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
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
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
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
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
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
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 cheaper.
Price: November 2016
Exchange rates: December 2016