My Lamy 2000 and I: a new chapter begins.

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.

My Lamy 2000, a brief update.

After writing up my history with the Lamy 2000 recently, (My Lamy 2000 fountain pen and I), I made a fairly simple do-it-yourself adjustment to the nib to increase the flow. Mine has a broad nib. Being left-handed and writing in an “overwriter” style, I need a slightly wetter flow.

This involved carefully bending the small nib upwards very slightly to widen the gap between the tines. The result was a wetter flow, better lubrication and a generally far happier and less frustrating writing experience. No longer was it necessary to maintain pressure on the nib to write. The gap between the tines is now clearly visible when viewed under a loupe, although in profile, any upward bend of the nib is barely evident.

Lamy 2000 Broad nib, 14k gold and platinum plated. Now with tines a little wider than before.

I happily wrote more than 12 pages of A4 paper before getting through one fill of Waterman Serenity Blue ink, which gives you an idea of the wetness of the nib. If anything it was perhaps a little too much on the wet side.

I found that trying to close the gap is more difficult than opening it. Instead, it occurred to me to try a drier ink and I recalled that Pelikan 4001 Royal Blue (“Konigsblau”) is such an ink.

Showing front section, nib and feed, disassembled for cleaning.

Once again, the Lamy 2000 went upstairs for a bath. It is an easy and enjoyable pen to clean. For the benefit of anyone unfamiliar with this, my routine is as follows:-

  • Unscrew the section from the barrel. Lift off the metal horse-shoe shaped ring which sits in a recess at this join, which is the clip to hold the cap on. Do not lose it or let it go down the plug hole.
  • Then, holding the nib between finger and thumb (above and below the nib, not at the sides), gently push the nib inwards, so that the entire nib and feed unit comes out through the back of the section; note that there is a thick rubber washer towards the back of the feed, which you must also be careful not to lose.
  • The nib and feed unit can then be rinsed in water to remove all traces of the last used ink. If desired the nib can be slid off the feed, as this simply clips over the sides, just like a Lamy Safari nib. Be extra careful not to lose this either, as it is quite small and fiddly on its own.
  • Wash the ink reservoir by drawing water up and down a few times until this runs clear. If desired, to lubricate the piston, (although I do not do this every time), introduce a tiny amount of silicone grease to the inside walls of the reservoir, with a toothpick or similar implement and wind the piston up and down a few times to spread the grease. Thank you, to an old Goulet Pens video for this advice.
The small bits – cap locking ring, the nib and feed washer. The washer makes a handy support for nib photos.

I filled the pen with Pelikan 4001 Konigsblau and, low and behold, the flow now seems to be spot on for me. It is still sufficiently wet to give great flow and lubrication, for effortless writing with minimal pressure, but the flow is not excessive.

Writing sample, Lamy 2000 with Pelikan 4001 Konigsblau on Basildon Bond letter writing paper.

The Konigsblau is an ink that I have not used very much before. I have had two bottles of it hanging around for a long time. I had never really liked the shade of blue all that much as it seemed to me rather pale and lacking the vibrance of say Waterman Serenity Blue or Montblanc Royal Blue. And yet now, in a wetter pen with a broad nib, this Pelikan ink comes into its own. It does seem paler than Serenity Blue but gives an elegant look, with some subtle shading. With the stubby broad nibbed Lamy, you benefit from this shading and also a degree of line width variation.

I could easily have given up on the Lamy or left it dormant as I had not got on with it for so long. Similarly, the Pelikan ink had been little used and was always passed over when I wanted a royal blue, as I would pick another from Waterman, Montblanc, Aurora, or Caran d’Ache from my ink drawer.

I am now using and enjoying my Lamy 2000 more than at any time since I bought it almost six years ago. The conclusion is that not only pens, but inks too, can enjoy a renaissance if we give them (or ourselves) another chance.

Writing sample on John Lewis Script, Post quarto laid writing pad, Ivory, 100gsm.

My Lamy 2000 fountain pen and I.

Having time at home now, I have enjoyed looking back through the many pen photos stored on my computer and my list of previous posts in this blog. I was surprised to find that I had not yet written about the Lamy 2000.

This is probably because I never really got on with it all that well. Perhaps, it was from a feeling of “If you have nothing nice to say, it’s better to say nothing at all.” Well, it’s not that bad. There are lots of features that I like about it, except that mine never wrote as effortlessly and enjoyably as I had hoped for.

The classic, understated Lamy 2000 fountain pen.

