The Lamy 2000 is a pen that needs no introduction, but I’m giving it one anyways.
Originally introduced in 1966, the 2000 is a creation of Lamy’s (then new) marketing manager Dr Manfred Lamy and former Braun designer Gerd A. Müller. The pen’s design is based in Bauhaus tradition, following the principle “form follows function” with “no material surplus or design gadgets” (their words). Rather than standard hard rubber, acrylic, or celluloid, the 2000 uses a combination of stainless steel and Makrolon which was a pretty new polycarbonate material at the time, and significantly more difficult to work with. The result is a light and comfortable pen that still stands apart in a saturated marketplace over half a century after launch.
My Lamy 2000 came to me a few years ago after a Black Friday sale got the better of me. It was still fairly early in my pen collecting journey at the time, and spending three digits on a pen was still (for lack of a better term) scary. But my curiosity got the better of me, as did the waves of adoration for the L2K from all around the online pen community. While the sands of time have worn away my recollection of the pen’s first impressions, it still stands out as a unique and special piece in my ever-growing collection.
The Lamy 2000 is a piston-filler fountain pen with a 14k gold nib, Makrolon (polycarbonate) body, and brushed stainless steel accents. The filling mechanism holds approximately 2.5ml of ink, a small fraction of which is visible through the translucent ink window located just behind the grip section. For maintenance and cleaning, the grip section unthreads and separates from the barrel, housing the ink feed, a rubber O-ring, and a small metal spacer that holds the slip-cap onto the pen. When fully assembled and ready to write, the 2000 has a clean, nearly seamless cigar-shaped profile that fits comfortably in the hand and looks great on the desk. The cap does securely post, if you’re into that sort of thing, and features a spring-jointed metal bar clip that secures it safely in any pocket or pen sleeve.
The pen writes well enough, no tuning, adjusting, or tweaking needed. The semi-hooded EF nib has a moderate ink flow, laying down a line closer to what you’d see from a Fine steel nib. There is a little flex and spring in the 14kt gold if you push it, but the point of the (over)engineering is that you don’t have to. In fact, while it would be an exaggeration to say that the nib has any kind of factory grind, but there is some noticeable line variation due to the shape of this nib.
Filling the 2000 is simple; unscrew the plunger, dunk the nib, screw the plunger back down, enjoy. While it won’t win any awards for ink capacity but it uses what it has efficiently. Cleaning the 2000 is not without risk. All of the usual components are here, the nib and feed separate from the housing easily so cleaning dried ink is simple enough. And flushing water through the ink reservoir clears out any remnant and clears the chamber for the next shade. But then there’s this little metal spacer, this tiny steel horseshoe. As mentioned above, this piece helps mechanically secure the cap to the pen barrel. It also creates a physical seal between the grip section containing the nib unit and the barrel section containing (among other things probably) the ink. I cannot stress this enough: Do not lose this piece.
The simple and unbroken silhouette of the 2000’s barrel is both visually striking and pretty dang comfortable. While it lacks the ergonomic feel of a Safari or Al-Star, it’s far more comfortable than the round metal grips of the Studio or Aion. The tactility is due in no small part to the unique material, Makrolon, which is so special it even had a motto; “Makrolon protects and makes life easier.” This gives the 2000 an almost porous or soft feeling that you can’t really get from resin or acrylic materials. Overall its an incredibly comfortable pen.
The $249 Elephant In The Room
Okay here’s the thing. I bought this pen years ago and have been using it fairly regularly ever since. If anything, my endorsement of the product gets stronger every time I ink it up. But the word on the
street stream is that the retail price is going up yet again in 2023, pushing this pen from expensive to dang-near unaffordable. I bought my Lamy 2000 for about half today’s going price (Dec. ’22), but I’d still say it’s worth it if you can afford it. Pushing the price up to $250 pushes it right out of the range where I feel comfortable recommending it. Now if Lamy did something to increase the value of the purchase, package it with a bottle of ink like Pilot’s 823, maybe even introduce a new standard color, that might change the equation for me. But as it stands, I think $250 is just too much for this pen. For that kind of money you can get an incredible pen from an independent maker, or a pen that was actually made in/before 1966.
Though I may be biased by time and the effects of inflation, I really love the Lamy 2000. It’s a great pen in terms of both form and function. It’s unfortunate that the price is going up but I suppose this is the way of all things. If you’ve ever been curious about the pen, you might as well take the dive.
Go ahead and treat yo self, it’s not getting any cheaper.
Disclaimer: The products discussed were purchased by The Poor Penman for review. All opinions are my own.