Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen Review

Fifty years ago, Gerd A. Müller's creation was released to the world. This carefully-crafted fountain pen saw several small quality tweaks over the decades, but the pen of today is almost identical to the pen that debuted in 1966. How do I start a review of one of the most iconic fountain pens ever made? If you've found this review in your quest to learn more about the Lamy 2000, you already know that it's an excellent pen. Pen aficionados have reviewed this pen extensively, so what could I possibly have to add? All that I can offer is the perspective of someone who purchased the Lamy 2000 as his first gold-nib fountain pen. This isn't a pen that I purchased to sit on a shelf after a few weeks. This is a pen that I purchased to use daily, carry to meetings, ride around in my bag, and serve as my or maybe the pen. If you're in search of the same thing, I hope that this review can be of some help.

Lamy 2000 Glow.jpg

The Lamy 2000 photographs terribly, which is a complete disservice to the pen's beautiful finish. The pen's makrolon body and stainless steel grip both have a brushed finish, and the body tends to have a shininess in photos. In person, the makrolon body has more of a matte finish, and it's much more attractive. The grip of the Lamy 2000 is something special, and it's hard to describe the distortion effect that the brushed finish has on the stainless steel surface. The pen's grip actually appears to glow under certain types of light.

There are three barely-visible seams on the Lamy 2000's body. There's a tiny seam at the end of the pen, where the piston knob meets the pen body, and there's another seam where the pen cap can be twisted off for cleaning. This seam also holds a small o-ring in place, and the teeth of the o-ring serve to grip the cap when the pen is capped. The final seam is a pseudo seam between the stainless steel grip and makrolon, which can't be twisted apart.

The makrolon body of the Lamy 2000 is almost soft to the touch, which is hard to believe without handling it. The brushed texture is velvety and serves to grip to the fingers as the pen is used. The body of the pen has a slight bulge in the middle and tapers evenly on each end, somewhat reminiscent of a blimp.

The Lamy 2000 uses a piston filling mechanism, which is a departure from the cartridge and converter pens that make up the lower end of the Lamy product line. The pen is very easy to fill. Twist the piston knob out, submerge the nib into your favorite bottle of ink, past the air hole on the grip, and twist the piston knob back into place. Piston fillers hold much more ink than their cartridge counterparts, and the Lamy 2000 is no different. I use the 2000 as my daily writer, so ink capacity is important. The best part of the pen's piston system is that it practically disappears when not in use. The seam between the piston knob and pen body is barely visible, when tightened.

Notice the air hole? This is where the pen draws in ink. Also, this photo does a pretty nice job of showing how the metal grip seems to glow in certain types of light.

Notice the air hole? This is where the pen draws in ink. Also, this photo does a pretty nice job of showing how the metal grip seems to glow in certain types of light.

One of the worst parts of using fountain pens is running out of ink on the go. It's not exactly easy nor smart to carry around a bottle of ink in an everyday carry bag. The Lamy 2000 has a subtle ink window that notifies the user of low ink levels with plenty of time to spare. At first, the ink window seems pretty useless, and most may even fail to notice it at first glance. Once the ink levels are low enough something magic happens, and the ink window becomes see-through. This is another great example of how the best features of the Lamy 2000 disappear until they are needed. There is a generous amount of ink mileage between an empty ink window and a dry nib, so there is plenty of time for a refill.

I typically rely on a bulb syringe for cleaning cartridge fountain pens, so the design of the Lamy 2000 causes some challenges. I watched a few YouTube videos that show how others clean their Lamy 2000s, but I'm just not willing to twist this pen apart. It's best not to overcomplicate the process by disassembling the pen, since one wrong move may result in permanent damage. Simply flush the pen by pulling clean water into the ink chamber and pushing it out five to ten times. Sit the pen nib down in a glass full of fluffy paper towels, and allow it to dry overnight. Goulet Pens also published an easy way to grease the piston, if it becomes stiff over time.

The Lamy 2000 can be posted, but I think that unposted is the only way to go. While the cap is snug when posted, it rests primarily on the piston knob, which can cause the knob to rotate as the cap moves in the web of the hand. There have been a few occasions where this has caused some ink leakage, so I avoid posting altogether. If posting is vital, pressing the cap down very tightly causes it to grip to the pen body as well, reducing the chances of an inky disaster. Considering that the designers seem to have perfected every inch of this pen, I'm surprised that something so basic as a proper post has been overlooked entirely.

