Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wed. Review: Stainless Steel Lamy 2000



A few months ago we got word there would be a Stainless Steel Lamy 2000 coming out, and I've been eager to see it in person. With an MSRP of $375 (street price around $300), it's quite a jump up from the current Lamy 2000 in Makrolon with an MSRP of $195 (street price around $156). Twice the price? I was skeptical, but open minded as I know that stainless steel is a very difficult material to manufacture.

I must say, I am impressed. The pen definitely looks nicer in person than I thought, and the heft is substantial. It's more than twice the overall weight of the Makrolon Lamy 2000, and if you're one that feels that a heavier pen feels like a more quality pen you will feel this pen's value in the weight alone:

Comparison of two Lamy 2000's, from GouletPens.com


The finish is brushed stainless steel, but it feels just a bit smoother than the stainless steel grip section of the Makrolon Lamy 2000, because it isn't brushed quite as deep. It's an incredibly subtle difference and one you probably wouldn't notice unless you had the two pens side by side. I do like it though. There are a couple of other subtle differences though, like the Lamy logo on engraved on the back of the cap instead of on the side of the clip.

Lamy 2000 fountain pen in stainless steel

The clip is also shiny platinum coated instead of bushed stainless steel, and they left out the ink window, probably one of the biggest tradeoffs from using stainless steel for the pen body. Those are the differences though, everything else is the same. It still has a spring clip, piston-fill mechanism with about 1.2ml ink capacity, and 14k gold nib coated in platinum.

So is this pen worth the premium? That's going to be up to you to decide. It's pretty expensive, but in a justifiable way. It's not just an LE with a number on it that demands a premium, it's a classically designed pen that is made out of a very challenging material. And despite the weight, it's still a very well-balanced pen that writes comfortably.

The Lamy 2000 has kind of a sweet spot on the nib that tends to give it a 'go or no-go' writing experience (it's a go for most people though). That in combination with the incredible weight of the pen will make it one that you will probably want to experience for yourself before committing to it. I realize I could be shooting myself in the foot a bit as an online retailer by saying that, but it's just one of those pens that's tough to convey online. Hopefully I've done a pretty good job of it with this video though.

Stainless Steel Lamy 2000, closed


I will say if you're interested in purchasing this pen, make sure you either get to use it first (if you're fortunate enough to be near a brick and mortar store that has them), or check the returns policy of any online retailer from whom you want to buy, to make sure it's okay to return it if the pen just doesn't work for you. Any respectable retailer should be totally okay with this, though some charge restocking fees which could be significant on a pen this expensive.

I know some of the initial buzz about this pen called the price into question, so I'm very eager to hear what you think of it with some more information now. I for one am impressed having seen this pen and written with it in person. It's not available yet. It'll be mid-August (so we're told for now) until it starts to become available, in EF, F, M, and B nibs. We'll have it here at GouletPens.com, you can sign up to be notified by email as soon as it comes in.

Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel, defying gravity


Post any questions or feedback you have in the comments below!

Write On,
Brian Goulet

23 comments:

  1. This new Lamy looks a lot like the limited production model for the year 2000. That one has a little makrolon band in the gripping section. It's a great pen. Do you think it's basically the same? Thanks for the video.

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  2. Intriguing! I've never been attracted to the Makrolon version, but this stainless steel version is gorgeous. It might finally be time to try a Lamy 2000. Thank you for the preview.

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  3. Thank you Brian! I love my Makrolon Lamy 2K. Still undecided whether I have to have the stainless steel version but this video is very helpful. The weight may kill the deal for me. I will have to try it out, like you say in the video.

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  4. How's the grip. Stainless steel seems like it'd be very slick/uncomfortable over time. I remember using triangle grip giant pencils when I was younger. This reminds me of that, in a good way. :) Still, I have to say on price alone I'd go for the black one.


    Also, I tried to give you a star and somehow gave you -4 stars. Very sorry. Please tell me how to fix it, and I will. :)

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  5. Where did you get that loupe? Does it have a light in it? You ought to sell a decent loupe on your Web site. Thanks David

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  6. That pen came out way before I was in the business, so I've never seen one (except in pictures). They appear to be similar, except that the Edition 2000 had a Markolon band around the grip section. Other than that, it does appear to be similar.

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  7. You're very welcome. This is one nice looking pen, I'll say that.

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  8. Well, that's exactly why I wanted to do this video, to show the two side-by-side. I'm glad it's helpful :)

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  9. The grip is better than you might think. I tend to have a problem with most metal grips because they're very shiny and slick, but because this one is brushed it grips better than most other metal pens (like the Lamy Studios or Sheaffer 100's). But again, this will probably feel different for each person.


    About the -4 stars....where is that? On YouTube?

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  10. I bought that loupe a while back from Lee Valley per Brian Gray's recommendation. I've been looking for a stock of loupes to sell but haven't had any luck tracking down a source just yet. I'll work on it.

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  11. Thanks. That what I thought. I have one of the year 2000 pens. I happen to like it better than the regular edition -- even though I use that one more frequently -- but the steel around the nib is very hard to clean after filling. One must really keep after it.

