Lamy


The Lamy Horror Picture Show 4

Think of a random number between 1 and 1000.

No, really. Please do.

Ok, now multiply this number by 3 and remember it.

Well, imagine the shock I got when I recently had a closer look at my Lamy 2000.

Lamy 2000 exploded view

Cleaning my Lamy in expectance of the new ink

On a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is ‘Not shocked at all’ and ’10’ is censored because of the expletives uttered, the number representing my shock was slightly higher than the number I just asked you to remember.

It all started with me happily going about my daily business and cleaning my Lamy 2000 (with an EF nib) in expectance of a Robert Oster ink from Kirit Dal, one of Robert Oster’s UK resellers.

When an ink ‘stain’ at the front of the Lamy’s grip section didn’t want to disappear I had a closer look and after moving the end of my fingernail over the ‘stain’ I started to have an ominous suspicion. Not much later the aforementioned shock happened1.

You’d think I’m a broken man now, looking back at the excitement and fun I once experienced when using fountain pens, but not able to have any joy anymore going forward from now on. The reality is different. I’ve come to stoically accept that mark on the grip section as something that makes this Lamy 2000 different to all its anonymous siblings that left Lamy’s conveyor belt since 1966. It is something, together with a dent on its body, that makes this Lamy mine. Who knows, maybe deep down, in some illogical part of the brain, I might even be a tiny bit ‘proud’ that I have my own unique Lamy 2000 now…


I am sorry for showing you all these gory details, especially after just showing you horrific pencil mutilations in the previous blog post. I guess you might be more careful form now on, avoiding to look at my blog anymore while eating food.

In case you’ve been sick over your pen collection while looking at these gory photos: I’ve heard that baking soda might eliminate the odour, but I haven’t tried it myself yet.

I thought of combining this blog post with a look at the ink I was expecting, but I didn’t do it because I thought someone who doesn’t read carefully and only looks at the pictures might that the ink I was expecting caused the issue. To avoid this the Oster ink I was expecting (cleaning the pen to be ready for this ink) will be covered in a separate blog post.

I have a suspicion which previously used ink might have caused the issue, but as I am not sure it was really that ink I don’t want to mention the brand in this blog post.

  1. Well, where are the smelling salts and the defibrillator when you need them. []

Visiting Lamy’s store in Shanghai’s Raffles City

After the blog post about the shop from FuZhou Road I had to interrupt this Chinese New Year series with the Pencil Pot of the Month before the month came to an end – but now we are back on track with the next Chinese New Year blog post.

This time: a look at Lamy’s store in Raffles City, a shopping mall at the end of Shanghai’s FuZhou Road.

If you want to know more about Shanghai’s Lamy stores have a look at this blog post about the store in Raffles City, the stores in this comment or  the one in this blog post.


Here’s a link to the YouTube video.


Lamy dialog 3 and the discontinued wooden case 2

It was about eight years ago when I first came across the Lamy dialog 3.

From dislike to like

Back then I didn’t like it. I thought it is too big and modern ..but somehow, over the years, I warmed up to it, more and more – up to the point when I started to actively want one.

Funnily enough, my wife’s favourite ballpoint pen, the pico, is from the same designer: Franco Clivio. Both, the pico and the dialog 3 have a similar shape, a bit like a test tube, but round on both ends.

Price variations (£99 – £250)

Well, I didn’t think I’d get a new >£100 fountain pen in the next few years, but somehow (actually because of Christmas) it did happen. Well, I say >£100 fountain pen, but WH Smith is regularly selling the palladium version with an M nib for £99 (~$122; €114), but most shops will charge you £200 – £250 for this pen. The one I got for Christmas was also a cheap one, that’s why I got an F nib. I would have preferred an EF nib, but there was no EF version available for a good price. I can always buy an EF nib if I want and it would have still been a very good price compared to the RRP.
The whole price situation of the dialog 3 reminds me of the blue Pelikan M605 – every few years Kaufhof seems to sell it for a good price. I paid €99 (~$105; £85) for mine.

