There are several attributes that contribute to how well a pen writes. This includes the size and weight of the pen (the impact of this being a function of personal taste), the refill (in the case of a ball point), the feed system (in the case of fountain pens), and the smoothness of the nib (also for fountain pens). For me, I find that no brand seems to consistently get all these points right across their line is Lamy. Based in Heidelberg, Germany, the company was founded in 1930 by C. Josef Lamy, a former salesman for Parker Pen. The company has primarily stayed in the family, and has incorporated several contemporary schools of design. Indeed, the clean lines of their products call to mind other innovators of industrial design such as Braun or Apple.
The flagship Lamy 2000 exemplifies both Lamy’s commitment to understated design and an excellent writing experience. The Fountain Pen Geeks web page posted an articular titled “Lamy 2000 and the Origins of Lamy Design”, a fascinating of the pen’s design and materials, and really is the definitive reference for this pen. The look of the Lamy 2000 is a nice balance between being a conservative pen, while bringing some modern styling. The designers of the 2000 took their cues from the Bauhaus school of design. The pen has a minimalist look with nice curves and a good feel. For all its modern appearance, it was originally introduced in 1966.
The pen is made from Makrolon, a fiberglass-reinforced resin, with a metal section. This makes for a light yet balanced pen. The fountain pen pen uses a bottle-only piston-fill mechanism to draw in ink. The ink level can be viewed through an small window just behind the section. The whole pen is one continuous line, with no break detectable.
Lamy makes some of the smoothest nibs in the business, from their entry level Safari line, and reaches its pinnacle with the 2000. I love writing with it. The nib is semi-hooded, meaning that only part of it is exposed. Several other pens use this, as an attempt to limit how much ink is exposed to air (causing it to evaporate). The feed provides consistent ink flow, and works with the nib to lay down an even line. I would easily say it is among the best writing pens in my collection–if forced to identify the top slot, this would likely be it.
The cap snaps firmly into place, which is also my one gripe. Two small taps stick out a bit, which hold the cap in place, but sometimes my fingers find them when holding the pen. This is easily solved by adjusting my grip. After nearly a decade of use, the cap ceased to stay on when posting the cap. An “ear” on the cap clutch ring had become bent. Lamy customer service was very easy to deal with, and repaired it for only the cost of postage. This is the second time I dealt with their customer service (the first being for a replacement nib on a vintage find), and they have been superb.
The 2000 also comes in a full selection of writing modes, including roller ball, ball point, and mechanical pencil. In addition to my fountain pen, I have the multipen version. One instrument holds four ballpoint refills. The color is selected by holding the pen with the proper “color” tag up. Unlike other multipens, the same button extends and retracts the refill. The action is OK, though sometimes I feel as though it feels rough. The pen has the same balance as the fountain pen, but, like most ball pens, the paper feel is dictated by the refill. It takes a D1 refill, so a variety of choices are available.
All in all, this is one of my favorite pens. It looks modern and understated, and writes exceptionally well. Author Niel Gaiman uses one to write his novels. Its ability to balance both a conservative and modern look means that it goes well with both a suit or more casual attire. It is also an example of a school of design which influenced one of the major companies of the twenty-first century, Apple.