I went into this purchase feeling uneasy due to the mixed reviews. I've been interested in a vacuum filling fountain pen for some time, so for the inexpensive price, I decided to make the purchase. I'm so glad I did! For $65.00USD, the TWSBI Vac 700 is an exceptional value.
I was immediately impressed by TWSBI's attention to detail with the packaging. The Vac 700 is received in a lightweight brown cardboard box with the TWSBI logo printed on top. Upon opening, you'll find a well protected clear plastic case containing the pen. It is held firmly in place by removable plastic brackets to ensure there is no damage during shipment. The clean and modern design of the case truly make a beautiful presentation! Included is a manual with filling instructions.
Currently, the TWSBI Vac 700 is only offered in clear resin. Prior to March 2015, it was offered in three additional color options: amber, blue, and smoke. The pen is designed very similar to other TWSBI models. The finial has the TWSBI logo encased in clear resin and surrounded by a metal bezel. The clip is sturdy but offers very little spring. Its unique sandblasted texture compliments the pen's overall design. BEWARE: The sandblasted texture is quite rough and may scratch the finish of other pens if you aren't careful. One day, I carried my Platinum #3776 together in a bag with the Vac 700. The sandblasted clip gave my Platinum's finish a beating. The grip and piston knob are made of smoke colored resin providing a nice color contrast. There are metal bands below the piston knob, around the nib section, and center band, which give the pen some additional style. The cap and piston knob possess the diamond pattern unique to TSWBI models.
The vacuum filling mechanism is easy to use. To fill the Vac 700, the piston knob is unscrewed and the cap is pulled to draw the plunger. Place the nib into the bottle of ink, then push the plunger down. That motion creates a vacuum in the barrel of the pen allowing the ink to suck into the barrel. It's all done in a matter of seconds. Also, when writing more than a few pages, you must unscrew the piston knob until you hear a pop so the ink can flow from the barrel to the feed.
The Vac 700 comes standard with a JoWo #6 stainless steel nib. Available nib sizes are EF, F, M, B, and 1.1mm or 1.5mm stub. JoWo is a German company that provides high-quality nibs for many other manufacturers such as the Edison Pen Company and Newton Pens.
The Vac 700 provides a great overall experience. I purchased the fine nib and find that it is smooth with moderate feedback. During my testing, I used Pelikan 4001 Brilliant Black and Pilot Namiki Black ink. Ink flow was consistent and I had no trouble laying down a clean wet line. The pen is considered large by some, but I find it to be very comfortable in my medium sized hand. I can go a full day without fatigue. Surprisingly, the Vac 700 can be posted, but weighing in at 32g, I prefer using it unposted as it feels more balanced. Those who enjoy posting may want to look into the Vac Mini.
Penman's Final Remark
The TWSBI Vac 700 is a great choice if you're looking for an inexpensive and reliable vacuum filler that will hold a ton of ink.