The nib

There have been many blog posts looking at this pen, with the one from Dries being one of the latest ones, so I don’t see a need to write more about the pen itself. Instead, I want to tell you that the nib on my dialog 3 is the smoothest nib I have ever used (and I have used quite a few gold nibs over the years). As I haven’t seen too many raving reviews about this nib I am not sure whether all of Lamy’s Z55 gold nibs or even all Z55 F nibs are that good, but mine is excellent. As described in Ian’s review here this nib can be used in all modern Lamys except the Lamy 2000.

The nib is however not only smooth, it also has a pleasant amount of springiness. I have seen nibs advertised as flexible that offer less line variation than this nib.

The case

The dialog 3 used to come with a wooden case. Lamy stopped supplying the case, but many shops still advertise the pen as coming in this case, so that might be old stock.

According to Lamy, the wooden case is not being offered anymore. I suspect the case was stopped when the dialog 3 was redesigned (there were some complaints about the pen drying out soon in the original version).

If you want to get the wooden case the only way to get it now, as far as I know, is to buy it used or to find old stock. My pen didn’t come with the case so I had to get it separately.

I tried to make a short film showing my dialog 3 (and the case), but I guess I shouldn’t make a car (to pull the camera) from some toys lying around in the living room. The owner of the toys came to get them back during filming…

Well, before I finish the blog post, here’s a picture of the ‘camera car’ that was used for the film, now you know why he wanted it back…

Camers car made out of Duplos

Camera car made out of Duplos

 


Exchange rates: January 2017

You can read more about the dialog 3 at The Pencilcase Blog,  Pentorium, Goulet Pen’s blogThe Clicky Post, The Gold Standard, No Pen Intended, The Well-Appointed Desk,  Writer’s Bloc, The Silent Cartographer, and even Wired.


Fake Lamy Safari fountain pens in Europe

I am quite sure that I’ve written about my use and like of Lamy pens in previous blog posts.

My admiration for Lamy started in the Eighties

I’ve started using Lamy Safari fountain pens more than 30 years ago (my first fountain pen was from Pelikan though) and have been very happy with them throughout the years. I really can’t remember what colour my first Lamy Safari had, but I am quite sure it came in a cardboard box like the one seen here (scroll down), the one the first Safari came in. The next ten years the Safari (I had a few over the years) was being used every weekday.

I’ve also spend some time near Heidelberg (the place were the Lamy Safari is made), because I have some relatives who live two miles East of Heidelberg. It’s a great place, even though that doesn’t have anything to do with the design and quality of their pens.

..but what’s that? Dark clouds over Heidelberg and the Lamy factory. The fake Safaris are coming!

real: top, fake: bottom - the text on the nib is a different colour, but the ink window matches up for both

real: top, fake: bottom – the text on the nib is a different colour, but the ink window matches up for both

 

Invasion of the fake Lamy Safaris

I recently bought two Lamy Safaris from eBay UK and paid £23.98 (~$30; €28.50). Buying two Lamy Safaris from a normal UK online merchant would have cost £28 (~$35.50; €33.30), so not much more expensive, but the ones from eBay came with converters and they were colours not being made anymore.

real: left, fake: right - the colour is slightly off, this is more pronounced in artificial light

real: left, fake: right – the colour is slightly off, this is more pronounced in artificial light

Well, when I got the pens I noticed that they didn’t feel right. One of them was lime green, Lamy’s special colour in 2008. The ‘screw’ in the cap had the wrong colour and the ink feed was shiny, something I have never seen in any of my Lamy Safaris (I confess, I have a two digit number of them – Oops.). I have a few lime green Safaris, which were bought from Papier Pfeiffer. So I thought I compare the eBay lime green Safari with my Papier Pfeiffer Safari: well, the colour was similar, but not the same. In artificial light the difference between the real and fake colour looks even bigger than in reality.

real: top, fake: bottom - the ink feed of the fake Safari is shiny

real: top, fake: bottom – the ink feed of the fake Safari is shiny

A quick search on the Internet revealed that fake Lamy Safaris are a thing. Desk of Lori wrote about it and Goldspot Pens made a video about fake Safaris.