There are several tiny protruding teeth, slightly above the grip section of the Lamy 2000 which help the cap to snap into place. I barely notice these teeth, even thought they are located exactly where I grip the pen. The pen caps with a satisfying click, although the cap takes an odd amount of force to cap down onto the pen. It feels as if the metal grip is grinding against the inside of the cap. Realistically this isn't causing any damage, but it's not a pleasant feeling. Fortunately, this becomes better with usage. The capping and posting experience is easily the worst part of using the Lamy 2000.

Lamy 2000 Cap.jpg

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for the pen's cap and post performance, the Lamy 2000's clip is excellent. The clip is spring-loaded, making it easy to clip the pen securely on items of various thicknesses. This clip itself is wider at the top of the cap and thinner towards the base, which gives the cap a sleek and timeless look. The clip is a solid piece of metal and is thicker and more robust than any of the clips on my other pens.

Lamy 2000 Pen Clip Side.jpg

The Lamy 2000 is a popular choice for those seeking to break the gold-nib barrier, and I have to admit that it's my only gold-nib pen. It's important to point this out, because my approach to this review is as someone who has never experienced a gold nib before.

The gold nib on the Lamy 2000 is understated, with no fancy engravings or flourishes. The nib is semi-hooded, which means that part of the nib is recessed into the pen's body. This helps to keep the nib moist when the pen is uncapped, but it also brings the nib in line with the pen's sleek design. Where most nibs protrude prominently from a pen's body, the Lamy 2000's nib becomes a part of the design, as if to say "I'm meant to be here." It extends the tapered shape of the body and is platinum coated, so it blends into the stainless steel grip.

Ok, so it looks good. You've rambled for 1000 words already, but I just want to know how it writes!

The Lamy 2000's nib is the smoothest nib that I own. The nib floats across paper with ease, and it's possible to write with very minimal pressure. Like most gold nibs, the 2000's nib flexes with pressure, resulting in a nice degree of line variation. Even though there is some flex, the nib is firm enough to use as an everyday writer.

I agonized for days over whether to choose an extra fine, fine, or medium nib. I ultimately picked the fine nib and have zero regrets. I usually write with fine-nibbed pens, and the Lamy 2000's fine is very similar to that of the Lamy Safari. The Lamy 2000 does lay down a much juicier line than the Safari, which can be a negative for those looking for fast dry times. I find that the juicy line brings out the color properties of the ink, which is apparent when comparing the Safari's nib with the 2000's.

Notice the difference between the Lamy Safari (Top) and Lamy 2000 (Bottom)? Both are using the same Aurora Blue ink, but the Lamy 2000 leaves a much juicier more vivid line.

Notice the difference between the Lamy Safari (Top) and Lamy 2000 (Bottom)? Both are using the same Aurora Blue ink, but the Lamy 2000 leaves a much juicier more vivid line.

The Lamy 2000 is rumored to have poor nib quality control. Although the 2000 is available on Amazon for 125$ or so, I chose to pay a little more and bought the pen on Pen Chalet. Pen Chalet has excellent customer service, and I wanted to make sure that it would be as painless as possible to return a faulty pen. I've had zero issues with my pen, and it has written perfectly since my very first use. It appears that the quality control issues are more fiction than fact, but I don't regret paying a bit more for the peace of mind.

Although the Lamy 2000 is a superb writer, its nib does have a sweet spot that could be confused for a quality control miss. Rotate the pen slightly, and the ink flow comes to a halt. It's very easy to avoid this issue when using a standard grip. Since most fountain pen nibs protrude, it's easy to tell when the nib is positioned correctly on paper. I don't think that the Lamy 2000's nib is any more or less responsive than other nibs; it's minimal design just makes it harder to tell when it's positioned properly.

The Lamy 2000 is a truly remarkable pen. Its fifty-year-old design still looks modern and edgy, and I'm sure that it will look just as edgy in fifty more years. The pen's features, from the ink window to the piston knob, only appear when needed and then vanish into the pen's brushed body. The Lamy 2000's gold nib, perfect weight, and brushed body combine to form the best writing experience that I've ever had. If you've stumbled upon this review because you're on the fence about this pen, go ahead and buy it. I spent several months reading reviews and none of them seem to do the pen justice, now that I have it in my hand. Aside from the functionality of the Lamy 2000, its history is something special. While I love my TSWBI, Kaweco, and Pilots, this will be the pen that I pass down to my children. In a world of throwaway things, this is a pen that is truly built to last.

