The Lament of the Lackluster Lamy 2000

I had high hopes for the Lamy 2000, and in the spirit of full disclosure I must tell you, they weren’t met. Those of you who don’t like negative reviews had better change channels, because this one goes downhill rapidly from here, ranting all the way. It seems like most people that review fountain pens have reviewed a Lamy 2000 at some time, and it seems like they all think they look great, and write pretty well, with only some to-be-expected issues…

The appearance of the Lamy 2000 is pretty impressive…

The finish on the Lamy 2000 both looks great and feels great in the hand…

I usually write with a fine, but all of the Lamy mediums I have used were super smooth, and the 2000 was no exception. This is my first gold Lamy nib, and it’s great.

Prior to getting my 2000 adjusted, it did skip every once in a while, but this also depended heavily on what ink I had in it. Overall, it’s a smooth writer with good ink flow. It performs as expected for a pen in its price bracket and I can’t complain.

I love my Lamy 2000. Looking at it, holding it, and writing with it. All great.

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen – Handwritten Review
Ed Jelley, 2013, March 28

I really don’t think it’s possible for me to disagree with this any more than I do. If you pay more than two-hundred bucks for a pen. You should expect to have no issues whatsoeverit’s a pen! It isn’t, for example, an electronic gadget that depends upon the interaction of hardware and software, manufactured or published by disparate suppliers. Manufacturers can make pens that write consistently well for less than fifty bucks. I am well aware that mass-production means that somebodysomewhere, at sometime is going to get a lemon, but that’s the exception, or should be. Customers should not buy a pen, and have to budget for repair-work to make a premium pen functional. Anyway, moving on…

It’s not uncommon to hear negative thoughts on the 2000 because of it’s finicky nib. It seems Lamy have a quality control issue with this model, because it happens far too often. Yes, I’m starting this off with the negative aspect first because I want to get it out of the way.

Full disclaimer: the Lamy 2000 that I bought had a problematic nib out of the box. It wrote, but it wasn’t smooth and it wasn’t enjoyable. It caused anxiety and frustration more often than good feelings. With a pen that looks so awesome (and cost this much), you expect it to write with 100% consistency.

Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Review
Jeff Abbott, 2014, August 6

Ah, now here we’re getting to it, only I didn’t much like the look of the pen either (but we’ll get to that). I like the way he started off with the negative aspect first, I’m still trying to find a positive one.

And lastly…

While I’ve known a couple people who have purchased Lamy 2000’s with nib issues – mainly caused by misalignment of the tines – every single one of the pens that I have purchased over the years (four total) has written just fine out of the box.

Pen Review: Lamy 2000 (Original Makrolon Version)
The Gentleman Stationer, 2017, April 5

The Gentleman Stationer is another fan of the Lamy’s Bauhaus minimalist design, although he didn’t much care for the Lamy Aion (which I prefer by a country mile). And therein lies a classic example of what I have always said about reviews of something as personal as the appreciation of aesthetics, design, color, materials, and so on; such appreciation is entirely personal. Because I can categorically say, that after handling the Lamy 2000—admittedly for only a very brief period—the next time I handle it, will be to package it up for some much-needed nib work; and if that doesn’t help, I’ll be selling it as soon as possible. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s take a look at the pen…

Why Did I get It?

Oh why, oh why?

It’s been at least six years—I think—since I last handled a Lamy 2000. I remember thinking it was a large pen; and its glass-fiber barrel (Makrolon) in black, with a silver nib section, felt pleasantly warm and comfortable in the hand. I had good memories, and the pictures on the web looked great (don’t they always?), and everybody thought it was so good.

I was looking for a medium italicized nib, or at least something more fine than a standard 1.1mm stub, and I noticed that—in Europe at least—the Lamy 2000 could be ordered with an Oblique Medium (OM) nib. I’ve used OM custom nib grinds on pens owned by friends and colleagues in the past, often for extended periods, and I liked them a great deal.

