Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Visconti Homo Sapiens Florentine Hills Review


In late 2009, Florence-based luxury pen maker Visconti announced in a press-release covering a nib made of 95% Palladium (23k) alloy. Commonly available nibs are 14k/18k/21k Gold alloy (Sailor), with a few exceptions (Danitrio & the Japanese karat warriors), and this was the first of its kind perhaps after the Esterbrook or Sheaffer PdAg nibs.

The other side of the snippet showcased a pen christened with a name of Homo Sapiens(HS), which was forged from an equal mix of basaltic lava and resin, adorned with bronze and protected from competitors by a patent. The lava came from Mt. Etna (one of the active volcanoes) on the east coast of Sicily, Italy. 

I came to know of the HS a few years later. Visconti (estd. 1988) promised the HS lava to be unbreakable, flameproof (upto 100°C), albeit with a slightly hygroscopic body, oxidation prone bronze trims, but with a corrosion-resistant titanium power filler. The available designs now range from lava plus bronze/steel/black PVD to a 388-limited edition (bronze LE) or some 1000-LEs Crystal Swirls or Florentine Hills or 888-limited-London Fog (made up of Acroloid/Sterling Silver). Besides, fountain pens there are also roller-balls and ball-point pens in the HS range, but those, of course do not concern our primary interest. Initially after getting a HS in bronze, I was always on the lookout for one of these beauties in silver trims.

DESIGN (6/6) 


Visconti started the Homo Sapiens in Bronze & Lava as an homage to the evolution of mankind. Bronze Ages predates us by around five thousand years is the period, when humans began smelting and mixing of metals like copper and tin, to produce alloys like bronze. Also during that particular period, a system of writing/recording had evolved, mostly through the use of symbols. The trim-fittings including the HS Bronze clip are all made of bronze. 

                      The Florentine Hills carries the same design but is an acrylic demonstrator fused with ribbons of coloured celluloid suspended within - thereby the nomenclature acryloid. The ribbons range from light green to vivid tinges of yellow and reddish brown. 
These colours remind of meanderings through vineyards and olive groves, from the beechwood forests to the grassy groves of the countryside. The splendid works of Tuscany art and those picturesque landscapes somehow seem to share quite a common inspiration in spirit. 
                     A large silver centre-band at the start of the grip section with a HOMO SAPIENS imprint is followed by the particular LE number of the piece. So it’s typically XXX/1000 unless you ended up with the thousandth piece. The overall shape tapers towards the ends where you can enjoy the translucency of vivid green. Looks almost photosynthetic! The cap & blind cap might carry some of those celluloid ribbons, in a more subtle manner. 

The taper is more pronounced at the plunger end/blind cap rather than in the cap itself. A sterling silver loop embellishes the design at the start of the blind cap. It’s actually the filler collar. You can perhaps see a drop of Yama Budo :)

The unique locking system of the cap is nothing new if you have tried a HS. The quick hook safe lock threads (six) enable disengaging the cap, with a quarter of counter-clockwise twist. 

That little twist will of course reveal the dazzle of 23 karat Palladium nib and another photosynthetic grip section! A click is heard, once you correctly twist-lock the cap. A view of the inner cap locks

The cap has a spring inside to assist the locking mechanism. The section starts with the upraised locking threads with a faint resemblance to the Greek Key, and then tapers comfortably before ending up with a slightly raised stop. 

The finial mentions VISCONTI with the company trademark of the mirrored V. As always, the medal is customizable via Visconti's My Pen System with your initials or zodiac sign or gemstone (available from $15 onwards). You can pull out the visconti medallion from the finial by using any magnet and replace it with a gemstone of your choice. VISCONTI is embossed within a dark enamel background on both sides of the Ponte Vecchio clip which is made of sterling silver. 

The cap itself has a subtle taper towards the finial. Two spaced silver rings adorn the middle of the cap, dazzling within the greener pastures. The clip is spring loaded and you have to lift it to put it in your shirt pocket. The HS Bronze cap seems to have its own allure. :) 


A silver loop logically separates the blind-cap, from rest of the barrel. On rotating the blind cap till its end-stop, you will be able to pull out a plunger, much like a tethered sword pulled from its sheath. The inside of the blind cap carries a silver insert to run the threads and so that the acrylic is protected from any damage. 

          The plunger rod is made of Titanium, a metal which has proved to be phenomenally resistant to most corrosive of fluids. Titanium rods are often placed as support inserts by dentists, in order to rebuild broken tooth structures! However, the shining filler collar made of sterling silver shines down condescendingly on the rather dull rod. 

