Since introducing the 530 several years ago, TWSBI has dominated the $50-100 price point, and has also made serious headway into the entry-level segment with the TWSBI Eco. But what about the TWSBI Diamond Mini, the pen that seems to get lost in the shuffle? Honestly, it's probably my favorite TWSBI pen, at least in terms of functionality.
There's no real need to go into the history of TWSBI again in-depth - I've already done this in prior reviews of the flagship TWSBI 580, the TWSBI Vac Mini, and the TWSBI Eco. The short version is that TWSBI is a Taiwanese manufacturer that has proven companies can bring a high-quality piston-filling fountain pen to market at well under $100. The Diamond Mini has never really attracted the same amount of attention as the Vac models and the 580, because I think many people tend to write the Diamond Mini off as a "smaller and cheaper" 580 that's a bit boring. In terms of looks, they're correct: there's not a lot to visually distinguish the Diamond Mini from the 580, other than - obviously - the shorter length and some different color schemes. Both pens have the same faceted barrel and similar nibs. So why do I like the Mini so much? Because it posts.
The piston knob on the Diamond Mini is threaded, so the cap not only posts, but screws on for maximum security. This feature is quite convenient for someone like me, who tends to write "on the go" a lot in situations where I don't have a table to place the cap. I don't typically recommend that people purchase a fountain pen for their primary "pocket carry," simply because they take longer to deploy, but the TWSBI Diamond Mini is always at or near the top of that list if you just can't bring yourself to use a ballpoint.
Takeaways and Where to Buy
I always recommend TWSBI pens to people who are interested in trying a piston-filler fountain pen for the first time. The barrier to entry is lower than a Pelikan M200 or a Lamy 2000, and TWSBI generally offers a relatively inexpensive, reliable writing experience while still allowing people to dabble in the "limited edition" craze. For the past few years, TWSBI has released a series of AL (aluminum) trim models in various colors. If you like the AL Gold model pictured in this review, I'd jump on that pretty fast because they seem to be getting scarce, and TWSBI will likely replace them with a new color sometime this year. The standard Diamond Mini, however, is pretty much always available, and also comes in a black "classic" configuration. I typically order all of my TWSBI's through Amazon.
Note: The reputation of TWSBI's "Diamond" models (the 580 and the Diamond Mini) have suffered a bit in years past due to reports of barrels cracking. More recently, TWSBI seems to have improved both their quality control and manufacturing process. I've personally never suffered any sort of catastrophic failure or ink leakage, even on one Diamond Mini that developed hairline cracks on the section. (This was an initial run model from four or five years ago.) Regardless, TWSBI is known for having good customer service, so if you run into a problem, they will make it right.
Disclaimer: I purchased the pen featured in this review with my own funds, for my own use. This post does contain affiliate links. Pricing and availability is current as of the time of this review.