The Lamy 2000 is the most revered fountain pen in the world and was the obvious choice for the first pen review on Tools & Toys.
First introduced in 1966, the 2000’s timeless design sits in New York’s Museum of Modern Art and will surely shoot to the top of most inspiring pen collectors’ lists. In fact, despite purchasing and reviewing other pens prior to the 2000, Gerd A. Müller’s Bauhaus-styled 2000 sat atop my wish-list right from the very beginning.
The 2000 is more than a fountain pen. Sure, the Lamy 2000’s reverence came from its near perfect design, its incredibly smooth nib, and its piston filling system which is second to none.
But today, the Lamy 2000 is a piece of history. It fits in the same conversation as Charles and Ray Eames’ iconic lounge chair, Dieter Rams’ Braun wrist watch, and Sori Yanagi’s perfectly weighted flatware — timeless products with an infinite life and a market defining form factor.
I couldn’t have been happier to take up Pen Chalet’s offer to review this iconic pen.
Build & Design
The Lamy 2000’s reputation begins and ends with its design. The minimal, Bauhaus styled pen fit an everyday lifestyle in 1966 and continues to fit that lifestyle today.
It all starts with its unique body material. The 2000 is made of a brushed material known as Makrolon. The texture is unlike any other pen I’ve felt — the Makrolon has just enough friction to avoid slipping out of your hand when your hand is sweaty, but is smooth enough to trick your mind when examining its parts. There is no doubt the Makrolon body gives the pen a unique feel from its grip section to its posted cap.
My specific pen is made of black Makrolon and has a silver grip section. You can also purchase a brushed stainless steel version of the iconic pen, but it will set you back a few hundred dollars extra.
There are a few hidden features within the black Makrolon body which nearly escaped my eye upon first glance.
First is the piston filling mechanism. Many fountain pens today are shipped with a small cartridge of fountain pen ink to allow the pen to work right out of the box. As the pen becomes more expensive, manufacturers often ship their pens with converters: a refillable cartridge which slips inside the pen’s body and allows you to use a variety of inks. Converters often hold much less ink than a disposable cartridge, but the added benefit of using any ink makes using a converter a fun option.
My favourite method of housing ink for a fountain pen is a dedicated ink chamber inside the pen body. Pens like the TWSBI Diamond 580AL and the Lamy 2000 have ink chambers built right in and are filled via a piston mechanism. By twisting the piston with the nib dipped into a bottle of ink, the piston sucks ink into the ink chamber and avoids messy ink spills and stains. In the case of the TWSBI pen, the ink chamber is completely transparent and allows the sloshed ink give your pen a character of its own.
While the Lamy 2000’s ink chamber isn’t transparent, its piston filling system is the best I’ve used. When not in use, the twistable mechanism sits perfectly flush with the pen’s body, giving the pen a near seamless design. When twisted counter clockwise, the seamless design is broken and the piston twists down the chamber. Set the nib into a bottle of ink, twist the mechanism clockwise back to its seamless position, and the Lamy 2000 is inked and ready to go. Like its body design, the Lamy 2000’s piston system works seamlessly and without fail.
Flipping the pen over to its grip section reveals another cleverly hidden seam which is hardly visible to the naked eye. The grip section can be twisted and opened to allow proper cleaning of the ink chamber and nib, but you’d be hard pressed to know the pen’s grip can be removed.
The Lamy 2000 has a translucent window indicating the amount of ink in the ink chamber. Again, like the rest of the body’s design, the ink window is unobtrusive and seamless. However, its actual utility is the only hiccup in an otherwise perfectly designed body. I use darker inks, such Iroshizuku Shin-Kai, which tend to saturate the ink window and make it difficult to determine the amount of ink inside. The ink window is a nice touch, but I feel this is the one area where the Lamy 2000 comes up short.
Right along the grip section seam are two tiny metallic tabs which hold the Lamy 2000’s cap in place. Very often, fountain pens are capped with a twistable cap which screws into place just behind the grip section. This puts the thread right where your fingers grip the pen to write and can often cause discomfort after prolonged periods of use. The 2000’s tiny tabs allow the pen to be pulled off quickly and easily, yet remains surprisingly secure when the pen is stationed in your bag or coat pocket. The small metallic tabs do obtrude on the pen’s seamless pen body, but they don’t intrude whatsoever when writing and they allow the pen to be more accessible in a moment’s notice.
The rest of the Lamy 2000’s cap is much like the rest of the Lamy 2000’s body. The cap is made of the same Makrolon and is coloured the same as well. The very top of the cap is shinier than the rest of the pen, which appears to be the pen’s sole texture difference.
The Lamy 2000’s clip is one of my favourites. The brushed stainless steel clip has a minuscule Lamy logo etched into its base. The clip lifts with ease and snaps back into place with an extra satisfying click. Latching the clip to your shirt pocket is a breeze and blows away its competition. The Pilot Vanishing Point, for example, is known for its odd clip positioning, yet has one of the most difficult clips to lift and secure in place. The Lamy 2000’s clip fits right at home in the perfectly designed body.