The fake Safaris have certainly improved since Goldspot’s video. My nib looked quite good, the line goes straight to the middle of the breather hole. The ink window also matched up correctly with the grip section, so that’s another area where the fake Safaris have improved.

real: bottom, fake: top - the pattern in the fake LAMY letters is shallower and there are lines

real: bottom, fake: top – the pattern in the fake LAMY letters is shallower and there are lines

Goldspot Pens mentioned that their real Safari’s cardboard ring had text printed on both sides. I checked several real Safaris and they all only had the text printed on the outside, so the printing on the cardboard ring doesn’t seem to be a reliable indicator whether the pen is real or not.

the fake Safari's F nib is much wider

the fake Safari’s F nib is much wider

So what things did I notice that were different between the fake and the real Safari?

  • In the case of lime green the colour of the fake Safari is slightly off
  • In the case of lime green the ‘screw’ at the top of the cap is the wrong colour
  • The text on the nib is light instead of dark
  • The surface in the embossed LAMY letters of the body have a shallower pattern and some scratchy lines
  • Corners in the plastic are less pronounced
  • The ink feed is shiny instead of looking matt and washed (from testing)?
  • The second Lamy Safari’s cap is cracked near the top, so I assume the plastic isn’t as durable as the real ones
  • The fake Safaris don’t start well. Starting them after the first filling took a along time and they needed some help (pushing ink through) before they finally started
  • When you push ink through the nib section the fake Safari’s ink comes out from the filler hole (under the ink feed), not through the nib’s breather hole.
  • The fake Safari’s F nib is much(!) wider than a real Safari F nib

I have sent the seller a message in case they were not aware that they are selling fake Safari. The two colours I bought are now not available anymore, there’s only a yellow Safari left now.

The other fake Lamy Safari had a crack on the cap

The other fake Lamy Safari had a crack on the cap

Thinking how much progress has been made since Goldspot Pen’s video was made the fake Safaris could, if they improve further in the next years, be very difficult to spot ..but even if the appearance is gettng closer to the real thing, it still looks as if they are not as durable, don’t write as well

and they’re also not much cheaper1.


Price: November 2016

Exchange rates: December 2016

  1. I also wouldn’t be surprised if the manufacturing process is not really bothered about being environmentally friendly. []

Lamy 2000 mechanical pencil 8

Welcome to my blog post about the Lamy 2000 mechanical pencil, which was provided for free by The Pen Company. This blog post has also been published on their blog.

lamy2000pencil4

50 years of the Lamy 2000

The Lamy 2000 was first released in 1966 so this year is its 50th anniversary – and after several special editions covering materials like grenadill wood, ceramic, titanium, and more, we can expect a new special edition in 2016. I went ahead and compiled a list of the special editions so far, which can be seen at the still unnamed pen wiki. I checked with the company that handles the launch of the 50 years Lamy 2000 special edition. They checked with Lamy and I was told that the list is complete. I wonder whether someone has all of them. Maybe the person who bought the Jonathan Ive and Marc Newson special edition in red?

 

lamy2000pencil12

The material

It’s still not clear how the special edition will look, but however it looks, the ‘normal’ edition is stunning in itself. The main body is made from Makrolon (polycarbonate) and the surface is brushed, which means that use over time will slowly start to polish the surface and it will become shinier. This reminds me very much of Lexikaliker’s ‘beauty through use’ post (Translation / Original). It is a beautiful concept and idea and just one of the things I love about the Lamy 2000.

The surface of the Lamy 2000 in the middle changed after years of use.

The surface of the Lamy 2000 in the middle changed after years of use.