I won’t go into the details of what exactly an oblique nib is here, there is plenty of information available on the web, and an excellent account over on Richard Binder’s web site. Suffice to say that, an oblique nib—when angled correctly as you write—can produce some very attractive line variation, which I like a great deal. Whilst I am not particularly experienced with oblique nibs, I do know how to use them, and have enjoyed what they bring to my handwriting. Excellent…

A couple of weeks later, I was inking up the pen.

First Thoughts

Hmm, it’s not as good looking as the Lamy Aion.

The 2000 is a little squat. I like the brushed finish of the glass-fiber barrel, and the section; and the almost seamless surface from nib to the blind cap is beautiful engineering, and high quality manufacturing. But the hooded nib leaves me cold, the ink window near the section is so small it’s pointless…

… and those little teeth that help the cap fasten are an innovative solution to a problem that, frankly, has been solved better on any pen carrying some subtle cap threading.

The clip’s quite nice though, it’s stylish, with the subtle Lamy branding at the top.

I have to admit to feeling a bit Ms. Fountain Pen Manners here:

“I’ve just bought this fountain pen for more than $220! Isn’t it lovely?”

“Hmm, it’s got a, er… a stylish clip. Nice, er… branding.”

So, okay, I didn’t think it looked particularly attractive, and was too short and squat for my tastes, did it make up for all that with the nib and the writing experience? I was hoping it would.

The Nib

A 14K gold, hand polished nib…

This is what’s meant by an oblique nib, notice how the tips of the tines rise from top to bottom (left to right).

Or drop from top to bottom (left to right), depending on how you look at it.

Quality-Control Rant

If the Lamy 2000 I had were a car, it wouldn’t break-down as such, but it would backfire alarmingly, every 100 kilometers or so (about 60 miles for those who don’t do decimals). Also, it would leave embarrassing puddles of oil in front of your friends’ garage whenever you went over to visit. In short, it is most definitely not what you would expect from a premium model.

If you pay five bucks for a pen in Staples, you have every right to expect the damn thing to write. When you pay in excess of $220.00 (CAD; 2018, February 22), for a leading manufacturer’s flagship model fountain pen with a hand-polished gold nib, then the damn thing had better write very well indeed. The Economical Penster has written that she likes to think of how much a pen costs in latté units, and I love that idea. Over the years, I think I may have bought an Olympic-sized pool-full of lattés, but at least you can drink one of those. A pen that can’t write is of no use to anybody, and I have absolutely no patience for anyone that tells me that I had better set aside another $100 or so, to have some $200 or more pen engineered by a specialist, in order to perform its most basic of tasks. That’s a lot of lattés, but is exactly the position in which I find myself. Am I the only person who thinks this is completely outrageous?

What Did It Write Like?

The Lamy 2000 I have skips, quite a lot. Take a look at the “Sadly disappointed!” closing words of the writing sample above.

All the samples here were written on Clairefontaine Triomphe, 90gsm, lined white paper, using Sailor Kiwa-Guro Nano (Ultra) black ink. I try and standardize the paper for writing samples on this blog, and I have to report that no other nib I’ve used has written this badly on the Clairefontaine.

In fact, it skipped considerably more than the photo’s and the scan suggest, but mostly it was easy to correct (dots over the letter “i” and punctuation marks for example).

Occasionally, it deposited randomly large amounts of ink as I wrote, making some characters look messy, and my writing even worse than usual.

And whilst I couldn’t call the nib scratchy exactly, it writes on even the smoothest of paper with an inherent, and pronounced resistance, that feels like I am moving the nib amidst an invisible pool of molasses. No, I am not a satisfied customer.

For a premium pen at this price point, the performance is simply unacceptable, and it’s only because the pen was shipped from Europe that I can’t be bothered to send it back. I know of no other sphere of retail where you would be expected to just swallow such substandard quality, and have to pay again to have it corrected. Can you imagine buying your new BMW, then having to take it to your local dealer to get them to correct the steering, just so that you could drive around corners when you took it out on the road? Oh, and don’t forget the catch-tray for the engine oil in front of your garage door.

