Lamy 2000 EF
Summary: While inhibited by poor quality control, the Lamy 2000 is a superb pen offering a Bahaus appearance, a nearly indestructible construction, a smooth, springy nib, and a reliable and capacious piston filler.
The good: Smooth nib, durable material, capacious piston filler, modern appearance.
The bad: Sketchy quality control, ink view window ineffective, piston sometimes stiff, some visual clutter.
Pens are emblems of the era. One can easily imagine an elderly man sitting high above the rolling English plains in a mansion in the 1940's, at an oak desk penning a letter with a luxurious Conway Stewart with a beautiful exposed golden nib and a luscious green body to complement it. But fast forward sixty years. The surroundings are now an office space with its minimalist rectangular architecture looking high out over the downtown area of an urban metropolis. What pen fits here?
That would be the Lamy 2000. Designed in the 1960's, the 2000 is a modern design that will likely never look dated. The subdued curves quietly whisper impressions of "refined," "suave,"� and "understatedly professional."�
The Lamy 2000 is the epitome of sheer Bauhaus design; in the 2000, form follows function. The body is subtly curved, starting out with the thinness of the nib, reaching an apex in the center of the pen, and tapering slowly back off to the end of the piston. The cap shares the same curves, tapering slowly to the end and complemented by the clip, which has a slow taper as it goes to the end. The matte black Makrolon that the body is made of absorbs scratches well and resists fingerprinting. There are many grains running lengthwise that lead one's eye along the subtle curves.
The black Makrolon is complemented by stainless steel accents; the clip, a small circular patch on the rear of the piston knob, the section, and the nib.
Starting at the front of the pen, one is greeted by a semi-hooded 14kt gold nib that is colored/plated silver to match the rest of the highlights. About one inch of steel comprises the section and then the Makrolon starts, briefly interrupted by the ears that hold the cap on and a small ink view window. It continues uninterrupted until it meets the piston knob, where the grains do not match perfectly and so discontinuity can be disconnected, but only if you're looking for it.
I love the smooth, subtle appearance of the 2000. It's not something that screams "I'm an expensive fountain pen with lots of **bling**,"� but rather slips in smoothly under the radar.
I do have a few quibbles, though. First is a glossy plastic area on the top of the cap (you can see the reflection in the first picture); I think this would look a lot better if it were Makrolon. Second, the ink view window and clip ears seem to disturb the smooth flow of the lines on the 2000. I think I could do without the ink view window (more on that later).
The pen is very discreetly branded. The company name, "LAMY"� is engraved in a monospace all caps font on one side of the attachment of the clip, and the country of origin, "GERMANY," is engraved in the same manner underneath the clip; you won't find it unless you look for it. The nib is not marked at all, so make sure you remember what width it is and keep the boxes if you want to sell it!
The 2000 is a piston filler, my preferred method of filling. Ink capacity is very large. The nib is 14kt gold and springy/flexible - more on this later.
The ears I believe have been completely blown out of proportion with the effect they have. They are small pieces of steel that have blunt, rounded edges and go back into the pen if you push them (they're spring loaded). I usually don't grip the pen that high, but if I try, I can barely feel the ears since the retreat back in. Whereas another reviewer said to try before you buy, I am so confident they will not be a problem that I say "don't worry about them; they are nothing at all."
The cap is a snap cap and goes on very securely with an audible "click." I can insert and remove the pen from my pen case with its elastics while gripping the cap and not have the cap come off.
The clip is spring loaded and offers 10-15 degrees of rotation for easy clippage onto any material.
The piston is notoriously stiff but fully functional. This could be better, but I'll leave the piston design to Pelikan and not worry about the one on the Lamy, since it gets the job done just fine.
The ink window is about 1/8" wide. It is divided into four rounded sections, and there is a tube inside that holds the ink; the ink does not come up directly against the window. I wish it were either eliminated or made twice as large, for by the time I can see any emptiness at all, I have less than a page of writing left. Once one realizes he is low on ink, the pen runs out very quickly. It first begins to run out of ink in the nib sooner when heavily flexed, then the writing becomes a lighter and lighter shade until it finally runs out.
