This post has been a long time coming! TWSBI released the ECO fountain pen now almost a year ago, and it has settled right into the TWSBI family, along with the flagship pen, the 580, and its metallic version, the 580 AL. They're both functionally basically the exact same, although you pay an increase in price for the upgraded details and finishes, as well as the option of swabbing out nibs on the 580 + 580 AL, over the less expensive ECO. There are a few key differences between them that might help you make a decision if you're looking at picking one of them up, so I thought I would put them altogether into one post here. L to R: TWSBI ECO Lime Green, ECO Clear, 580, 580 AL Blue L to R: TWSBI ECO Lime Green, ECO Clear, 580, 580 AL Blue - I know it's confusing that I put four pens in the picture, even thought I'm supposedly comparing three. It's because I just got the Lime Green, and apparently couldn't stop myself from putting it into pictures.  These three pen models, the ECO, the 580 and the 580 AL are all very similar - they're clear piston-fillers that hold a lot of ink and they come at a great price point for the filling mechanism (as opposed a cartridge/converter). There are a few differences between these lines:
ECO Diamond 580 Diamond 580 AL
Price 39.85 CAD 68.75 CAD 82.50 CAD
Nib options EF to 1.1 at same cost EF to B at same cost; 1.1 nibs $5 extra EF to B at same cost; 1.1 nibs $5 extra
Nib Swap Not possible Spare nibs can be purchased and changed on pen Spare nibs can be purchased and changed on pen
Colour options Clear, Black, White; Lime Green for a limited time Clear Clear; colours released available for a limited time
Posting Yes No No
Barrel Clear cylinder (smooth) Clear, faceted Clear, faceted
Piston + Grip Material Plastic Plastic Metal
TWSBI ECO Wonder Pens Toronto Canada The ECO is the lowest priced, and is named accordingly ("economical").  Here are the key points that separate it from the 580 and the 580 AL:
  • it has a slightly triangulated grip to help with holding the pen properly
  • it has a larger, bulkier cap (no difference in function, just aesthetics)
  • you cannot swap the nibs out
  • significantly less expensive
  • can post the cap, but it becomes quite top heavy if you have a smaller hand
TWSBI ECO and 580 Comparison The cap of the clear ECO is on the left, and the 580 on the right - you can see that the ECO cap is a bit bulkier and more sort of squared off, whereas the 580 cap is a bit more rounded and also has a more jewel like finial. Between the 580 and the 580 AL, the only difference is that the grip and the piston mechanism are made out of metal (aluminum), rather than plastic. This adds a slight bit of weight, but I wouldn't say it's significant or noticeable unless you're really paying attention. TWSBI 580 AL Wonder Pens Toronto Canada fountain pens 580 AL Blue up top and 580 below. All of the blue parts are the metal pieces that are plastic in the standard 580. Is the 580 worth it over the ECO? I would say the 580 barrel and cap shape are a much sleeker, slimmer look - the ECO is definitely bulkier - and it also feels nice in the hand. The 580's cap and its barrel are clean and simple while still having a bit of a curve and detail to them, like the metal trim and jewel-like finial, that make it a really good looking pen. I have a few of the 580 ALs in the orange, and I love it. This post is a bit timely because we're expecting the new 580 AL-pink to come in later this week, but what really spurred this blog post on is that I finally cracked and got an ECO in the new Lime Green, which I've been pining over for a while. I have a few 580s and 580 ALs, but this is my first ECO. I've historically wavered between fine-medium-broad nibs (always liked ink too much to dive into the EF), and in fact have been sort of anti-stub, but for the first time, over the last couple of months I've been experimenting with 1.1 and stub nibs. TWSBI ECO lime green toronto Canada This is my ECO Lime Green with a 1.1 stub, and Noodler's Violet. I was hoping to scrounge up my bottle of Dark Lilac, or maybe R&K Solferino, but I found a loose sample of Violet rolling around. TWSBI ECO 1.1 writing sample fountain pen toronto canada I'm really loving my ECO Lime Green! I've seen quite a few photos now of it pop up on Instagram -I'm not sure if it's the bright colour, or the fact that I've really wanted one and so it catches my eye more, or maybe it really is that much more popular than the other colours, but it seemed like it was teasing me from near and far. I finally broke down this past weekend - and I guess you could say Jon did, too, haha - and it feels like I haven't stopped writing with it since. TWSBI fountain pens  

***

In other news, we've basically all recovered from Scriptus, including the unpacking and resorting of all of our bags and boxes and supplies and stickers. It's hard to believe it's already been a week ago, although hearing back from people about their pen show experience, seeing the pens they picked up and scrolling through photos on social media has been a lot of fun.

It feels a bit like we're jumping off of Scriptus and diving right into getting ready for the holidays - coordinating and receiving and organizing holiday shipments coming in, and trying to plan ahead for everything we need. We always try to prepare as much as we can, and then when the holidays hit,  we're giving people option G because options A through F are sold out, and we're subsisting off take out and "food" that comes out of a box in the freezer.

