PenBBS 456 Fountain Pen Review


I put off buying a pen from PenBBS for sometime. I had plenty of pens from China. A few were good, but most were trash, frankly. But I kept hearing good things. Plus, I wanted to try a vacuum filler. Therefore, I recently picked up a PenBBS 456, and I’m sure glad I did. Read to the end for how to get one on the cheap.


Packaging and Presentation

The 456 comes nestled in an above-average box, wrapped in plastic. As this is a vac filler, no other supplies are necessary (converters, cartridges, etc.) and are irrelevant. I only really save boxes on the off chance I’d want to sell it down the road. This will protect it en route to the states (or wherever you find yourself). That’s all that matters to me.


Appearance and Build

This is a beautiful pen. Gorgeous. A couple of folks commented on my Instagram feed and agreed. I chose the Vermouth version with a two-colored nib. It’s a beautiful, transparent green. I love the chrome accents. It’s a beautiful pen.


In addition, it’s a substantial, clearly well-built pen. It weights 32 grams, at least filled with ink. I know heavier doesn’t equal pricier, but it doesn’t feel like a inexpensive pen.

Nib and Filling System

The PenBBS 456 continues to shine here. The nib is so smooth. I read this in other reviews, but I was skeptical. It doesn’t disappoint. The nib is slightly turned-up on the end. Some have said it’s similar to a “fude” nib. Others have compared it to a Waverly. All I know is it’s wet and smooth. It writes well from multiple angles (more angled, upright, etc.). The filling system and pen feed do a great job of keeping this nib smooth and wet and ready to write.


Now, about that filling system. It’s a vacuum filler. I’ve been wanting to try a vac fill for sometime. I’ll be on the lookout for a Pilot Custom 823 on my upcoming Japan trip. TWSBI also makes a Vac 700. How does it work? You twist the knob. You pull out the shaft. You place it in a bottle of ink. You push it down. It fills up with ink. It’s unique. It’s beautiful. It works great. One note on the knob. For longer writing sessions, you’ll want to leave the knob left open. I’m not sure how it all works. But that keeps ink flowing to the feed and nib, and it holds a ton of ink.


Feel and Experience

If you haven’t gotten it yet, I love this pen. It feels great in the hand. It writes extremely smoothly. The vacuum filling message is fun. If you’re looking for an inexpensive, but well-made pen, check this one out, but only if you’re ready to dabble in the world of bottled ink (which you certainly should do). In addition, check out the PenBBS page on Etsy. You can often find the 456 significantly cheaper, even for as low as $30. It’s well worth that.

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