I get less productive when I have too much spare time. And that's exactly what's happening right now. It's been two weeks since I last uploaded a review, why:
1) I went on vacation to Italy (It was really great, you can see some of the pictures I made on my personal Flickr account here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/driesb/sets/72157644037781512/ )
2) I am lazy!
3) I am REALLY lazy!
But I'm back, and I present to you: a review of the TWSBI Diamond Mini fountain pen!
Where should I begin? Well, first of all, the TWSBI diamond mini is, as expected, a smaller version of the ever so popular -Though still not present in my collection- Diamond 580 fountain pen. It shares roughly the same design elements, but in a smaller overall package. Which should appeal to some people, as the 580 is quite a big pen!
Like it's bigger brother, it has the diamond-shape faceted barrel, and it also has a piston-filling mechanism. The piston operates smoothly, though it obviously doesnt hold as much ink as the 580 because of the shorter barrel.
As you can see in the pictures, mine has a rather unusual colour combination (It normally has a clear body and an opaque black cap). But that's because I bought mine during a pen show, and they probably swapped the pieces to make it this way. It doesn't really bother me though, it looks good as well.
(It's also available as a completely black or completely clear pen)
Body and cap (and grip section) of the pen are made out of a good quality plastic. This doesn't sound very high-end, but I must say that I am quite surprised by the quality and durability of the pen. Apparently TWSBI treats the plastic parts to make them smoother and more scratch-resistant. And I can confirm that this process actually works. I used this pen as a daily writer for several months, and it still looks as good as new! The use of plastic also keeps the weight down, it's fairly light, at around 18 grams. Nevertheless, it feels very sturdy and well-built.
HOWEVER, because it is made out of plastic, pay attention when you take it apart with the supplied wrench! when taking the piston mechanism out, I accidentaly over-tightened it, and the threads on the back of the barrel cracked! This has nothing to do with the quality of the pen, It's just my own stupid fault :(
The pen has metal, chrome-plated hardware. The grip section also has a metal ring (to prevent it from cracking like the 540's grip section did) And as always, you can find a bright red TWSBI logo on top of the cap.
Because of it's compact size -just 11cm when uncapped- you will probably use it posted. That's why one can also find threads and a rubber O-ring on the back of the pen, which makes it easy to post the cap securely. (Sometimes a bit too secure!) I'm not a big fan of posting, but in this case, it is needed to provide a comfortably size.
Speaking about comfortable, it's actually quite pleasant to write with! The grip section isn't huge (And it feels a bit cheap as it isn't a solid piece of plastic), but it's comfortable and easy to grip. It doesn't feel like you're writing with a 'pocket' pen, and I didn't experience any writing fatigue so far. The threads are very smooth to the touch, something a lot of brands could learn from (Sharp threads can get quite annoying when writing!).
Now the main reason I like this pen so much is the nib. I bought a fine nib that performs very good, but I also got a stub nib (Which is actually meant for the 580 model, but it fits perfectly!), and that one trumps the fine nib in every possible way! It's incredibly smooth, I didn't encounter any skipping or hard starts. And it lays down a very, very nice, wet 1.5mm line! The only issue I encountered with this pen/nib setup, is the fact that -like I said before- the ink reservoir isn't that big, so with a nib like this, it has to be refilled quite often!
Another great feature of this pen (and most other TWBI models), is its excellent value for money! For 50 USDollars (Or even less if you search well!) it can be yours! This might still sound much for a pocket-sized pen, but believe me, you won't notice the difference between this and the 580 when it comes to performance!