If you were to ask a group of watch enthusiasts to name the most iconic, recognisable watches of the last 100 years, they might include a Rolex GMT Master, an Omega Speedmaster, a Casio G Shock and maybe even a Fitbit. Try the same exercise with camera enthusiasts and you might hear the Leica M3, Hasselblad 500CM, a Rolleiflex, Nikon F and Olympus OM1. The debate will be endless.
Take a group of fountain pen fans – a random selection from a pen show perhaps. Again, everyone will have a different answer. Some likely contenders might be the Parker 51, Pilot Capless, Montblanc Meisterstuck 146, Cross Townsend and a Pelikan M800. Also there is the Onoto Magna, an Aurora 88, and a Visconti Homo Sapiens. I suspect that there is a good chance that a Lamy 2000 and a Lamy Safari will be mentioned.
This week, I have had a lot of love for Lamy. A generous pen friend in Australia had very kindly sent me a Lamy 2000 fountain pen, with an Oblique Broad nib, knowing of my new-found liking for oblique nibs. This began by accident on my purchasing a Moonman S5 demonstrator pen online, with three nibs included. I went on to buy an Aurora Optima with OB nib and then an Aurora Talentum with OM nib. Both are wonderful. My friend had passed on to me, all the way from Australia, a Geha 715 with OB nib, a vintage Montblanc 34 with OB or OBB nib (fabulous to write with) and a Montblanc Carrera with a steel OB nib and the Lamy 2000 OB: each very different.
However the Lamy 2000’s OB nib was a very different experience from, say the Aurora. The Aurora’s nib, although broad, is not very “thick”, or deep, and so allows for fine cross strokes. The Lamy 2000 nib (at least, the way I held it), had a writing surface which was both broad and deep. Perhaps it needed holding more upright. But for me the effect was not pretty and it was necessary to write larger to avoid loops being filled.
I emailed Lamy customer services in Germany to explain my predicament and to ask whether they would allow me to send the Lamy 2000 back for a nib swap. I soon received a friendly reply, that they would be happy to swap the nib, provided that the existing one was reusable. I sent my pen in, and waited eagerly for the reply. There were a few anxious days when the tracking information showed that my pen had been waylaid in Customs, on the way to Heidelberg. This prompted me to email them again. I had followed their advice on completing the Customs Declaration form and so hoped that there should be no duty to pay. Happily, I got a reply to reassure me that they now had my pen and would return it to me within a few days.
Last Thursday, after just over a month, the Lamy arrived back. It was well protected in a polythene sleeve, in a white envelope, in a cardboard box with a surprisingly copious 12 pages of documents but stating that the pen had been repaired free of charge, the nib exchanged for a Fine, the ink flow checked and the surface refurbished.
I was thrilled to have the pen back and with a fine nib this time. The tipping material is long and narrow. I gave the nib a little flossing and a rinse and checked the tines were level.
For its inaugural inking, I filled the pen with Onoto Mediterranean Blue (which might be called a cerulean blue perhaps) in contrast to my usual royal blues. The writing experience was a joy – all the more so for the month’s wait. At last, I have a Lamy 2000 which writes effortlessly and without squeaking. The fine nib has a good flow, just a little softness and some pleasant feedback.
The pen is well travelled, having gone from Germany to Australia, to the UK, then to Germany and back to the UK again. My own journey with the Lamy 2000 has also been a long one. I bought my first in May 2014, but struggled to get along with the M nib. I later exchanged the nib for a B which I found much better although not until after some rather risky do-it-yourself tine-gap widening.
I have wanted to like the Lamy 2000 fountain pen for a very long time – not because it is fashionable to do so, but for its many unique merits. Over the years and after all I have heard and read, I had come to the view that if I were to buy another, that the fine nib was the one to have. Now thanks to a generous friend and an impressive customer service from Lamy, I have one. It feels great.