Sunday, February 22, 2015

A dialogue with the Lamy Dialog 3


A collection of fountain pens is never complete without the retractable ones in your armoury. And the ones, which immediately strike an already covetous mind, are of course the Pilots (VPs, decimos and the fermos). Then there are pens like Lamy Dialog 3, Visconti Pininfarina among a few others equipped with a relatively small-sized non-hooded nib. Somehow, the idea of yet another hooded nib became quite less appealing, when I saw the Dialog 3. I knew it would be quite a heavy pen for the capless clan, but so was the Fermo. The Dialog 3 was launched by Lamy back in 2009 designed by one of the contemporary designers, Franco Clivio. The Lamy Pico is another pen by the same Swiss designer. As per LAMY, Franco innovates with basic shapes – circle, square and triangle, foregoing anything superfluous in the process to achieve technical necessity. 

                          As you would have already discovered, there are no dialog 1 or 2 in their fountain pens range. Dialog 1 refers to a ball-point pen whereas Dialog 2 is a roller-ball pen, and interestingly enough, they belong to different designers.


How do you ensure minimalism with luxury? By establishing extravagance incrementally, in step-by-step. A paper sleeve encases a much more attractive black cardboard box etched with the LAMY name. With the usual papers and a cartridge outside, a thin sheer cloth then encloses a beautifully polished gift box made out beech wood, closed with a magnetic rim.
The beauty of the beech-wood box is that it’s alluringly small enough to slip inside your pocket, the pen still dreaming inside with a soft cushion under her head.
PS: However, with the dialog 3 inside, it could be heavier than your cellphone. 

DESIGN (6/6)

A twist-action fountain pen with an advanced design, it comes with four variants now – matte-black, pianoblack, pianowhite and palladium finish, with six nib sizes – EF, F, M, OM, B & OB. 
The silvery palladium finish with chrome polished clip reflects its immediate environmental colours. An etched pair of parallel lines run along the barrel & grip pieces represent the final nib retraction point, when in sync. LAMY is etched between the lines at the end of the barrel. Half-a-twist clockwise from the barrel top-end will open a ball-valve at the nib end of the grip and the nib extends to a click-stop, keeping the pair of parallel lines at diametrically opposite ends. Anticlockwise, post the parallel sync, the barrel can be unscrewed from the grip+clip section, to take out the nib + filling system. There might be an odd slippage in the twist mechanism, but once I tightened the barrel and grip section, it did not occur again. Simply Elegant!
A chrome ball-valve at the end of the grip section protects the nib from damages of dust and drying, acting in sync with the twist-mechanism. Secondly, the clip lifts and rescinds with the twist to either facilitate an easier grip or enable clipping it on your pocket. 

From the aesthetics of design, the dialog 3 is really majestic. 


The sum of parts for me is greater than a whole. It’s less fun taking the pen apart, because it’s meant to. Once the barrel is unscrewed anticlockwise beyond the synced parallel lines, it separates out to reveal the nib & fill system. The nib/fill system can be unscrewed anticlockwise from the grip section. You will find a standard Z26 converter fitted into the nib section. Again like the 2000, the design elements appear to be fluidic in both nature and function. The standard capacity is around 0.7-0.8 ml for the Z26 converter, as per various FPN reviews, is quite good for a retractable one.
Once you fill her up, you can put the pen together and then comes the wow moment. 


The 14k two-tone nib comes in four standard widths (EF, F, M, B) and two special widths (OM and OB). Elegantly, designed although in a modern geometric fashion, the white rhodium decor occupies the tines and the tail parts of the nib, while a golden streak runs from the breather hole and diverges itself at the tip end of the nib. Embossed near the tail end are the usual specs of nib size (F), content - 14k-58.5% and of course the LAMY logo.
By the way, this nib runs extremely smooth like warm butter. The plastic feed is a rather small one with a big feeder hole, and it does ensure a wet and smooth flow of ink. The tip is quite a sphere.
One thing I did observe, is the difference between the tipping sizes of 14k-fine nibs of Lamy - a 2000 with a Fine nib in this case, which is in my current rotation. Though, the 2000 had its nib replaced with a somewhat older-service stock of Fine nibs, you can clearly see the difference between their tipping sizes, even without using a loupe. 


A cylindrical body with a 1.3 cm diameter having around 50 grams of weight, might seem to be a heavy proposition to wield as a pen. The length of the fully extended pen is similar to a posted MB146. Taking these into account, this pen does not seem comfortable for extended writing sessions. However, as far as short note taking sessions or signatures are concerned, believe me it could be the dream pen to write with. The illusive weight, the copious flow and the buttery nib will ensure a silky glider. 
  • Retracted Length ~ 13.8 cm 
  • Extended Length ~ 15.7 cm 
  • Nib Leverage ~ 1.8 cm 
  • Weight ~ 50 g 


With a street price of USD 250-260, it falls right into a category where you would probably think thrice or may be more, before buying the pen. There is always some discount running on MRP of USD 385 in local stores, which brings the price closer to street price levels.

OVERALL (5.3/6)

A flawlessly efficient pen as far as the vital parts of the pen are concerned. It has never skipped and all the twist mechanisms operate with firm intents of functionality. The d3 fine nib has quite a soft touch, decent spring, runs wet like rains & smooth like butter laying a broad line. With a relatively dry Pelikan 4001 ink, the wet lines laid by the Fine nib, run broader than a 2000-fine and a Platinum President Broad nib running the wettest of Diamine inks. The lines take around 30-35 seconds to dry Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue ink on MD Paper. 

A pen you cannot ignore, if you wish to have a retractable one with the smoothest of nibs.
Hope you liked the review. The Lamy 2000 is reviewed here.
You can find some more pen and paraphernalia reviews here.

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