Pen Review: Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel
Material: Brushed Stainless Steel
Nib: 14k Gold (Rhodium-plated)
Filling System: Piston
Length (Capped): 138.5mm
Length (Uncapped): 123.8mm
Length (Posted): 154mm
Section Diameter: 9-12mm
Barrel Max Diameter: 13.2mm
Cap Max Diameter: 14.3mm
Weight, Uncapped (with ink and/or converter): 34g
Weight, Capped (with ink and/or converter): 54g
The Lamy 2000 is a fixture in the fountain pen community for a reason. As I discuss in my Pulizter Prize-winning review of of the L2K, it is a design icon, a workhorse masterpiece, a great writer, has a wonderful ink capacity, and a reasonable price point for a “next-step” pen. A lot of folks have and love their Lamy 2000s. I was sent one for review, and liked it so much I bought one of my own. For what it is, I find the original Lamy 2000 made of Makrolon™ to be about as good as you can get for a daily workhorse writer. But when Pen Habit viewer, Jules, asked me if I would be interested in reviewing the Stainless Steel version of the pen, I was interested to see how the metal version compared to the fiberglass version.
Design-wise the steel version of the L2K is identical to the Makrolon version. Both have that icon, clean-lined Bauhaus-inspired design with a brushed finish. The measurements and shape are the same. The only real difference between the two is the material and, as a result of the material, the weight.
The L2K Stainless is built like a tank. It features a flat top, a hinged, modernistic clip, and a snap-on cap. Removing the cap exposes a zeppelin-shaped barrel which travels smoothly from the semi-hooded nib to the flat ended barrel. Upon removing the cap, a couple of differences between the Stainless and the Original versions become obvious. For starters, where the Original had a stainless steel section and semi-transparent ink windows, the Stainless eliminates the ink windows and keeps a stainless finish that travels the length of the barrel. The same little “ears” are there in the barrel to hold the cap on.
One of the things I liked most about the original L2K is that the brushed finish and dark color of the Makrolon made it nearly impossible to tell where the seams on the pen were. You couldn’t see where the section unscrewed from the barrel or where the piston knob divided from the barrel. It made for a very seamless, sleek looking profile. Unfortunately, the brighter finish of the stainless steel is not quite so successful at hiding all of those joins, which are plainly visible. The seams aren’t a major problem, they just stand out a little bit when compared to the nearly flawless look of the Makrolon version.
From a construction standpoint, the L2K Stainless is just as refined as its older brother. The fit and finish is superb. The piston knob turns fluidly and without much resistance. Nothing about the pen seems flimsy or poorly assembled. And due to its material, it feels much more solid in the hand. This is a pen that could take a heaping helping of abuse and come through with nary a scratch on it. If you’re hard on your pen, this is a pen to consider.
The semi-hooded nib (this time a fine) write much as I expected: smooth, but with a hint of feedback. It writes with slightly drier line, and I didn’t experience any issues with hard starts or skipping. Cleaning is a breeze due to the removable section, which unscrews on well-machined, smooth threads.
Really, there were only two parts of the pen I didn’t love.
First, the weight. This is a heavy pen. Uncapped, this pen weighs in at 34 grams. Posted, it’s a whopping 54. Fortunately, the L2K Stainless is exceptionally well-balanced, even when posted, but still, if you’re not used to a heavy pen like this, I imagine that long writing sessions could become a bit tiresome.
Secondly, the cost. The L2K Stainless retails in the US for $300–twice the price of the original Makrolon version. Since I actually prefer the look of the Makrolon version, in this particular instance, double the money does not equal double the quality, enjoyment, or (if I may steal from the gum commercials) fun.
There is no doubt that the Lamy 2000 Stainless Steel is a pretty, and exceptionally well-built pen with a nice nib, a big ink capacity, and a nearly tactical feel to it. In my mind, however, it simply is not worth double the cost of the original. If you’re a writer who just loves that stainless steel finish, or you like the Lamy 2000 but wish it had more weight, give the Stainless Steel version a try. Otherwise, I’d stick with the classic Makrolon version. It’s a much better buy.