January 2017

Lamy dialog 3 and the discontinued wooden case

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.

Visiting Kaweco in Nuremberg

End of last year I had the opportunity to get a tour of Kaweco’s premises in Nuremberg, lead by none other than Sebastian Gutberlet himself. He is the son of Michael Gutberlet – the man who brought Kaweco back in the 1990s.

Sebastian Gutberlet

Kaweco did offer a tour of their premises at the time the Insights X trade fair was on, but back then I didn’t have the time to take this offer up.

The museum contains many pens from Kaweco’s past


..as well as more modern items from Kaweco’s recent history


The offices and the factory are actually just next to Nuremberg’s convention centre. They will soon house a shop and a museum, too.

Old Kaweco pens in the museum


Old machines in the museum

As you might know, Kaweco used to be based in Heidelberg (where Lamy is), but since Michael Gutberlet brought it back to life in the 1990s it is based in Nuremberg (where Staedtler and many other stationery manufacturers are).

..and old materials that were used to make pens


Sebastian demonstrating how the old machines worked

The factory visit was actually supposed to take place a few days earlier, but illness meant that our family’s trip to Germany was delayed. Luckily we were able to rebook the ferry. Kaweco was happy to accommodate, but as the tour now took place on 23rd December, with December 24th being kind of the most important Christmas day around here, there were no workers in the factory assembling pens and I couldn’t see (or film) the machines in action.

No workers that day, so I didn’t see the machines being used by professionals
Parts for assembling pens

That was a shame, I would have loved to see how fast workers are assembling Kaweco pens. At least I’ve seen this type of machine in action before ..when Kaweco let visitors assemble their own pens at Insights X.

Sebastian Gutberlet wasn’t the only Sebastian in the room….

In case you wonder: the plastic parts for the pens aren’t made at this location. They are designed by Kaweco but outsourced as you’d need a lot of expenditure for machines etc if you’d want to make all the parts yourself. The parts are however all coming back to Nuremberg to be assembled here. Depending on how big the batch or order is the pens can also be engraved here.

More vintage pens from the museum


Except housing the machines these premises also include the warehouse, which was busy because annual stocktaking was just taking place.

Hmm, the shelves must be full of stationery goodies


Even more goodies. Can I stay overnight?
Even more goodies. Can I stay overnight?

Since we were in Nuremberg anyway and it was just before Christmas we used to opportunity to visit Nuremberg’s Christmas market, probably the most famous one in Germany. By the way, Sebastian’s Ewok hat in the following picture from Nuremberg’s Christmas market that day was handmade by Shangching from East…West…Everywhere.

At Nuremberg's Christmas market
At Nuremberg’s Christmas market

We had a great day visiting Kaweco and Nuremberg. I hope I will have a chance to go back there once the museum and shop are officially open.

eBay troubles and tea

A happy new 2017 to all my readers. I hope 2017 will be a great year for you.


Reading the Well-Appointed Desk’s blog post about the grinch convinced me to write a similar blog post.

Bleistift is an ad, sponsor and Patreon free blog, so you might wonder what’s there to say – well, it’s all about eBay.

I have used eBay since the late 1990s, when I was still living in Germany [1]At that time it was called Alando (in Germany) . In more than 15 years I have probably done more than1000 transactions on eBay (difficult to tell how many exactly, especially since most buyers don’t seem to leave feedback anymore).

Well, recently I started selling a lot of things so that there’s a bit of extra money for the end of the year, but some of the transactions went wrong…

The Pelikan Set from Germany

On eBay I bought a set of Pelikan pens from seller Heike A. from Frankfurt. The seller was quite new, but did have positive feedback, so I  wasn’t too suspicious when she asked me to send the payment as a PayPal friend transaction. I was glad that she accepted PayPal at all as sending money within the Eurozone is free (I think), but sending it from a British bank to the Eurozone is quite expensive.

When I didn’t get the pens I was told they were actually broken and I will get a refund, but unfortunately I never got the money back and she just ignores my messages. I have opened a case with the police in Frankfurt last year, but I don’t think I’ll see my money again.

The Pelikan pen for China

By far the most expensive item I sold in my end of year eBay dealings was a Pelikan fountain pen with a gold nib for £100. The buyer was in China, so the pen was supposed to go through eBay’s shipping centre in the UK. Well, I guess someone handling the envelope realised that it must have some sort of value if it goes to a shipping centre and someone is happy to pay for forwarding it to China (as the name is on the envelope in PinYin) – so the pen magically disappeared before it was registered as having arrived at the shipping centre.

I completed the paperwork for a lost item last year, but haven’t heard back from Royal Mail. I guess in the best case I’ll get £20, so I’ll be £80 short, which basically meant that selling all the other items was pointless.


Well, both of the previous problems were my fault. I probably should have insisted on using another way of sending the money and I should have definitely bought extra insurance for sending the £100 pen, so next, for a change, here’s an example that wasn’t my fault (but isn’t stationery related).

Last one

David S. from Oxford bought a limited edition item from Asia I was selling on eBay for £6. It was still in sealed packaging.

I am not a business, so I set eBay so that I don’t allow returns and I assumed the eBay setting wouldn’t allow returns, but somehow eBay lets the buyer start a return process anyway, with a message encouraging the seller to accept the return so that the buyer has a better eBay experience. Well, the buyer started a return process and told me that he changed his mind and didn’t read the description properly and that the item isn’t what he wants. Only after I asked him whether he opened the packaging he told me that he did, which basically means I wouldn’t be able to sell this collectors item anymore (or if I did postage would probably be more expensive than the value of the item).

As I didn’t want to take the opened item back the buyer then gave me negative feedback (great, now I have a negative feedback on my profile). In the comment he implied that my item description was misleading, even though he told me himself that he was the one who misread the auction description. I asked him to take the negative and misleading feedback back, but he didn’t.


Well, what can I say. Bad eBayers suck and unfortunately there seem to be more and more of them (or I just happen to come across more of them).


Calm down, dear

To end on a happy note, here’s some tea to calm you down.


I was tempted to introduce a tea of the month series of articles. I know it’s not stationery related, but Gunther described his blog as a lucky bag – you might not always get stationery, so I guess it wouldn’t be too bad to have the occasional tea post here. I wasn’t able to convince myself though. I surely wouldn’t run out of teas to show, but there is a good chance that increased workload will heavily reduce my blog posts soon [2]and of course it goes without saying that after real wages have been going down for many years this increased workload doesn’t come with more money either, so I didn’t want to have a tea category leaving less time for stationery blog posts.

OK, let’s talk about the teat hen: this is East Frisian tea, you can read more about this tea in this New York times article. It’s mainly Assam, which I love anyway (I don’t mind Lapsang Souchong, but I usually prefer Assam heavy version of Russian Caravan) and it looks like I’m not the only stationery fan who’s a friend of this type of tea. Michael from Just Another Pen had an Instagram picture where he showed his latest buy (since they’re hard to get in Bavaria /  Southern Germany). This one is like normal East Frisian tea, but iwth added pieces of Vanilla. Nice.


1 At that time it was called Alando (in Germany)
2 and of course it goes without saying that after real wages have been going down for many years this increased workload doesn’t come with more money either