From Taiwan Culture Shop:
After spending nearly 20 years as an OEM manufacturer for Japanese pen companies, Wang Chengchang decided he wanted to “try making things for himself”, and TWSBI Montesa was born.
The name TWSBI Montesa, aside from being unique and uniquely memorable, has quite a story behind it, as we found out from Mr. Wang himself…
In the brand’s early days, Wang tried to register the name Montesa, but was turned away because there was an Indian company in Taiwan at the time that had registered a similar sounding name.
After struggling to come up with a new name for quite some time, Wang still could not decide on one he liked. Then one day after he woke up from an afternoon nap, the name San Wen Tang or “Hall of Three Cultures” popped into his head. Since he was creating a brand for office supplies, the character wen, which refers to language and culture, is singularly appropriate and is a good way to highlight the brand’s focus. The name also brings to mind the Hall of the Three Rare Treasures created by Emperor Qianlong as a memorial to three great masterpieces of Chinese calligraphy. Wang decided that the name was a perfect way to show his affection for the new brand, which was created in honor of the company that his father had founded and passed on to him.
After settling on San Wen Tang for the brand’s Chinese name, Wang turned his attention to choosing an English name. First he took the initials of the Romanized Chinese SWT, and reversed them: TWS. Then he added the Chinese word Bi, which is used to refer to writing tools, to arrive at TWSBI, a truly unique name that reflects the company’s focus on creating fine pens.
In 2009 Wang and his brand entered the pen market with the goal of “Bringing the best products to the public.” What exactly does he mean by “the best products” you might ask? Wang is quick to point out that the company’s extensive experience as an OEM manufacturer is what allows them to create products that can truly be counted among the best. And this is not just an empty promise; it is backed up by every move the company makes. Interacting with customers via online pen related websites and forums is something that Wang does constantly. This interaction allows him to understand customers’ needs and to collect valuable suggestions for brand development. Online interaction has also brought customers directly into the design process: in some cases, customer suggestions are used directly as the basis for important design decisions.
As the company’s sole marketing channel and core brand development platform, the internet has simplified customer interaction and helped ensure that the company remains firmly focused on customer service. Only by giving customers what they want can a brand truly succeed.
The TWSBI story is truly intriguing. The pen was developed and improved with massive input from fountain pen users all over the world, most significantly members of the Fountain Pen Network, where Mr. Wang, or Speedy, gathered opinions and input from the members.
The Diamond 530 is the first of the TWSBI line that is expected. It is a piston filling pen and there are plans for a vacuum filing pen in the future. From what I have been able to glean from reading the TWSBI Blog and FPN the target introduction date for the vacuum filler looks to be sometime around March 2011.
There are now several nib sizes and multiple colors of the Diamond 530 at the TWSBI Ebay store and additionally there is a new model called the TWSBI Montesa Venezia, which is a cartridge/converter fill pen rather than a piston fill (The Venezia is actually the first pen made, before they became TWSBI, according to the eBay site).
The Diamond 530 had some initial issues, the piston seals leaked, but the company has been extremely responsive and actually notified buyers of the issue and sent out new seals. I received new seals also, but my pen has never experienced any issues so I'm following the philosophy - if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
The Diamond 530 is a well made pen and deserves consideration from every fountain pen user. It is an especially good option for those that want a sturdy workhorse pen for not too much money.
Back in July, fellow blogger Ravensmarch, did an extremely thorough review of the TWSBI down to completely dismantling the entire pen. Rather than doing that here go take a peek at his review.