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Thread: Lamy 2000 Observations (From a Relative Newbie)

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    Default Lamy 2000 Observations (From a Relative Newbie)

    I've written a little bit about my "path" into fountain pen enthusiasm in other posts, but will recap it here, since it's relevant:

    I started-out simply wanting to improve my overall penmanship, so purchased a couple entry-level fountain pens for that specific purpose. As an engineer, and as per my usual direction of interest, I quickly became fascinated with the pens themselves, and started to gain some knowledge about them. From the typical entry-level pens (Pilot Metropolitan, Lamy Safari, Kaweco Sport), I initially loved the Lamy Safari, but then quickly gravitated a bit more toward the much finer line-quality of the Pilot Metro. I purchased a Pilot Custom 74 as my first "fine" pen, and have really enjoyed it. Curiously, though, I started to move away from my love of razor-thin lines, and began to appreciate the Lamy pens once more. I decided to go ahead and pull the trigger on a 2000 (in F), which had initially been my target for my first really nice pen. I now have it, and have written a bit with it...

    ...and what follows are some observations about it... I'm writing these down to be of help to other beginners who are considering a 2000, and also (hopefully) to get some feedback regarding a couple little issues I've had. I'm going to write my observations as an objective assessment of some of the more *superlative* (both positive and negative) commentary I've read, regarding the pen. I'm doing it this way because it seems like the 2000, in particular, draws very strong responses from lovers and haters. Here goes:

    `The design is amazing; the pen is so beautiful!' ... I would generally concur with these sorts of comments, but tone-down the hyperbole a bit. The pen, in my objective-as-possible opinion, does have a certain something about it. I'd seen plenty of pictures of the pen, before buying, but nothing could have prepared me for the giddy experience of unboxing and beholding the beautiful, balanced lines. Someone put some effort into the design, and it shows. The pen manages to stand-out, without making an overt statement. That said, the design is very modern, unadorned in any way, and does depart from the classic fountain pen shapes that time had honored for many decades before the 2000 came along. So in that respect the design could be said to be a bit bold and even contrarian, in a way -- which is always a risk. I think the 2000 more or less succeeds in setting a new standard, but I could also sympathize with someone taking a look at it and deciding it wasn't for them.

    And that leads into the converse statements I've occasionally heard, along the lines of: `The design is so hideous! It's modern just for the sake of being modern!' ... I can completely understand the stance of someone who really likes traditional pen designs, including more embellished details. There's something to be said for simply sticking-to a tried-and-true formula, and finding a way to put one's own unique spin on that formula, without completely re-inventing the wheel, so to speak. So, if your thing is traditional pens, then the 2000 is maybe not for you. I can see that, but I also don't agree that the design of the 2000 fails in any significant way. I, myself, am a fairly traditionally-minded person, and my eye loves the design of the pen.

    `It feels amazing in the hand' ... I generally concur with the praise over the way the pen feels and handles. I appreciate a somewhat heavier pen, and the 2000 slots nicely in-between a real lightweight, versus the truly hefty pens that I've had occasion to pick-up. It feels just about right, to me, weight-wise. The texture of the body material adds a certain dimension to the experience which I was not expecting. I hadn't even thought about how the matte finish of the Makrolon (which in reality is just a variation of polycarbonate) body would affect the handling of the pen, but it does -- in a positive way. It has a really nice feel to it.

    `It's difficult to grip.' ... I've seen commentary and/or reviews in which users claim that the taper of the body makes the pen somewhat challenging to grip properly. My own preferences and experience have not revealed any sort of problems in this area. If anything, I rather like the way the body tapers all the way down to the nib. I feel that this design leaves room for a lot of freedom in hand/finger positioning. Also -- a minor point -- the taper makes it very slightly easier to see what you're actively writing, from all angles.

