To the shock and delight of fountain pen enthusiasts all over the world, beloved manufacturer TWSBI has released their first-ever cartridge/converter fountain pen. I have reviewed several TWSBI products in the past, so naturally one of these new creations was going to end up in my collection. Let’s just get right into it.
As mentioned, the TWSBI Swipe is a cartridge converter pen with a snap cap and standard steel TWSBI nib found on the ECO and GO models. The pen is currently available in a translucent Smoke or Prussian Blue colorway, each with a silver metal clip and clear grip section. The cap is rounded smooth while the barrel is a soft-cornered, facetted shape. Unlike the ECO, ECO-T, and GO, the Swipe has a round symmetrical grip that doesn’t impose a particular method of hand placement. The metal clip is also unique to this model, featuring a smooth low-profile design.
The Swipe writes just as well as any other TWSBI. The extra fine nib is smooth and nail-firm, laying down a consistent line from beginning to end. But the writing experience is not the exciting new feature that drew us to this pen. That part is inside.
The pen ships with a large cartridge of black ink, a spare spring to secure it, a large twist mechanism converter, and a spring-loaded converter. I have got to say that it is nice to see a manufacturer not skimp on the extras.
The TWSBI twist converter absolutely eclipses a standard converter, but it isn’t just a big converter. It’s actually more like a small…ECO. The twist mechanism is smooth, and there is a noticeable ‘bump’ as the handle locks into place. Inside the large ink reservoir there is a double O-ring piston exactly like the mechanism in the fan-favorite ECO, and functions just as well.
The second converter is my favorite to use so far. It’s a simple spring-loaded pump, similar to the GO, but with the spring on the inside. The plunger is smooth, and draws about 2/3rds a converter’s worth of ink (which is still a considerable amount). The mechanism also makes it incredibly easy to flush and clear the pen and, like all of TWSBI’s pens, both of the converters can be easily disassembled for cleaning or maintenance. On the day of writing this, I decided to change from Monteverde Elephant Purple to Robert Oster Pen Addict Fire on Fire on a whim (it happens). Because all of the parts are so simple and well made, you can wash out the pen, dry it, and refill it in a matter of minutes. I was even able to unscrew the plastic cup inside the cap to clean some errant ink that snuck past the seal.
But wait, there’s more. Keen-eyed observers have noticed by now the thick plastic threads and completely enclosed barrel. Guess what. You can eye-dropper this thing.
Alright I’m about to heap some praise so I’d just like to state this disclaimer ahead of time. I purchased this TWSBI Swipe with my own money. Neither TWSBI nor Goldspot have requested a review, all opinions are my own.
When I heard TWSBI was coming out with a C/C pen, I was pretty much immediately on board. They could have come to the market with a simple, plastic barrel pen with a converter in the box and some bright TWSBI colors, but the chose a different path. They looked at their catalog, at the pens that put them on the map, and adapted their designs to a completely different filling system. They chose to innovate. They chose to try something new and interesting, and in this pen nerd’s opinion, it was an absolute success.
With a retail price of $26.99 you’re going to get a lot of comparisons to the Lamy Safari or Kaweco Sport. Prestigious company as it may be, the Swipe is a far more interesting pen. If I had to find something for the ‘cons‘ column, I’d say that the clip is too tight, but I do like the slim look and feel. I don’t know if the TWSBI Swipe will have a strong enough impact to warrant several colorful releases for years to come like an ECO or a Lamy, but it’s a great pen in both form and function. I think the Swipe will come up in a lot of conversations about ‘first fountain pen recommendations’ in the future, and a lot of disappointment when people who started with a Swipe experience their first Sailor.
Great job TWSBI. Other brands, take notice
P.S. When they release an all clear version, I’ll buy it day one in a heartbeat.