The filler collar in the HS bronze is made of titanium with a graphite like dull lustre. 
                                Once you push in the knob with the nib dipped inside an ink bottle, you can feel a surge of ink inside the pen. An ink capacity of around 2.2 mL doesn't allow your favourite ink to last that long, given a generous flow of even for a fine nib! Here you can observe the secondary ink chamber (double walled), which can be loaded/drained into the main chamber, once you pull back the piston seal. My flight experience has been pleasant with a fully filled secondary chamber. So unless one is taking the HS FH to Mars/ISS, one doesn't have to worry about it. The small chamber lasts quite a few pages with the Fine nib and can be filled once the wetness reflects a paucity of fuel! During longer writing sessions or broad nibs, I keep the piston seal open. 


The giant two-tone nib with an usual iridium tip comes in four main sizes – EF, F, M & B along two special widths – BB (double-broad) & Stub (S). The nib has an leverage of around 2.6 cm and it is a #6 Visconti nib. These dreamtouch nibs are manufactured by Bock. Half of them are probably out of touch due to a tine issue or the other!

             At the tail end of the nib, lies the nib width, above which embossed are the specifications of 23k Pd 950 and a word FIRENZE. Firenze refers to Florence in Italy which is the birthplace of both Italian Renaissance and Visconti Pens, thereby its borrowed tagline - The Writing Renaissance

                      Palladium is the dazzling silvery and matches well with the overall trims. Personally though, I prefer the two-tone gold adornment. The silvery finish diverges from the lunar-eclipse breather hole across the inside of the tines and over to the tail. The name VISCONTI lies below the moony breather hole, with splashes of shapes of diamonds, droplets and half-moons to ornament the nib. This one is a fine nib and came with misaligned tines. Now it writes smoothly after adjusting the tines, thankfully I didn't have to send it to Visconti again. 

              The feed is a standard visconti feed with closely spaced fins, carrying the V logo at the delta region. The nib is screw-fit onto the grip section and can be swapped with ease, provided you take care of the tines. It has a bit of flex (which increases with use), although there is not much difference for an EF & F nib, when it comes to line variation with mild pressure. Be careful with over-flexing the palladium nib, it might result in a permanent damage. 

This nib initially ran wet, though it gave a strong feedback at certain angles due to the right tine, which was misaligned. The right tine stood lower than the left. And the width it lay was close to a true EF. That’s was what bewildered me, how come a Visconti Fine write so thin! I bet it was still better than some of my bad sailor nibs! Post alignment of the tines, the width of the lines increased to a true European fine or a Japanese medium and it now runs with heavy juice. 


With a cylindrical body forged out of acrylic and celluloid & adorned with silver rings, it does give an earthly greenish repose. The overall weight has got a significant contribution from the cap due to the silver clip. A girth of around 1 cm is quite comfortable and it’s one of the most comfortable pens for me. As an analogy, the cap itself could be as heavy as a Pelikan m400 fountain pen. The HS bronze is heavier compared to the FH. 

  • Capped Length ~ 14.4 cm 
  • Non-posted Length ~ 13.2 cm 
  • Non-posted Weight ~ g 
  • Nib Leverage ~ 2.6 cm 
  • Overall Weight ~ 37.8 g (HS Bronze ~ 43.7 g) 
  • Overall Weight (inked) ~ 40.1 g 

  • Weight Without Cap ~ 22.8 g (HS Bronze ~ 26.6 g) 
         Comparing capped lengths, the HS (Since HS LEs are Oversize/Maxi) does seem similar to a Pilot Custom 823 (which is not as hefty), a m1000 is there to reference a comparison with the Size#8 nib (its heft is on the higher of HS). 


          Though the Homo Sapiens Florentine Hills sells around USD 800, it is available for lower street prices. I was able to get the pen at a pretty good price, and I don't want your decision to be coloured by this price, apart from discussing it. Still, I do fail to find a great economic value for a piece of acrylic with some silver(@50 cents/gram), even though it does feel great to hold, write and a pleasure to see. I feel the bronze edition is a rather memorable pen to keep. 

OVERALL (4.8/6) 

             One thing regarding the misaligned tines, it was an easy fix for me and did not require specialised services. It’s the most common problem across many luxury brands and sometimes it does run worse. Had it been something worse where I would have had to send the nib back, my rating would have been 1/6 on the nib, 1-for the design. 

