A lot of discussions did take place about the D3, both before it came on the market and after. And some very good reviews have been done in this forum, with great pictures.
I was curious about the pen, as I am about many Lamys I must say. So, I did it, I bought a Lamy Dialog 3.
I must say that I love the design of the pen. Granted, it does not look like a FP; but, well, who said a FP must look like one?
It is not only a subjective appreciation of the design. One can see where the logic of this conception stands. It is a vanishing point. One of the most famous among that kind of FPs is of course the Pilot VPs (regular one, the thinner model Decimo and the Fermo, to which I thing the D3 should be compared to). What are the advantages of the VPs? Not so much to have no cap to put on and off when you take notes from time to time, but to have no cap to worry about, I think. No cap to loose, or to drop on the floor, or to break, no cap that take sometimes precious space on a table, no cap you might have to look for between the hundreds of sheets of paper that stand on your no so well organized working station…
The shape of the FP is mostly justified by the fact it needs a cap and a section. The cap implies a place where it holds, and the section is necessary so you can open the pen for whatever reason (putting ink into it being only one of them). With a VP, these constrains disappear. Hence the look of the pen: the section is not needed, neither is a place for the cap. The D3 is a very pure conceptual VP, keeping only what is functionally necessary, and parting with what is not useful and part of the mythology of what a "classic" FP should be or not be. The result is stunning, at least in my eyes: no steps between the barrel and the section (there is no section!), but no bump because of the cap when the pen is closed (there is no cap!). The D3 adds a door that is more efficient than the Pilot's, a regular, standard nib - not a very small one, made especially for the VP like in the case of the Pilot's models. Thanks to this, I could exchange the nibs of the D3 and of my white studio, having then the choice of using an M or a F. Some complained about this nib to be the standard Lamy model, but to me, it is a big advantage.
Does this design works? This is where the battle is won or lost, IMO, if money is no consideration.
The closing mechanism works fine. To open the pen, you need to twist it. This can easily be done with one hand – it is as easy to use as a clicking mechanism in any circumstances. The nib is always ready, no drying, the mechanism works smoothly. No problem so far.
The pen, with the nib fully exposed, is very long, and I find that very pleasant, almost perfect for me in this regard.
The pen is nose heavy, very heavy, because of the twisting mechanism. I got used quickly to this strange balance of the pen, but I can't say I find it pleasant. I wonder if a balance system could be imagined (like the Nakaya Balance for instance). The pen would then be heavy but would get a better equilibrium.
The grip, or the fact that the pen has no grip, works well for me. I find it very comfortable, and the palladium finish gives a secure grip, not slippery at all.
The nib, here the standard 14K Lamy nib, is a wonder, much underestimated IMO. Even if I like semi flex nibs – and this one is not – it is still smooth, with a hint of flex (just a reminder, let's say). Like often with Lamy, the fine writes like a small, juicy medium, and the medium is almost a large. Both allow for colour variations, at least with Waterman Florida Blue and Diamine Chocolate Brown.
The little trick with the clip – it retracts a bit when you open the pen – is a nice touch and indeed an intelligent one: thanks to this, the pen is more comfortable than a Pilot (IMO), but the fact that it stays a bit outside prevent the pen from rolling down the floor (a problem Lamy had with the first Persona models). The clip is spring loaded and easy to use, efficient and practical.
The c/c filling mechanism is to me a problem. With the converter, you cannot see the level of ink. Plus, if you want to fill it through the nib, then unscrewing the mechanism, you might have trouble to align the nib and the clip again – here, the Pilot models seems to be more efficient. The ink capacity is very small: it is the standard Lamy converter. All this has become such a problem for me that I now use cartridges that I fill up with a syringe. I wonder why Lamy did not create a converter for this pen (well, price is certainly the answer): as I said, the pen is very long, and as the mechanism is all at the nib side of the pen, there is a lot a space in the upper part of the barrel. The converter could easily be 5 to 7 millimetres longer, solving both part of the visibility and the capacity problems.
The pen is now a regular user, partly because I love the design. But the pen is not suited for long writing sessions, and even not for shorter ones (say, about one hour). The weight of the pen, combined to the balance, demand for too great an effort for me. It is wonderful for noted taking and seems to be a good "go to" pen.
Finally, the price. Too expensive, some say. I don't know. Any pen over 100$ seems too expensive as far as writing only is concerned (even if my daily user is, well, much more than that…), and the Lamy company proved that many times, beginning with the 2K. On the other hand, some companies are producing much more expensive pens (for marketing reasons mainly), pens that sometimes do not work that well. So, maybe too expensive… for a Lamy and what we expect for a Lamy.
In then end, I love the pen, but I think that some details could be corrected. I think the D3 is very nice and is truly the design event it was advertised to be.
Edited by Namo, 28 May 2010 - 17:50.