Greetings, fountain friends,
I’ve been an offline observer to this wonderful community for some time now, and it has influenced me in many of my pen decisions and handwriting expansions. I'm an Irish doctor working in England, and in my spare time, I am a keen German language user, chess player, philosophy and psychology enthusiast, and now beginning to dabble in the world of writing. I’d like to begin to give back with my own opinion regarding an undoubtedly biased view on my favourite fountain pen purchase to date – the Lamy 2000M Stainless Steel (my model is a fine nib, and I like to rotate between Diamine Oxblood, Teal, and Montblanc Toffee Brown).
Excellent reviews for this well-known model – most prominently the original makrolon edition – already exist in this forum, and further afield. However, I would like to write something about the SS version of this pen, which has attracted mixed-to-negative reviews regarding it’s 1) weight, 2) similarity without difference, and 3) price. I do not pretend to be impartial regarding this particular piece, and I must suggest that this is an opinion primarily for those who are closer-than-not to a purchase regarding this model with the attributes I will discuss, later, and go some way to defend the model fit enough to be considered both distinct and worthy of purchase and recognition.
The most notable set of specifications is the weight of this pen – both in-and-of-itself, and in contrast to the lighter, original version. For convenience, the total (54g), body (34g), and cap (20g) weights are significantly heavier than the makrolon version (typically 25g, 15g, and 10g, respectively). Particularly when the cap is posted, this can be a considerable contributor to writing fatigue, back-heavy imbalance, and an uncomfortable writing experience with poor stamina for even those with larger hands.
I think this is an unfair area of criticism, and rather, should be a binary factor for those who like heavy or light pens. Consider a fountain pen reviewer who takes on a ballpoint pen – by the very nature of the pen’s mechanism, this will be reviewed much more poorly than it’s capillary counterparts by the nature of what makes the pen a writing instrument. I believe that weight – as well as dimensional size – are factors in review that should be areas of distinction, rather than comparison, when considering models of pens (even when such models are within the same branding).
Therefore, I think that those who favour heavier, metal pens should take interest in the Lamy 2000M as distinct in interest even from those who use the original makrolon Lamy 2000. Whereas the first example I provide is clearly an extreme version of the issue described, here, I think that the factors of size, weight, and filling system are considerable enough to be whittled down to pens that address those precise categories rather than having (e.g.) a Kaweco Liliput scolded by a user who’s daily driver is the MB 149.
2). Similarity without difference.
Apart from the material use and the weight of the pen, criticism is offered by reviewers who perhaps borrow too much influence from these paradoxically drastic differences, by finding nothing new offered by this version once the novelties are stripped away. I believe this is an easy mistake that we all can make when we overanalyse versions with heavy influences in one area or another and seeing it as a simple marketing rehash. I’d like to offer the opinion that these two factors bring about differences in performance and suitability in preference that are drastic enough to address an entirely different audience to attract those that were perhaps failed or disappointed by the Lamy 2000 in its original format.
The material and weight provide a unique writing experience that is (I’d argue) much more palpable than the difference between modern steel and gold nibs. It is difficult to capture the sensory, tactile, and phenomenological experience in the differences between both versions without robbing the reader of an hour’s time, but there is something tremendously satisfying about the gravity and industrial nature of this instrument. I think it more excellently captures the Bauhaus movement than it’s makrolon parent, but aesthetics aside, even the differences in brushing material and the lack of a two-tone/material compartment provide a different experience to those deliberately sensitive enough to notice a difference.
Clearly, there are differences which I think are rather miniscule (the plating on the hinged clip, or the placement of the Lamy logo, for example), whereas others are perhaps discriminatory to those who prefer other attributes (the removal of the ink window seems to be a sore point for many consumers, as is the smoother metal finish of the grip). However, when it comes to the ultimate endpoint of a writing instrument – the writing – then this pen deserves a mention distinct from the original as being paradigmal in it’s feeling, experience, and output. Everything else is style and preference.
Finally, the Lamy 2000M is noted as being approximately 50% more expensive than the original*. This is an area of criticism, compounded further when the two areas addressed, above, are neglected in final consideration. One could talk endlessly regarding the economics of price, but I believe there are a few more objective factors to consider before discussing the differences in the intangibles:
Stainless steel is a difficult material to manufacture, and clear that it is at least a significant percentage of the pen that this instrument is fashioned with (I have yet to see a demonstrator video in which the pen is sliced in half at various angles for a more accurate opinion on this, though the innards are made from essentially plastic on disassembly). The weight specifications should be enough to reassure most to a reasonable standard of this. Lamy is also a brand of (at least in my experience) good and efficient quality – perhaps the Ikea of manufacturers when it comes to template design with the odd-revolutionary product. With this comes a certain level of brand investment, especially as an edition of an item that sits on permanent display in an art museum.
More subjectively, those wishing to purchase something metal, heavy, and made by a manufacturer such as Lamy, will find themselves justifying this purchase (rightly or wrongly), as it is a widely-recognised and reliable model of a pen that has already been proven to survive over long periods of time, but utilises their preferred categories of material choice and weight. Stainless steel is also tremendously robust, and provided that the user is aware of the interplay between it and the more sensitive innards, then this pen should act as its own safeguard against wear, damage, and accidents that will inevitably creep up in the coming years and decades.
C). A worthy purchase for those who can discern it.
The conclusion may seem as weak as point 2) that I make above – clearly, this is a pen that will satisfy those who will be satisfied by it just as much as it is the same pen without its differences. But I write this piece (which is also my first – constructive feedback would be very much appreciated from the community) in biased defence and justification to what is a wonderful writing instrument that I believe has been treated unfairly even in favourable reviews (who towards the end may conclude that the makrolon version is better simply because it is essentially the same, and more affordable).
I argue here that these are two distinct pens that should not be compared any more than a small and a large pen be reviewed by an individual who is more/less suited to one or the other. That is not to argue the Lamy 2000 out of hands who love it – I merely stress that there are differences that are more significant in the review of such pens than are given credit (some which are not even available in filters for online pen retailers, e.g., weight) that will eliminate certain pens from consideration even if they are identical in other superficial aspects. Furthermore, I wish to offer the opinion that such differences then go on to contribute meaningful changes both in hand and on paper, and that these should be noted as both distinct, and as incomparable to pens with category differences such as weight that are paradigmal.
Lastly, this is a pen that will suit some, and not others. For those that it will suit, however, will depend more on attributes and qualities of pens that make it knowingly or unknowingly both more appealing and satisfying in acquisition and use than variants (Lamy 2000) and competitors (when considering weight, e.g., Faber-Castell Basic Metal). Clearly, other factors also play a role (i.e., price, availability, European nib sizes, etc.), and some which I have not noted, here.
But for those who can discern their ideal pen yet find themselves a little underwhelmed by the community’s reaction despite its pedigree and performance, I hope this piece can help to explain some of the feeling on both sides.
Thank you for your time.
*Thank you to 1nkulus, who corrected my original gross approximation as being double.
Edited by Schreiber, 10 April 2019 - 09:02.