Function alone determines form. With this design principle Lamy has won the hearts of many design enthusiasts throughout the world. And this all started with the LAMY 2000. When it made its first appearance in the shop windows in 1966, it was the first writing instrument of the modern era which did not seek to be a status symbol but simply an honest, high-precision tool for writing by hand.lamy.de
Hello everyone and welcome back!
Today I review one of the coolest pens in my collection, LAMY 2000. I have already reviewed LAMY’s inexpensive entry-level Vista and you can find the review linked here. But why is the 2000 so interesting? For several reasons actually. The pen was first launched nearly 50 years ago in 1966. It has been so successful that Lamy kept manufacturing it since its launch and it’s still in production. The design is modern, clean and understated. It’s made from stainless steel and Makrolon which makes the pen truly unique. It features a hooded nib, which means that the nib is partially covered by the grip section. We don’t see many of those nowadays. It is a piston-filler with little ink windows, allowing you to check your ink level. The nib is made of 14kt gold, it’s platinum coated and polished by hand.
The Birth of “LAMY Design”
When I researched the 2000 I was surprised just how important this pen was for LAMY as a company. It marked a new era in their history. If you check out LAMY.de website, their Design History calendar starts at year 1966 with the release of LAMY 2000 even though the company was founded in 1930. As they say on their website “1966 was the year that witnessed the birth of the distinctive product form by LAMY, the LAMY Design, through the LAMY 2000″.
This is how they describe what the year 1966 meant to them:
In 1966, when the LAMY 2000 fountain pen arrived on the market, it took its place in the ranks of products in a new and unusual design world. They included strange-looking office-machines from Italy, and coolly elegant electrical and audio equipment from Frankfurt. There was a talk of a Bauhaus revival.
LAMY 2000 was the great opportunity for a small family firm to find its individuality, its unique product profile and to make its appearance on a larger stage. This was not only due to the desire to create a contemporary product.
The customers at whom Lamy aimed this writing instrument were successful, middle aged men, who were image conscious, but tended towards understatement.
LAMY 2000 was also, technologically speaking, unknown territory. Never before had a clip been made of solid stainless steel – there was no precedent for this procedure, which would create an even surface of both stainless steel and plastic. In this way we created products whose almost unique character was due to the high degree of manual craftsmanship required.
Despite the intensive preparations of the Lamy sales force and the trade, despite positive survey results, no one expected that the LAMY 2000 would quickly make an impression on the market.
However its permanent market penetration did increase, due to the example of the first users, and it was followed by a ball point pen, a mechanical pencil and a four-colour ball point pen.
The sign of the commercial success and timelessness of this design is that these writing instruments are still being sold today, more than 30 years later. As a result, the LAMY 2000 has been included in almost every selection of German and European design and in 1984 was awarded the Busse Long life design prize.
Design, Build Quality and Comfort
This is not a small pen. This is not a large pen either. It’s not heavy nor light. The body is very well manufactured with piston knob practically invisible. The whole body of the pen is brushed including the grip section. This unifies the design and makes for pleasant feel in the hand. The pen can be posted and it still looks good. Unposted? No problem. LAMY, with Gerd A. Müller as their lead designer, obviously intended to make a pen for everyone. And as it turned out, they succeeded.
It all makes perfect sense. The design follows the principles of the Bauhaus design philosophy. In short, Bauhaus design is all about “form follows function” or “function in design”. These phrases, however, only scratch the surface of what Bauhaus school really was. If you’re interested in learning more about Bauhaus movement, follow either one of these links: Wikipedia, Visual-arts-cork.
As I mentioned before, the build quality is stunning. The cap is a slip-on cap, held securely by little steel notches protruding from the body between the end of the grip section and the ink windows. These are not sharp nor large enough to cause discomfort. The cap features hinged stainless steel clip which matches the grip section and is easy to operate. Each pen is polished after assembly as a finished unit and that’s how they achieved the beautiful seamless finish throughout.
The pen is made of Makrolon, a lightweight and durable material. But what Makrolon really is? Makrolon is simply a trademark name for polycarbonate. Polycarbonates are very versatile and were first discovered by Alfred Einhorn in 1898 in Germany. It was, however, quite a few decades later in 1953 that the research resumed by Hermann Schnell at Bayer in Uerdingen, Germany. Commercial production of Makrolon began in 1958. Even if you’ve never heard of the names Makrolon or polycarbonate, you can find it all around us. It’s what we many times call plastic, but it isn’t quite the same. Polycarbonates are a great alternative to glass with higher impact-resistance. It’s most commonly used in eye protection – safety goggles, sunglass/eyeglass lenses, swimming goggles, Scuba masks, even police riot shields or windscreens in small vehicles just to name a few. If you wear reading glasses, you may have heard of polycarbonate lenses.
