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Monday, June 20, 2011

Lamy 2000 First Impression



Link to YouTube for more viewing options.

The Lamy 2000 is an iconic pen in the fountain pen world, with a cult following since 1966. It has a modern look even today. It's perfectly balanced, comfortable in the hand, and on paper. To me, the Lamy 2000 is a perfect example of German design and engineering.



It is made of a material called Makrolon, which is a combination of black fiberglass and stainless steel. It's a unique material that feels great in the hand and really gives a solid grip when you're writing, something important to fountain pen users. The nib is 14k yellow gold plated in platinum, so it has a silvery look to it that complements the stainless steel accents on the pen. The nib is the only shiny component of the pen, everything else is brushed, which is a great appeal of the design.


The nib is hooded, which means that it's partially covered by the grip section of the pen. The benefit of this is that it makes it harder to touch the nib with your fingers, which will keep you from accidentally inking up your digits :) The nibs are available in extra-fine, fine, medium, and broad. They tend to run on the broad end like most Lamy pens, especially if you're used to Japanese pens like Sailor, Platinum, or Pilot. If you're used to those, order a size smaller than what you're used to...so if you like Sailor fines, get a Lamy extra-fine.

The Lamy 2000 is a piston-fill pen, which means the filling mechanism is entirely built into the pen. As a result, the pen must be used with bottled ink, no cartridges for this one. The back unscrews, which allows you to fill the pen, and an ink window helps to let you know when you'll need to refill. The best part about the piston fill is its large ink capacity, which is easily two or three times the capacity of any cartridge/converter pen.


The one quirk when filling this pen is that you may need to tap the nib a bit to get it flowing after a fresh fill. There is a hole in the back of the grip section (see the pic below) which is where the pen fills, and the ink will need to be forced down a little bit from the body of the pen down into the nib the first time you write. About 5 seconds of light tapping should do it (just like I do in the video), and once it gets flowing you should not have any more starting issues.


The box is neat, it unfolds from overlapping top and bottom sections to reveal the pen resting inside. It's some kind of cardboard box, but it's sturdy. It's not the kind of thing you'll feel really guilty about throwing away, but it's also not an eyesore.


I can see the appeal of this pen. Though I don't have this one in my personal collection, I can see it working its way in there fairly soon. The one downside to these pens is that they recently made quite an upward jump in price. In early 2011 they were only around $130 list price (selling many places for $100 or less, a killer deal!). But they jumped up to a list price of $175 in Spring of 2011, and higher to $199 around 2013. At this price it makes the Lamy 2000 a pen you need to seriously consider, whereas before it was a no-brainer.

At GouletPens.com we're selling the Lamy 2000 for $159.20. In my opinion, it's still worth the price even after the jump. But then I sell them, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I will say that after inking up and using the 2000, I can really see why these pens have been so popular for the last 45 years.

One thing I do want to add after having posted the video is that I probably shouldn't recommend tapping the nib on the page as the first 'go-to' step to helping ink into the feed on a fresh ink-up like I did in the video. What I would recommend is filling your pen, then flushing the ink back into the bottle, then filling again, just like I do in this video. Or, fill the pen, cap it, and let it rest horizontally on your desk for a minute while the ink works its way down the feed. 

Tapping is a method you should use at your own risk, as you could potentially misalign the nib tines if you tap too hard. It looks like I was tapping harder in the video than I really was, and I assure you, the pen is no worse for the wear because of what I did. But the risk is there. I did the tap as a split-second decision to save time in the video, which was already running long! In retrospect, I would have done it differently, but, I left it as is to maintain the integrity of my true first impression of the pen. A retake wouldn't have been my first impression ;)

What do you think?

42 comments:

  1. Yes, the box is good for holding up to 3 pens in the foam groves.
    Also re hooded nibs, primary reason is to slow dry out if uncapped. (aka, the Parker 51, the most famous  vintage  FP)

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  2. Re nib,
    Generally considered the snoothestmodern writer after the Pelikans.