           I am used to a few large pens, I like the balance and do not find any problem with either the heft or balance of HS. Personally I like the Lava model more, since the materials and workmanship seem much more elegant. There is some line variation as the #6 nib does render springy softness to cushion mild writing pressures. No hard starts, no skips! The Fine nib lays a line which runs true to its European standards and for a cross-reference it runs more like a Japanese Medium nib. The pen feels well balanced for my hands though it does seem to have a short section for gripping. The hook-safe threads might interfere with your grip, if you tend to hold a pen higher. 

I have used multiple fills of Iroshizuku Yama Budo & GvFC Moss Green inks, and the pen runs rather nicely with Iro. Which pen doesn't :) Being a wet writer out of the box, the Fine nib lays a nice juice but thinner line, which takes around 35 seconds to dry a GvFC Moss Green (I find Moss Green to dry quicker) on MD Paper. 

The flex is evident due to the springy nib, which with a gentle pressure delivers thicker strokes, though the range of strokes run broader with increasing nib-width. Personally, I would have saved up for a Conid in acrylic, but the lure or Palladium/Silver/Acryloid vs a Titanium/Acrylic marched right ahead in my head. Perhaps some day else, since titan is already there.


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Friday, June 17, 2016


This is an addendum to a more elaborate review of the TWSBI VAC700 fountain pen with a stock nib. You can find the VAC700 along with the VAC20 Inkwell reviewed here.

             Perhaps like many fountain pen lovers, I was quite overenthusiastic to try the Titanium nib before buying it along with an expensive body. Given the mixed reviews of T-flex & Titanio of dryness, hard starts among others, I was a little averse to make a bigger investment.

          With some research you can find that Bock is the sole known manufacturer of Titanium nibs. They supply their titan nibs to all OEMs including Stipula, Delta and now of course Conid. For some of the usual sellers (beauforink, namisu etc) the price shoots up after shipping charges, which should not be that much IMO, given it’s just a nib unit. 

                             Then I found Will Hodges’ rather excellent webshop ( He is the one magical turner who makes the beautiful Gist fountain pens from almost all materials - Polycarbonate, Brass, Copper, Bronze, Steel, Zirconium & Titanium and Will also stocks spare nib units in his webshop. At the time of my order, Will had kept even international shipping free and offered those Bock#6 Ti nib units@$59. I asked him if he tests those nibs before dispatch and he confirmed that everything is tested before dispatch. Happiness! Order placed immediately. Believe me, it does not get much better than this! The nib unit comes with the stock housing for CC fillers.

VAC700 earlier used to have these narrower Bock#6 steel nibs, before TWSBI switched to JoWo for their nibs. And my guess was that, the nib and feed should fit the VAC700 section perfectly. Since TWSBI was earlier shipping JoWo nib replacements along with VAC700s inserted with stock Bock#6 nibs, I thought it should not pose much of a problem. Will sent the nib unit bubble wrapped & tested inside a cuboid plastic sleeve. It arrived to my address in 10 days time via USPS!


1) You need to pull out the nib/feed unit from the black housing, to replace the corresponding JoWo parts with the new one. The feeds don't match as the Bock#6 is narrow compared the Jowo#6, so make sure none of these feeds is damaged. The JoWo nib is a beautiful writer, by the way.

2) The nib/feed has to be inserted in the right slot, so don't pressurise those in. If they are not getting in easily, look for the more spacious semicircle to face the nib. Else it will damage the unit. As in the Bock collar and the VAC700 front section, you can see that there are two subtly different semicircles on the cross section, where you insert the nib/feed. The higher radius arc faces the nib and the lower radius one faces the feed. This is the most IMPORTANT walkthrough, thanks to Brian Goulet!

          The nib shines with rather with a dull graphite lustre, characteristic of the metal itself. It carries an imprint of BOCK beneath their logo of a leaping antelope in a mountain background. There is titan mentioned in lower case beneath the imprint. The tines-shoulders carry some scroll work, but there is no mention the nib width anywhere (perhaps to economise both time & efforts). The Bock company is managed by Otto and Wolfgang Bock and they also produce gold and steel nibs units with these threaded housing.

The black plastic feed with a adequate feed channel for ink suction provides the inflow of ink. The thin fins ensure good buffer capacity.

