TWSBI’s latest pen is called the Go which enters the sub-$20 category. I’m not a huge fan of TWSBI pens in general. I can see why people like them, but for me the quality issues I’ve experienced outweigh any cost savings. Plus, I’m not a fan of translucent pens unless they are clear. The TWSBI Go intrigued me enough to give TWSBI another go (sorry).
I had money in the PayPal account, and I haven’t bought any fountain pens this year. So, I bought two of them. I got the Smoke version with an extra fine nib. I picked a broad nob for the Sapphire model. Neither the sapphire color (a blue) or the broad nib are typical choices for me, so I put them both in the same pen. I’ll probably use it for testing new inks. While I have filled both fountain pens, I’ve only really used the extra fine TWSBI Go.
The TWSBI Go is a sub-$20 piston filler fountain pen that seems well made, although it is plastic. TWSBI has a reputation of making pens with a tendency to crack or leak. Their more recent pens have seemed to have fewer complaints (although it’s possible I just haven’t paid attention). This pen design seems to limit the opportunity for problems, although it is plastic (except for the spring and nib) and I can’t speak to durability. The nib is removable for cleaning or swapping, although I haven’t done it. I would expect frequent disassembly to eventually cause breaks or leaks. I haven’t removed the nib, and don’t plan to, so I can’t speak to how hard or easy this is.
There’s no clip, but a small roll stop is molded into to clip. The roll stop is also designed to allow a lanyard to be threaded through it. I guess a lanyard could be a thing, but not for me. It’s a small roll stop, so if the pen has any momentum it won’t stop the roll.
It is a chunky pen, which does appeal to me. The pen does post, although it’s long enough for me to comfortably use unposted. The cap is very light, so posting doesn’t affect the balance. I don’t post the pen unless I need a place to store the cap. Speaking of the cap, it’s a pressure fit cap which snaps firmly into place. There isn’t any cap band so cracking may eventually occur.
The spring is visible through the pen body which gives it a steampunk look. At first I was thinking this is more like a vacuum filler, but it is a piston. Rather than screwing the piston up to suck in ink, the spring raises the piston for us. So spring-loaded piston filler is an accurate description in my opinion. Filling the pen is simple. Unscrew the body to expose the piston. Immerse the nib in ink, push the piston down and then release it. While simple, I’m not sure it’s significantly easier than a screw piston. One-handed operation seems possible, although it’s risky. While the filling system is far from revolutionary, I do like different filling systems, and find this a fun addition to my accumulation.
The TWSBI Go stops short of being a pen I want to use. The extra fine Go shared my pen case with a Fisher of Pens Hermès and I always pick the Hermès over the Go unless I want a second color of ink. That said, both the extra fine and broad nibs are smooth writers and the pens written well. I still have concerns about the durability, although more because of past experience than any obvious issues. The TWSBI Go is an inexpensive pen, and if it cracks after a year of heavy use and abuse, I’d consider it money well spent and buy another.