In my first review of a gold-nibbed pen, I present the beautiful yet slightly frustrating…
Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen
Nib: Extra Fine
Filling System: Piston Filler
About the Pen:
So after the saga of the Grail Pen that Wasn’t, I decided to tone it down just a bit and take a stroll down Entry Level of High End Boulevard. Up to now, the majority of my pens have been in the sub-$20 range, with a handful of mid-range pens (about $40-$80) peppered in for an extra dose of shiny bits. Buying a Visconti Homo Sapiens was a thrilling, disappointing, and eye-opening event for me. It was a beautiful pen…oh yes, it was (Lava! It was made from freaking Lava!). But it didn’t work out for me as a useful writer and it was WAAAAY too expensive to be just a showpiece. So I traded it in for three (count ’em THREE) pens that are considered among the first tier of the high-end fountain pens. The first one I’m going to review is this luscious little polycarbonate wonder: the Lamy 2000 (look for reviews for the Pilot Custom 74 and Vanishing Point in the near future).
I was kind of surprised. I had every intention of tearing into the Vanishing Point first, but once I picked up the Lamy, I just couldn’t put it down. So sit down, strap in, grab yourself (insert Beavis joke here) a mug of tea, and read on to find out how good it really is.
I went back and forth about whether or not I even wanted to buy this pen. From all the pictures I’ve seen, it looked beautiful. It’s a piston filler, so I knew of its large ink capacity. And it’s made from a lightweight but super-durable polycarbonate compound. But the nib is where I had my doubts.
I say it in every review: I have small handwriting, so I prefer EF nibs. The Japanese manufacturers make what I consider to be a true EF. I knew a Lamy nib was not going to give me as fine a line as a Japanese pen would. Lamy is a German brand, and I knew darn well their EF would be typical of Western nib sizes, meaning it would be similar to a Pilot F (or even M). So I debated it over and over. But in the end, the other qualities were just too good to pass up.
In a word: Beautiful! Other reviewers state that its design is reminiscent of the German Bauhaus style started by architect Walter Gropius in 1919. I’ll take their word for it. My Design Studies classes were so long ago, I couldn’t pick Bauhaus out of a crowd of two. But the Metropolitan Museum of Art describes the Bauhaus movement as follows:
Its core objective was a radical concept: to reimagine the material world to reflect the unity of all the arts. Gropius explained this vision for a union of art and design in the Proclamation of the Bauhaus (1919), which described a utopian craft guild combining architecture, sculpture, and painting into a single creative expression. Gropius developed a craft-based curriculum that would turn out artisans and designers capable of creating useful and beautiful objects appropriate to this new system of living.
Yeah…sounds about right. Union of art and design. Single creative expression. Useful and beautiful objects. If that’s Bauhaus, then the Lamy 2000 definitely fits. Oof. This is going to be a long review. 600 words already and I haven’t even started talking about the pen yet. Okay, enough fooling around…
The Lamy 2000 is a torpedo-shaped pen, tapering down rapidly at each end. The cap and barrel are made from a polycarbonate compound called Makrolon (also called Lexan). The section is made from stainless steel. All surfaces have a brushed finished, giving it a super nice texture that feels great to hold. It’s worth noting that all the seams in the pen are pretty much undetectable. There is a seam between the section and barrel, one between the barrel and the piston knob, and one between two portions of the barrel. If you pick at a seam with your finger nail, you can feel it. But if you’re just running the pads of your fingers over the seams, it’s like they don’t even exist. Absolutely perfect manufacturing and assembly.
The Lamy 2000 sports a 14k gold nib, although it’s plated with rhodium to better match the stainless steel section and clip. It’s not a typical fountain pen nib. It’s closer to a hooded nib, I guess, but it’s a little different than most hooded nibs. The top surface of the snap-on cap is the only surface of the pen that’s not brushed. Instead, that one surface is polished and shiny. The clip is very simple: it’s a single, flat piece of brushed stainless steel with the LAMY logo etched on one side. Because stainless steel is impossible to bend, the clip is hinged for easy use. It’s not the strongest clip I’ve seen. It should hold the pen in your pocket if you’re just out walking around, but if you plan on riding a roller coaster, leave the pen with the ride attendant.
The body of the pen contains these little silver nubs (I’ve also heard them called “ears”) that are used to hold the cap in place when the pen is capped. I honestly think the pen would look a lot nicer without them, but I guess I don’t mind too much. The end of the piston knob is flattened and sports a small, brushed stainless steel circle inserted in the center, flush with the surrounding Makrolon surface.
The last thing that I want to mention is that the Lamy 2000 has an ink window. If you’re not looking for it, it’s easy to miss as it’s hidden under the brushed surface of the barrel. It’s up at the front of the pen, right behind the little silver cap nubs. I’m not convinced that it’s actually showing me anything, though. If I hold it up in front of a strong light, I can see a little bit of blue in there, but I can’t tell what the heck the level is in there. I tip the pen end to end, and never see any ink flowing back and forth. I’ve been using the pen for a couple weeks, so there was plenty of ink when I started. It’s odd.
