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.

November 07, 2016 — wonderpens

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