What Is It?
A fountain pen that still looks modern, though it’s been in production since 1966. It’s a piston-filler, so you have to use bottled ink, not cartridges, and the nib is quite a bit more flexible than most modern pens.
The 2000 is a great example of German Bauhaus design – simple, minimalist, with clean lines. The form seems purely derived from the function. It’s not a flashy pen, by any means, and you could probably use it almost anywhere without getting a second glance.
How you feel about it depends how you feel about such design. Personally, I love it. If you like a bit of ‘bling’, then you’ll want to look elsewhere.
The body of the pen is made from Makrolon – it’s the same stuff that’s used for the ‘glass’ in the front of car headlights. With the ‘brushed’ finish, it feels quite similar to wood – pleasantly warm to the touch. It’s a very light pen, which suits me well. Sam usually likes a heavy pen, but she found the Lamy 2000 quite pleasant to hold and use despite the lack of weight.
The piston filler is a little on the stiff side, but turns quite positively, and is still quite easy to operate. The nib is smooth. Mine is an Extra Fine, but Lamy 2000 nibs run very much on the broad side. The Extra Fine is much closer to what most people would describe as a fine, and even what some would probably call medium. Whatever nib width you usually prefer, go one finer with a Lamy 2000.
It’s quite a wide pen, and because it’s smooth all over, you can grip it wherever you like.
The first thing you have to do to use a fountain pen is get the cap off. This pen uses a pull-off cap, with two tiny lugs that locate into a slot inside the cap. They click nicely into place, and keep the cap on much more securely than you’d expect, yet it pulls back off again very easily. I’m often a little nervous with pull-off caps, in case the cap comes off a bit too easily – especially when I’m carrying the pen clipped into the neck of my t-shirt, with the pen hanging on the outside. In six months of use, though, I’ve never had the cap come off the Lamy 2000 unintentionally.
Filling with ink is easy – just unscrew the blind cap, dip the nib into ink, and screw it back down again. The piston pulls in plenty of ink, and gives you a good capacity to last a while.
As for writing or drawing, I’ve found this pen well suited to either. The nib has a little more flex than most people will be used to, but it’s nice and smooth, and gives a nice wet line with a bit of variation. I’ve used it with a few different inks, including Pelikan, Diamine and Noodler’s, and it’s behaved well with them all.
Like many other nibs, this one will give a finer line when used upside-down. It’s a bit on the scratchy side, and it’s a very fine line. I wouldn’t want to try and write much that way, but it came in useful a few times when I needed a note in a tiny space, or some very fine lines in a doodle.
You can check the ink level through a set of little windows in the barrel. They are fitted perfectly smoothly into the barrel, and I can’t tell at all if they are actually different parts fitted in before the brushed finish was applied, or if they have somehow only blacked out parts of the plastic.
They’re a bit on the small side, so you do have to hold the pen up to the light, and tip it back and forth to get much idea of how much ink is in there. With a little practice, though, it doesn’t take long to check. I’d prefer bigger windows, but they’re not at all bad.
Flushing and Changing Ink
The piston makes changing ink much easier than it is with many pens, but it still takes quite a few flushes through with clean water before you get all the previous ink out. My Pelikan makes this quite a bit easier, but the Lamy is easier than most other pens.
I used this pen for six months. I say used because I’ve now sold it on eBay. That doesn’t mean it was a bad pen at all – it was my favourite until I got a Pelikan M600, and even then, it was very, very close. They’re great value, and wonderful pens to hold and to use. If you like the minimalist styling, I’d certainly recommend it. I bought mine new on eBay, and sold it for more than I’d paid six months later – negative depreciation!
Why might you not like the Lamy 2000? Well, if you don’t like the styling, it’s probably not something you’d get used to. If there’s an element of status symbol to your choice of pen, few people would think you spent so much on it. You may also want the option of using cartridges, rather than having to take a bottle of ink with you when you travel – if you don’t mind that, though, the Lamy will hold more ink than a cartridge/converter pen, and you don’t have to take it apart to fill it.
I’ve heard of some people who find the little lugs that locate into the cap annoying – depending on your grip, they could be where you fingers are. All I can really say is that they never bothered me at all.
If you like the looks, and you want a well made German piston filler, the Lamy is hard to beat for value. If you want something a bit flashier, I can certainly recommend Pelikans, but the Lamy 2000 is a beautifully simple pen that feels great to use.
Update, 2010-10-03: I soon missed the 2000 after selling it, and ‘borrowed’ the OM-nibbed version Sam had. I didn’t get on so well with the oblique nib, but reground it down to a flat Medium, and I’m still using it regularly. With more time, it’s the Pelikan that fell into disuse.