Build Quality (5/5):
The build quality of this pen is downright amazing. I already told you about the seams in the pen’s surfaces: they’re perfectly flush and completely un-noticeable unless you’re looking for them. In addition to the cap nubs, there is some type of metal harness or detent inside the cap, which I believe is meant to secure the cap when posted on the back of the barrel. And like I said, I’m not a big fan of the cap nubs. I think the pen would be much nicer looking without them.
Note: The nubs are actually part of a small, silver-colored ring that you can remove from the pen. I don’t think this would cause any leakage, but instead of little silver nubs sticking out, you’d have tiny little holes instead.
The Lamy 2000 can be mostly disassembled. You can even remove the piston mechanism to give the pen a good, thorough cleaning. I just love being able to disassemble a pen for proper cleaning!
I guess the last thing I can talk about for build quality is the Makrolon. They say it’s virtually indestructible. No, I’m not going to run it over with my car to find out for sure. Sorry. I can tell you that the material is extremely lightweight, and it certainly feels durable. I guess they say it’s possible to scuff the brushed finish, although I’ve babied mine, so it’s pretty much unblemished.
Modern lore has it that this pen has a “sweet spot” where the pen may skip or just not write if you’re not maintaining that sweet spot orientation. I can confirm this. I have to wonder though, that by calling it a sweet spot, are we justifying a flaw in the pen because of the pen’s price tag? In other words, if this was a $10 Jinhao, would we say it has a sweet spot, or would we say that it suffers from skips and hard starts?
I would say that I get a skip or hard start about once every two or three lines of written text. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s noticeable and kind of annoying, especially given the price of the pen. I have a $3 Boaer 100 with a hooded EF nib on it, and that thing writes like a dream. I’m not sure what causes this sweet spot, but given how much this pen costs, they should fix the problem.
This pen is a dream to write with. The brushed surfaces of the Makrolon and stainless steel give a very soft, satin-like feel to them. The Makrolon seems to absorb some of the moisture from my hand and never feels slippery. The brushed finish of the barrel and section eliminate any slipperiness that might occur when writing. And the weight and balance of the pen are perfect. I haven’t had any cramps or other discomfort when writing.
I will say that I haven’t done any writing with the pen posted. I generally don’t post pens, mostly because I don’t want to damage the finish on the barrel. I am absolutely not posting the Lamy 2000. I’m not going to risk scratching anything. If you want to post the cap and get back to me on how comfortable the writing experience is, please do. But I’m not about to sully the pristine surface of this pen just to find that out. Sully your own pen and leave me out of it.
Writing Experience (4.5/5):
The only con I really have to mention is the sweet-spot-induced skipping and hard starting. The line it puts down is closer to what I would consider a F than an EF, but it probably falls in line with the EF of other European brands. I’d like it to be a little finer, but it’s not that bad.
Something that I have noticed, though, is that there seems to be an ever-so-slight bit of line variation. It’s nothing too consistent, and doesn’t occur all the time, but every once in a while I’ll notice it. And smile.
The nib is very smooth and wet. For being an EF, it really allows the shading and sheen of inks to shine (shhhh…don’t mention the assonance). I have Sailor Jentle Yama-Dori loaded up right now. The shading from the Lamy 2000 is gorgeous, and the reddish sheen really makes it pop off the page. You don’t always get that from EF nibs.
And just to cover all the bases, reverse writing is extremely fine, but also scratchy. VERY scratchy. The written results are excellent, but the utter horror of the nib’s top side slicing and screaming over the surface of the paper gave me the heebie jeebies.
I’m not going to lie: This pen is fantastic. It’s definitely one of the nicest pens I’ve written with.
I’m still not going to lie: The sweet spot annoys me. Any pen that costs this much should write every time, all the time. No exceptions. I expect perfection in this area, so it’s pretty disappointing to have to be so mindful of the writing angle. Like seriously, it’s a pen. It should write.
The look and feel of the Lamy 2000 are amazing, and the overall writing experience is excellent. But the occasional skips and hard starts are something that should not exist in a pen at this price point…whether you call it a “sweet spot” or just call it “skipping and hard starting.”
The Nutshell: Overall Score: 23/25
|Best Qualities||Worst Qualities|
|Gorgeous||Has a sweet spot / skips & hard starts|
|Perfect build quality||Cap nubs/ears aren't all that great|
|Seemingly very durable|
Do I like this pen? YES! Would I recommend this pen? YES! If you’re in the market for a $160 pen, you could do much worse than the Lamy 2000. If you get overly annoyed at hard starts or skips, then you might want to consider a different writing instrument.