Lamy Dialog 3 First Impression

I’ve always had my eye on the Lamy Dialog 3, it’s a very intriguing pen! It’s one of the few fountain pens out there with a retractable nib, which makes it quite practical for business use. We haven’t had them available through our store and I hadn’t held one in my hands yet. So when a customer of ours wanted to order one, I got really excited! He was kind enough to let me play with it and shoot some pictures and video for the blog here. Thank you!

The Dialog 3 comes in a thin beechwood box (I was incorrect about this on the video). It’s neat with a magnetic latch and everything, but the pen makes you forget all about the box!

The Lamy 14k gold nib on this pen is wonderful. They’re the same nibs used on the higher-end Accents and Studios as well. Though I didn’t ink up this Dialog 3, I have experience with my own 14k nib on my Studio and I’m a big fan. They’re actually the same size nibs as the Lamy steel nibs you’ve seen on the Safaris and Al-Stars, so you can swap them out if you really want to. When extended, the whole nib is exposed.

One of the cooler things about this pen is that the spring-loaded clip actually retracts down to hug the pen body when the nib is out. Here’s a pic of the clip with the nib retracted.

Here’s the nib extended, with the clip hugging the pen. This makes it so that the clip isn’t in the way of your fingers while you write. Why would the clip be in the way, though? Because while conventional fountain pens have removable caps, this pen doesn’t. So to keep the nib pointing up, the clip needs to be on the opposite end of ‘conventional’ pens.

Here’s the Lamy logo, which is fairly subtle. The lines on the pen match up when the pen is closed.

The guts of the pen are fairly similar to the Pilot Vanishing point, if you’re familiar with that pen. There is a whole nib unit inside the pen with a Z26 converter. You remove the back of the pen to access this. 

Since the pen is often compared to the Pilot Vanishing Point (another retractable nib pen), I thought I’d compare the two a little. The Lamy is a twist pen, whereas the VP is a click pen.

The design of each pen is a little different. Pilot has their own nib developed just for the VP, which you can see is quite a bit smaller than the Lamy nib.

One of the biggest love/hate features about both of these pens is the clip. Here is a comparison of the two clips, the Lamy wins out for least obtrusive.

As is often the case with special order pens, I’ve become infatuated with it. If you remember a while ago, we special ordered a Sailor pen that Rachel and I both enjoyed so much we decided to start carrying it after this blog post. Well, that’s what’s happened here too! Except this time, it’s not just Rachel and me that love it, it’s Drew and Ben, our shop guys that have gone gaga over this pen! So we’re going to carry them, here.

What do you think of the Dialog 3?

2017-10-06T19:07:02+00:00 July 23rd, 2011|Pen Reviews|9 Comments
  • Sven Opitz

    Just a little correction to your video:
    It is the third pen in the Dialog line, the other two are still produced. It is a line of pens designed by famous designers. The Dialog 1 (my entry into the world of expensive pens) was designed by Richard Sapper. It is a triangular ball point pen. The Dialog 2 (designed by Knud Holscher) was a retractable ink roller without a cap (Fountain pens never stained my shirts, but this one did, twice). The Dialog 3 is designed by Franco Clivio who also designed the Lamy Pico. The pens are made to be design dialogues and in my opinion they reach that goal, because each Design is a bit more forward, they push the boundaries.

    Other than that I agree with everything you say. It may be more expensive than the VP, but it handles better, too. The VP has two advantages, you can open and close it with one hand and the ink does not dry out overnight. On the other hand I could never get around the clip when writing with the VP, no such problems with the Dialog 3.

    The Lamy gold nibs are legendary for me. There are better nibs out there, but not many and most of them are not as consistent in quality as the Lamy gold nibs, at least in my experience.

  • Sven, that's an excellent point, thank you. I misspoke in the video. I didn't mean to imply that the others are no longer being made, I was trying to imply that the 3rd one is the one currently available in a fountain pen. I see now it didn't come across that way at all. When I talk about 'currently in production', I say that more for posterity's sake, in case the pen is discontinued in the future. My video on the pen will still be out there, but if the pen isn't available, it's good for me to clarify that I'm making the video at a given point in time, since editing and replacing videos once they're already uploaded isn't possible. I see now it was a bad way of explaining it. If and when I do a full review of the pen, I'll clarify this issue further. I appreciate your clarification though.

  • Sorry, to me they are both ugly but I still prefer the Vanishing Point.

  • Haha! Well, they're both a fairly radical design, I'm sure you're not the only one who thinks that!

  • John

    My most expensive pen but easily my best. Heavy, yet perfectly balanced, it carries itself. The nib on my mine is ridiculously great with great flow and the retraction mechanism works well, solidly opening and closing the valve. The spring loaded clip works well and helps me align the nib so I perfectly hit the sweet spot when writing (I'm left handed.)

    The only problem I have is that when using highly saturated inks (such as my favourite, Visconti blue) the nib can get ever so slightly dry out overnight, but not enough to make it skip. It only puts out a VERY highly saturated line for a couple of words and then returns to normal. If lower saturated inks and inks known for not drying out easily are used (such as Lamy, Herbin etc) then I don't seem to have this problem.

    This is not the type of pen you only use sometimes, it begs to be used frequently.

    All in all I don't regret purchasing this pen and I say if you don't mind the higher than average weight and the design then go for it. You won't regret. (and if you do I'll be happy to pay postage to take it off your hands :D)

  • Thanks for your comprehensive feedback here, John! Your experience is what I'm hearing from a lot of D3 owners, a lot of satisfaction!

  • Kapewe

    I've got both pens. With thePilot I have, again and again, problems with drying, although its handholdabilitya is better. The Lamydoe writes very smoothly but I have wound some textile tape on it as it tends to slip in my hands, or my grip is too soft.

  • J. Pérez

    Do you also offer repair services?

  • Richard Bondi

    My nib does not line up with the clip. In fact, the alignment varies all the time. Is this normal? I would expect it to be exactly aligned every time, so I don’t have to worry about how I am holding it all the time.