Review: The Lamy 2000 Fountain Pen

Being a mere fountain pen acolyte, it's my understanding that part of what led to their resurgence during the 80's and 90's (having been driven underground for several decades by the convenience of the ball-point pen) was their potential bling factor. Well-to-do business people would stuff a $1500+ Mont Blanc pen in their Armani pockets in place of the passé hankerchief and people couldn't help but ooh and ahh at the amount of money that was undoubtedly paid for such a fashionable accroutrement. They were, in effect, jewelry, meant to be displayed but very rarely used.

True, there are a lot of beautiful pens out there, many costing several thousand dollars in special "limited editions" (of course they're limited -- how many $15,000 pens could you realistically expect to sell?), but they remain out of reach for us mere mortals who actually know the contents of their bank accounts. Not to worry, though: more than one fountain pen savant has whispered the industry's little secret to me. Up to $150, you pay for the nib; more, you pay for the sparkle. So, assuming you're not looking for something ostentatious, just a nice reliable daily writer that will last for many years, you're in luck. There's plenty of options that won't require an extra mortgage, ranging from the $25 Lamy Safari and the $40 Waterman Phileas up to the $150 pens from well-regarded manufacturers.

Case in point, the well-regarded bastion of functional anti-bling: the Lamy 2000.

Lamy 2000

Created for Heidelberg's Lamy pen company by the Bauhaus designer Gerd A. Müller in the early sixties, the Lamy 2000 has survived more than four decades with nary a hint of change. In its design simplicity, it's much like the elegance of the iPod, where so much careful thought has gone into how the object can integrate into a person's lifestyle without needless intrusion. In point of fact, it follows the Bauhaus school's leading precept of function dictating form so perfectly that it's considered by many to be the epitome of Bauhaus design. In 1966, the Lamy 2000 model firmly set Lamy at the forefront of industrial design for writing instruments and its influence can still be felt to this day.

Visually, the pen is about as unostentatious as possible. The barrel and cap are possessed of a simple curvature and built of a jet-age matte black fibreglass resin called Makrolon. The section (the part near the nib where you grip for writing) is brushed metal. The nib is a "hooded" one, which means that most of it is covered by the section, leaving only a little triangle of shiny metal protruding for the act of writing. The nib is actually made of gold, necessary for its non-rigid qualities, but is plated with platinum to ensure a consistent "black and steel" look to the pen. The clip is squarish and also made of brushed metal, possessing only a tiny engraved "Lamy" on its side, the only visible writing on the pen. (There's hidden writing beneath the clip that few people know to look for.) A simple silvery dot marks the bottom, and the very top of the cap is the only shiny black on the whole pen. It all sounds incredibly simple, but it's truly beautiful in that simplicity. And so absolutely exact is its manufacture that even the piston cap at the bottom of the pen is almost completely undetectable until you rotate it.

Speaking of pistons, the pen is a piston filler, so it doesn't take the cartridges that many people are familiar with. To fill, simply dip the nib into an ink bottle, then unscrew and screw back the piston cap. Wipe the nib and you're all set. There is a beautifully integrated and subtle wrap-around "window" about one-third the way back from the nib so you can see when you're running out of ink.

So, how does it write? I have the fine nib, and that was my first and only concern. The fine nib is actually more of a medium when compared with most other western pens,including Lamy's own AL Star and Safari series. I much prefer a fine nib, which makes me think I should have opted for the extra-fine nib in this case.

That said, the pen writes incredibly smooth on almost all the types of paper I've tried it on, from expensive vellum to used copy paper, from Moleskines to index cards. It lays down a solid wet line that is not so wet as to badly feather even my cheap index cards. Part of that may be my choice of inks (thus far Lamy black and Noodler's Polar Black), but many other pens I've tried with the same inks have not fared so well. Bleed through the paper is fairly minimal, especially given the thickness of the line. Used with my Moleskine, there's only a few points where it actually appears as a small dot or two on the other side of the page.

While the nib wouldn't be considered a flexible one by any means, there's still enough flex that slight pressure and speed can add character to one's writing. That little bit of flex might also lead to a bit of nib creep (ink spreading slightly over the nib), depending on the ink used.

Fatigue is also an issue with many fountain pens, but thankfully the Lamy 2000 is rather ergonomic and easy to hold for extended periods of time, due to the slight cigar-shaped barrel and the non-slippery materials of its construction. While not exactly light-weight, it's not very heavy at all, and doesn't pose a problem for me during long writing sessions.