I remember buying my Lamy 2000, in May of 2014. It was in a lovely pen shop in Brighton, called Websters, sadly not there any more. After having a good look around the display cases and having bought a couple of bottles of Watermans ink and a Lamy Logo fountain pen, I had strong urge to take home a Lamy 2000. At £175.00 it may have then been my most expensive pen purchase to date and requiring of spousal approval, which was duly sought and granted.

The pen came with a medium nib. There were no other options at the point of sale. The packaging was simple and modest. I admired the pen in the train on our way home to London that evening and was excited to try it out.

The medium nib that my pen came with, in 2014

I should add here, that the brushed metal Lamy Logo fountain pen that I also bought that day, with its Safari-style steel nib, proved to be buttery smooth. At almost six times the price, I had high hopes for the gold nibbed Lamy 2000.

Unfortunately writing with the 2000 was frustrating. The medium nib was smooth but dry and needed constant effort to write. Over the following weeks, I tried several different inks, flushed the nib and feed numerous times and tried different papers. I wrote pages and pages and drew spoked wheels to see in what direction the driest lines were occurring. Being a lefty overwriter, I need a wetter nib as the pen does more pushing forwards and sideways and not many downstrokes to recharge the nib.

Disassembled for cleaning. Over the years I probably enjoyed cleaning the pen more than writing with it.

I did not want to take a chance on adjusting the gold nib myself. To cut a long story short, I eventually gave up on the pen and put it away. I had others that wrote better.

However, some six months later, something prompted me to get in touch with Lamy and I sent them an email to ask if anything could be done. They replied and invited me to send the pen back to them in Germany, which I did, with a note requesting an adjustment to my nib, or else a replacement nib, perhaps a broad.

To their great credit, notwithstanding the passage of several months since purchase, Lamy returned my pen a few days later, free of charge with a new nib. And this time it was a stubby broad.

A new broad nib brings new hope.

Once again I went through the process of filling the pen, trying it on different papers and writing pages and pages. It was better than before! I liked the line produced by the broad nib. Yet, it still suffered from the problem of needing pressure to make it write, to get ink to flow but of course this pressure caused friction and resistance as the pen moved across the paper. All in all it was hard work and not enjoyable. What’s more, the nib literally squeaked on the paper.

Enjoying the Cult Pens Deep Dark Blue ink.

From time to time over the years I would get it out again, thinking that a different ink would make the difference. But always I would end up flushing the ink and putting the pen away again and so for almost six years the pen has been unfulfilled and largely unused. Yet, even now as I write this, I am tempted to give it another try. Maybe it just needs the nib tweaked to open up the tines more. How hard can that be? Whereas in the past I was not brave enough to try it, I think I may have reached the “past caring” point at which I am prepared to take the risk. And if all else fails, I could get it done by an experienced nibmeister.

I know that so many enthusiasts speak highly of their L2K’s and I want a part of that enjoyment. I do admire the minimalist, understated design; the barely visible seam where the piston knob meets the barrel; the clever mechanism for the push-on cap; the free-floating nib which can be so easily removed for cleaning; the unique finish of the Makrolon body and the clean juxtaposition with the brushed stainless steel section and the subtle, platinum coated gold nib. I also know that I am not alone and that others have found the pen hard to use.

Yet, the design wins me over every time and makes me want to give it another chance. We will see how this turns out.

Who can resist this unique design?

Update, 9 April 2020:

The exercise of writing this post had the effect of focusing my mind on the problem with my nib. This morning, I awoke with a resolve to try to adjust the nib myself, with some very simple tine spreading.

I examined the nib again under the loupe to remind myself of the problem. I then pushed the nib downwards against my thumb nail, in a few very gentle, controlled presses, and examined the nib again. Within moments, the tines had opened up. I thought that I might have overdone it and flipped the pen over and tried pushing again to close the gap. I found that it was easier to open the gap than to close it.

I tried dipping the pen in ink and wrote a few lines. All indications were that it was still writing smoothly, with the tines level, but that the wetness would be increased. I then filled the pen properly, with Waterman Serenity Blue and enjoyed writing for a page or so of A4. I tried a few different notebooks and found marked differences in absorbency between different types of paper.

Trying the effect of opening up the tines a little. Much wetter now, but without being too wet.

The nib and feed kept up without problems for a full page. The nib still squeaks and needs careful handling to keep to the sweet spot. But it is now wetter and better lubricated than before and this will be a much needed improvement for my style of writing.

After a few brave moments of opening up the gap between the tines.