The Lamy 2000 is back in its box. When I can afford another $100 it’ll be sent off to The NibSmith to have a custom stub grind. When I get it back, I’ll review it again. I imagine Dan Smith will have made it write wonderfully, but it’s a great pity he can’t make it look any better. At that point, I’ll decide if I’m keeping it or not.

It’s a Piston-Filler!

I’m sorry, I’ve said it before, the fact that a pen fills via a piston mechanism is not actually a positive for me. I was willing to put up with it—as I do with the TWSBIs that I have come to thoroughly enjoy—if it proved to be a great pen, but, well, we’ve been there haven’t we?

What Have I Got Against Piston-Fillers?

If you run out of ink, that means you need bottled ink and a fairly stable surface to fill your pen. Try filling a TWSBI up on an international flight. Just as you get the lid off that bottle of permanent, water-resistant black, the seat-belt sign will go on, and the Captain will tell you there’s a patch of turbulence coming up. I hope you’ve got quick fingers, or this will get messy real quick. Nope, give me cartridges for mobile convenience any day.

That having been said, the piston-mechanism on the Lamy 2000 was probably the best part of the pen. I think this is what’s known as being damned by faint praise. Still, the mechanism worked beautifully, very smoothly, and was extremely efficient. This pen could draw up ink very well indeed.

It just couldn’t write with it properly.

Details

In almost every respect, the Lamy 2000 is distinctly average. A little longer than the Platinum 3776, but not as long the Platinum Balance. A fraction heavier than the Century 3776, and the Sailor 1911L, but nowhere near as weighty as the Lamy Aion, or the TWSBI Diamond 580AL.

mm/g/ml

in/oz/fl. oz

Length Unposted:

124.00

4.88

Length Capped:

140.00

5.51

Diameter:

13.00

0.51

Circumference:

40.84

1.61

Length Posted:

154.00

6.06

Weight:

25.00

0.85

Ink Capacity:

1.35

0.05

Verdict

It’s got a nice box.

But at this price, you can buy an Edison Collier (although that will only have a steel nib, it also has a nice box). But there are other pens with gold nibs at this price. Some that I’ve tried recently are the Platinum Century 3776, the Sailor 1911S, or the Pilot Custom 74. All of these are a great deal better than the pen that’s back sitting in its nice box, waiting for major grinding surgery. And if, after the work I have done on the pen, I decide to keep it, the lamentable thing is, I won’t be keeping it for the pen, but only for the work done on the nib; and I could have had that done on a pen I actually liked.

Oh well, you live and learn I suppose.

2018-02-27: Update

The Lamy 2000 hit the Canadian postal system today, en route to Mr. Smith, for some of his renowned nib work. Now if you take into account full retail purchase price, plus another $100 postage and nib work, this is a $350 CAD pen; which is ludicrous for a Lamy 2000. For that kind of price, you could buy a Sailor 1911L, with a 21K gold nib. On Dan Smith’s site at the moment, you could buy that Sailor with a custom nib grind, and still have a few bucks left after shipping.

Let’s see what the Lamy’s like when it gets back. Once again, I have high hopes.

