Lamy

In praise of Lamy’s watercolours

I am not sure how the rainbow drawings at the beginning of the pandemic started. The narrative in the UK seems to be that the rainbow is the NHS rainbow to support the country’s national health system and its workers. I am sure other countries have similar country-specific and country-centric explanations. The rainbow as a symbol for hope in pandemic times might have started in Italy, but I’m not 100% sure, so if you have more information, please let us know in the comments.

Faded rainbows in a window

Our son couldn’t resist drawing a rainbow with his battered Lamy aquaplus watercolour set either. Stationery use is always encouraged!

Still going strong, one year in

You might know that England’s Northwest isn’t exactly the sunshine capital of the world, so I was quite surprised to see that into the middle of the Summer 2020 many rainbow pictures in windows were already rather faded. With the sun being so weak here I assume the many faded rainbows must be due to cheap supermarket-own-brand stationery that can be pretty awful. I don’t remember seeing any non-faded rainbows in the last months (except our Lamy one).

Close-up of the beautifully strong Lamy colours, one year in.

What I really like about the Lamy set is that each colour is individually replaceable, not that I will have much luck finding replacements in the UK, though… Yes, it’s € 5.90 while some no-name alternatives are only £1, but I think it’s so much better than the cheap watercolour sets!


If you are interested in more scientifically done long time tests have a look at Dave’s Paper Mate Biodegradable Mechanical Pencil Biodegradability Test or at his Blue Lead Fade Testing.

D1 ≠ D1

Not everyone shares this opinion, not even everyone in my household, but I think gel refills are so much nicer than ballpoint refills. My holbein x Rotring 600 3 in 1 came with ballpoint refills, so it was a prime candidate for an upgrade: replacing the ballpoint refills with gel or hybrid refills. I had the idea after A.J. talked about the D1 refills in a comment on my video about this pen.

I started by consulting Ana’s refill guide to look for some nice refills.

It didn’t take long to pick some cool stuff for my order, not only refills, also a new pen (the Jetstream Edge in white). To get free postage with my order I also picked a few more refills with the intention of improving my wife’s Lamy 2000 multipen (the original Lamy ballpoint refills often skip when you start writing).

The two patients of this operation: Lamy 2000 and holbein x Rotring 600 3 in 1

What did I order? Jetstream refills, I like them based on my positive experience with them from the Hobonichi pens and from my Jetstream 4 in 1. I also got some Zebra refills. I haven’t used them myself but bought them before to go with a pen I gave someone as a gift.

When trying to fit the Zebra refills into the Lamy 2000 there was big disappointment. They didn’t fit. A quick look at the end revealed that the Lamy refills are slightly slimmer. Maybe D1 isn’t quite as standardised as I thought. I have to admit though that I don’t have much D1 experience as I generally prefer pencils and fountain pens.

A quick check with the callipers revealed that there are minute differences in the diameter. The Lamy M21 diameter is 2.32 mm, the Zebra JSB 0.5 diameter is 2.36 mm. 0.04 mm (0.0016 inches) difference. I also measured the Uni SXR-200-07 which turned out to have a diameter of 2.33 mm. Even though the Zebra didn’t fit the Lamy 2000 I managed to squeeze it into the Rotring 600. That left me with the uni for the Lamy 2000. The refill is only 0.01 mm wider but that was enough the turn a relaxing Sunday drive refill with butterflies (and the Loving You song in the background) into a heavy metal squeeze fest (with some Rammstein song playing from a broken stereo) with thoughts in my head that the Lamy 2000 will crumble under all the pressure. In the end it did, luckily, work. According to my own refill guide the D1 diameter is 2.35 mm. Who would have thought a fraction of a millimetre makes such a difference…

Since I talked about Holbein: Radio 4’s book of the week happens to be about him: The King’s Painter: The Life and Times and Hans Holbein.

Savannah green and terra red

Today: a very exciting arrival: My Lamy Safari collection got company.

