The Tactile Turn Gist was a Kickstarter project that I backed last year. I received my finished fountain pen around three weeks ago, much longer than the proposed Jan 2016 ship date, and to be honest I had kind of forgotten all about it so it was a pleasant surprise when it arrived. I have spent a few weeks using this fountain pen and wanted to share my initial thoughts and impressions with you.
I decided to back the Gist as I had heard good things about Tactile Turn and the design of the Gist reminded me of the Lamy 2000 in style and shape. I don't own a Lamy 2000 and it has always been a fountain pen that has interested me. The Gist represented a low cost alternative and a chance to try out this style of fountain pen.
There were lots of different barrel and finish options available during the Kickstarter project and half the battle was figuring out which one I wanted. In the end I went for the polycarbonate barrel with the brass finish. The barrel is super light, like crazy lightweight. The brass finial and grip section give this pen additional weight which it really needs. I'm really happy with my brass choice, it gives the pen a nice pop when you remove the cap and I am already seeing some tarnishing on the grip section.
One small concern I do have is around the longer term durability of the barrel. Being lightweight I could easily drop this pen accidentally or it could get knocked and I am not sure how much of a workhorse this pen is. I know polycarbonate is considered to be a strong and durable material and therefore these concerns may be unnecessary, but I am intrigued about how it holds up over time and with more use.
The grip section is made up of lots of small rings that give the impression that they could dig into your fingers when writing with the pen and become uncomfortable to hold. That however is not the case, they actually seem to help your grip and stops your fingers from slipping towards the nib. I presume this was a considered design aspect rather than a happy accident.
The Gist comes with a Bock nib. This is my first experience with a Bock nib and I have found mine writes really well. It lays ink down on the page smoothly with good ink flow straight out of the box. The one odd thing about this nib and pen partnership relates to its size. The nib looks like an oversized monster on the end of the fairly small barrelled Gist. I have almost been a little surprised each time I have used the Gist at how large the nib is. It takes a little getting used to.
Continuing on the theme of size, overall I have found that the Gist is verging on the small side. It's just ok but a small amount of additional length would have improved this fountain pen a lot. Uncapped and when writing the Gist is just long enough in my hand to make it comfortable to write with. It just fits into that sweet spot on your hand. When trying to write with the pen capped it messes with the weight distribution too much and ruins the writing experience a bit. Generally with my fountain pens I don’t cap them when writing anyway, so this odd feeling I get is not solely about the Gist.
Lastly the pen cap is practically as long as the body. It's huge. Again in some ways I feel this is odd in relation to the proportions of the pen, but I don’t think it hurts visually. The clip is extremely sturdy but I am not sure I could actually move it even if I wanted to, its set in place very securely. I'd break a nail trying to pry that thing away from the pen cap.
The Gist is a good fountain pen for the price and writes really well. Overall I have enjoyed using it and pairing this with a lovely ink colour means I have enjoyed using it all the more. There are some things that I wish were a little different but for the price I can’t complain. I think this will be the only Gist I own, I am not tempted by other barrel and finish options unless over time some tweaks were made to the design.