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Lamy Cp-1 (Black) Fountain Pen Review


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I received the Lamy CP1 as a gift. I was after a "non-nickable" pen - one that wasn't likely to get stolen, and was cheap enough to replace if it was. A workhorse. As an added bonus, it looks more or less like a ballpoint, so the CP-1 was ideal for my purposes.




Appearence (7/10)


Its simple, black flush design does look very much like a ballpoint, but a nice one. The silver clip is in stark contrast with the flush body, and neither look particularly cheap.



One of these pens is not like the others!

The official product shot of the CP-1 shows the pen posted, hiding its only downfall of design: The end of the pen, which features a small plastic ring that looks cheap and nasty (see picture below). This part of the design allows the cap to be posted very firmly, so it's a trade-off of design for functionality.



Fortunately, while posted, the pen looks sleek and sophistocated, and there is none of this "trade-off" nonsense we see while capped.


Design/Size/Weight (6.5/10)


The pen is functional and well-designed. It's made almost completely from brushed metal, with the exception of the aformentioned ring and the grip, which feels quite cheap compared to the rest of the pen. It is the perfect length for my medium-sized male hands, both posted and unposted. Its width is a little too thin for my liking, and this takes its toll when writing for more than an hour.


What lets the pen down is its weight. It's light. Very light, in fact, as you might expect from a pen of this size. While many may appreciate its weight for conveinence, I personally find it detrimental to my handwriting. I always find myself posting the cap to make the pen heavier.


The clip has a pleasingly spring-loaded pullback, but sadly has quite a loose tooth. The clip moves from side to side a little too easily, making it feel cheap and easily breakable. Strangely, the word "Germany" can be found engraved undearneath the clip. I was surprised by this attention to detail.

I really must shout out to Lamy here for their excellent clip-on cap design. I usually prefer screw-on types, but the closing click on the CP-1 is oh-so satisfying, and solid as anything once capped.


Nib (6.5/10)

Not particularly scratchy, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it is overly smooth either. I have the F nib, but the pen comes in B, M, F and EF. The nib is rigid, as expected from a steel nib. The horizontal line width is slightly thicker than the vertical line width. There is a fairly consistent ink flow, but it's not perfect.





Filling system and maintenance (8/10)

Mine came with both cartridges and a converter, both of which hold a decent, but not amazing, amount of ink (though it is worth noting that the converter contains less ink than the cartridges). Where I live, Lamy cartridges are generally cheaper than other cartridges.

The pen wrote straight out of the box, and needed no help whatsoever to get a nice, solid inkflow on its first time out. I have not needed to apply maintenence yet.




Cost and Value (6/10)
Well, it's not the steal of the century, but it's not bad. With prices ranging from US$50-70, the pen is cheap if you look at it from a "good fountain pen" standpoint, but expensive from a "good ballpoint" one, to which the pen is somewhat more akin. I prefer to look at it as value for usage, and it looks like I'll be getting a lot of usage out of this one.


Overall (7/10)

If you're looking for a cheap, light, workhorse fountain pen for taking notes and not writing neat letters, the Lamy CP-1 is for you. This was my first Lamy pen, having previously thought of Lamy as a get-what-you-pay-for brand, but I was very impressed with the CP-1. I use it the most out of all of my fountain pens, and I'm not afraid to take it out. It may not produce the nicest results, but this isn't a pen that's going to get scratched or stolen. Alhough the clip may be a little flimsy, the pen is a high-quality piece of German workmanship. A true workhorse pen.

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I like my CP1 more and more as I use it. I am drawn to Lamy's mimimalist design and the matte black appeals to me. But I had to get used to using such a slim pen.


I had ink flow problems too, but traced them back to the use of the cartridge. Last time I use it was with the converter and Sailor Blue-Black ink. Amazing.

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Very nice and comprehensive review of a great pen!


The black cp1 was the first Lamy I bought over 20 years ago. And, if you ever have any problems with it or it needs repair, I have found LamyUSA to have terrific customer service for repair (whether you bought direct from them or not).


I now have a whole lineup of Lamy cp1s, and they are some of my favorite writers. I load the different pens up with a variety of inks and nib sizes. Besides some of the older piston filler Lamys, these are always my goto pens.