The pen feels great in the hand. Thanks to Makrolon it’s warm and pleasant and feels much more natural than plastic or metal. It reminds me of Ebonite. The use of Makrolon as a pen material was an exceptional idea. The one downside to the use of Makrolon may be the occasional burp of ink into the cap as it may be just a bit more sensitive to temperature changes than other materials.
It’s important to note that the 2000 originally came out in Makrolon only. In recent years though LAMY released a Stainless Steel version of the pen as well and so you may find both these versions when searching for the 2000 on the internet. To my understanding the Stainless Steel 2000 is identical to the Makrolon one. The olny differences are the finish, weight and price.
The pen is 13,9 cm long when capped and 12,4 cm uncapped. Capped it’s exactly as long as the Vista or Safari. When posted, the pen is slightly over 15 cm long. I have somewhat medium-sized hands and the pen is just long enough to be used unposted. If I post the 2000, it’s nicely balanced and very pleasant to use.
The pen weighs around 28 grams capped and 18 grams without the cap. This is very manageable and I am yet to find it uncomfortable for its weight.
My only gripe with the comfortability of the 2000 is the tapered grip section. The taper is quite severe. It works well as a design decision but I find it a little bit uncomfortable to use. My fingers tend to slowly slip down the grip section and I have to stop writing and adjust my grip. By now I got used to it but it was very uncomfortable the first time I used it. Now I hold the pen even higher than usually, resting my fingers somewhere around the ink windows. I imagine that for those with smaller hands and/or slender fingers this may not be an issue at all.
Filling System and Ink Capacity
The LAMY 2000 is a piston-filling fountain pen. This means extended ink capacity of 1.2 ml of ink and filling from the bottle. For comparison standard converter-filled pen holds about 0.5 ml of ink.
There are a couple of downsides to the filling system. Firstly, there is larger chance of burps since it’s the whole body that holds the ink and there is no additional insulation to keep the inside of the barrel from warming up. Combine this with the properties of Makrolon and you get a pen more likely to burp ink than most other piston-filled pens. And secondly, cleaning the pen can be a pain. If you use the same ink over and over again, this is not a problem. But in case you like switching inks between fillings you will most certainly find this aspect bothersome. The pen can be disassembled but it’s not always worth it. But more on that later.
The feed is plastic but quite powerful and delivers ink consistently. Too many pens today have problem with proper ink delivery which leads to ink starvation. I’m happy to say, the 2000 is not one of them. Even though my pen has a broad nib – which is exceptionally broad – there are no issues with inkflow.
The nib is great. I’ve got the Broad and it’s as smooth and wet and they get and it writes beautifully. There are no hard starts, no scratchiness, no issues whatsoever. It’s been well tuned in the factory which is becoming more and more rare in the world of fountain pens. The nib is made of 14kt gold and coated in platinum. The coating only affects the color of the nib and has no effect on performance. The nib is also hand polished. This means that the actual tip of the nib, the writing part touching the paper is tuned by hand, which explains the spectacular quality and comfort of writing.
The Broad nib has a stubby quality to it, which means that the line is very broad on the down-stroke and quite a bit thinner on the cross-stroke. This way there is some natural line variation in your writing and drawing. Speaking of line variation, gold nibs are known to be a little springy, however don’t expect much springiness from the 2000. The pen has a semi-hooded nib which hinders any possible flexing. One last thing to be noted about the Broad nib is the narrow sweet-spot. Since the nib is more of a stub than regular round, it is less forgiving to your writing angles. You need to try and hit the paper at the correct angle to make perfect contact. This may take some getting used to.
The Lamy 2000 nibs are swappable but unfortunately, they are not sold separately. They are proprietary to the model 2000. That means that neither the steel nor 14kt gold Z50 replacement Lamy nib will fit. If you’re in dire need of a new nib you may have luck finding one second-hand.
Disassembly and Cleaning
The pen is not really meant to be maintained by the user. That said, it’s not that hard to disassemble the pen and clean it properly even if it hasn’t been designed with user serviceability in mind. In the following video with commentary by SBRE Brown you can learn how to disassemble and reassemble the pen. Always remember that if you decide to do disassemble any of your pens, you are doing it at your own risk and likely void your warranty, meaning that the seller or manufacturer won’t have your back if something goes wrong.