Typically I would end the review here, but I wanted to point out a few resources that were very helpful to me when researching the Lamy 2000.

Like this post? Subscribe to our rss feed or follow us on Twitter and receive new post updates automatically.

Lamy Vista Fountain Pen Review

I picked up a Lamy Vista while attending a conference in Japan. For those who aren't familiar, the Lamy Vista is basically a sexier demonstrator (see through) version of the Lamy Safari. The Safari is one of the most popular starter fountain pens, along with the Pilot Metropolitan. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I purchased a German pen in a country that produces the Metropolitan; however, I just couldn't turn down this sleek looking demonstrator's cat calls from the pen rack. Lamy pens just look more interesting to me, even if the Pilot Metropolitan is universally considered to be an excellent starter fountain pen. I had a rough start with Lamy, but I just couldn't pass up the Vista.

The Lamy Vista is a stunner, with a clear plastic body that shows off all of the pen's inner workings. Although the body is completely plastic, the pen is made well and feels sturdy in hand. The clip is a monster and is so strong that it leaves indentations when clipped to my daily carry Field Notes notebook. The Vista is built to be used and abused. The pen takes on the personality of the ink inside, so it's a great pen to use with colorful inks. The pen takes the standard Lamy cartridge or an ink converter, but the red on the Lamy Z24 converter would ruin the look of the pen. I recommend the Z26 version which uses black plastic instead of red. Goulet Pens has a great writeup about the usage of converters with the Vista. I'm a fountain pen novice, so I appreciate the ability to see how the pen works, and I'm surprised that the Vista isn't mentioned more often in the "best pens for beginners" lists floating around the internet.

Blue is beautiful with the Lamy Vista

Blue is beautiful with the Lamy Vista

The Vista's body does show fingerprints, which is to be expected from clear plastic. It may not be the best choice for the OCD fountain pen fans out there, but it shouldn't be a problem for most. I've also noticed several scratches and scuffs, which are easily visible to the naked eye. The Lamy barrel logo is shiny and metallic, although I was disappointed by how easily the logo cracked and scratched. Small blemishes aside, the Vista feels great in the hand. I can use the pen comfortably all day, either posted or unposted. The cap clicks into place when capping, but there's no click when posting, so be careful not to jam the cap onto the end of the pen.

Lamy Safari and Vista pens are known for their unique molded triangular grip. This grip may be a challenge for those who use a non-traditional grip when writing, but I absolutely love it! My fingers slide easily into place, thanks to the flat sides of the grip, and I find that this grip makes the pen feel much smaller than it actually is. I love small pens, so this is exactly the feel that I am looking for. My terrible handwriting is partially due to poor grip, and the molded grip forces me to hold the pen correctly. This has been helpful in my efforts to improve handwriting skills.

I was hesitant to give Lamy another go after my terrible experience with the Safari, but I was pleasantly surprised by the Vista. The pen is a workhorse and works well for hours at a time without skips, clogs, or leaks. This pairs well with the grip to help produce painfully long pen reviews with zero fatigue or annoyance to the writer! I purchased a fine nibbed version, which is buttery smooth on everything from Rhodia pads to Field Notes. The Lamy fine nibs aren't exactly "fine", so I recommend picking up the extra fine version, if you're looking for a really slim line. The fine nib works well for me, although I think that I may have been better off with an EF nib.

I have to admit that this is my first pen review, but I'm in love with the Lamy Vista. It was difficult to choose between a Lamy and the Pilot Metropolitan, but the unique look and excellent grip pushed me over the edge. I would love to try a Metropolitan to compare, but there's no doubt that the Lamy Vista is a well-performing affordable pen that's deserving of becoming your first fountain pen.

Like this post? Subscribe to our rss feed or follow us on Twitter and receive new post updates automatically.

Handwritten Part 2

Nothing soothes a traveller's stomach quite like an airline omelet*. I've made the 12-14 hour flight to Japan seven or so times, and it hasn't gotten any easier, even with the complimentary bottles of sake. I lived in Japan for six months as a student and return yearly to lead a group tour. I jumped at the opportunity to go back to Japan for a conference at a university in Kyoto. I love the country and culture.

I discovered the Muji brand in Japan as a student in search of cheap pens and notebooks. Muji makes everything from fountain pens to pants. Their stores are huge, and everything is cheap but relatively high quality. I purchased a little 195x137mm kraft notebook there as a student and was hoping to resupply.

