I was originally going to get the pen for Father's Day last year, but the delays obviously made that impossible (which is fine; I'm glad they waited to release the pen until it met their approval). Once they became available, I wanted to hold off on getting one until the clear version came out, but I finally decided I had enough clear demonstrators and bought the amber model instead. When it arrived, my daughters and I opened the package together, and it was a great daddy-daughters experience. For the record, here are their reviews: "Cool!" and "Awesome!"
Appearance & Design (8/10)
Capped, I think the pen looks fantastic. I'm a fan of the brushed clip, although I know others don't necessarily like it, and I enjoy the juxtaposition of the smooth barrel and the faceted cap and filler knob. Uncapped, however, the section and step are a little more squared than I would have liked. I don't think it's ugly by any means, but I do think it would have looked nicer if they'd rounded off some of those angles just a hair. And I think a pinched section would have made longer writing sessions more comfortable.
This is a big pen. Longer than my M1005 capped, only slightly shorter uncapped, and almost exactly the same length posted. It's not as wide as the M1005, but it's still a nice, substantial pen.
The amber is a great, dark-orange color. Almost brownish. I'm one of those (crazy? sane?) people who likes to match inks to pens, so I was very happy to see that I'd be able to use everything from reds and oranges to browns in the pen without offending my color-matching sensibilities.
Construction & Quality (10/10)
Everything about this pen seems extremely sturdy and well assembled. I've only owned it for a day, so I have no idea how it will hold up in the long term, but I have no complaints so far. The clip works well, and both the cap and filler knob screw and unscrew very smoothly. It feels like a pen you could throw across the room and keep using. Not that I plan on doing that anytime ever.
Nib & Performance (10/10)
More like 15/10. This is, by far, the best F nib I've ever received out of the box. Based on some of the reviews I've read, and the fact that I prefer my nibs on the wetter side, I was expecting the flow to be too dry and need some adjusting. But that wasn't the case at all. Maybe I just got extremely lucky, but this nib couldn't possibly have been tuned more to my liking, and I've never been able to say that about a pen that didn't come from a nib meister, and definitely not a F nib. I'm 100% satisfied with the nib and the writing performance.
Filling System & Maintenance (10/10)
Until yesterday, my filling system preference went (in order): bulb, piston, sac (vac, lever, squeeze), eyedropper, dip, suck ink off a dirty floor and spit it into the barrel, cartridge, converter. But now I've got to figure out where in the list to put the vacuum filler. It's in the top three for sure, and I think probably above piston. I don't think it has supplanted bulb-fillers yet, but it's definitely close. It's such a cool filling system. I got the barrel completely full on the first try using DizzyPen's method. No muss, no fuss. It's actually almost too easy, which is why I think I might still like bulb-fillers more—bulbs give you more time to enjoy the filling process. Regardless, it's an excellent system. A little quirky maybe, but that's what I like about it.
I haven't emptied the pen yet, but I have a feeling the vac system is going to make it extremely easy to clean.
Cost & Value (10/10)
I bought this pen during the Memorial Day weekend sale, along with a 540 (1.1 stub) and an ink bottle (green). TWSBI was giving out free bottles of Pelikan Edelstein ink during the sale, and my bottle was Sapphire. All of this—two pens, an awesome ink bottle, and a bottle of relatively expensive ink—cost me only about $170 with shipping. If that's not the freaking deal of the century, I don't know what is. Even without free Edelstein ink, at $85, the Vac 700 is a steal. For the money, nothing else comes anywhere close.
Conclusion (Final score 58/60—9.7)
As long as the section and the step don't bother you, you have to get one of these pens. I'll almost certainly get another color, and I wouldn't be shocked at all if I end up with all of them. For a long time, the Lamy 2000 was the pen I'd recommend to people looking to spend a little more money on a second-tier (third-tier?) pen, but now I'll be recommending the Vac 700 instead, and wholeheartedly.
Edited by watch_art, 02 March 2013 - 15:53.