With the 2000 you’ve got be especially careful as there are people who has broken their piston rods or other parts of the pen during their attempts. This is why you should only do it if you know what you’re doing and feel comfortable with it. For example, to this day I haven’t been able to pull out the feed and nib unit from the grip section. Instead of forcing it, I try it once in a while, exerting as little force as I feel comfortable with. Always listen to yourself and stop when something doesn’t feel right.
If after watching the video you still don’t feel comfortable taking apart the whole pen but still want to maintain it up to a point, watch the following video where Brian Goulet demonstrates easy trick for keeping the pen in good shape. This is what I do to maintain the pen on regular basis. Complete disassembly is not really all that beneficial if you can grease the piston this way. It’s true that the piston operation is extremely improved once the silicone grease is applied.
One more trick I use before unscrewing the grip unit is to mark the same position on the grip section and the body as seen on the image below. This way you won’t have any problems getting it back together the way it’s been before the disassembling it. I use a bit of colored tape to mark it. It does matter how you put it back together since the pen is polished after assembly.
In short, the pen performs. Regardless of ink, paper, ink level, the pen just writes. And it writes well. Despite my issues with the comfort of the grip section and the possibly bothersome narrow sweetspot of the nib I really enjoy using the 2000.
As mentioned before, the feed keeps up exceptionally well even with the very broad and wet nib. I encountered quite a few pens that suffered from the infamous ink starvation and feared that with this one and its generous inkflow I might run into the same problem. Luckily, this is not the case with the LAMY 2000. The pen may get a little drier after extended and continuous use (as any pen would) but never was the inkflow inconsistent or insufficient.
The slip cap seals the nib well. I carry several pens in my pouch and not always use all of them daily but I’ve never had any issues with the LAMY 2000 drying up when not in use.
The pen requires very light pressure to write. This is always a good sign. I test my pens by holding them by the far end of the barrel and writing with it this way immediately shows how well tuned the nib and feed are. The LAMY 2000 writes even with no pressure flawlessly.
If more pressure is applied, the tines of the nib do spread a little bit even though the nib is semi-hooded. There is no real benefit from stressing the nib this way though.
As already discussed earlier, the feed is very capable. The inkflow is not hindered by continuous use which gets more rare every time I try a new pen. The 2000 won’t let you down even if you use it for projects with high ink demand. And this is how it should be with any pen really.
I find that the price varies depending on your location. The price in the US is around $160, in the UK £150 and in the Netherlands where I usually purchase my pens and accessories it’s around 200€. But I bought mine here in Slovakia for 110€, brand new. That’s quite a difference. If you can find a deal like that, then the pen can be certainly considered an excellent value. If you’re in Europe and want to check out the store I made my purchase shoot me an email at daniel(at)danielnovotnyart.com.
For the price I paid for the Lamy 2000 I cannot recommend the pen enough. Does it overperform pens half the price? Quite likely it does. The nib is extraordinary, the inkflow steady and the build quality superb. Top it off with the unique Makrolon finish and you have a winner.
But is it the ultimate fountain pen for artists? Well, performance-wise, I would say yes it is. Every tool I use for making my artwork has to perform to my expectations. And the 2000 does. But it also has to to be priced reasonably. I don’t buy paint in bulk for the fun of it. And so from an artist’s perspective, this pen is an overkill. This is the most expensive pen in my collection and should be viewed as such. It really is a luxury item that has its value but can be replaced by much cheaper model even if the performance suffers a bit.
That said, if you’re a fountain pen user and enthusiast or an artist fortunate enough not to be deterred by the price tag, go ahead, you can’t easily find a pen as good and at the same time as cool as the LAMY 2000.
+ history of the pen
+ design ideas of Bauhaus school
+ build quality and the eye for detail
+ feels great in the hand
+ very unique material – Makrolon
+ ink capacity of 1.2 ml
+ powerful feed
+ excellent well performing gold nib
+ hand polished nib
– depending on your hands and the way you grip a pen, the section can be uncomfortable
– not easy to service
– narrow sweet-spot of the nib needs some getting used to
– occasional burping of the ink
Should you have any comments or questions, leave them in the comment section down below and I will see you here again next time.
* disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with the LAMY pen company nor was I compensated for making this review. I bought the pen just as anyone else would through regular distribution channels.