Doing my research, I found very few negative reviews of this pen, which is astonishing given its 40+ year history. The only negative comments seem to echo my experience, that the nibs seem one size too large. Some people have also commented on the "ears," which begs a bit of explanation. The cap isn't a threaded one, which means that it can come off in a hurry if need be. But to do that, Lamy decided to place two very tiny metal "tabs" on the barrel. The cap pushes over these and locks with a satisfying click. Some people have complained that they feel awkward, but frankly I don't notice them. If anything, they serve as a slight reminder of how I should hold the pen, with the pad of my forefinger atop one. Some people do find them a minor irritation, though.

The price falls under the magic $150 mark by a mere dollar. However, if you're quick, you can still catch one today at for under a hundred (today being December 3, 2007), which is an incredible deal. (If you miss it, the pen can also be found on eBay for around a hundred.) For that price you're getting the finest in functional German design, and a high-quality --but not gaudy-- pen that will last many, many years. Just make sure it's the type of subtle beauty you can truly appreciate.

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Great Review

Thanks for the great review, Doug. I can attest that the Lamy 2000 is a truly remarkable pen. Mine goes everywhere with me. It's a real workhorse, just as it was designed to be. I'm surprised to hear that your pen liked Noodler's Polar Black. It creeped so badly in my XF nib that I couldn't write. Works like a charm with the other inks I've fed it, though. Thanks again, Doug!

Another thumb up

Yes, the Lamy 2000 is a great piece of work, and a great working piece. Mine is one of my favorites, and I agree that the fine nib isn't as fine as it ought to be. I've thought about buying another one just to get an XF -- yes, they're that good.

Do you procrastinate?

Nice review. I also love my

Nice review. I also love my Lamy 2000. I have a question: the knob in my pen is very loose on the first turn, then, when the piston actually moves is gets stiffer. Is it normal? I mean the loose knob/blind cap once the pen has been filled.

Uh oh.

And now I want one. My wife will not be pleased, Doug. Not pleased at all.

Nice pen

One of the reasons I've seen for the late '90s and '00's increase in fountain pen use is the 'greenie' factor. Fountain pens are instant green-credibitility as there are no 'nasty ballpoints' to throw into landfill.

So any fountain pen users can feel saintly instantly ;)

And they save money too

One ball point pen refill once a week $1.29 x 52 weeks, excluding weeks when we were so busy I went through two or three refills. = $67.08 in a single year. It cost me less than two cents to fill my Namiki Vanishing point pen, I write more than I ever have and refills last two weeks. I got the pen on sale for much less than the traditional $150, which is one of the godsends of 'net shopping, someone onn some website WILL have it for less : ) My pen paid for itself in a year and a half.

Are there any other capless retractable fountain pens out there?

Anacora Imparo

capless FP's

I've been looking into other retractable fountain pens and it looks like the VP is the best one out there. Too bad it is so expensive. There are a couple others up there - one of them called the "Stypen Up" or something like that. From what I've read, the "Stypen Up" and other similar pens all have nibs that you screw the nibs in when you use them and then unscrew them when you're done with it. A bit hard to explain.

The VP is the only one I've seen where you can extend & retract the nib with one hand just by clicking a button.


I long for a VP

I've done the same sort of looking, and have come to a similar conclusion. I picked up a Pilot Knight to get some sense of what the Pilot/Namiki nibs are like (e.g., differences in how a "medium" nib is defined) and I'm very happy with it. The VP is expensive, but it also looks like a "lifetime" pen. And I can't get over the cool factor of the one-handed use. Having the clip down at fingertip level should even help my bad habit of rotating the pen when I'm in a hurry.

Doug, if Pilot ever sends you a sample to review, I think you've got some willing volunteers. :-)

"Lifetime pen"

The VPs certainly are built to last, with one caveat though: I have found that the spring-loaded trap works well for a number of years and then the spring may need to be replaced. Otherwise it will not close fully anymore, making the nib dry in-between uses. There are several qualified repairpeople who can do this for you, you'll find them through FPN and groups like that. (Is the Zoss community still around? Those folks were amazing.)

This is a problem that's quite specific to the VP. Dunno if the new models are better in that regards, I'm still without a problem on my current VPs (but my older ones don't work so well anymore).

Yes, the Zoss list lives

Yes, the Zoss pen list is still around. I'm subscribed, and there's traffic every day.

Do you procrastinate?

cool pen!

