Lamy 2000

Virtually without fail, whenever a post appears on reddit seeking advice with a new pen, there’s one which ends up being recommended regardless of the user’s needs, specifications, or price range, and receives approving nods from other posters: the Lamy 2000. It seemed surreal to me at first, a group of diehard fanboys relentlessly proselytising their belief in the 2k as the One True Pen, and over time it started to really gnaw at me. Just like Jehovah’s Witnesses put that seed of doubt in your heart – is there something missing from my life? – so too did the constant posting of the 2k make it seem like it could be solution to all of my pen problems. Of course, I didn’t understand the appeal of it but the mystery made it seem all the more compelling: if something that looks so bland, so boring, could inspire this kind of devotion then obviously the problem was with me. Ultimately, I gave in to my doubts and curiosity, closed my eyes, and allowed the 2k into my heart.

Like anyone who has joined a cult and eventually broken free, I look back at that moment and wish I had known a few things. First, every single review of the pen claims it’s on exhibit at MOMA. Yeah, it’s not. I don’t know where this idea came from, but it’s not true and never was. Second, the claim that every nib is hand-checked might be true, but only if Lamy’s testers are visually impaired. There are so many posts about nibs with tiny sweet spots, misaligned tines, or baby’s bottom that make me think hand-checking is just another myth circulated by the faithful. Third, and most obviously, this pen isn’t going to solve all of your problems. It’s probably not even going to solve all of your pen problems. Once you strip away all of the devout beliefs and holy rhetoric, you’re left with a pen that has a 50% chance of a dodgy nib and 100% chance of a strange-feeling barrel. (There’s a reason why fibreglass hasn’t taken off in the pen world. Nobody runs their hand along the side of a boat and thinks, gee I wish I had a pen this rough and unpleasant.)

That said, it’s not actually a bad pen. Although it’s a little light for me, it’s a comfortable fit and it doesn’t stand out – not a bad thing at all when you’re carrying an expensive pen around in public or want to blend in at a meeting. It’s reliable as well, with enough ink capacity to get through the day so you needn’t worry about carrying a second pen just in case. It’s also reasonably good value: US$160 for a gold-nibbed piston filler is not bad at all.

So it’s a good pen but it’s not a great pen. Useful but not special. A good buy for the price and if you were only ever going to own a single fountain pen, it would probably be your best pick. But let’s be honest: none of us here are only going to buy one pen. If you buy this, it’s going to be replaced sooner or later by something that’s meant for heavy-duty writing, like a Montblanc 146 or a Pelikan M800. If one of those are years away, get the 2000 and you’ll probably be quite pleased. It’ll see you through school or uni. Otherwise, keep saving. You won’t regret it. You’re not missing out on salvation, you’re only missing one more pit stop on the way to where you really want to be.