This nib is juicy with a remarkably different sort of graphite smoothness (say 2B pencil) with the present sailor ink. It kind of reminds me of those old graphite wooden pencils, which we used during primary school days. Not butter smooth like say a Faber Castell gold nib, but the nib does run with graphite feedback, if you remember the feedback you felt while using those HB, 2B lead pencils :). The nib opens up its tines, flexing with even a moderate pressure and the ink flow does increase dramatically. The variation is evident with moderate pressure levels and the feel is amazing. The key point being, its elastic range is less than a 14k/18k gold nib. So once the nib starts giving a stronger reflex/reverse-pressure while flexing, you know that it’s because of pushing the tines beyond their elastic limit, a point of permanent bend. Then you have to bend it the other way and it could be a pain to align titanium tines. This is where I personally exercise a bit of caution. Finally it’s not an inexpensive nib to damage.

         Being a juicy wet writer out of the box, the Fine nib puts up a real shimmering line, which takes around 45 seconds to dry a Sailor Yama Dori ink on MD Paper. The earlier JoWo medium nib lines were thicker and took 25 seconds to dry the same ink on the same paper. The longer verticals are with moderate pressure. 

Writing sample JoWo stock nib in Medium

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Review of a TWSBI VAC 700 with a VAC 20 Travel Inkwell

Over time, I observed that the 580 did not find much use, primarily because my writing preferences have graduated towards softer and larger nibs along with time. So here comes the saviour from TWSBI - The Vac 700, with a bigger nib of #6 size, and a vacuum plunger mechanism. Personally, I prefer the concept of an ink shut off valve. 
If you are looking for a review of the 580, here it is.


TWSBI (pronounced Twiz-Bee) refers to San Wen Tong, i.e TWS spelled backwards and it means ‘Hall of Three Cultures’ and if you wish to know, more information is available on their website. BI at the end, refers to writing instruments. Ta Shin Precision has manufactured a range of things starting from toy lego parts to high-end writing instruments, for several luxury brands (both American & Japanese) for well over 40 years. So that’s plastic, metal & precision, precisely what’s required to make and sell a good looking writing instrument, under a brand name. Which luxury brands? They don’t reveal those due to privacy agreements. I have reasonable doubt from various reviews that one of them is Levenger. Also, the shaft mechanism inside Pilot Custom 823 seems similar to the one in the Vac 700. TWSBI sources its nibs from JoWo (earlier it was Bock & Schimdt), Germany (same as for Faber-Castell Stock Steel nibs).


Clean, clear and minimal packaging! A transparent pen lying inside a clear plastic case, encased within a brown cardboard box with adequate cushions of foam. There is an instruction sheet on filling & disassembly of the pen, highlighting the pen parts. Below the white pen-holding shelf, you will find the 7mm TWSBI wrench, couple of O-rings for the filler collar and a vial of silicone grease in two push slots. Neat!


The VAC 700 used to come in four transparent colours - Sapphire, Amber, Smoke & Clear. Now TWSBI has retained the production of the clear model only. I was looking for a clear model, since I already have a few other coloured demos. The build of VAC700 is sturdy and it seems that a substantial amount of acrylic has been used. Honestly, it never felt cheap nor does it feel luxurious. I think this pen endorses practical utility rather than art, with which you will probably associate a Visconti. More of an industrial look, for which I like this pen. Plastic & Acrylics economise both cost and weight of fittings. 

                  Most of it is visible engineering & the use of a steel plunger rod along with rubber piston and valve seals can be seen from the outside. The barrel and cap are made of thick polycarbonate, with a protective heat treated layer to increase resistance to scratches & abrasions, thus preserving the crystal transparence. The blind cap and the section exhibit translucence with smoky hue and I strongly fill that its takes out some beauty element out of the equation. But then, I wanted the clear one to enjoy the ink colour itself.

The cap feels substantial and unscrews with one and a half turn, revealing a nicely sized steel nib. There is a metallic collar for the nib unit, supplying necessary chrome accents for the aesthetics part of it. The smoky translucent blind cap has a rather broad ring making the mark for usage and disassembly. The barrel is smooth and rounded with a decagonally cut blind cap, which fails to prevent the open pen from rolling away. The pen rolls on the broad steel ring below the blind cap. The acrylic orchestrates light well and dazzles the ink inside the barrel.

The cap has a widish chrome band carrying a laser engraved TWSBI on one side of it and VAC 700 TAIWAN on the other. The finial carries a vibrant red & silver TWSBI logo of three pillars within a dome of transparent acrylic. The clip has a frosted aluminium feel and finish and is spring-loaded within a visible system with a chrome tassie. The cap has a geometrical decagonal cut, though the clip prevents any rolling away. The frosted look & feel of aluminium and somewhat stands out unevenly compared to the overall dazzling steel chrome trims. The cap is moderately heavy (@13g not 19g). You can also see a transparent inner cap, which prevents the nib from drying out.


