Nine reasons to love the TWSBI Eco Jade

I’ve honestly lost count of how many TWSBI Ecos I’ve owned. From the Golden Horse LE to the turquoise, hot pink, sunshine yellow, the funny-shaped Eco-Ts, all the way back to the full demo I bought first way back when… my house is with Ecos like NYC is with rats. No matter how many you get rid of, you’re never more than six feet away from one.

Despite this, I’ve never before published a review of the Eco. It felt a bit weird to do so, after featuring it in my various buyer’s guides for so many years. But with the arrival of this Jade edition, now is a good opportunity to set the record straight.

Let me get down just some of the things that make the Eco amazing.

First, it never dries out. I mean never. The Aral Sea dries up faster. I put this down to the o-ring at the cap join, which also means the cap never comes loose accidentally.

Second, it’s incredibly easy to maintain. The nib and feed pull straight out with no effort. TWSBI includes a wrench for the piston in the box, and an exploded diagram on the back naming all the parts. I feel empowered by this in such a joyful way.

Third, the nibs are always good. And I can say this with confidence. From the needlelike EF to the chunkiest broads and stubs, they always just write.

Fourth, it’s tough. I have cracked one… but only by banging it on the edge of a bathroom basin while flick-cleaning it.

Fifth, it holds a ton of ink. The piston fills beautifully with a nice smooth action and excellent seal. Of course with the demo barrel you can see how much ink you have left.

Sixth, it’s comfortable. The section is pretty narrow but long, and the pen itself is long and just… there.

It must be comfortable, because I never notice it.

I’ve never once felt the urge to post it, but hell, it will do that just fine too.

Seventh, it’s incredible value. A proper piston filler for like, £28? I’ve just checked and it seems to have gone up to £30. Inflation? Ha. The Eco is still the pen I use to shame manufacturers for overcharging for another boring CC filler.

Eighth, it comes in all kinds of colours, bright or sober, many of which are not money-grabbing high-priced limited editions. This is accessible fun.

Ninth, the packaging is amazing. A slim and tough plastic case with the pen safely snuggled in foam, a little bottle of silicon grease, a cheerful red wrench, a single information sheet… boom.

You could stack ten of them in the space a Visconti box takes up.

Any downsides? Well, the appearance is not to all tastes. Whatever colour cap and piston knob you get, the demonstrator is relentlessly revealingly. You can see the black feed, the black piston screw and seals, the black o-ring.

The trim is (almost) always silver, the TWSBI logo is (almost) always garish red plastic on the end of the cap. Some may feel the nib looks undersized. Others may say that, like the Lamy Safari, the Eco is kinda plasticky, kinda inelegant. The clip is preschool (or like a Montblanc M, if you will).

Type snobs will point out that there are three sizes of two fonts crammed on to the cap band.

All of those things are true, but then the Eco is what it is. I like it because it’s amazing at what it does, and it doesn’t give two shits what you think of it.

What about this new Jade version in particular ?

Well, the press photos are pretty accurate, the name is not misleading, the colour is exactly what I’d expect. It’s a pale yellowish green, with a lot of translucency. My phone camera refused to get the colour quite right.

It’s exactly the sort of colour you would expect to glow in the dark (but it doesn’t).

I think it’s very pretty, although this is one of the delicate colours where the bright red finial looks wrong. It would look so much better silver, white or clear.

Mine arrived with a lovely wet fine nib. It sucked up half a bottle of Kakimori pigment ink (which I’m not worried about staining the amazing plastic that the Eco is made of), and has given me a writing experience out of the box that few high-end brands can match.

Today I made the mistake of totting up how much my pen collection had cost me. The average price of the 18 pens in my pen tray at the moment is hovering at £600. None of them is a TWSBI Eco, which probably speaks volumes about what a moron, spendthrift and snob I am.

In many obvious ways an Eco can’t hold a candle to a beautiful urushi Nakaya or a silver Montblanc, the sublime nib of a King of Pen, the beautiful ebonite of my Santini. The Eco is not going to impress on Instagram or make you feel like a grand statesman. But it’s less than one twentieth the price of these fine writing instruments — and it writes a beautiful carefree line, right out of the box and whenever you next dig it out of a drawer, no questions asked, even after years of neglect. Make of that what you will.

I was sent the Eco Jade by Cult Pens to review. You can get yours here for £30 on the nose.

11 thoughts on “Nine reasons to love the TWSBI Eco Jade

  1. Dear Sir,
    I love your review. Not only was it accurate, it was pithy and it made me laugh with delighted recognition of everything I enjoy about my (many) Ecos.

    Only you said it far better than I ever could!

    If in the future I need to extoll the virtues of the TWSBI Eco in my never-ending quest to penable the entire world (or at least everyone I happen to meet), I will just point to your review here.

    I don’t think it could have been done any better.



  2. How lovely to see a review, an encomium even, of a pen that is affordable. Don’t get me wrong: I love my pricier pens, too. But reviews like this remind us all that fountain pens are for everyone who is interested in them (and willing to get sucked into the cult ;), that we really should acknowledge that some of the best writing experiences come with a pen like this TWSBI in hand, and that we shouldn’t get snobby.

    The jade is a bit on the pastel side for me, though (I’d be more tempted if it did glow in the dark, especially if the glow gave enough light by which to write). But as you say, there are so many colours from which to choose.


  3. What a spot-on review of a fine pen! (The only pen in this price neighborhood that I’ve enjoyed so much recently is the Fountain Pen Revolution Jaipur V2, also a piston filler.) These pens are remarkable values for beginners who aren’t afraid of ink bottles, but also for experienced folks who just enjoy the feel of a responsive nib in a comfortable pen. You could make do perfectly well with the Eco for years if you had to. Thanks for another great review, and have a Merry Christmas.


  4. I recently re-inked my Eco, first pen I got after a Preppy and it really is amazing as you say. I’m always taken by how it never dries out, writes first time every time and the fine nib is just perfect, smooth and wet. I even enjoy the sound it makes being capped, but I’m probably being a bit strange on that part.

    Merry Christmas.


  5. Siempre he dibujado con estilográficas. He pasado por kaweco, Montblanc, Parker, Lamy, Eaterman, pilot y otras muy económicas. De las mencionadas, la mejor experiencia la tuve con una waterman: su plumin siempre está húmedo a pesar del paso de los días; por esta razón no volví a invertir mucho dinero en una estilográfica, ya que el placer de rayar no pasa por el alto costo. Me han hablado maravillas de la twsbi eco y por tal motivo la pedí; espero ansioso su llegada y experimentar buenos trazos con ella.


  6. that is exactly on point. say what you want about the aesthetics, it’s very hard to get that much pen for so little money anywhere else.
    and if the look is too much of a bother, the diamond fixes many of the issues for what is still a price tag that won’t scare anyone away.


  7. Pingback: You need a Platinum Preppy Wa. Or six. | UK fountain pens

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