The Eco is TWSBI’s version of a budget pen, which looking at the generally reasonable prices for TWSBI’s pens is saying something. For a pen with a built-in filler, particularly something more complex than a press-bar, it is a profoundly inexpensive pen, descending to a place of competition with the Pilot Metropolitan, Platinum Plaisir and Pelikan Future. I suspect that it was the Lamy Safari that TWSBI had in mind when designing the Eco; apart from the Lamy being one of the top-of-mind models when people are suggesting first-time fountain pens, the section of the Eco is extremely reminiscent of the German pen. It is not sculpted, but there are cut-outs in an otherwise traditional section which suggest the Lamy’s sculpting, and which will guide the fingers… if one grips the pen very close to the point.
There is very little obvious corner-cutting in the Eco. One of the main differences between it and the Diamond line is that the barrel and section are cast in a single piece; it is not possible with the Eco to buy a swarm of interchangeable sections so that line width may fit the day’s mood. The point and feed are not contained as a single unit, either, something which is becoming the norm for a lot of pen makers buying their parts from Bock or JoWo, TWSBI included. The point and feed are friction-fit into the “section” in a more traditional manner.
The filler is essentially the same as that in the Diamond, Mini and Classic models. The ink chamber is a different shape from any of those other pens, with the forward end fluted. This acts to stop the piston before it comes all the way to the end of its travel, a role fulfilled in the Diamond by the inner parts that receive the point/feed unit. I suspect that a lot of users will view this as a source of frustration, since it prevents filling the whole of the ink chamber in a single working of the mechanism. However, it allows a longer chamber than the mechanism could otherwise handle (imagine the complaints if the shaft came right out to the knob on an over-enthusiastic filling attempt), and whether by design or luck, the channels created my the fluting should help to direct last drops of ink to the feed end of the chamber by an unusually broad application of capillary action.
The writing properties of the Eco are at least as good as the various competitors mentioned above. It is probably slightly less robust than the Lamy, and I have slight misgivings about the durability of an o-ring at the tail which grips the cap during posted writing; not hard to replace, but for those who insist on posting the absence would make for problematic handling. However, whatever suggestions it makes about grip are easily ignored, an area in which Safaris receive most of the complaints uttered in their direction, which should balance those concerns.
Production Run: Began 2015.
Cost When New: $28.99.
Size: 14.0 cm long capped, 16.7 cm posted, 13.1 cm uncapped.
Filler: Piston , capacity approx. 1.3 ml
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