What's the difference?
Long story short, they're essentially the same model of fountain pen, but the 580AL and 580ALR have several parts made of aluminum instead of plastic.
The TWSBI Diamond 580 fountain pen comes with a benchmark piston ink-filling mechanism and has all detachable parts. The clear demonstrator barrel allows you to see your ink color and remaining ink level. It comes with a stainless steel nib and is presented in a modern clear display case.
The idea behind the TWSBI Diamond 580 was to go back to basics and capture the simplicity and elegance of traditional writing instruments. In recent years, the development and modernization of writing instruments has resulted in traditional writing instruments, such as fountain pens, falling into obscurity. It was TWSBI's goal to bring the past back to life by creating a traditional fountain pen that even modern day society can appreciate.
The TWSBI 580AL fountain pen builds upon the 580, but there are basically 4 parts of the pen that are aluminum instead of plastic: the grip, the screw, the connector, and the screw bolt. The grip is the only part that you can even touch on the pen. The others are all internal components, part of the piston mechanism. These 4 aluminum pieces add a little bit of durability, a little bit of weight (4g increase total making the whole pen 32g), and a little bit of bling.
The bling is more apparent with other colors of the 580AL, which are usually released as special editions. Be sure to check our TWSBI 580 Special Edition History blog post to see previously released versions.
The 580ALR is most similar to the 580AL. The only difference is that the aluminum has been enhanced with a subtle matte finish, with circular engravings in the grip and cap area.