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  3. Hi,

    several points to make:
    1. When I bought my first L2K it was a disappointment, dipped it wrote well, normally filled it skipped like crazy, and the reason for this leads me to my second point:
    2. I foresee problems in the future of first impression videos. When you use a pen for the first time, flush it first. Sometimes there are oils or other residuals in the feed, that can make a good pen write bad.
    3. Instead of tapping the nib I prefer to wait a moment or give the (capped!) pen a gentle shake. I am peculiar this way ;)

    Overall I love the L2K, it has a nice feel to it, I like the Bauhaus design and it is virtually indestructible. Falling on the floor means nothing to this little tank, as long as the cap is on, obviously ;) I have several now, I began with an M nib and worked my way up to BB. All are inked up regularly.

    The price jump is unfortunate, but for a product which is made out of steel, oil (Makrolon) and gold it was to be expected. I still think the pen is worth its money.

    However, this is a love/hate pen, there are people out there who don't like this pen at all, people like me, who love this pen and I think not many in-between.

    In conclusion,
    "If a Lamy 2000 be the food of love, write on"
    Freely adapted from Shakespeare ;)
    (Sorry for killing the pentameter)

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  4. Your video really got to me. I had to go out and compare one of my old models to one with the new all-metal section (The bit around the feeder hole used to be Makrolon as well).
    I can find no difference in the handling, old vs new, but I think it looks better with the all metal section, more in line with the overall design.
    So now I have one more...
    Oh, I wouldn't put "L2K nib" and "flex" into one sentence, it doesn't feel right. But a B or BB nib has some line variation.

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  5. This was the gateway pen for me.

    I had bought a yellow Lamy Safari at a local store. It was a broad nib and although I enjoyed writing with it it was too broad for nightly journal sessions so I started looking around for something with a M nib. I spotted a Cross Apogee at a high end pen shop. It was beautiful and shiny and a disappointing writer. I couldn't believe something that cost over $100 could not write as well as my $30 Safari pen. I almost gave up on fountain pens after that purchase, but I kept reading about this other pen Lamy made, the 2k, and the reviews were glowing. I liked the look of the pen and when I saw them go on sale for $99 I ordered one. The moment it touch the paper I understood why I love writing by hand. 

    The price hike is disappointing. I think $140 is pushing what this pen is worth. I know that I would not have bought this pen at $140 when I searching for a high end fountain pen. I think my experience is common. You start with a pen under $50, wonder if those high end pens are really worth it and then take the plunge and by something above $100. The standard list for pens in this price range always included Lamy 2k, but now at $140, you might was well get a really nice restored Parker 51 or spend a bit more and get  Pelikan 400, also a nice piston filler. The price hike pushes it up into a class of pens that it really can't complete with.

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  6. Never had a problem starting the nib on mine but 1) I always flush a new pen before inking it and 2) I always work the filling system two or three times to insure that nib and feed are soaked (I think I learned or derived that from your YouTube video "Topping Off Your Pen.") before blotting the nib and taking it to paper.

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  7. They are indeed! Glad you like the vid :)

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  8. Yes, an excellent point that I forgot to mention in the video! Sometimes I miss facts like this when I'm just rolling through a first impression video.

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  9. Yes, this pen is one I think always comes up in conversations with the Pelikans.

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  10. You're right, Sven, and I agree about my first impressions here. I'm finding that there's so much information that I'm trying to cram into these first impressions that I'm missing things. I've had it on my mind lately about flushing the pens before using them. It's a practice that I know I should be promoting more than I do, I'm going to look to change that in the future. I'm debating whether I should incorporate this practice into future videos (which are already getting pretty long), or if I should just do it ahead of time and mention that I've done it in the video.

