The Venvstas 78, a product of small French pen company Venvstas (pronounced Ven-oo-stas), is a pen with a lot to like. It's not like any other pen I've ever seen; instead of being cigar shaped or zeppelin shaped or even hourglass shaped, it is a slender cylinder (made of carbon fiber in this case) with two small stainless steel cutouts at either end. One of these houses the semi-hooded number 6 Schmidt nib; the other is the finial on which the small stainless cap can be posted. The cutouts are straight on one end and oblong on the other, creating a tapered effect that is quite striking to the eye. In fact, I think it's safe to call the entire pen striking--my eye finds it quite pleasing to look at, and also quite pleasing to hold. It is a light pen, with a comfortable length posted or unposted--while ever so slightly nib-heavy, posting the cap adds just a touch of back weight, creating a very balanced instrument.
Because of the pen's design, you might initially want to grip the pen by its metal hood that covers the nib; don't do that. Instead, hold the pen by the barrel close to the hood for best results. As such, there is no grip section per se. Instead, the barrel is the grip and it works just fine. While slender, gripping the pen in this way is as comfortable to my hand as any pen I own, and moreso than some. The matte carbon fiber finish provides for an easy grip with very little sliding, and the lightness of the pen causes very little fatigue, even during long writing sessions.
How does it write? Quite well. I have a slight scratchy spot on one downstroke on my medium nib, but Venvstas was quick to send me a new nib in broad (the medium was a little narrow for my taste anyway). The nib is friction fit, so switching it out won't be a problem. The nib and feed handle iroshizuku ink quite well, and the medium lays down a fine-ish line; I'd call it somewhere between a fine and a medium. The 78 is available with a wide range of nib options, as are all the Venvstas pens, including 14k and 18k gold options. It costs 75 euro (about $89 US) and international shipping is included. A carbon fiber pen case costs 10 euro extra (I think) and I think I'll be purchasing one of those. It seems fitting for carrying around this elegant, one-of-a-kind pen. The company's customer service is responsive and cordial; Pascal at Venvstas is a friendly, knowledgeable fellow, and promptly answered any and all of my questions and gave me an education on the fountain pen business to boot.
Dismantling the pen to load and clean is a relatively simple matter; the section is friction fit inside the barrel and simply pulls out. The converter or cartridge seats firmly inside the section, protected by metal ribs that extend on either side. A standard converter comes with the pen.
Overall, I like the 78 very very much. Along with their more famous Carbon T, this is one of Venvstas' lower-end pens. They've developed a unique piston-fill system as well as a really cool push-button vacuum fill for their higher-end models. Needless to say, those pens run a scoche more expensive, but if you've got the spare cash, I say go for it. At the very least, you will have a great conversation piece at your next pen show. But more likely, any model you purchase will make it into your EDC.
You can see the vacuum filler in action in one of their Youtube videos:
You can visit their website to see (and purchase) all of their pens here: www.venvstas.com
Edited by writerstephen, 13 October 2017 - 05:14.