Sunday, June 2, 2019

REVIEW: TACTILE TURN GIST 2.0 FOUNTAIN PEN

Review: Tactile Turn Gist 2.0 fountain pen
Deadlines here, deadlines there... Sorry for the radio silence but it's been a little crazy the past few weeks, hence the lack of new reviews. Anyway, things are getting somewhat back to normal finally, so I it's about high time for another review, right?

I think it's no secret that I've become a fan of Tactile Turn products. FAST. It all started when I bought a titanium Gist fountain pen second hand from Mike at The Clicky Post. I had never been absolutely on board with the concept of the original Gist. It was designed to be a semi-pocket sized pen that needs to be posted to reach its full potential and I usually prefer full-sized pens. But the price was right, so I caved. As my prejudice often turns out wrong, the Gist managed to impress me, and I got a taste for more. 
Review: Tactile Turn Gist 2.0 fountain pen
Not much later, Will at Tactile Turn delivered with the new and improved Gist 2.0. It's the same but different. The Gist grew up, and is no longer the pocket-ish pen that it used to be - much to my liking of course. I immediately ordered a couple (because ordering just one pen is for sane people), and Will graciously sent the other finishes along for me to check out - Thanks Will!
Review: Tactile Turn Gist 2.0 fountain pen
Original version below, Gist 2.0 above
Designwise, all they did was quite literally stretch out the cap and barrel a bit. The overall shape and style is still the same quite Lamy 2000-esque, tapered flattop. In fact, put this (especially the black delrin version) next to a lamy 2000, and the resemblance is certainly there (there are of course worse pens to draw inspiration from, IMHO). The design is simple but not quite as minimal as metal pens can sometimes be (like my benchmarks, the Ensso Piuma and Namisu Nova). The Gist's design is accentuated by the unusual cap-to-barrel ratio. The cap is rather long, which gives the pen a balanced appearance.

Where the original came in a wide selection of material and combinations, version 2.0 has a less extensive selection to choose from, supposedly to keep production more straightforward. Materials like stainless steel, damascus and various mix-and-match combinations where dropped, but you still get a choice between white, black/white and black delrin, brass, copper and titanium. 
Review: Tactile Turn Gist 2.0 fountain pen
The original Gist certainly had some kinks that I'm glad to say were -quite literally- smoothed out in version 2. Most noticeable is Tactile Turn's trademark knurled finish. The original had a very deeply ridged texture which feels kind of strange and extremely 'toothy' in the hand. Version 2.0 incorporates the same fine spiral texture as all other current TT products, which feels less sharp yet still offers plenty of grip. Another element that you'll probably recognize from other Tactile Turn products is the sturdy stainless steel clip, which is available in both tumbled steel and black coated finish for the Gist.

My biggest gripe with the original Gist are the threads. They are very sharply cut, which especially on the edge of the cap made it to a point where you can actually cut yourself on them. The threads were also quite tricky to align, where they would often catch when you don't align the cap just right. Version two has this figured out; not only is the edge of the cap now nicely flat and no longer sharp, the threads itself are cut differently so that they don't catch nearly as often. The last difference I could tell is purely an aesthetic one, where they added more pronounced chamfered edges to the cap and barrel finial.
Review: Tactile Turn Gist 2.0 fountain pen
All in all, the Gist 2.0 just looks more finished and  thought through. And with these small quirks out of the picture, it's a more pleasant pen to use as well.

There still one issue that I could find though, and that's the inner cap. TT decided to add a small plastic ring inside the cap to aid with posting the cap (so you don't damage the finish on the metal pens), but it sometimes snags on the nib when you cap and uncap the pen. This seems to be a tolerance issue caused by some Bock nibs having slightly wider shoulders than others, making them snag on the inner cap. In any case, Will let me know that he updated the inner caps to deal with this variation, so it should no longer be an issue. 
Review: Tactile Turn Gist 2.0 fountain pen
Review: Tactile Turn Gist 2.0 fountain pen
L to R: Namisu Nova, Ensso Piuma, Tactile Turn Mover, Tactile Turn Gist and Gist 2.0, Lamy Safari, Lamy 2000
As I said, the Gist grew a bit compared to its predecessor, and is now a comfortable 13.7 cm long (5.4") when capped, and 12.5 cm (4.9") uncapped. It's still not an overly large pen, but I'd now consider it more of a normal sized pen. I can easily get away with using it unposted (even though you could post if you want), where I find the original Gist just a tad short for that. In terms of weight there's something for everyone: the delrin comes in just shy of 20 g, the titanium version is a substantial 45 g, and copper and brass are downright heavy at around 80 g each.
Review: Tactile Turn Gist 2.0 fountain pen
Despite being a metal pen (well, unless you choose the delrin finish of course!), it scores high in the comfort department. The section is long, has a gentle taper and provides plenty of grip through the machined texture. The block threads sit almost completely flush in between the section and barrel. They are ever so slightly sharp to the touch, but never felt too intrusive in my grip.

The nibs are standard Bock issue, which is absolutely fine by me. I know there has been more than one occasion where Bock has missed the ball with quality control. Nevertheless, I still generally like them better than JoWo nibs, which I think has at least something to do with the slight springy character they offer (and the option for titanium nibs if you want something closer to semi-flex). For what it's worth, all four nibs I received worked perfectly fine out of the box. I was especially impressed by the 1.1 untipped stub, which I have had little experience with until now. It's a nicely rounded stub and comes very smooth out of the box, with a pleasantly wet ink flow. 
Review: Tactile Turn Gist 2.0 fountain pen
I do find that Bock nibs generally benefit from a wet ink, even though they usually provide a decent flow as-is. For example, I regularly pair them up with a KWZ ink, which provides a very heavy and smooth flow. Worth noting is that the Gist 2.0 now accepts full-sized converters which can hold a bit more ink. Admittedly, the difference in ink capacity isn't huge, but every improvement is welcome I'd say.

If you're not keen on fountain pens, TT now also offers the Gist as a capped rollerball pen, built around the same Pilot G2 refill that they use in all their pens. You can also buy the rollerball grip section separately for anywhere between 15$ and 35$ (depending on the material), so you can swap between writing styles. 
Review: Tactile Turn Gist 2.0 fountain pen
The Tactile Turn Gist 2.0 hits a lot of sweet spots for me, and from my experience it's a huge step forward from the original version. I think Will and his team generally do an excellent job on the design of their products, striking a good balance between minimal and industrial looks with a very tangible character -this pen is no different in that regard. Besides design, the Gist feels solidly built and comes in plenty of material options to choose from. Especially for people that don't like metal pens, the delrin versions are a very welcome option. 

The price point on these is a bit higher compared to the rest of Tactile Turn's products. Delrin versions start at 99$, brass and copper come in at 119$ and 139$ respectively, and the titanium version goes for 219$. For the most part, those prices are still very competitive with similar products from other brands out there. Only the titanium version seems a bit on the expensive side compared to the rest. Especially because TT usually offers their other titanium products for a relatively low price, I don't quite see how the titanium Gist in particular demands such a high premium.

NOTE: This product was provided in part by Tactile Turn, so I could write this review. I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, the opinions shared in this review are completely my own! This post does not contain affiliate links.
Review: Tactile Turn Gist 2.0 fountain pen

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