The construction is very solid and sturdy. I would have no doubts that with the cap on this would survive a drop of several feet onto concrete and come out relatively unscathed (although I obviously have no intentions of performing this test!). I wouldn't say that about my Pelikan M200, or even my (previous) Nokia 6102i cell phone (side note: that's how it met its demise one day in a parking lot, but I ended up replacing it with a superior samsung AGH-707!).
I usually grip the pen on the steel section. It feels colder and more slick than the Makrolon, but keep in mind that the Makrolon provides a very good grip in the first place. I have had no problems with my fingers slipping down the section. The curved design of the 2000 can be helpful in that if one desires a large grip diameter, he can grip the pen higher up, and vice versa. One item of interest with the section - it has grains like the rest of the pen, and after filling up with ink, some ink is impossible to get out of the grains. The result is nothing more than a mere "powder" or so of ink - I've never had my fingers stained by this but felt it was worth mentioning as an interesting idiosyncrasy nevertheless.
The Lamy 2000 Nib in full writing order. Nib creep courtesy of Nathan Tardif
On closer inspection, it looks like my nib slit is off-center (click on image for a closer view). I just realized this after writing the review.
I ordered the EF nib. The nibs run about one size large; the EF is a bit smaller than a Pelikan F. You can see writing samples next to a mm scale below. The nib is of 1960's design and thus has a delightful amount of spring and flex. I would say I can double the nib width by going from light pressure to heavy pressure. Obviously, it doesn't qualify as flexible or even semi-flex; the ink film often bursts when the nib is heavily flexed, leaving two hairlines on the page. However, this flex adds much flair to one's writing nevertheless when used purposefully.
The nib is on the wet side; maybe a 7 out of 10. It is not overly wet like my Pelikan M200 F (9) nor dry like a Safari EF (4). Using Noodler's Black, the 2000 lays down a dark, intense line that is devoid of the brown shades and bubbles that result when this ink is used in a dry writer. Sometimes my nib starts half an inch after being put to paper. It has never skipped, though.
How does it write? Smoothly. So smoothly, in fact, that it knocked my Pelikan M200 out of it's rotation spot. However, I do think the smoothness is very, very exaggerated by some users. The nib, while being smooth, nevertheless has a small bit of tooth/feedback. This is the least when used with a light touch. I believe descriptions such as "warm butter over glass" or "the smooth to end all smoothness"� are entirely unwarranted. Maybe "warm butter over fine sandpaper" would apply. Keep in mind that the pen writes more smoothly than any other pen I have owned; I only believe that smoother nibs may be possible (although this nib is very enjoyable, indeed.).
Simply put, Lamy's declining quality control is the only thing that would keep some from recommending this pen. The first 2000 I received was dry and scratchy, so I exchanged it for another one, which was only marginally better. So, off the Filofax it went, and the nibmeister replaced the nib and grommets before sending it back. It was obviously much better, but I still thought I felt a touch of feedback. While preparing pictures for this review, I noticed that the tines were misaligned! I straightened them, and the pen writes with much more smoothness.
edited: maybe it was my overflex that caused this ...
More details about my saga can be found here.
I honestly don't know what I would do if I could do the purchase over again. Maybe I'd send it off the Lamy the first defective one I got; maybe I would have the vendor ship the pen to Binder first! Whatever you decide to do, be sure to budget a few extra weeks and ~$25 in shipping just in case. As usual, YMMV.
The Lamy 2000 is a sleek modern pen that is up to the challenges of the modern workspace. It combines several killer features such as a hooded, smooth nib, piston filler, and tough body into one pen that truly has the potential to be a formidable pen if it has not slipped past Lamy QC.
Due to popular request! As usual, click on image for a larger version.
Some introspective writing - free and intended only to be legible. Note the last line on the "t" and "y" - I got a little too enthusiastic with the flex! The 2000 wasn't designed as a flex pen, but the bit it has sure is enjoyable!
Here are some rather mundane class notes. The pen is in normal use writing very quickly with no attention paid to flex.
An early draft of a thank-you note. Flex randomly used throughout. Note the inability of the nib to keep up with the heavy flex in the letters C, g, and l at the end.