Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Featured Pen - TWSBI Vac 700

If you have not yet heard of TWSBI (pronounced twiz-bee), then you must indeed be very new to the world of fountain pens.

You can read all about how they came to be on my previous post, on the TWSBI Diamond 530, or you can go directly to the TWSBI website.

So here at long last, is the TWSBI Vac 700, in Smoke (it also comes in Sapphire and Amber).  I chose Smoke because my Pilot Custom 823 Vac is Amber.

[You can click on any of the photos to enlarge for more detail]

As I began writing this, I went back to my Diamond 530 review and noticed that the original estimated introduction date for this pen was March 2011.  The actual introduction was April 2012.  I don't know why all of this took so long, but whatever the reason, the delay was worth it.  I really like this pen.

You cannot really see it in these photos, but the clip on the TWSBI V700 is a brushed finish, while all the other trim is smooth.  I have not figured out the reason for this, but my very first reaction when I removed it from it's box what "WHY?"  I really like the brushed finish, but wish that they had been consistent and brushed all the trim or left it all smooth.  You can see the differences much more clearly in the review by Brian Anderson at and in the review by Brian Goulet at Ink Nouveau (just forgive him the "dance moves")

Here you have the Vac 700 next to the Custom 823.  They are very close to being the same size.

Capped or uncapped.

The major difference in the nibs is the material.  The Pilot has an 18kt nib while the TWSBI is steel.  This also accounts for some of the difference in the price.  The 823 runs about $290 while the TWSBI is only $85.  The other difference in these two specific pens is the nib size.  The TWSBI is an XF while the Pilot is an F.

You can see how close the nibs are in size.

If the TWSBI Vac 700 had been available a year ago, I might never have purchased the 823.  But that's ok, I love them both.

The TWSBI Vac 700 is available at many fine retailers, including:

or directly from TWSBI

Stayed tuned as there is supposed to be a clear demonstrator version of the Vac 700 out later this summer? year? I've also heard that additional nib sizes will be available i.e. the Stub 1.1 and 1.5, but have not yet heard a time frame on the availability.

Oh and go visit Ravensmarch - he's done it again by completely dismantling his Vac 700.


Azizah said...

Ooohh I have been eyeing the Vac myself... at first I thought I would go with the 540 but the Vac system is so cool!! Have you had any problems with the nib not writing properly or anything? I was a little hesitant to get one of these (Or the 540) after reading about other people's pens giving them nib trouble and needing replacement..

Julie (O-kami) said...

No, I have not had any issues AT ALL with the nib. It is awesome.

Lisa Anderson said...

We heard from TWSBI yesterday & we were told that they are not yet done manufacturing the Clear Vac 700, as well as the Vac 700 nib units. The time frame we were given is "about 2 months, give or take a week or 2).


kp said...

Great review! I have been wavering about whether to get one or not, and if I were to take the leap, I'm specifically interested in an EF, so I really appreciate the writing sample. I like your comparisons to the Pilot vac and the photos with the shell are lovely. One of the reasons I have held off on purchasing is because I am concerned about the placement of the threads and the "step". Do you find this uncomfortable at all?

Julie (O-kami) said...

I do not find the threads or the step to be a problem. I tend to hold my pen fairly close to the nib and so did not even notice them.

If you hold it further back it might be an issue, but I tried it and did not find it to be particularly uncomfortable.

kp said...

Thank you!

Dan said...


Nice overview. I know this was about the Vac700 but it actually makes me want to get the 823.

Regarding the reason for the matte finish on the clip, we explain that in our exhaustive review at FPGeeks.

Also, glad to see yours wrote well out of the box. Mine did as well but I've seen comments from many others who weren't as fortunate.

ravensmarch said...

Well, shucks. I only do it so others don't have to.

Like Dan, I now find myself pining for that Pilot. I had no idea it was such a colossus!

Andrea said...

I bought one of these when they were first released. I really like the TWSBI line of fountain pens. They are lovely to look at, have a nice balance, love that they are piston filled and they write great - consistently. You can't go wrong.

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