No hard starting, no skips, no other issues of any kind. Upon examining the pen under a 10x loupe, I found that the nib was well formed, the tines and slit evenly cut and there were no defects in the tipping. While I do not know what or if this pen received any adjustments before it got to me, there is no question that this is a very smooth fine nib which functioned flawlessly.

The pen is comfortable to hold for me. I measured the length from nib to end at just over 131mm or just about 5.1 inches. The pen is just over 167mm posted which is just a tad over 6 and a half inches long. With this pen, the cap is not so heavy that posting it makes it feel too back heavy, but I still prefer to not post the pen. The grip section is a comfortable thickness with a taper towards the nib. Using a caliper, I measured the taper at about 10.8mm diameter at the thickest down to about 9mm which is near wher I held the pen. This, combined with an overall weight of 13g (0.46oz) unposted, or 21g (0.74oz) posted, made the pen very comfortable for me to use.

Another advantage of TWSBI pens is their ink capacity. While a standard international cartridge holds about 0.8ml of ink, This pen holds right around 1.8m; which means you’re not likely going to worry about running out of ink by the end of the day.

As I mentioned in my review of the TWSBI Diamond 580 Smoke Rose Gold II, The rose gold model comes at a higher cost than other ECO models. Like before, this is not at all surprising. The greater cost is due to the additional step needed for the rose gold plating instead of the usual steel as well as the higher cost of the nicer cap finial on the rose gold model.

While the current price of the standard ECO models comes in at $30.99 This has the same average cost as the original White Rose Gold Eco at $49.99. So, is it worth it? In my opinion, the higher price is well justified. You are getting a pen that is more upscale than a standard eco and while it may not be quite as sophisticated as the Diamond 580 RG II, for the cost, this is a beautiful pen that performs perfectly.

Disclaimer: This pen was provided to me, without cost, by Pen Realm for the purpose of this review. The thoughts and opinions expressed herein are entirely my own and I receive no other compensation from any manufacturer or retailer named in this review.

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