TWSBI Vac 700 Clear (modified!)

I picked this up used on a lark for £35:

This is the old release, not the 700R.

Truth be told, after holding out on TWSBI for a long time and finally succumbing to the 580AL in the last days of 2016, I was surprised I hadn’t sprung for this earlier. It’s easily worth its RRP of £65, with good heft, a surprisingly smooth vacuum filler mechanism, and TWSBI’s by-now-classic demonstrator look. No other maker even attemps to compete with TWSBI at this price point, and the only other two common vacuum-filler makes on the market are the Pilot Custom 823 (at ~£175/$230) and Visconti’s double-reservoir models (don’t even think about it). TWSBI also makes a small model (the Vac Mini) at the same price.

Sandblasted cap?

The design of the Vac 700 is almost completely minimalistic, in black, silver and clear, save for the rather strange decision to have a sandblasted clip. It works for me, somehow, but did take some time to get used to. In my pen holder it does help me distinguish this visually from the 580AL’s cap. 

The Vac 700 comes in clear, black, orange and blue, though the knob and section in the clear version still remains black. (With the Vac Mini you have the option of getting a clear knob and section.)

I did have a little issue with the plunger assembly, though, having got it stuck fairly soon after it arrived. I emailed TWSBI and chairman Philip replied personally to my email, offering to send me a replacement. I only had to pay for the cost of shipping from Taiwan to London! 10/10 rating for their team; they obviously work very hard to keep their customers happy.

The Franklin-Christoph nib I use, and TWSBI’s stock EF.

Now for the best part of a TWSBI pen: the customisability! I bought this in EF, but soon switched to a Bock #6 F, which helped me get through the big fill (2.3ml!) slightly more quickly. I like changing colours more often than not, so I’ve not filled it to maximum capacity since then. I bought a Franklin-Christoph Masuyama MCI off r/pen_swap, and it’s remained in there since, being a truly incredible writing experience. (The EF was pretty cool too, but a little on the toothy side.)


Here’s a writing sample using the Masuyama nib:

This is really quite something. 

And because it is such a pleasure to write with this, it’s seen constant use since I’ve bought it. The weight is just right for long writing sessions, though I do find myself defaulting to some sort of italic-letter very quickly — see below!

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