American Vietnamese Monos 5

Even more Vietnamese Monos – this time the Mono without the 100.

Please don’t misunderstand what this blog post is about. It is not a complaint that Tombow’s Monos are now made in Vietnam. It is more of a complaint that Tombow seems to be misleading their customers.

The pack of three Monos from Tombow USA is labelled ‘Made in Japan’, even though the pencils are made in Vietnam.

I assume this is just an oversight, i.e. they forgot to change the print on the back of the cardboard, rather than a planned deception of their customers – but that still doesn’t seem right.


Lamy’s Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean pens 4

Sticking to the Lamy theme from the recent blog post about blue Lamy Safari fountain pens from the 1990s and now we’ve got another Lamy blog post today: Their special edition pens you normally don’t see in the West: the Pirates of the Caribbean (Dead Men Tell no Tales) and the Star Wars pens.

Lamy’s Special Editions

Lady’s special editions follow a similar recipe: Take Lamy’s Line Friends Safari, for example. It’s a Safari with a different colour and a clip attachment. The colour of the special editions isn’t always different and the main difference of these special editions to their ‘normal’ counterparts is the clip attachment. They also often have extras (converter, special packaging) and a higher price.

I’ve shown a few different Lamy shops in Shanghai. Here’s one I haven’t shown yet: The one in the Jing An Kerry Centre1.

Pirates of the Caribbean

The Pirates of the Carribean themed pen looks like a Safari in the current Petrol colour with clip attachement in the shape of a jolly roger skull. You also get a converter and a leather roll as part of your set.

The Pirates pen on the left and the leather roll in the background. Excuse the reflections in the photo. The pen was behind glass.

Star Wars

The Star Wars themed pens are Lamy joy2 fountain pens. If you are not familiar with the joy: the front section is the same as the Safari’s, but the main body is much longer. It is kind of a desk only version of the Safari. Desk only because the long body makes it unsuitable for easy transport3.

The Star Wars joys have ‘normal’ nibs. I mention this because the joy is also available as a calligraphy set with italic nibs of different widths.

The black joy comes with a Vader clip attachment. The white joy comes with a Stormtrooper themed clip attachment.

The price is only slightly higher than the price of a normal Lamy joy in Shanghai: A normal joy is ¥380 (~$56; £44; €50). The Star Wars set is ¥4184 (~$$62; £48; €55). It comes with a converter.

 

You pay more, you get more

The price of the Lamy pens in Shanghai is a bit higher than in the West, but you also get more. The pens I’ve seen in Shanghai often come in nice boxes I haven’t seen in Europe. They also often seem to include converters that would be charged extra in the West.

The special edition pens are only slightly more expensive than the normal editions5.

The Safari Petrol. I believe this version is also available in the West. Excuse the reflections in the photo. The pen was behind glass.

Not in the West

I assume the reason why you normally don’t see these special editions in the West has more to do with licensing than with demand, especially since they are not much more expensive than the normal versions of these pens, so they should sell well anywhere – but that’s just a guess.

As I know most of the readers of my blog I might as well write this publicly: If you want one of these pens let me know and I’ll try to get one for you.

 


Prices and exchange rates: June 2017

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.

  1. Fun fact: many years ago Jing An was the only place in Shanghai with a Burger King, but now Burger King is ubiquitous. []
  2. Lamy spells joy lower-case so I’ll stick to that in this this blog post []
  3. You can see one in this Bleistift blog post from 2011. []
  4. This number sounds good in Chinese, a bit like ‘will be fortunate, for sure’. []
  5. Exactly 10% in the case of the Star Wars joy. []

Billographe 5

My father was a joiner. When he used to make plans for customers he always used to label them with this stencil. I think this stencil is one of the earliest things I remember from his workshop. He used it until he retired, when he was in his seventies.

A few years ago I decided to take it with me to the UK. At that time it was still in perfect shape. I kept it in a plastic bag for a few years and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I took it out of the bag recently. The stencil was completely deformed and the surface was very oily. I assume something from the plastic bag somehow interacted with the plastic form the stencil.

What a shame. I put some heavy books on, in the hope that it will help get the stencil at least a little bit back into shape, but I am not too confident that this will work.

The label reads BILLOGRAPHE №4 (bille fine) MINERVA FRANCE

It looks as if these are still being made, at least in some sizes, but they seem to be extremely difficult to get hold of outside France1.

 

  1. In Germany Standardgraph, which you might know because of their DUX sharpeners, is selling similarly coloured stencils – not only letters, also stencils to make plans of rooms, etc. []

The Lamy Safari – Then and Now 1

Today: a quick look at two blue Lamy Safari fountain pens – one from the early 1990s and one from the mid-2010s.

…and just because people prefer to watch my videos showing normal stuff (like refilling mechanical pencils) I added something about…

  • how to screw the pen body together so that the Lamy logo is at the top
  • how the ‘low ink warning system’ works