I stopped by the campus store at the university, in hopes of finding my notebook. There were no Muji's in site, but there were aisles of pens and a huge Rhodia notebook display. The fancy pen display case held a Pilot Vanishing Point, what I would consider to be my "grail" pen. Considering the cheap ballpoints and spiral notebooks in my university's bookstore, this place was a candy store. This was the first time that I'd ever seen a selection of fountain pens in person, and it was tempting to make a big move and walk away with a Vanishing Point. Alas, there was only one color and I just wasn't ready to make the leap.

I picked up an awkwardly translated Apica notebook. These notebooks are a great size and thickness for desk note taking, and the paper, like paper in most Japanese notebooks, is dense and high quality. They're also a steal at $1.25 per notebook, making them perfect for the Japanese student on the go.

The conference organizers provided a Kokuyo A4 Report Pad which has similar paper quality at first glance. Japan certainly knows how to do stationary.

This imposing pad is clearly for very official Japanese business only.

This imposing pad is clearly for very official Japanese business only.

I made my way back to the Haneda Airport, after the conference ended, and stopped to see two of my best friends from America. They knew that I was in search of a Muji store and scouted out the best store in Tokyo. The Muji entrance was through a store called Loft, so we stopped there to take a look around. If the campus store was a candy store, this place was the entire chocolate factory. There were aisles and aisles of rollerballs, fountain pens, pencils, and stationary, all free to touch. Display cases housed the more expensive pens, like the Lamy 2000 and several others in the $400-$500 range. I've heard about many of these pens, but I've never seen so many in person. It had been a year or so since my Safari hit the shelf, but it was time to give fountain pens another shot.

I was still sore from my Safari experience, so I decided to look for a pen in the $30-$50 range. The choices were overwhelming, and I couldn't settle on a decision. I picked up a Rhodia Dot Pad, but was prepared to walk away without a pen. I walked through the aisles one more time and noticed a slick looking Lamy demonstrator. I assumed that it was part of the Al-Star line, not realizing that the Al-Stars were all made of aluminum. It was a gorgeous pen and well under my $50 limit. It turns out that this was the demonstrator version of the Lamy Safari, called the Lamy Vista. I was now in possession of two Safari's, one of which was a complete dud. Hopefully the Vista would come with 100% less disappointment.

The Lamy Vista is a beauty. It's dramatically better-looking that its non-transparent Safari counterparts.

The Lamy Vista is a beauty. It's dramatically better-looking that its non-transparent Safari counterparts.

Muji turned out to be the least exciting part of the day, considering the great time with friends whom I rarely see and the chance to geek out over the pens and paper at Loft. I found my precious Muji notebook, completing my epic quest, but also picked up a few other toys, all of which I hope to review here. Most importantly, I picked up a renewed interest in fountain pens.

The complete Japan pen, pencil, and paper haul.

The complete Japan pen, pencil, and paper haul.

I inked up the Vista when I got back to the states, and I've been using it for a few weeks now without a single leak or case of inky fingers. This pen is amazing! It turns out that my experience with the Safari was just a fluke. It still sits on the shelf, but my Vista travels to work with me daily. My second foray into fountain pens was a huge success, and I plan to post my first pen review ever in the near future.

It's amazing how one bad experience or criticism can kill a new hobby or passion. Thanks to a faulty pen, I was prepared to give up on fountain pens altogether. Although my analog journey had a bumpy start, I'm glad that I gave it a second chance. For those considering the purchase of a fountain pen, don't make the mistake that I did by purchasing it from Amazon. Although some manufacturers distribute through the service, do your research first, and consider using a site like, if there are no pen stores near you. Pen sites may be more expensive, but great customer service and quality control are worth the few extra bucks.

Miss part one? Read it here!

*May not contain actual eggs.

Like this post? Subscribe to our rss feed or follow us on Twitter and receive new post updates automatically.

Handwritten Part 1

"Write each vocabulary word three times". The instructions were simple, but these six words were responsible for hours of unspeakable horror. Of course, all of the words were to be written in cursive, in pencil, and on the cheapest newspaper print that a public school could afford. I hated cursive.

I hated cursive because I had terrible handwriting. My loops were overly large and my letters were inconsistent in every sense of the word. I started using print as soon as my teachers allowed, and my shameful signature is all that remains from the days of scribbling vocabulary words over and over.

This is the best signature that I can muster.

This is the best signature that I can muster.