Every year I learn lots and lots of lessons about the holidays, and every year I think this year I'm not going to make this or that mistake again - but every year seems to be a whole new set of surprises and mistakes waiting to be made, which is sort of the exciting part of the it all, the whole adventure of the holidays.

Maybe it's the cold weather creeping in, or more and more notes saying they're doing some early Christmas shopping, but it feels like I'm buzzing a bit, in the best possible way, as Jon and I plan ahead for holiday hours and timelines for shipping and Christmas trees and egg nog and the sound of people stamping their boots to get off the snow at the top of our steps.

 

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November 07, 2016 — wonderpens

Comments

JasonAbsex

JasonAbsex said:

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wonderpens

wonderpens said:

Glad to hear it helped! Hope you enjoy your new pen.

Erogen X

Erogen X said:

Really informative and fantastic complex body part of written content, now that’s user genial (:. https://erogenx.net/

Anon

Anon said:

I believe the 850 AL has a ridged grip where as the normal 850 has a smooth grip. Is that correct?

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wonderpens

wonderpens said:

Unfortunately there is no ECO spare nib, although the spare nib unit from the TWSBI Mini will fit if you pull it from the housing – it’s tight, so be careful to pull straight without twisting, or you’ll risk cracking the housing.
Flex nibs I typically don’t recommend for daily use, as the flourish and line variation takes time and attention to bring out, which is often missed in the day to day writing that happens. Some soft nibs (Pilot Falcon, Platinum Cool, etc.) are better for daily use as they’re stiff enough for rapid writing, rather than being too soft (and perhaps wet), but still give a bit of line variation. Hope that helps!

Erogen X

Erogen X said:

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wonderpens

wonderpens said:

I love my ECO and how it writes as well!

In my opinion, the ECO and the 580 are two different pens, and both are worth the price of each. The cracking issues were mostly in the original two versions (they had a 530 and then a 540 version, and now is the 580), and each version has taken into account tweaks and small changes for improvements. The 580 is an excellent pen, and the 580AL has a great weight and feel in the hand.

My bottle of Dark Lilac is from the original release – I’m afraid you would be hard pressed now to find a bottle, and you may be paying a premium for it! Stay tuned for 2017’s Al-Star and Safari special editions, and their inks – they’re going to be good!

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

So glad to hear it! I will pass on your kind words to Sarah. The ECO is one of my favourite pens. And shifting preferences is an expert skill of mine :)

ioHacker

ioHacker said:

I love this pen.
This post is convincing me to choose the Diamond 580 model.

Johan

Johan said:

What size nib would fit the eco? I bought an eco from wonderpens in broad and I’m finding I don’t like broader nibs and I’m interested in getting a finer nib. Also is a flex nib good for daily use?

Nadine

Nadine said:

Thank you for making the comparisons for the different models. This has been a big help.
:-)

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

I’m so glad to hear it was helpful! :)

Beh

Beh said:

My first TWSBI is the Eco and it writes exceptionally well! One of my favorites so far. I like it so much that I’ve just put in another order for the lime green. guilty

I have been hesitating and contemplating on whether or not should I get myself a 580AL. To me they are pretty identical but I have a hard time justifying the double price jump of the 580AL compared to the Eco. On top of it, previous feedback from users about the cracking issues with 580AL did bother me.

So, I’d like to get some opinion from you if it is worth it to spend double the money to get the 580AL? Also, is the cracking problem still persists?

p/s: You have a bottle of Lamy Dark Lilac?! I have searched up and down in my country and couldn’t find any of it. Even online too it is rare. =/

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

You’re right – I should’ve clarified. The ECOs do not have easily removable (by twisting off) nib units that can be purchased separately from TWSBI, unlike the 580 or the Mini. It’s a bit more “at your own risk” to pull out the friction fit nib and feed, but it can certainly be done! Thanks so much for your correction.

wonderpens

wonderpens said:

The TWSBI nibs are slightly narrower than Waterman nibs, although if you’re picking it up in the shop, you can always try out both and see how you like them!

Noodler’s Violet isn’t an ink I’ve spent a lot of time with – not generally a huge fan of purples – but I’m loving it against the lime green :)

Sunday Reads: Doodles And Ink | An Inkophile&#039;s Blog

Sunday Reads: Doodles And Ink | An Inkophile&#039;s Blog said:

[…] Wonder Pens: TWSBI ECO vs. 580 vs. 580 AL Comparison […]

Grace

Grace said:

As I mentioned to you before, I’m looking forward to getting the ECO when it comes in, my only thing is that I don’t know whether to go for medium or fine. Are the nibs narrower than Waterman? I have a Waterman in medium.

My best friend bought me the Noodler’s Violet ink years ago and I still use it and have not gotten tired of it yet, a wonderful color!

Edward Collins

Edward Collins said:

Why do you say you can’t swap Eco nibs? I’m using a Fountain Pen Revolution Flex nib in my Eco and it fits and works just fine. I prefer it to the standard Eco F nib.

Peter

Peter said:

I recently bought an ECO, and am enjoying its use immensely. (Thanks to Sarah at Wonder Pens for helping me with this purchase. She was very patient.) Before this purchase, I didn’t like piston-fillers; now I do. I didn’t like demonstrators: now I do.

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