17 thoughts on “The Lament of the Lackluster Lamy 2000

  1. You are not alone. I had a disappointing time with my Lamy 2000 too.
    I remember buying it, in May 2014. It came with a medium nib.
    I was immediately struck by the fact that it was nowhere near as pleasant to write with as the steel nibs of my Lamy Safaris and Al-Star pens, whereas you obviously expect more, being gold (and platinum plated). Basically, the nib was very dry so that there was not enough lubrication as I wrote and a lot of unpleasant resistance and drag. I covered pages with writing samples, in various inks and on various types of paper. I drew spokes of a wheel and noticed that the pen was ok on down strokes but had poor flow when moving forward or sideways, (so, drawing spokes of a wheel, from the centre, it skipped from about the 2 o’clock to 4 o’clock positions – me being left handed).
    After a few weeks of persevering with this, I eventually gave up on the pen and put it away.
    However, I was prompted to contact Lamy about it, about 5 months later. I arranged to send it back to Lamy and asked them to exchange the nib for a Broad. This they did, for no charge.
    The broad nib was much better than the medium had been, but still not pleasurable to write with.
    I have read and watched numerous reviews of the L2K and understand that the nib has a narrower sweet spot than most. I thought it must be just me, as most people spoke very highly of theirs.
    I do ink the pen again from time to time but have barely used it apart from lots of writing samples and testing and getting frustrated again.
    I have many pens which write much more pleasantly than this and so I have put this one down to experience.
    Having said all that, I do like the general design of the pen, the unusual “floating” nib housing where the nib is very easy to remove and clean, and the fact that it is a piston filler. Many people object to the metal lugs for the cap but I didn’t have a problem with them.
    It should be possible to adjust the pen to make it wetter, but I am not confident to do this myself for fear of springing the nib or doing some other damage.
    I suppose the answer is to send it to a nibmeister for adjustment or a custom grind. So far, I have not wanted to throw good money after bad and fortunately have plenty of other pens that do give a lot more satisfaction!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you! And what a great reply!

    Yes, I definitely feel the “good money after bad” trepidations, but to be honest, I wouldn’t sell this pen to anybody in its current condition, and I don’t believe in keeping anything like this that I won’t use (vintage pens with family history are an exception). I’m not going to send it back to Europe, so that really only leaves a nibmeister as you say.

    Looking at the prices, about $100 CAD gets me postage to and from the US, plus a stub grind from someone like Dan Smith or Mike Masuyama. The waiting list can be as long as it likes, because I won’t be using the pen anyway, and if it comes back as a beautiful writer, then all is good. If I still don’t like it, then I can try and get some money back, and have a “big name” nibmesiter’s custom grind as a selling point. Hence the choice of a simple stub as the grind–nothing too custom, so as to make it too niche of a sale.

    I thought I was being cunning.

    Psst… don’t want to buy a Lamy 2000 do you?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am sure that your pen is not beyond hope. A re-grind is one option, or given the cost that you mention, it may be possible to buy a replacement nib at a pen show for a similar amount. However it may be that a small adjustment is all that it needs. I am thinking along these lines for mine now.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Aaaand, I’ve just heard back from an inquiry at the NibSmith.com… “Yes, I can convert the medium oblique to a stub.” He said, so Mr. Smith will be getting a package just as soon as Canada post can get it to him. I’m actually quite looking forward to the results.

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  3. That is a very good question… and I had wondered myself. There’s quite a bit of nib to grind down, and I don’t see how they’d do it without losing the tipping material. So maybe not. I might just have to get the nib adjusted/smoothed, which would hopefully be about the same as my projected $100 for a nib grind; and then I think I’d be selling.

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  4. I guess it’s good to have a firm opinion! 🙂 When it comes to aesthetics, it is very personal as to what we like and dislike. Rather boringly, I’m in the ‘like’ camp for the Lamy 2000. I like the shape of the pen and the feel of the makrolon (wouldn’t touch the steel finish with a barge pole). I agree about the engineering of the blind cap – a bit of genius.

    To spoil the party a little, mine has been flawless in terms of performance. If I had to find fault with the nib on mine, it’s that the flow is a bit on the generous side (sorry to rub it in). My cunning plan is to try some inks that I’ve previously discounted as being too ‘dry’. Hopefully the two will balance out.

    Hopefully a bit of nib fettling will sort yours out. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Tempting, but…(pauses for thought)…erm…no thanks.