The last major design feature of the Lamy 2000 is its brushed silver grip section. The Makrolon’s texture is perfect here — the pen never becomes too slippery when your hand is sweaty, nor does the texture dig into your finger tip after a long period of use. The grip section tapers elegantly toward the nib and feels perfect in my hands.
The underside of the grip section has a small drilled hole to allow ink to be sucked into the ink chamber. The hole is on the underside of the grip, so it is rarely seen and doesn’t ruin any visual aesthetics of the pen. However, due to its positioning, you must submerse a large part of the grip section into the ink bottle when refilling. This can be a bit messy and can be quickly cleaned up with a paper towel.
In reality though, the Makrolon’s fine texture hinders the ability to fully wipe all the ink away from the grip section. I re-inked my 2000 about 10 days ago and there are still small remnants of blue/black Shin-Kai ink staining the section. Iroshizuku inks appear to be afraid of water, so washing the grip section gets rid of the stains entirely. However, if you use a highly saturated ink which isn’t waterproof, I’d be hesitant to quickly jam the section into the ink for fear of permanently staining the body.
As far as the physical build of the Lamy 2000 goes, I have been nothing but impressed. Heading into the review, I knew the 2000 had a world renowned design, but I prepared myself to be let down. Instead, every time I pulled the cap off its moorings, a small smirk spread across my face. Everything about this pen’s physical design is top notch. After using it for a few weeks, I fully understand why the Lamy 2000 sits in the Museum of Modern Art.
Nib & Writing Experience
A pen’s physical design is only a part of the pen’s make-up. Even if the pen has a perfectly designed body, a poor nib can ruin the entire experience.
The Lamy 2000 is known for nib quality control issues. When reading Doug Lane’s review of the 2000 a few months ago, he noted some bad experiences other purchasers had had with the 2000’s nib. As he said in his review, any pen in this price range should be issue free right out of the box.
Also like Doug, I never experienced any issues with my Lamy 2000 nib out of the box. I ordered a medium nibbed 2000 and I’ve been very happy with the result.
The 2000’s nib is unique in its design. The nib is hooded and is far less noticeable than large nibs found in some Franklin Christoph pens or in many of TWSBI’s offerings. Because of this hooded design, I would never hesitate to pull this pen out at work. With large nibbed pens, one runs the risk of having others notice your unique writing instrument. The hooded nib is visually silent and quite elegant.
The nib itself has no etchings or superfluous design either. The nib is merely made of two tines and the feed on its underside.
The Lamy 2000’s nib is made of 14 karat gold and is coated in platinum. This ensures an extra smooth glide across any kind of paper and gives the nib an extra softness not found in straight steel nibs. Softer nibs allow for more nib flexibility as well, providing line variation for more stylish penmanship. Although the gold nib isn’t as flexible as the Pilot Namiki Falcon, you can get some extra line width if you put some pressure on the Lamy’s nib.
My Lamy 2000’s actual writing experience has been nothing short of brilliant. The medium nib makes a far wider stroke than anything I had ever tried prior, and the line is much wetter than my previous fountain pens as well. The wet lines dry with a lot of character — thicker, wider lines look bold with Iroshizuku Shin-Kai ink and the ink’s shading characteristics are brought to the forefront with this nib. This nib is a straight medium nib, with no extra italicized or stub grindings. This makes all my lines fairly round in nature and doesn’t allow the nib to dig into paper when changing directions in my stroke.
As I mentioned, the medium nib is a wet writer and performs differently on different kinds of papers. I tested the pen on four types of papers: the standard Field Notes Brand 50 lb. Finch paper, the Baron Fig Confidant 100 GSM paper, the Nock Co. fountain pen friendly pocket notebook paper, and the increasingly popular Hobonichi Techo Tomoe River paper. Each paper yielded a different result.
- The Lamy 2000 writes smooth enough on Field Notes Brand’s 50 lb. Finch Paper, but, as many have already noted, Field Notes paper is largely unable to handle the wet stroke of the 2000’s medium nib. Dark inks show through Field Notes paper and, if you leave your pen situated in one spot for too long, ink will surely bleed through the page onto the backside. In general, I recommend staying away from Field Notes 50 lb. Finch paper with any fountain pen, but especially the wetter, medium nibbed Lamy 2000.
- As seen in the photos, the 2000 writes smoothly on Baron Fig’s 100 GSM paper and there is no show through or bleed through whatsoever, even with heavier inks and wetter nibs. However, Baron Fig’s 100 GSM paper is a bit toothier than other options and I found the 2000’s strokes feathered slightly as they dried. This is a very, very small issue and a small blemish on an otherwise enjoyable writing experience. If you’re looking for an absolutely perfect experience for your Lamy 2000 though, I recommend checking out one of the next two options.
