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Dialog 3

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7 replies to this topic

#1 Namo



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Posted 28 May 2010 - 17:32

Please, do excuse my very poor English.

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…:embarrassed_smile:), 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.



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#2 beluga



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Posted 29 May 2010 - 06:00

Thank you for this very nice review.

I entirely agree with your key points that the pen is a small engineering marvel and that the nib retracting mechanism works well.
It took me some time to get used to the unusual, nose heavy balance and I admit that after years of using "conventional" pens I prefer a more aft centre of gravity.

I have been a long-time fan of the 14k version of the "universal" Lamy nib that is fitted nowadays to most modern Lamy designs.
The nib writes very smoothly with minimal pressure and with only the slightest hint of flex, exactly the way I like it.
On earlier Lamys with these nibs, skipping turned out to be an occasional problem for me and I had to send some pens back for adjustment or exchange of the ink feed, but my latest Lamys work flawlessly, so hopefully this is now a problem of the past that Lamy managed to address successfully with a small ink feed redesign that they had previously hinted at.

The nib on the Dialog 3 is more susceptible to drying and after several days of inactivity the pen may prove to be a dry starter. I noticed this with several Private Reserve inks, but have since switched back to Pelikan/Waterman inks and the problem has disappeared and the pen starts now fine after more than a week of inactivity. As several owners have already previously commented on the nib drying up, my first advice would be so see whether switching to Pelikan (I have Pelikan Violet in my Dialog 3 now) inks makes any difference. It did in my case.

The pen body with the sleek line is attractive and the matte palladium finish make the pen easy to hold.
Glossy surfaces like on Cross Century and some Montblanc models can be difficult to hold at times and pens may develop an undesirable tendency to slip in the hand after several lines or pages, but the Dialog 3 stays put.

The filling mechanism is somewhat awkward; like on the Pilot VP the recommendation when filling the pen is to unscrew the entire nib assembly with converter. The Dialog 3 uses the standard Lamy converter, but unfortunately most of the transparent converter body disappears when the converter is inserted into the nib assembly, which makes it indeed difficult to judge the ink level.

Increasing the complexity of a mechanism adds to costs and may negatively effect reliability. The Dialog 3 proves the first point and some fountain pen users will rather opt for a more simple, straightforward design that offers the same Lamy 14k nib performance at lower cost.
On the second point, my Dialog 3 operates flawlessly so far and I have high hopes that Lamy as one of the leading pen manufacturers that embraced the Form Follows Function design principle has not sacrificed functionality and reliability for a design novelty.


Edit: typo

Edited by beluga, 29 May 2010 - 14:06.

#3 kwinana



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Posted 31 May 2010 - 14:21

Since I have rinsed the nib and "written it in", my Dialog 3 is performing flawlessly. I am now truly impressed and the nib is the best fine point that I own in terms of smoothness and wetness. This pen will be my daily writer.

#4 Namo



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Posted 21 June 2010 - 22:53

Adendum to the review:

suddenly, today, the twisting mecanism just didn't work anymore. It was a little less "clean" the last few days, but this was really unexpected... Back home, I rinsed the pen with tap water: ink does accumulate on the small sphere closing the pen and inside the bottom part of the "section", and with some time, even with very usual inks (in this case, Waterman BF), the amount of ink goes bigger and prevent the mecanism to work. Rincing the pen simply solve the problem, and the pen is as good as new. I guess the D3 needs a lot of care.



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#5 Brian


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Posted 21 June 2010 - 23:24

Nice review points. One thing you pointed out that could be made to work is having an ink view window. At the moment there are no capless FPs that have this feature and knowing the ink supply at a glance would only make a capless that much more desirable.

How could this be made to work? Why not have a clear section in the barrel showing the level of ink in the convertor or even cartridge? The D3 and the Pilots would need to have a redesigned convertor to accommodate this.

#6 duna


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Posted 22 June 2010 - 19:51

Nice review points. One thing you pointed out that could be made to work is having an ink view window. At the moment there are no capless FPs that have this feature and knowing the ink supply at a glance would only make a capless that much more desirable.

How could this be made to work? Why not have a clear section in the barrel showing the level of ink in the convertor or even cartridge? The D3 and the Pilots would need to have a redesigned convertor to accommodate this.

Very few safety pens have been made in 'resin', id est in some kind of plastic, probably due to the stress on the pen's body (the mechanically operated nib is often a very cumbersome concoction to operate and some human operators are not that nice with non-cooperating mechanical devices). In the past many manifacturers preferred 'capped design' like today's Montblanc Boheme and I'm partial many of these designs were metal pens, anyway, sometimes in gold. Manifacturers that preferred the synthetic route learned the hard way to redesign the next model in heavy metal (Vp, anyone?).
Now, transparent metal is nowhere to be found until next Kirk's Enterprise trip back in time, so transparent windows and sections are difficult to obtain. But, there is still a lot of unused space inside D3s, so I think that a dedicated enlarged and elongated converter could be a blessing for us, even without transparent parts. But numbers of us FP aficionados are evidently too small to lure someone to manifacture some simple large converters dedicated to the few pens with plenty of space inside. I own both the VP and the D3 and they are great toys, but they really need a larger converter (no, filling at work the pen with a syringe is really not an option, and sometimes it's too late or too early to do this at home). Manifacturers are obviously more interested in selling cartridges for a profit than bottled ink and converters...

#7 thehewett



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Posted 23 June 2010 - 05:39

about the ink filling mechanism, would it be possible to, insert a different converter? i see lamy makes Z24 and Z26 converters, i think those are not the same capacity, or maybe some manufacturer makes a larger converter keeping in mind that our D3 has almost two cms. left in the rear section.one could "adapt" other brand of converter.

i'll research bout this topic.... :rolleyes:

collection: LAMY CP1 pt, 2000, Safari, Logo, Accent, dialog 3; MONTBLANC Generation, VIP,145; Nettuno barracuda, Rotring 600 lava, STIPULA Carbon Davinci, Gaudi Batlo; NAMIKI Falcon,Fermo,VP; Sailor prof. gear, Marlen Saxophone, DUNHILL, AD2000 and Sentryman Carbon, Sidecar; Tombow zoom 101; KAWECO carbon; HYSEK carbon, black, PLATINUM 25G, DELTA momo, PORSCHE D. leather.

#8 mori45


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Posted 27 November 2010 - 09:46

Thanks for your review Namo!

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