    `The cap nubs get in the way' ... In case you don't know, the press-on cap of the pen is secured in it's closed position by way of a couple very subtle little nubs that protrude ever so slightly from the barrel of the pen, right at the grip area. Some people claim that these are an annoyance. I will be honest and say that this aspect of the pen's design worried me a little bit, and it was one of the two or three reasons I'd initially hesitated to buy one. In practice, it's turned-out to be a virtual non-issue. I'll say that I do notice the nubs, occasionally. They are not bothersome, and they do not get in the way. But they are there, and every once in a while they make their presence known. It's the one, single aspect of the overall design for which I wish they'd come-up with some other solution. It's not a big deal; I was able to get past it within a minute or two.

    `The ink window is useless' ... Yeah, it could be a bit bigger. But making it more prominent might ruin the otherwise sleek lines of the pen. Which -- again -- if you think that's a sacrifice of functionality in favor of design concept, then so be it, and I wouldn't fault anyone for having that opinion. But the window is not useless. It's simple enough to hold the pen up to the light to confirm the color of ink and that there is still some left. It's fine, especially compared to those pens which -- you know -- have no ink window at all.

    `It writes like a dream!' ... Well, okay, yes. Let there be absolutely no doubt that it's a truly fine writer. Compared to all the other pens in my (admittedly very modest) collection, it is hands-down the smoothest by far. The nib does seem to glide effortlessly along a sheet of Rhodia, while still providing just enough reassuring friction & feedback to remind you of what you're doing. The line quality is solidly consistent (following a bit of frustration -- explained just below) and relatively easy to control. There is just about exactly enough give to the nib to suit my own personal tastes. Some people label the nib as too soft, but I have not found that to be even remotely the case. I find it to be about perfect for normal writing. That said, I think that some reviews and commentary get overly carried-away with praise. I fully expect that at some point I'll own another pen that writes as well, or better. I get the impression that there is almost something of a Lamy 2000 cult, wherein the members are convinced of the magical writing capabilities of the pen -- that it's somehow imbued with qualities that make it unassailable as the finest writing instrument available. I certainly do not subscribe to this belief, myself, and would advise anyone hoping for it to be so to manage their expectations accordingly.

    `The pen writes so wet!' ... These sorts of observations are not wrong, but I think that they commonly overstate the matter. The nib is very generous with ink flow, yes. If you are used to a more conservative nib, it'll take some getting used-to. My own writing style is small, slow, and deliberate, and even with those factors, I've found the ink flow to be totally manageable. That said: there's a part of me that wishes I'd opted for the extra-fine nib, but that's another story. I would say that the ink flow of the 2000 is perhaps just a little bit higher than average -- not a gusher, as some would have you believe.

    `A Lamy fine is more like a medium or even broad in any other pen brand' ... It's certainly true that Lamy nibs tend toward being wider for their given designation. What I'm beginning to think, however, is that the truth of the matter is somewhere in the middle, rather than Lamy being the specific outlier. I.e., I think it's truer to say that (for example) Pilot nibs run toward the narrower end of the spectrum by a little bit, and a true F is somewhere between what Lamy vs. Pilot says it is. If you're used-to, and prefer a particular width, size down accordingly. As I stated above, I almost wish I'd gone for the EF. But the F is great, too, and I'm not at all unhappy with it.

    `Quality control on the nib is inconsistent' ... Based on my one and only experience, I would have to lend some credence to these sorts of observations, while at the same time toning them down somewhat. My pen did not write well straight out of the box. I loaded it up, initially, with Robert Oster Signature ink, and was rather dismayed at the line quality -- the pen was bleeding ink all over the place. I couldn't get it to put down a decent line at all. Given that my much cheaper Lamy pens, however, perform wonderfully, I thought `that can't be right.' A quick examination of the nib revealed a distinct tine misalignment. Which, even as a total novice, I was able to easily correct within a minute or two. Even with that correction, however, the Oster ink proved to be a little bit overly thin. I switched that out for Waterman Serenity Blue, and suddenly all was right in the world. The pen started producing very lovely lines and, a page or so later, just got better and better. It is, now, my favorite pen to write with -- it clearly produces the best lines. And this makes me wonder what other issues the nib might have, and perhaps it would write even better if tuned by an expert. And this is, admittedly, a bit frustrating. A nearly $200 pen -- in my opinion -- should be tuned and ready to go. Or, at least, an issue such as a major tine misalignment should be caught at the factory. I'm the sort of person who is curious and handy enough to overlook it and actually be happy for the opportunity to apply a little DIY elbow grease to the problem. But if you are not that sort of person, and need your pen to be perfect right out of the box, this might be a major concern -- something to seriously think about.