- Nock Co.’s recent release of a fountain pen friendly pocket notebook was met with wide applause, and the Lamy 2000’s medium nib was no match for Nock’s reputation. There is little to no show through with the wetter nib and there is no bleed through at all. In my opinion, Nock Co.’s fountain pen friendly paper is less toothy in than Baron Fig’s heavier paper and my pen strokes don’t feather whatsoever when using Nock’s notebooks.
- Tomoe River paper has blasted onto the scene in the last year or two and has quickly become known for its astounding fountain pen friendly qualities. The Hobonichi Techo — my favourite notebook and my daily journal/calendar — is stuffed with this famous Tomoe River paper and has quickly become my favourite place to test fountain pens. The Lamy’s medium nib glides across the Tomoe River paper with absolute ease. The entire Tomoe River/Lamy 2000 writing experience has been perfect — even the wetter nib’s drying time is impressive. If you’re looking for the best paper to test out a Lamy 2000, don’t look any further than Tomoe River paper.
I have spent the last six months documenting my daily objectives and tasks with a Pilot Vanishing Point and a Hobonichi Techo. In that time, I became accustomed to fine and extra fine nibs and the impressively smooth experience of the Vanishing Point on Tomoe River. Yet, the moment I put the Lamy’s medium nib to the Hobonichi’s paper, I knew the Vanishing Point had been put to shame. This isn’t to say the Vanishing Point’s writing experience is poor — it blew away my TWSBI Diamond 580AL experience — but the Lamy 2000 quickly made me aware that its physical design was only a part of its reputation.
Value and Everyday Use
The question of value always undermines any experience of any product, and with the Lamy 2000’s higher price tag, that question is only entrenched further.
Answering that question isn’t as easy as I’d like. After all, we’re talking about a pen.
The Lamy 2000 runs a cool MSRP of $200 across the board. You can often find the pen on sale (like right now at Pen Chalet for $160, or on Amazon for $125), but the pen’s great reputation doesn’t let the price go much lower. By any stretch, the Lamy 2000 is an expensive pen.
But what you get for that $200 is truly second to none. The pen’s design is timeless and has been awarded design awards for the past 50 years. Its piston filling mechanism guarantees you can use any ink you’d like, whenever you’d like. Its hooded nib and simple aesthetic lets the pen fly under the radar at work, meaning you can use the pen without having anyone asking questions. You get, in my opinion, the best writing experience of any fountain pen on the market and a 14 karat gold nib. The gold nib alone has value, let alone the rest of the pen’s features.
For $200, you’re getting a near perfect pen. A grail pen. The pen at the top of everyone’s wishlist. It’s even at the top of the Pen Addict’s Top 5 Fountain Pens list for the $100-$200 range. You truly can’t get a better pen for this price.
Having said all this, I’m not sure if this is an everyday pen for the average person. The Lamy 2000 is the pen I use to fill in my daily journal at the end of the day, but it’s not the pen I choose to use when I’m at the office. The medium nib is too wet for cheap office paper and its price causes me to think twice each morning when throwing it into my bag. The thought of losing the pen or having someone else grab it off my desk has led me to leave the pen at home on occasion. I find I prefer the quick accessibility of the Vanishing Point (its retractable mechanism allows the pen to be quickly used with one hand only instead of needing two hands to remove the cap from a capped pen body) and the Vanishing Point’s drier fine nib.
The Lamy 2000 is also not an ideal size for an everyday carry pen. The pen is too big to fit in a pocket and its value alone will lend you sensibility in taking care of the pen. There’s no issue on the durability front of the pen, but the thought of putting this pen through everyday rigours gives me the shivers.
When it comes time to sign an important document or to sign a cheque though , I turn to the Lamy 2000. It’s an important pen with an important place in history, and it finds itself in the honourable spot of signing all my important documents before being sent away.
I studied history for my first history degree and I have come to respect historic locations, dates, artifacts, and paradigms. Looking out at the everyday world becomes far more complex when you consider where the inspiration for that world came from.
The Lamy 2000 finds an odd place in my historical heart. First designed in 1966, I quickly came to respect the 2000’s ability to remain relevant way beyond its initially conceived time period. Its incredibly long shelf life has led to numerous design awards and placements into modern art museums. Its Bauhaus/utilitarian design fits in now and will fit in well into the future and will continue to inspire other design choices from other manufacturers.
So it almost goes without saying that this pen is an absolute pleasure to own. I can quickly reach for one of the most acclaimed tools ever created and still experience a modern, smooth, highly constructed writing experience within seconds. Owning a piece of history and not spending millions to acquire it is actually a liberating feeling.
The Lamy 2000 may not be the first fountain pen you buy, but it may very well be the last. There are simply very few other options which can stand on their own against the 2000. At $200 (or less), you can have a grail pen for signing every important document for the rest of your life, as you can be sure this pen will never go out of style.
A very special thanks goes out to Pen Chalet for sending this pen for review. In no way has this affected the outcome of my opinions of the pen. For about a week, I found myself unsure of the pen’s value. Then I compared it to my other fountain pens and I realized why this pen has the price tag it does. No matter the acquisition process, this pen is the real deal.