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  12. The star thing is actually on the same line that says " Comments." I'm not sure what it does, but it seems to be rest to 0. :)


    Thanks for the info re: the grip. It does sound better than I thought. Is the triangle grip comfortable over time? It *is* better looking than the Makrolon version (which sounds like a Star Trek planet ;) ). I'd choose the stainless in a heartbeat if the price wasn't a factor.


    Honestly (and this will sound stupid, I'm sure) I've stayed away from the 2000 before at least in part because it looked like a much cheaper BIC-type pen you would see in a drugstore, at least at a glance. I like my pens to look at least a little expensive/fancy because when something looks expensive (even if it's not) people treat it better. When something looks cheap some people treat it like it can be replaced for five dollars.


    The one time someone borrowed one of my pens without asking, he somehow separated the resin on the barrel from the brass underneath so it spun in place. o.O


    As it is most of my fountain pens *look* like expensive pens and people are afraid to touch them without asking, which has let me avoid any more ... incidents.*



    I'm honestly a bit confused about the practically doubled price. I didn't think stainless steel was that expensive to get or to machine. At that price you'd almost expect some sort of gold to be involved, or ebonite, or something else exotic, especially since the innards are identical. Not trying to criticize; I've just never considered stainless steel a premium material. It certainly isn't in nibs.


    * I have one FP I'll gladly share with anyone, but the nib is an apparently indestructible nail, so I don't worry as much. :)

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  13. I'm no metal fabricator for sure, but from what I understand, stainless steel is tough to machine because it's so hard on your tools. With nibs it's one thing because they're very thin and can be stamped into the right shape, but when you're talking about making a whole pen out of it, the manufacturing process is much more complicated. That said though, I can totally see how it's confusing that stainless steel nibs are usually associated with being cheaper nibs, so a stainless steel pen might be hard to justify at a premium price. I get the confusion.


    That's interesting that you use expensive looking pens so that people don't want to borrow them...most people don't like expensive looking pens because they're most likely to be stolen! Though I guess it all depends where you work/live...


    And I had to laugh at your Star Trek comment, you're so right!

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  14. Do you mean the section is harder to clean on the year 2000 pen than the regular L2k? I find that the makrolon version is actually a little harder to clean because the brushing is a little bit deeper.

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  15. I want that pen so. I might sell the tires off my car to get it. I guess I'll have to walk home.

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  16. Well, I don't really choose a pen's body style with whether or not someone will want to grab it from me in mind, but I definitely noticed the correlation. If someone sees my Custom 823, for example, they'll complement and admire it but are usually too intimidated to touch it without asking. And I'll usually volunteer to let them hold it if they want, after I remind them to hold the gold part of the nib facing up, and just gently touch the point to the paper and *do not press it.* :P


    I realize thieves are more likely to go for the nicer looking pens, so I'm VERY careful about where I leave them. I've never left one out of my sight in public; otherwise they're all in one place in my office. I'm more concerned with random people (who are not thieves) needing a pen and seeing one of mine and trying to use it without malice and damaging it.


    In my experience, people looking for a pen to borrow for note scribbling will shy away from expensive looking pens, or at least ask your permission first. Especially if there's a cheaper looking alternative available. No one wants to risk breaking something expensive. :P


    I keep some nice looking but cheap ball-points in my office to lend to visitors, actually. I've never spent significant money on a BP because I don't think I'd use it myself. It's not that I'm deliberately giving guests cheap pens. ;)


    More than once I've nearly had to grab a FP out of someone's hand before they successfully stripped the threads on a screw-cap. "It twists!" leaves my mouth surprisingly fast when it needs to. Blood pressure always goes up a little there. (I unscrew FP caps before I give one to someone to use, now.) Because I *did* over tighten a pen cap once, enough to snap the cap, and it haunts me 16 years later. :P

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  17. Haha! I can't say I'd recommend that, but goodness knows people have done crazier things for far less cool stuff...

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  18. It's very true that in a time where most people don't know what a fountain pen is (let alone how to use one), the biggest threat to most of our pens is well-intended borrowers abusing them unwittingly. It's amazing how fast someone can bend a nib out of shape by pressing too hard if they have no idea what they're doing :P But, with simple instruction like you described, most are able to use them quite safely :)


    And oh my gosh, I know exactly what you're talking about with the thread thing! It must be because most ballpoints are snap-caps, but just about everyone I hand a fountain pen too turns into the incredible hulk trying to pull the cap off the pen before thinking to try unscrewing it :P That's really smart that you unscrew it first for someone, you've obviously been around the block ;)

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  19. I'd guess they're about the same level of difficulty. The new pen may have a different finish. I may have to save some money to get it to see the difference. Thank you.

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  20. I'm sure once the stainless ones come out we'll start to see some reviews comparing the two.

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  21. The price is high, but not ridiculous. I miss the ink window, but I'm also aware that not having one makes for a theoretically indestructible pen. Thanks for this great review!

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  22. You're welcome! Yeah, I agree...the price is about as high as I'd want to see it, of course it would be nice if it was lower, but y'know.

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