As a plunger filler, it does have a good ink capacity around 1.8~2.3 mL (a full fill which is easy to do from an inverted Vac 20 bottle or repeated air removal filling). The smoky translucent blind cap unscrews with three complete turns. The rod is made of stainless steel and is resistant to most of the commonly used inks. For IG (Iron Gall) and Pigment Inks, care must be taken to clean the pen several times, to prevent clogging or deposit accumulation inside the ink passages. 

With the usual ink bottle, the pen fills to around two-thirds of its capacity, once the nib is completely dipped in ink and the plunger is pushed back in. This can give a good amount of ink inside with a comfortable volume of 1.5 - 1.8 mL. Sometimes, I have to repeat it several times to create a good vacuum, an issue I never had with the Custom 823 or the Homo Sapiens. The Custom 823 takes only a second vacuum to fill well. But YMMV.

Cleaning the pen could be a similar ritual accompanied with some shake and I suggest you do it on a regular basis, for the ink stains if left may look ugly with time, and might require a light ammonia solution to go-off. Else you could just disassemble the shaft mechanism from the barrel and clean the transparent barrel with some a light dishwashing liquid water solution.

               And as mentioned in the manual, while writing with the pen, you would need to keep the piston-knob slightly unscrewed & pulled to the first stop (at a 4 mm distance) relative to the chrome ring. This will displace the conical valve rubber seal below the piston seal, to allow passage of ink to the feed. Given the high ink capacity of these pens with plunger filling mechanism, it has been introduced to prevent ink-leakage. And this is a nice thing to have, if you intend to carry the pen by air. The feeder hole looks like a channel to enable efficient ink suction. 

                         A problem I have landed up with this piece is that while filling it from a VAC 20 bottle, there are some ink drops coming out of the rear end of the filler collar. I emailed TWSBI Customer Service and Philip asked me to replace the filler O-ring with the spare one, which is actually thinner. Steps/link in disassembly section.

However, this did not solve the issue completely and Philip was kind enough to have his factory send an immediate replacement of shaft mechanism. We both think that the inner O-ring of the shaft mechanism is the culprit.

Update One week later, the replacement mechanism arrived, and there is no leakage of ink from the opening of the filler collar now. Awesome customer service, TWSBI team! The VAC gets the new mechanism. (The defective one stays beside the pen)


The VAC 20 inkwell comes within a small cardboard box. Unlike the well packaged Diamond 50 bottle, the packaging is pretty plain. It’s made of plastic and weighs around 20 grams without ink. 

Ink Capacity is 20 mL, of course (Thus VAC 20, but wait, what about VAC 700! :D). The below bottle is around two-thirds filled.

The bottle used to come in five simple variants - black, orange, red, green & blue top-caps and occupies a fraction of space taken by the Diamond 50 inkwell.

The new one however is called VAC 20A and it has an additional insert for the VAC Mini.

       You have to remove the top cap for filling the VAC 700. The base cap has the threads of the VAC 700 pen inside, so as to fit the pen precisely. 

And with an inverted configuration you can pull/push the plunger to suck the ink to full capacity of the pen. 

And there is no need of cleaning the VAC700 after filling ink, as only the feed area is exposed. Cool ! 

The outer cap has a good sealing tube and I never found any ink leakage from the bottle itself, even after keeping it inverted in my backpack for 2 days of travel.

                        Personally, I find it comfortable as a travelling inkwell since the dimensions are minimal and the base bottle offers the height of ink to completely immerse nibs of most pens with standard nib sizes. The only quibble I have is: when you fill ink in any other pen, the base cap (black) has to be unscrewed and it exposes the broader opening of the bottle. The secure bottle acting as a pen stand is now gone. The inner taper of the base cap block sections of most of the similar sized pens (except VAC 700 & a few slimmer ones). Besides it’s priced pretty decent (in US), and you do travel with 20 mL of your favourite ink. 


In cases where the piston has become stiff or there is any leakage of ink from the rear, it would require you to disassemble and self-service the pen. You can find two spare O-rings with the wrench and silicone grease. You can have a look at a 700 disassembly video. I like this one. Make sure you thoroughly flush the pen with water before disassembling it.