    Tapping: yeah, I regret this. You're not the first to mention to me a concern about tapping the nib. Honestly, it looks much more 'harsh' in the video because I was so zoomed in than what I was actually doing, but even still, this probably isn't a practice that I should promote without caution. The reason I did it in the video is because I was trying to keep time to a minimum (but the video still ran long!). Ideally, it would be best to just let the pen rest laying down (with the cap on) for a couple of minutes after filling, to allow time for the ink to work its way down the feed. I was trying to speed up the process, so I tapped it. This pen is no worse for the wear, but if you're careless with the tapping, the potential for misaligning the nib tines is there.

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  11. I say in the video that there isn't much flex, what I should have said is 'spring' instead. Generally, gold nibs have some amount of spring, bounce, softness, whatever you want to call it. This one is relatively stiff, that's what I was getting at.

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  12. Thanks for sharing your story, Lori. As a retailer, my hands are kind of tied about keeping the price down on the pen. List price is $175, which is what you'll probably find at a lot of brick and mortar stores, but there's only so low we can take it. I agree at $140, this pen is no longer a 'no-brainer' purchase like it would have been at $99. But, Pelikans underwent a major price hike last year too. Platinum is undergoing one right now. It's an unfortunate result of a weak dollar in relation to other currencies, so I think you'll see a lot of imported pens going up in price if they haven't already.

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  13. The starting issue I had was something that can easily be prevented, but I wanted to post my true first impression, and this is what it is. If I was going for a full-on comprehensive video of a pen I'd been using from my personal collection for weeks or months, it would be a much more fluid experience. I wanted to show all of the pitfalls that one could face when inking this pen for the first time, and I've clearly done that! :P Yes, had I thought about it, filling then flushing the ink back into the bottle would have solved the starting problem, as would letting the pen rest on the table for a minute before using it.

    I've clearly not made a 'flawless' video here, but hopefully the experience is something we can all learn something, I know I certainly have!

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  14. I recently got one, and after a little nib tweaking (the tines needed a spread) it has rapidly ascended to be one of my top 3 pens (along with a Bexley Simplicity and one particular Parker 51). While I often hear them mentioned along side the Pelikan 200 (presumably since they are both reasonably inexpensive piston fillers), I much prefer the Lamy in terms of writing quality (though to be fair, I have a modded CI on my pelikan), overall balance, and fit and finish. Really a great pen. 

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  15. Is the pen a solid, jet black color or is some gray color variation on the barrel?

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  16. I think it is enough when you just mention, that you did flush the pen beforehand. I mean we all know, how to flush a pen, and if someone doesn't, then he/she can find a video in this excellent blog, to learn it...

    Re tapping, I am guilty, too, and I agree, if done sensibly, nothing should happen.

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  17. Yeah, I guess there is no real working vocabulary to describe a nib.

    BTW I would like to point out for those who don't know yet, that the model shown in the video is the latest model, with the complete metal section. This new section was designed to prevent the pen from leaking from the feeder (I have never had this problem) and the front of the pen is now 4-5 gram heavier (though I can't feel the difference). And, as I said, it looks better. Almost 50 years, and they still find ways to improve the pen, that is impressive.

    I really hope for a nice special edition L2K in 2016.
    But first the Edison Nouveau Premiere Limited Edition!

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  18. Thanks for sharing your experience. These pens do often get compared to the Pelikan m200 and m400 lines, because of price I'm sure.

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  19. It's not a solid jet black. There are actually some grey striations in the Makrolon, to what degree varies from pen to pen.

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  20. I'll look to mention the flush thing in future videos. It's a lot I have to remember to say! ;)

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  21. Yeah, pen vocab in general is hardly standardized!

    Thanks for pointing that out, Sven. We've only been carrying Lamy since February 2011, so everything we've ever seen has been the 'new' Lamy 2000's. A 45 year run on any pen is incredibly impressive! I do hope they do a limited edition, that would be awesome!