Some of the older cp1s (in different materials such as stainless steel or silver) are even thinner than the more recent black titanium model. I find they are terrific in the hand, if you like a nice thin pen. Also, the clip is spring loaded and stays very nicely in a shirt pocket. The nibs on the current model and those going back to the 80's swap out nicely with some other Lamy nibs (like on the Safari).


Just recently, I purchased an older model cp1 in gloss white. While it does have a steel nib, it is a terrific writer and the ink flow is great. Included a few pictures below for reference.




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The gloss white with black clip makes for a handsome pen. I didn't know the model went as far back as the 80s.

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I bought one in the early 90's and the cap stopped sealing. There was a cheap plastic ring on the inside of the cap that grabbed on the posting ring you comment on. The cap ring broke in three places and I ended up throwing the pen away... Turned me off Lamy for years until I bought a Safari.

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Thanks for the review. From the limited writing sample visible, it looks more like a medium to me, from what I can see.

“Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today, because if you do it today and like it, you can do again tomorrow!”

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The gloss white with black clip makes for a handsome pen. I didn't know the model went as far back as the 80s.

Yes, in fact Gerd A. Müller designed and Lamy released the first cp1 in 1974. From Lamy's website:


"The first variation on the theme of contemporary writing instrument design was the LAMY cp1 writing instrument of 1974, with its slim cylindrical shape and brush finished metal body which later also appeared in white and metallic lacquer as well as in matt black titanium oxide coating."


The oldest cp1 I have is the sterling silver (SS) version that, I believe, came out near the initial release date. There have been some posts on the SS cp1 on FPN. I like my SS cp1, but since it is a bit slimmer than the more recent versions, the normal Lamy converter doesn't fit. I still have the Lamy bladder converter for the pen (which was used at the time it came out), but I think the bladder may be comprimised. Generally, I use the pen with cartidges.


A quick note on the SS cp1, since I've written this much already. It does have more weight to it than the other cp1s, so for those who like a heavier pen that's still slim, this is a nice one. Since it's SS, it does tarnish a bit, but frankly, I've never actually used any silver cleaner to clean mine. It came standard with a gold (platinum coated) nib that has a nice flex and writes very smooth, in my opinion. Because it is a bit slimmer, the nib sizes are just a bit different, so you can't swap with some other Lamy pens, as with the current cp1.


All in all, the SS cp1 is a slim version, a bit heavier, with some nice ornamental striations that give the pen a nice grip. Not having a workable converter, limits me to cartridges, so I don't use the pen as often as I might. Still, a nice addition to the cp1 family. Here are some pics for reference.


[the pen and original converter]


[close up of nib and 925 marking on clip]


[writing/drawing sample]


[my collection of Lamy cp1s]



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Thanks for the review. From the limited writing sample visible, it looks more like a medium to me, from what I can see.


Thanks for the replies everyone. It is indeed a great pen.


As for the writing sample, here's a more detailed one.




Please excuse the bad handwriting.

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Back 20 or so years ago I was at a meeting at the Arizona Biltmore for a kick off of a major antibiotic in the US. Between presentations I wandered into the hotel gift shop and on a shelf were several unboxed fountain pens on clearance. One was an aluminum CP-1, another was a Porsche Design pen of similar shape and form. IIFC I paid less than $20 for both pens. I love the design of the CP-1 but it is too thin and light for my daily use, just doesn't fit my bear sized paws. None the less, lovely well made pen. Congrats on yours, would like to try out a silver one, might be heavy enough for me to use daily.






A. Don's Axiom "It's gonna be used when I sell it, might as well be used when I buy it."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update: Tried the CP1 with the included converter. No problems. It's slightly wetter and glides more easily using my blue Parker Quink than with the cartridge.

My CP1 got a chip in it. The black enamel - or whatever it is - chipped down to the gold-coloured metal underneath. It's only slight, and this being a "workhorse" pen rather than a "glamour" pen, I'm not too worried about it. It's just a shame the finish isn't stronger.

In other news, I've just found out Lamy makes a CP1 in mechanical pencil form. I guess I'll add that to my to-acquire list.

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