  1. Rotate the blind cap counter-clockwise, till it rotates freely. 
  2. Pull out the blind cap till it comes to an end stop. The same thing you do while longer writing sessions. 
  3. Fit the wrench below the blind cap on the area of the filler collar which has two parallel cuts on the otherwise circular section. 
  4. Rotate counter-clockwise till the collar comes out of the inner threads. There is an O-ring on the collar (at the end of those threads ideally) that goes inside the barrel, to prevent leakage of ink. (the same ring for which spares are provided) 
  5. Then you can pull off the shaft mechanism along with the blind cap from the barrel. 
  6. The nib unit can be easily removed by first unscrewing the grip section from the barrel 
  7. Since, nib is friction fit, you may remove the nib and feed from the unit, in case there is some heavy cleaning required (in case of a bad flow, sometimes the feed is coated with grease which restricts ink-flow). 
  8. Make sure you carefully apply adequate amount of silicone grease with a earbud/toothpick to the sides of the conical frustum like rubber piston seal/lip before reassembly. Don't use any grease on the conical valve seal, else the grease may block the section slit, thereby the flow of ink


This is a silver accented stainless steel nib from Jowo of size#6. It carries off the TWSBI traditional dagger-like design well. Across four stock widths - EF, F, M, B and two special widths of Stub 1.1 & Stub 1.5, this looks pretty industrial and minimalistic. The nib/feed unit can also be taken out of the sleeve after unscrewing the section.

The tail end specifies carries the nib width, while the name TWSBI along with the logo rest above the tail. There is some simple scroll within the symmetry of its tines, reflecting the rather industrial look of the pen. 

A black plastic feed with a adequate feed channel for ink suction provides the inflow of ink. The thin fins ensure an acceptable buffer capacity, although I have always found better feeds in Pilot & of course the Pelikans. The feeds are said to be a bit brittle. So suggest you take care if you are replacing the nib.

These are sourced from JoWo. Earlier, TWSBI used to source its nibs from Schmidt and then Bock, which is incidentally the nib-supplier for Faber-Castell smoothy nibs too. The nib being a medium is a juicy wet delight to write with. And it lays a line which runs a tad thicker than Japanese Medium/European Fine nibs. More of this in the last section with writing sample.


The pen even without ink, does have a good balance in terms of both weight and length. The pen is not meant to be posted for the likes of me. The grip is quite comfortable for me, with a girth of 1 cm for me. The weight of the pen is mainly due to the steel/aluminium metal parts along with the steel rod used in the shaft mechanism. 
  • Uncapped Length ~ 13.2 cm 
  • Capped Length ~ 14.4 cm 
  • Nib Leverage ~ 2.4 cm #6 
  • Overall Weight ~ 32 g (Cap Weight ~ 13 g) 
  • Max Ink Capacity ~ 2.3 mL 

Capped and uncapped comparisons with a Pelikan m805 and a Pilot Custom 823, run below for your reference.

An uncapped vac 700 along with other.


The VAC700 retails at around Rs 9,500 ($ 141 @ 67 INR/USD) here and I got it from Manoj (of Manoj Pen Mart) at around Rs 4500, in exchange for another sparsely used TWSBI. The pen retails at USD 65, in the US and cheaper in other countries. A major problem with ordering it from TWSBI’s website is the heavy FedEx shipping charges, and also un-calculated duties to be paid for. 

OVERALL (5.2/6)

This nib is wet and smooth with most of the inks. Since, I am used to a few large pens, I did not find a problem with either the heft or the balance of Vac 700. Many people don't find the heft/weight comfortable. There is no noticeable line variation but the #6 nib does render some spring, which can cushion your writing. The medium nib lays a line which runs a tad thicker than Japanese Medium/European Fine nibs. The pen feels balanced for my hands both with or without pressure and given the tapered profile of the section, it has a good grip. I have used single fills of Waterman Florida Blue & Sailor Yama Dori inks in rotation, and the pen nicely in the case of Sailor ink. 

Being a wet writer out of the box, the Medium nib puts up a nice juicy line, which takes around 22-25 seconds to dry a Sailor Yama Dori ink on MD Paper.

The spring and length of this steel nib reminds me of the fact that a good steel nib can always be of joy. However, if you ask me to compare the Custom 823#15 nib with this steel nib, I would say it's great but the 823-14k nib fairly wins in terms of cushion, softness and additional spring.


Disassembly - Removing ink shut off valve (Warranty may be voided)
TWSBI Nib Adjustment

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