My terrible handwriting has always been a sore spot, but I've been able to avoid it, largely due to the digital world in which we live. I've taken all of my work notes in Evernote for the first three years of my job and hardly ever put pen the paper. Even when I wrote for the, now defunct, AppStorm blog network, all of my work lived and died in the digital world.

I discovered The Pen Addict podcast a little over a year ago, during the launch of Relay.FM, a podcast network. I love tech podcasts and was browsing the catalog for new shows when I discovered a podcast solely devoted to pens and stationary. Who in their right mind would create or, even worse, listen to an audio podcast about pens and paper? Nearly 170 episodes later I've listen to every single episode at least twice. Although I owned zero fountain pens and mostly took notes via an iPad, I was enamored with the passion with which Brad Dowdy and Myke Hurley talked about their geeky hobby (perhaps lifestyle is a better word). As a teacher I've grown to appreciate the willingness to explore and the unapologetic obsession that comes along with discovering something that you love, and Myke and Brad are certainly in love with pens and paper. I began to think that there was something to this analog lifestyle.

There are many excellent blogs devoted to pens and stationary, many of which have at least one article touting the benefits of handwritten note taking. The more I looked into it, the more it seemed to boil down to the fact that handwritten note taking is a much more complex task for the brain. It forces the writer to analyze and summarize content, instead of just regurgitating it out through the fingers and into a keyboard.

Aside from the memory benefits, many blogs also mention that fountain pens can help with poor handwriting. Before you cringe at that last statement, I should underline the use of "can help with" not "will eliminate". It takes time to adjust to a fountain pen, especially when coming from a world of Bic sticks. This can result in slower, more intentional writing, instead of scribbling as fast as the words come to mind. Fountain pens also seem to require less pressure, and writing with a light touch produces a more fluid outcome.

The case was made and I was convinced that I should start taking handwritten notes. Rewarding myself with cool new toys always helps with forming habits, so I decided to purchase a fountain pen. It's not as easy as it sounds, considering the thousands of options available. My requirements were simple, and this helped to narrow the choices. I wanted something that was less than $30, easy to maintain, and on the skinny side. I turned to my beloved Pen Addict podcast to help me make the choice. The Pilot Metropolitan and Lamy Safari rose to the top as I listened to the podcast and browsed other pen blogs. I fell in love with the Safari's unique look, compared to the more traditional Metropolitan. I found this page and the list Top 5 Fountain Pens Under $50 and finally decided on a Safari. If little German school children could handle this pen, then so could I. I ordered a black fine-nib version. This was going to be my workhorse pen, so I didn't want something that was too flashy.

My bundle of joy arrived in a little slim box, and I was off to the races, or so I thought. I snapped in the ink cartridge and was prepared to begin writing my manifesto.


I waited a minute, scribbled, and still nothing. I turned to the internet for help. Tapping the pen didn't work, nor did letting it sit for an hour. I finally stumbled upon a video that showed how to squeeze a cartridge to get things flowing.


Notice the ink slick where the nib meets the barrel? 

Notice the ink slick where the nib meets the barrel? 

I scribbled around for a bit, capped the pen, then put it in my work bag. I was actually excited to go to work! The first meeting of the day brought major disappointment. I posted my pen and began writing. I noticed huge ink smudges on my fingers from ink that had welled up on the plastic at the base of the nib. Maybe I overfilled it?

I continued using the pen regularly for a week, making sure to keep my fingers up on the grip and away from the inky mess that waited below. The pen was out of ink by the end of the week, with less than a few hours worth of writing time. Something wasn't right. My new hobby was quickly converting into a giant messy bummer.

Notice the green discoloration from the T&T review? I noticed similar discoloration on my pen from dried ink.

Notice the green discoloration from the T&T review? I noticed similar discoloration on my pen from dried ink.

I refilled my pen after my bottle of Noodler's ink arrived but it continued to leak around the base of the nib. Perhaps this is what all fountain pens do? Maybe this is normal? Shawn Blanc's site Tools and Toys posted an excellent writeup about fountain pens, including my beloved Lamy Safari. I noticed that the reviewer had the same barrel discoloration but didn't mention leaking in his review. Apparently this was normal, or so I thought. I removed the Safari from my bag and put it on the shelf. So much for my new hobby. Fountain pens were just too messy.

Would this be the end of my fountain pen journey? The answer was somewhere on the other side of the world.

To Be Continued...

Like this post? Subscribe to our rss feed or follow us on Twitter and receive new post updates automatically.