    My bottom-line: the Lamy 2000 is truly a fantastic pen. I would recommend it to almost anyone, with very few caveats. I think that for what it is, however, it's perhaps just very slightly overpriced. If it were, say, $125 as opposed to the common retail price of around $170, I'd call it a bargain. I feel that one is paying a premium simply for the reputation and stature of the pen as a design icon. In that regard, I might compare the pricing to Apple products. If you love them, then you're willing to pay a bit more for what might be considered "intangible" reasons. Some people might consider those reasons to be ludicrous, while others couldn't be happier to own a product which, to them, possesses qualities that can't be found elsewhere. I think that I, personally, have at least a couple toes, if not a whole foot, in that camp (I'm a Mac user -- guilty as charged). If the design of the pen speaks to you, then definitely get one. The "unboxing experience" alone was, for me, almost worth the price of admission :-) Truly, the initial satisfaction of viewing and holding the pen is joyful.

    The pen will certainly remain in my collection, and as of now it has assumed the position as my first choice when I sit down to write.
    Last edited by michaeldoleman; March 12th, 2019 at 11:05 AM.

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    Default Re: Lamy 2000 Observations (From a Relative Newbie)

    I appreciate you taking the time to write a rather comprehensive review of a popular pen.
    I also like that you "tone down" some of the hyperbole
    - Will
    Sketches with restored vintage fountain pens: Redeem Pens

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    Default Re: Lamy 2000 Observations (From a Relative Newbie)

    Thanks for this direct, personal view. I also like the 2000 for its design but it's also a good pen and the design makes it quite comfortable. It has never given me trouble, even in long writing sessions. As for the price, it's not inexpensive but not as ludicrously expensive as other pens with a similar performance but more bling.

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    Default Re: Lamy 2000 Observations (From a Relative Newbie)

    My father bought a Makrolon set of FP and BP in the 70s which was my 1st foray into LAMYs; with my mom buying a thins stainless pen (I believe it mathces the cp)
    The design is simple and elegant, and is just a workhorse. Nothing amazing just works
    Unfortunately I didn't keep any of them

    Worth every penny IMHO
    Last edited by titrisol; March 12th, 2019 at 02:36 PM.
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    Default Re: Lamy 2000 Observations (From a Relative Newbie)

    What an excellent, thorough review. Thanks!

    I've been considering the 2000 as an eventual purchase. I too think such an expensive pen should rarely be found with nib issues. Maybe you got unlucky but my perception is colored by a few lamy Safari nibs coming to me unacceptably rough (once smoothed they are awesome). Pilot and Waterman haven't let me down after multiple purchases.

    I too like the grip shape. Same deal on the MB221 and Parker 45, two of my favorites.

    Worth mentioning, my Parker 45 and Waterman Fine nibs are about like a Pilot Metropolitan M and a Lamy EF. My Montblanc 221 EF is about like a Pilot F. One of these days I should compare them side by side and measure.

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    Default Re: Lamy 2000 Observations (From a Relative Newbie)

    Good observations. I would just like to add that the ink window comment seems a bit lost on me. I use it as a “wasserwaagen” ... what do you call that in English? I only know german word for it. It’s a scale with water in it for measuring flatness of something. Just align the ink window horizontally until the level is flat and you can easily see how much ink is in it really.

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    Default Re: Lamy 2000 Observations (From a Relative Newbie)

    Quote Originally Posted by adhoc View Post
    Good observations. I would just like to add that the ink window comment seems a bit lost on me. I use it as a “wasserwaagen” ... what do you call that in English? I only know german word for it. It’s a scale with water in it for measuring flatness of something. Just align the ink window horizontally until the level is flat and you can easily see how much ink is in it really.
    Hi,

    a Wasserwaage is called spirit level in english...

