For many, Lamy was the maker of their first fountain pen, be it a cheap dip in to the inky waters, or for mandatory use at school. In some respects this has resulted in created a certain perception of the brand. You want a cheap pen, you buy a Lamy. Bought a Lamy then it must be a cheap pen. It’s almost the reverse to Pelikan, whom most associate with the Souveran range of luxury writing equipment and so it is often forgotten then also produce the Pelikano, a direct rival to the Safari and a worthy one at that.
Now I must admit I did become some what of a Lamy fan boy for a while after I got back in to fountain pens. I started to go after each of the available models and was even tempted by the ‘got to get them all’ low price annual special editions.
Now I did recover and become more sensible about which of their pens I bought as well as my view on their various ranges which lead to the question ‘just who do Lamy see as their rival’ – I think it’s Lamy. Let me explain. Considering a sub £30 fountain pen, you have the ABC, Nexx, Safari, Al-Star, Vista, Joy, and Logo. Going up to £50 then add the Pur, CP1, LineA, ST, LX, and Aion. I’ve just listed a dozen different pen models. It’s insane. Again take things up to the ton and you’re adding the Studio, Accent (in cheap forms) and Scala. These are regular prices, so ignoring the fact that up to one to two years ago you could still buy the seminal 2000 for just £99 in a sale.
Considering that previous paragraph is it any wonder people look at you as if you were mad for spending more on a Lamy? Yet there are some great pens further up the line. The enamelled Accents, which come with the sublime Lamy gold nib, could be considered surprisingly good value at ~£160. I only got rid of mine, not because I did not like it, but due to the fact I had too many other Lamys rivalling it, wasn’t using it as a result, and someone then offered to buy it from me. The Scala with the gold nib is actually probably my favourite Lamy pen. I have two of them, which is unusual as I’m the sort of person who restricts myself to just one of any model.
With the Dialog 3, I think people are not too worried about the post £250 price (higher for the new CC version), after all it is different, it has an interesting and complicated mechanism, and it has a gold nib, yet I too often hear the view that the Imporium at £315 is just ‘too expensive for a Lamy’. OK some times it’s the usual ‘why is a cartridge converter pen so expensive’, but it is most commonly the perception that Lamy only produces cheap pens. It’s hard to blame people for this perception of the brand.
So am I still a fan boy. Not so sure any more. Sure some of my favourite pens are Lamys, I strongly believe that their full sized gold nib is one of the most under-rated out there (if you like bounce and line variation) and their customer service is second to none (actually their comms are poor but effectively they do not seem to care about the age of a pen and repair for free regardless of age (UK and Europe anyhow)). Certainly I’ve stopped trying to have one of every pen in their present range and will also probably sell a few or more of my collection, so …
- Safari – one or two maximum, certainly the Dark Lilac one as it’s the nicest looking.
- Al-Star – probably just one, the plain aluminium version as this was my first non-Parker fountain pen when I started using them in earnest at work.
- Imporium – just such a great pen.
- Scala – will be keeping both, despite both having the same nib. I like the model that much and my original Lamy 50th Anniversary version was starting to show wear and tear.
- Persona – the mother of the Imporium.
- 2000 – in some respects this should be in the maybes list, however it was a present and as such it feels wrong to consider selling it.
- Dialog 3 – I hardly use it any more and I have other pens for the travel role, but it is a good writer. Who knows.
- Safari Pokemon – will probably keep this more because if I were to sell it for what I felt was a decent price some profiteer would pick it up and place it on eBay for £150+.
Will probably sell:
- Safari – the all black limited edition and maybe also the Petrol if the latter is not of a silly value.
- Al-Star – while I like the looks of the turquoise/Pacific limited edition, I think I can only justify keeping the one of them.
- LX – already advertised this one previously on a couple of UK Facebook fountain pen for sale groups.
- Aion – while it’s a nice writer and the aion specific nib (which will fit any non-2k Lamy, but can’t be bought separately) does have slightly more bounce than the normal steel nib, this pen just does nothing for me.
- Studio – while many people like it for the same reason, the rapid tapering of the section makes it uncomfortable for me to use.
So are there no more Lamy fountain pens I wish to buy? Actually no – there is one, but an older model and one I rarely see up for sale and always for too much money. The Lamy Lady Pen. A fountain pen from another age when you could get away with labels such as that. Presumably the porcelain body resulted in it’s name and as for it’s target market, with it’s weight you would need to be a Bulgarian shot putter from the 1970s to be able to wield it. Still I really like the looks and it does have the same 14k gold nib as the later personas.
Just what brands are you seemingly addicted to, or at least close to? Just remember ‘you got to catch them all’.