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.
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 whatsoever; it’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 somebody, somewhere, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.