        Considering that Lamy are supposed to test nibs before pens leave the factory, you would hope that their QC wouldn’t let so many duds slip through their fingers. At the price the 2000 sells for it should be a matter of course that you get a pen that works out of the box.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks for a thorough review. You sure got a dud of a L2K! I think that your opinion of this pen is entirely justified if it doesn’t write (well) and you don’t care for the features or design. Whilst I am completely the opposite in opinion over the pen and it’s features (my L2K in EF is simply a beautiful slightly wet smooth writer from the box), your experience of a badly QC’d pen will certainly leave a bad taste. There is opinion (Aion > L2K or Aion < L2K) and preference (piston filler vs cartridge/converter), but what counts is the performance. And a dud pen ruins all chance of finding redeeming qualities in a pen.
    Hopefully grinding the nib into a stub will make it functionally sell-able.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s what I’m hoping for… the Lamy 2000 may not be my kind of pen, but neither is the TWSBI Diamond 580AL–demonstrators are really not my thing–but I can overlook almost anything if the pen writes like a dream; and the TWSBIs have, every one I’ve ever bought. And not one has cost more than about $90 CAD after taxes.

      I see the Lamy as symptomatic of something larger, where manufacturers of premium pens like these, churn them out to an accepting public, who shrug, put up with something they never would anywhere else, and pay for the privilege of making their pen actually do what a pen is supposed to. And it kind of stings, because this time it was my butt that got bit 🙂

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  6. Thanks for the review. I appreciate your perspective on the L2000. The pen is on my “must have” short list, although I’ve hesitated because of the cost. I find it odd — as you apparently do as well — that anyone would pay nearly $200 US for a pen that doesn’t write like a dream out of the box. I realize that $200 US isn’t terribly expensive for a high-end fountain pen, but it’s still quite a lot of money. I had a similar quandary with the Pilot Vanishing Point after reading various opinions, i.e. either love it or hate it. I finally pulled the trigger on the Vanishing Point, and I’m glad I did. It’s a great pen. I’m still on the fence regarding the L2000 as I have several less expensive pens on my want list.

    I enjoy reading pen blogs and often feel that they only focus on the positive aspects of their reviews. The fountain pen community as a whole is a very positive group and everyone often falls in line with whatever the “community leaders” are thinking. I ran into this myself with the Lamy Safari and Pilot Metropolitan. Both pens are on the most recommended beginner fountain pens lists of nearly every fountain pen blog I read. I bought both pens in various nib sizes and was summarily disappointed; actually, like the Lamy broad nib that I have because it’s smooth and lays down a ton of ink. Aesthetically speaking, the Lamy Safari is a pen that only a mother could love. However, it took me a while to finally decide for myself that I didn’t care for either of these pens. I guess that’s a long way of saying, I appreciate your candor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Candor is one way of putting it–the polite way. Thank you for being polite, and thank you for posting. I think, if my opinion could be summed up in one sentence (with a semi-colon), it would be this:

      Buying, using and enjoying a fountain pen is an extremely personal experience; so don’t spend more than is fairly trivial for you, without trying what you’re buying first.

      It should also be noted that I break this particularly rule of thumb almost every time I spend money online.

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  7. I like the design, but all of the writing aspects that Paul critiqued I have also experienced. I am a lefty and on upstrokes where I push up and out (1-2 o clock) there is almost no ink deposited even with precise nib angling. The sweet spot is so small, I could only ever use the pen seated at a firm table at just the right height. The edge of the tine is angular and quite frequently scratches the paper leaving no ink if the barrel even rolls a fraction of a mm. I think it will go into a drawer to never resurface. I thought about getting a wider nib, but I think it would be wasted money. It also started leaking after 2 weeks. I emailed Lamy about it, but I am so frustrated I don’t want to deal with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for taking the time to weigh-in. I think for a pen of that price, I’d be tempted to give their after-sales support a try. And maybe, if you can resolve the leak, try and sell it on to mitigate your losses.

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