    As for the Premiere LE, you'll find out what that's like tomorrow night :)

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  22. Are
    you doing something different with your microphone? The sound on your video
    sounds really clear and three dimensional, on the parts where we only see your
    hands and the pad.

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  23. When I record the shots head-on, I'm recording them on my computer. For the hand shots I'm using my HD camera with a separate microphone. It sounds more dimensional because I basically have a microphone right up to my mouth when I'm doing the pen demo.

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  24. Once you own one it's not really surprising how it's remained on the "must-have" list for FP fans for the last 40 years.

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  25. If it helps on starting, I know that on Pelikans the manual thingy tells you to let out a few drops (and of course then put the piston back) after filling.

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  26. I think this is a good idea, especially if you do it while you still have the nib in the bottle of ink, that way when you draw the piston back up, you're topping it off ;)

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  27. You're right! I don't even have one of these in my personal collection yet, but I'm finding it hard to resist putting one in there. ;) I'm starting to really understand the attraction.

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  28. http://www.pelikan.com/pulse/Pulsar/en_US.CMS.displayCMS.93710./refills-and-care (referring to that).  It actually has you back out the piston while it's not in the ink (nib up).  Not sure how that'd work out on the 2K depending on how that bypass thing works.

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  29. In my part of the world, the Lamy 2000 sells for about $180, while the Pelikan 400s go for closer to $295. Mind you this was before both firms raised their prices so I think we will be seeing a further rise in tag price.

    Given this, the Lamy is the no-brainer, unless you really are bothered by the hooded nib or the retaining ears near the section.

    I like the idea of flushing the pen ahead of time and just mentioning that in the video. Mainly because I think most of us do flush the pens before inking them, and I think it gives the pen a decent chance to perform.

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  30. Thanks for the link. That way will work too.

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  31. I've had a Lamy 2000 for over 10 years.  It has been totally reliable and has always written immediately even after sitting unused for weeks, laying down a nice wet line.  Never had to tap it to get ink out after filing.  True that it holds a lot of ink and that the nib is on the broader side.  Excellent pen.

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  32. Thank you for sharing your experience. I like to give my first impression, but having a 10-year testimonial to the pen is priceless.

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  33. Beautiful pen but a bit too expensive for me. Also not really sure about that hooded nib.

    Instead of tapping the nib, how about holding the pen in your clenched fist, nib down, and banging the fist on the desk? It works for me.

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  34. This would work too, but I think in the future I'll resort to tactics that don't involve any kind of pounding, banging, or general flailing around of any kind ;)

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  35. Fran├žois MartinJune 24, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    The Lamy 2000 is one of my favourite pens. I've been searching a long time for an extra fine pen (considering about 20 different fountain pens) which writes very fine, but still with a sharp edge (not bleeding out) and without scratching. I find this nib to flow really well, like butter. I also like that it's kinda on the wet side, still providing a lot of shading with inks and producing a bit darker ink color than you're used to, even with an extra fine. At first, I didn't like the design very well, but over time I started to like it. The only problem with the material I had so far ist that it stains pretty quickly, but that's no problem, you can just rub against the brushing and it will go away no problem. I also like it being pretty cheap in my eyes for the features, getting a piston-filled pen and even a gold nib.

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  36. I had a 2000with a medium nib that I sold and then hot a CI nib. I sold that one too to fund another pen but then I got to missing it enough that I bought another one and will keep it. For some odd reason I don;t find this pen - as lovely as it really does write - to be comfortable for long periods of letter writing but I use it a lot never-the-less for journal entries and such. It's a really wonderful, low tech looking, nearly indestructible pen. I think that the price point on it is quite good!

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  37. Not sure if it's relevant, but Makrolon (R) is a brand name of polycarbonate

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  38. What is a Cl nib?

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  39. It's interesting to see how Lamy keeps increasing the price!

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  40. some say the nib and the filling system have some fatal issues

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  41. And many more say it is the best pen they have ever used.

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