It should be a simple task to decide if you like a pen, right?
I had been looking forward to the TWSBI Classic since I first saw the prototypes on their Facebook page.
With the exception of the solid black Mini, there were no opaque self-fillers in TWSBI's lineup. As much as I enjoy demonstrators, I don't always want to use them - their glorious ink slosh can be a distraction for me, and they draw more attention in general. While the black Mini could be a nice departure, it has no ink window. So to see the Classic bring on a more subtle & stately aesthetic while retaining the functionality I'd come to know from TWSBI, I was instantly sold.
The Classic is a smaller offering than TWSBI's flagship Diamond 580, both in length and diameter. While neither proportion has been drastically reduced, it is noticeable. Furthermore, because TWSBI wanted a uniform profile line when capped, there is a step down from barrel to section. This step doesn't bother me as it's nothing remotely like the Vac700's cliff.
There's no subtlety to the ink window, compared to Pelikan or the Lamy 2000, but then, TWSBI isn't really known for subtlety.
Visually speaking, the only issue I have is the chrome piston knob. It's just too much, compared to the rest of the pen. I find it throws off the balance and keeps it from meeting my original hope of "stately." I should have known that from the photos, right?
So I mentioned (and you can see above) that the Classic is smaller than the 580. The Classic is 12.6cm unposted. This is the same exact length as the open Micarta, and 1mm longer than the open Lamy 2000. I use the Micarta open (unposted) and find it exceptionally comfortable. I use the Lamy 2000 open for drawing and posted when writing (though this is more happenstance than a rigid policy). But here's the thing: I just can't get comfortable with the Classic. I don't know what kind of secret negative feng-shui is going on, but we just do not click.
Is it the lack of contour in the grip section? The absence of texture? The smaller diameter? I've been using this pen for three months and I Still can't pick out why we clash.
See how the cap is posted above? Yeah...the Classic doesn't post. Oh sure, the cap fits over the piston knob, but it's just sitting there loosely. If you like the look of tape wrapped around your knob, then this might not be an issue for you. Or if you just don't post your pens. Like me. But a lot of people are pretty disappointed by this. Thankfully, TWSBI are awesome and already working on a revised piston knob which will allow for solid posting traction. Way to go, TWSBI!
I do feel that the construction of the Classic is a little confusing.
The cap threads are chrome on chrome and honestly give a cheap sound and impression. The cap closes in seven eighths of a turn, which is rather shallow. Thankfully the o-ring after the threads allows you to bear down and snugly close the pen. If the o-ring weren't there, I would not be confident in it staying closed.
The piston hasn't been a pleasant experience for me. It seems very stiff and stutters through the revolutions. I could disassemble the pen and see if applying extra grease would alleviate these problems. But I haven't. And I shouldn't have to this early in the pen's life.
Speaking of the piston, the mechanism is actually set short. What does that mean? You can't actually get a full load of ink in the Classic (unless you take the pen apart and reseat the piston). Considering the limited visibility the ink window provides, this is actually pretty frustrating. Come on, TWSBI, you were so close!
Other than that, the Classic feels pretty solid and all other parts fit together well. The clip is pretty tight, but it works well on fabrics (including jeans); it doesn't seem a danger to my slacks, either. It's a good thing this Plain Jane has some function. And there are No visible molding seams, so that's cool.
Writing! Good news: the Classic effectively puts ink on the page! Unsurprising news: the JoWo nib is a nail and contains no secret flourish magics.
If you buy TWSBI pens for straightforward writing, the Classic will serve you well. It even comes in a 1.1mm italic option!
Though I do think it's worth noting that the TWSBI Classic wrote right out of the gate, smoothly and with proper flow. Not all new pens I acquire can boast that, unfortunately. But I've had consistently good luck with TWSBI products. Very consistent.
Now here's a writing sample that won't impress anyone:
My specific relationship with the Classic has been three months of reluctant-yet-regular use. After I finish it's current load, I'm probably going to clean and bench it for a while. It's just not the size (droid) I'm looking for at the moment. But that's just a personal thing.
Overall, the TWSBI Classic is a good workhorse pen. It's reliable and capable, and it looks pretty good.
As with all TWSBIs I've met, it's made and designed well, especially relative to its price. A piston-filler with replaceable nibs and it can be user-serviced by tools provided at purchase. For fifty bucks. That's still a good deal! As long as the smaller size and lack of posting don't break your heart, I think it's worth a look.
And for kicks, let's compare TWSBI's burgundy to Pilot's: