Saturday, February 14, 2015

A LAMY 2000 story (with a little zen tale of maintenance)


This might sound pretty clichéd.. but it is actually true. If you love fountain pens, it is difficult to stay away from the Lamy 2000 for long. The 2000 is often quoted to have a timeless design, a masterful construction and a rather envious efficiency. And, it comes with a small 14k platinum-plated gold nib. The first of the Lamy 2000s are said to have been launched in 1966 and have well succeeded to become the flagship product of the company. To get the 2000 designed, Lamy had drawn a joint-project with a free-lancer (a top designer in the industrial space during the 1960s), Gerd Alfred Müller – of Braun fame. Incidentally, he was one of the first salaried designers of Braun and one of the advocates of the Bauhaus movement (‘form follows function’ maxim). And that project ended up with a piston-filler fountain pen made out of rigid fiberglass-reinforced makrolon polycarbonate and brushed stainless steel along with a gold nib. 


The L2k arrived in a small tri-folded black cardboard box (with a thick paper outer-sleeve), that locks the third fold on a silver colour plate bearing the ‘LAMY’ logo. These folds reveal the pen resting on a zig-zag felt-like paper floorboard along with a leaflet/manual.


The pen in its final elements apparently bestows a fluidic design. Even though it is often quoted to have an understated appearance with the brushed black makrolon matter, I feel that that’s the way the pen truly differentiates itself from others. The spring loaded clip made out of brushed-steel, is both efficient and stunning at the same time. 


Then there is LAMY embossed on one of the mount-sides of the clip, with GERMANY 2 written on its underside. As per some FPN posts, the GERMANY 1 or 2 could refer to the cavity number of the die in which the clip was made. Once uncapped, the pen depicts a engineering marvel, the one without boundaries. Concealing all the seams of individual parts starting right from the piston knob and ending with the nib, the lamy 2000 plays an effortless symphony, from the blackness of makrolon body through the subtle set of glassy ink windows (0.25 cm) towards the silvery brushed-stainless steel grip section ending with a hooded metallic nib (14k – Gold: Platinum plated). And that’s when you do realize a splendid piece of industrial design, by Müller!

                 I do find the snap-cap a blessing, when it comes to taking quick notes. Once uncapped, the pen becomes quite susceptible to rolling and falling off from smooth surfaces even with a little hint of slope. [That’s why probably a Minus – 1]

There is a stainless steel disc adorning the end of piston knob, ending the sweet sonnet of an eternal design with a silvery look which once started with the steely grip and clip. 


The piston knob is adequately large and quite comfortable to operate. The brushed surface ascertains a firm grip. Initially, the piston knob was too snug for my comfort, but it worked like a charm after lubricating the piston seal. In fact, it now is apparently smoother than the nib itself. More on it later. 

The pen draws and expels ink through its breather hole (below pic), located on the underside of the hood. Rather, the mechanism gushes ink in or out with remarkable efficiency. The ink capacity is said to be around ~ 1.4 – 1.5 mL. 


From the perspective of writing comfort, I would prefer the whole 25 grams and keep the pen posted. For short notes, I am comfortable to use the pen un-posted. 

            Dimensionally, it is quite similar to a Pilot Custom Heritage 91/92 and is a rather medium sized pen. The hooded nib seems small but an elusive unification with the metal grip gives the pen an unexpected leverage with a somewhat bottom heavy design. So you might never feel the absence of a big nib. 
  • Capped Length ~ 14 cm
  • Uncapped Length ~ 12.5 cm
  • Posted Length ~ 15.4 cm
  • Nib Leverage ~ 0.75 cm
  • Total Weight ~ 25 g
  • Body Weight ~ 15 g


Below, is the complete nib-section which is hidden under the hood. It’s a rather small nib but to reiterate, it’s a supremely efficient and an effective design. And thanks to Müller, apart from the most elegant of appearances, LAMY also managed to save some costs on the gold part of the nib. 

                          Mine was an EF nib and was yet another QC victim [Minus –1]. I did smoothen it up, but again the angularly-varying nib widths were not pertaining to my taste. But thanks to Lamy India Customer Service – by William Penn, they replaced it with a F nib in three weeks, totally free of charge. I was assured by them, if any Lamy is within a year of purchase (from anywhere across the globe), William Penn will happily service the pen at zero cost. The replaced nib is quite smooth and I believe it’s one of the older pieces in their service stock. It does draw a line quite similar to a pilot FM nib or a pelikan EF.


The best part of the pen is the ease of dis-assembly without a need of a tool. (The only part in which you would probably need a tool is probably pushing out the piston rod and seal out of the barrel)

             The steel grip section can be unscrewed off from the barrel in a clockwise manner, with the piston end on top. Be careful when you push out or push in the nib section, for I had used a cloth to hold the nib + feed, while gently pushing out the nib. While putting it in, I would suggest making sure that the convex opening of the grip section is well-aligned with the nib and feed faces the breather hole. It should smoothly fit-in, else it’s not aligned. The nib can be easily damaged during this exercise and secondly, there are multiple o-rings – metal (grip section) and rubber ones (nib section) to take care of. [Minus –1] I recommend staying away from the force (forcing the nib section in), even when The force is with you!

                   The piston knob can be screwed off in a quite similar manner of operation. After a stop, once it’s rotated anti-clockwise from top a few clicks are heard and it comes out completely revealing a plastic internal end cap for this version. 

Since, my piston knob was quite snug from the beginning, I took the liberty of disassembling the pen to apply some silicone grease on the interiors of the barrel, with an ear-bud. After turning the piston knob in and out for a few times, it was magically butter-smooth to operate. I referred to this video by Brian Goulet.


I was able to win the pen at USD 120 on an online auction. I am not sure whether I could have got it for less. It probably sells at a street price of USD 150-160 and retails at USD 200+ in India. And, post the nib-replacement I am pretty happy with the pen. 

OVERALL (5.5/6)

Know what! If you haven’t already, you must get it. It deserves a place in your collection. PS – It was 1966 not 68


The Lamy 2000 Bible by Brandon
Applying Silicone Grease Video

Thank you for going through this review. Hope you enjoyed it. The Lamy Dialog 3 is reviewed here

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