That is a great review and one cool looking pen! I still can't bring myself to spend near $100 for a pen though. I bought a Lamy Accent at a pen show from the Pear Tree Pen Company. The Accent in black seems like a budget version of the 2000. Listed retail is $80, Pear Tree sells them for $64.99. Picked it up at the last day of the 2007 Ohio Pen Show for $50. Here's a page with a picture of what I ended up getting Lamy Accent fountain pen with aluminum grip

Differences: the Accent has a grip that can be changed out and it has a threaded cap. I bought a EF nib, and it is ideal for someone who does a lot of writing and likes to write small. It is a slim pen, but the metal gives it a good, solid heft.

I'm sure you've found this already: fountain pens are addictive.


Great review

..and reinvigorating my love/want of a good fountain pen.

One question though --- what kind of nib does one get?

I don't know what would feel right (and don't have a store locally that I could test drive) -- fine, x-fine?

Any guidelines to nib selection?

what do you use your pen for?

The big questions is what do you usually use your pen for? If you journal a lot, write in your planner, or just write small, I'd recommend starting out with a fine or maybe even extra fine and go from there. If you write a little bigger, or want to feel like you're painting with a pen, try medium.

I use my pen for notes, I'm used to ball point pens, and tend to write fairly small and extra fine works great for me. Also, I tend to end up writing on printouts at work a lot. Finer nibs work better on cheap paper because the thicker the nib, the more ink you get (in general). So medium nib on cheap paper = feathering and bleed-thru. XF seems to be OK.

A couple thinks you might want to look into, depending on how much money you are willing to spend to try out a fountain pen. Here's my suggestions, in order of price, cheapest first. Pilot makes a decent disposable fountain pen called the Varsity. I've only seen it in stores in Medium nib, but I hear it may also be available in Fine. It is less than $10 for a pack of 3 - black, blue, and purple.

Next up would be the Pelikano & Pelikano Jr - both made by Pelikan. I believe they are both less than $20. The problem once again is I think they are only available in Medium.

The Lamy Safari and Vista are also great, less than $30 and available in a broader range of nibs - XFine all the way up to Broad.

Many of Pelikans pens also have interchangeable nibs, but with those you are looking at spending at least twice as much as the Vista or Safari.

A couple places to check out would be or You could also check to see if there is a pen show coming to your area any time soon but be warned: set a limit for yourself if you go to one or you'll lose money faster than you would in Vegas! Never been to Vegas myself, but at my first pen show I met a guy who claimed to have spent $10,000 at his first pen show!!!


Japanese pens have even finer nibs...

If you're looking for a smooth extra-fine nib, you might consider a Japanese fountain pen like a Pilot/Namiki, Sailor, Platinum, etc. Japanese pens generally come with nibs that are about a size smaller than a US nib size. That is, Japanese fine is closer to what you'd think of as extra fine. And, they are generally very smooth. So, if you're looking for an smooth extra fine nib, check out a Japanese pen. I have a Namiki Vanishing Point with a fine nib that was really nice, but I replaced it with a medium, just because I preferred a wider line. But, that fine nib would be great in a planner or journal. Good for editing. Dunno if the Pilot Knight comes with a fine or extra fine nib, but that might be worth a look.


"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once." Albert Einstein and Buckaroo Banzai

Lamy 2000 nib size

Just got mine in the mail last week, with an XF nib. I was really worried that it would be too fine, but that is clearly not the case. It writes about like a Pilot G2 gel pen. Perfect. A wonderful pen, I love it. Have tried it posted and unposted, and prefer the unposted better. My first piston filler, so much nicer that a converter.

Lamy 2000

Thanks Doug and other commenters,
I have been fiddling with fountain pens for about 12 years now. My favorite until recently was an old Parker 51 that was my grandfathers. I bought the Lamy 2000 on reading your recommendation and have had it about a month now. I couldn't be more pleased with it. I had looked at it several times but it didn't look too special, so I never tried one. I have two Namiki VP's and while they are fine pens, they just don't seem to feel right, maybe they don't fit my hand. They just never seemed to click with me so I always went back to the Parker 51. The Lamy is perfect. It feels great, writes very well and is light and not overly noticeable. I can use it in meetings without getting strange looks. It's hard to describe but the feel is very comfortable, smooth writing, and almost feels like writing with my favorite rollerball, the Tombow Object. I'm actually thinking of buying another so I can have blue ink as well as black ink.

It looks too thick for me to

It looks too thick for me to hold.