The Lamy 2000 Fountain pen

Even though I’ve been using Lamy (Safari) fountain pens since the 1980s, I only bought my first Lamy 2000 fountain pen in 2008. The most expensive fountain pen I had before that was probably a Parker, which was less than half the 2000’s price. Before I bought it I was looking at the 2000 pen for several months before I decided that it’s worth the €89.95(~$102; £72) it cost back then, and in the end I got this pen as a Christmas gift that year from my wife. It’s a great pen! After I got it, it was the only fountain pen I used for a very long time. One unusual thing about my 2000 fountain pen is the enormous ink flow you get if you start using a bit of force. The M nibbed one I have is like this, but I wouldn’t know whether all Lamy 2000 in M are like that. Well, I liked this pen so much that I bought an EF version a bit later, mainly because of the fairly big line variation I got from my version in M.

Lamy 2000 fountain pen and mechanical pencil

Lamy 2000 fountain pen and mechanical pencil

Even today, after Lamy has increased their prices a few times, they provide excellent value for money. You won’t find many piston fillers with a gold nib for the price the Lamy 2000 fountain pen sells for – and you’ll find even fewer fountain pens as handsome as the Lamy 2000, especially not for this price.

The Lamy 2000 mechanical pencil

The Lamy 2000 mechanical pencil

The Lamy 2000 mechanical pencil

Well, technically it’s not really the 50th anniversary of the Lamy 2000 mechanical pencil; even though the fountain pen was released in 1966 the mechanical pencil was only added in 1970 (and the ballpoint pen in 1968).

Despite loving wood-cased and mechanical pencils, and despite the good reviews out there, I hadn’t had the pleasure of using a Lamy 2000 mechanical pencil until I got one from The Pen Company in January 2016.

lamy2000pencil7

 

Vitals

My first impressions: the Lamy 2000 mechanical pencil was much lighter than expected. I know these numbers won’t mean much to most readers, but in case you want to compare it to another pen, here are the vitals: The length of the pen is just under 14cm, with the thickest part of the barrel having a diameter of 12mm. The weight is just under 19g. The centre of gravity is very much in the middle as you can see from the picture where the 2000 is balanced on a type.

What a well-balanced pencil!

What a well-balanced pencil!

Look and Feel

One of the other things I noticed first was that the Lamy 2000 pencil is much slimmer than the Lamy 2000 fountain pen version. As I was used to the thickness of the fountain pen version I did initially find the mechanical pencil too slim, but by now I like it the way it is. The clip has a similar design as the fountain pen, but again, is slimmer. This is a good thing as many users of mechanical pencils will rotate them in their hand, so a slimmer clip makes it less obtrusive when it rests on the purlicue between the thumb and index finger. You’ll still notice the clip in your hand though, because the corners are not rounded – the clip is still quite noticeable and can even be distracting.

The clip

The clip

If you write using a fairly acute angle, i.e. if you hold the pencil very flat, the pencil’s body can still be too wide, especially when writing near the spine in a notebook where the pages don’t lie flat. In that case, the body of the pen can touch the paper, making writing difficult – but this issue doesn’t usually occur.

The grip section

The grip section

The good thing about the cap is that it fits quite firmly on the pen and there is no danger of it falling off by mistake. I mention this because the cap of the my Caran d’Ache 844 is quite loose and can come off easily.

lamy2000pencil6

 

Speaking of the cap: the 5 on the cap seems to be laser etched, similar to what you get on some keyboards, so I don’t expect the 5 to rub off anytime soon.

lamy2000pencil2

 

Conclusion

This is a great mechanical pencil. I am sure I will enjoy it for many years to come. Since I got it, it has been my most used mechanical pencil.

The fountain pen and the mechanical pencil – easy to distinguish in your shirt pocket

The fountain pen and the mechanical pencil – easy to distinguish in your shirt pocket


Price: 2008

Exchange rates: April 2016

I would like to thank The PenCompany for providing this pen free of charge for this review.

You can find more about the origins of the Lamy 2000 design on the Fountain Pen Network.

Dave has a review of the Lamy 2000 mechanical pencil too.

If you like the Lamy 2000, have a look at the Lamy Scribble, as well.

lamy2000pencilshirt1