    I like the 2000. Mine was bought new in 1979 by my father, it's an OM nib in it, very smooth, moderate oblique (15°?).
    The only downside is too little line variation.
    I also like it's little brother, the Lamy 68.

    Best
    Jens
    Last edited by SchaumburgSwan; March 13th, 2019 at 03:47 AM.
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    Default Re: Lamy 2000 Observations (From a Relative Newbie)

    Thanks. I have never heard of the term spirit level before. Maybe I should work a little more on my English

    I also have an OM nib on my Lamy 2000 and it is a very nice writer.

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    Default Re: Lamy 2000 Observations (From a Relative Newbie)

    Quote Originally Posted by adhoc View Post
    Thanks. I have never heard of the term spirit level before. Maybe I should work a little more on my English .
    Spirit levels are often just called "levels" in North American English. I think the "spirit" part is because they once contained spirits or alcohol as the liquid. Perhaps they still do. I've never cracked one open to find out.

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    Default Re: Lamy 2000 Observations (From a Relative Newbie)

    Quote Originally Posted by adhoc View Post
    Thanks. I have never heard of the term spirit level before. Maybe I should work a little more on my English

    I also have an OM nib on my Lamy 2000 and it is a very nice writer.
    Well, nobody is perfect. I have to use a web based translator sometimes...

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    Default Re: Lamy 2000 Observations (From a Relative Newbie)

    Quote Originally Posted by adhoc View Post
    Good observations. I would just like to add that the ink window comment seems a bit lost on me. I use it as a “wasserwaagen” ... what do you call that in English? I only know german word for it. It’s a scale with water in it for measuring flatness of something. Just align the ink window horizontally until the level is flat and you can easily see how much ink is in it really.
    I guess that's what I was trying to say, perhaps not very well: that I do, indeed, find the window to be useful by using it in just the way you suggest. I hold it up to the light and look at it in the same way I look at a level (spirit or otherwise, LOL). This tells me immediately what color ink I've got in the pen (sorta), and how much is left. I think it's great. My point was to indicate that I think the naysayers just don't understand how to use the window.

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    Default Re: Lamy 2000 Observations (From a Relative Newbie)

    I'm sure Lamy makes a profit on the 2000, but compared to the competition, especially the other German pens, they're quite reasonably priced.

    I like that the broader Lamy 2000 nibs are cut somewhat flat and give a stubbish effect. (Some nibs more than others, so ymmv).

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    Default Re: Lamy 2000 Observations (From a Relative Newbie)

    Interestingly enough, I found broader nibs stub (ish) and finer ones architecture (ish).

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    Default Re: Lamy 2000 Observations (From a Relative Newbie)

    nice observations. the L2k is my favorite pen, so i tend to overstate its virtues a lot, but there's one bother that comes with it: ink burps. i own and regularly use six (6) L2k's and while i reground my mediums into stubs (just what i prefer) never had any nib issues. but all of them burp ink when there is a change of ambient temperature, not to mention during air travel (they travel empty with me). part of the appeal of the pen is its historical longevity: over 50 years by now. rather than being overly "novel" it is firmly rooted in the design ethos of mid-century modernism and - more specifically- the ulm design school. most specimens that embody that style have by now become extinct, therefore the 2000 is a bit oddballish now (just like Junghans 'max bill' wristwatches and Braun clocks and watches).

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    Default Re: Lamy 2000 Observations (From a Relative Newbie)

    I am a huge fan of that school of design. I gravitate naturally and strongly to all those brands/products mentioned. I hope to own a Max Bill or something like it one day.

    too bad about the burping. I have that issue with Parker 21s. I'd never take one on an airplane. The pens I took on my trip this week survived coming and going without issue (Parker 45, Waterman Hemisphere, and Montblanc 221).

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    Default Re: Lamy 2000 Observations (From a Relative Newbie)

    I have been trvaelling with Lamys, Parker Vector, 45 and a Platinum 3776
    No issues with those (I carry them in a ziplock bag anyway)

    Quote Originally Posted by azkid View Post
    ... snip....
    The pens I took on my trip this week survived coming and going without issue (Parker 45, Waterman Hemisphere, and Montblanc 221).
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