The savannah green Safari next to a similarly coloured Caran d’Ache

For several years I was hoping that Lamy would re-release their original Safari colours. I think this idea started to grow in me when Lamy re-released their Lime Green special edition from 2008 in 2011 (with some small differences).

My thought were along the lines of “If they can re-release lime green, why not savannah green, one of the two original colours…”

By the way, if you want to have a look at what is probably the most comprehensive list of special Safari editions on the web, head over to the Lamy Safari article on stationery.wiki.

There are many differences that make it easy to distinguish the original versions from the 2021 versions, so there isn’t much danger of this re-release causing too much confusion – instead it represents a homage to Lamy’s original colours.
I have been a Lamy Safari user since the mid-1980s, but I have to admit that I don’t remember at all what my first Safari colour was. I am however quite sure that in came in a box like the one pictured below (linked to from Flickr). The box looked very cool, so I kept model figures in it for many years.

Safari Box 1
This is an embedded Flickr image. Click to go to this image on Flickr.
Safari Box 2
This is an embedded Flickr image. Click to go to this image on Flickr.

The Pen Company, where I got the engraved Caran d’Ache from, is just about the get new stock of the 2021 Lamy Safari colours in. I bought the savannah green and terra red fountain pens from Write Here and the savannah green ballpoint pen and rollerball from CultPens. Somehow Write Here’s search function seems to have a problem, so I didn’t even realise they also carry the non-fountain pens as they didn’t show up in a search. When I checked again today some of them did now show up.

The Write Here Logo that they managed to emboss on the official Lamy packaging came as a surprise – a great idea and looks fantastic.

Savannah green is certainly one of my favourite colours in terms of look, but it’s not quite my absolute favourite Safari – that is the grey version (sometimes referred to as griso). I had two and sent one to Sean of Contrapuntalism fame, but unfortunately the postal service managed to damage it in transport. The one I kept is still in it’s packaging. Maybe I should unpack it one of these days. It’s just too good looking to stay unused.

What are your favourite colours and do you prefer the ‘matt’ or the glossy’ pens?

For Sale: Vintage Lamy Safari Griso fountainpen and rollerball set. NOS. selling for 100€ including ww tracked shipping! rare set! Email me at miss.thundercat (at) gmail.com if your're interested. #forsale #pensforsale #selling #fountainpen #fpn #fountain
This is an embedded Flickr image. Click to go to this image on Flickr.

Gigantic

Australian stationery chain Typo is becoming more and more common in the UK.

Typo in Manchester’s Trafford Centre

Their gigantic pencils are the best thing I found in store.

Gigantic pencils

Since we’re talking about high street chains in the UK: The Pen Shop seems to focus on more affordable pens. In this case Lamy.

Lamy’s cp1 Multi Pen – Pencil Plus Highlighter In One

This blog post was first published on The Pen Company’s blog in April 2018.

1974 is a special year: In the USA, Star Trek: The Animated Series got cancelled; in the UK, ABBA won the Eurovision song contest in Brighton with their song, ‘Waterloo’; in China the Terracotta army was discovered; and in Germany, the VW Golf and the Lamy cp1 multifunction pen were launched.

I’m happy to say that the cp1 pen/pencil is still with us today, so many years later. Designed by Gerd A. Müller, who also designed the Lamy 2000, the cp1 has seen quite a few additions to the line over the years — Lamy’s design history page shows that the twin pen was the first off the line, but there’s also a fountain pen, ballpoint pen, rollerball, mechanical pencil and tri (multifunction) pen in the cp1 series.

The Lamy cp1 twin multifunction pen lets you switch between a 0.5 mm mechanical pencil and a ballpoint pen. My cp1 has Lamy’s M55 orange highlighter refill instead of a normal ballpoint refill. This way I can write with the pencil in my diary but can also highlight anything that needs further attention.

You’ll find more information in my video review below: