Saturday, February 20, 2021

Newest Acquisitions (Virtual "Show & Tell") ~ part 154

Last month saw the passing of Dr. Manfred Lamy, the son of Lamy's founder Josef C. Lamy, and longtime managing director and owner of the company. At the age of 26, Dr. Lamy joined his father’s company as their marketing manager and in 1973, he became the sole managing director. In 2006, he retired from the operating business and joined Lamy's advisory board.

From Lamy's official website: "Dr. Manfred Lamy, one of Germany's most important design entrepreneurs, has died at the age of 84. Under the leadership of the Heidelberg native, the independent family business developed into a modern and internationally successful writing instrument brand. With the LAMY 2000, he revolutionized the writing instrument market in 1966 and laid the foundation for the Lamy corporate philosophy today."

Under Dr. Lamy's stewardship, Lamy produced many innovative, award-winning writing instruments, including these two recent acquisitions of mine--the Lamy '2000' and Lamy 'Accent':

(top: Lamy 'Accent' fountain pen, bottom: Lamy '2000' ballpoint)

The Lamy '2000' fountain pen is a true classic. Lamy's flagship pen was designed by the late Gerd A. Müller and is, arguably, one that should be a part of any serious modern fountain pen collection. I got mine many years ago and love using it, so I wanted to acquire the matching ballpoint...for a reasonable price. Both the '2000' fountain pens and ballpoints are popular, so inexpensive examples are near-impossible to find. I found a second-hand one in very good condition for a great price a few months ago, and bought it right away.

All photos by Maja ~  click on images to enlarge (and please ignore dust particles on pen & table ;)

I'd also been looking for a Lamy 'Accent' fountain pen with a specific section grip for several years, but I hadn't been able to find it for a good price either, so I waited....and waited...and waited. Finally, I found a used one up for auction on eBay. I put in a very modest bid, expecting to be outbid...but I wasn't, and I won the auction! The pen arrived from Greece, safe and sound a few weeks later.

(The '2000' ballpoint is so well made that it's difficult to see the seam where the barrel unscrews. Can you spot it in the photo above?)

The Lamy '2000' ballpoint is made of the same material as its fountain pen counterpart--Makrolon, a type of polycarbonate resin. Both the fountain pen and ballpoint are matte in appearance when they come off the production line. The ballpoint's seller had noted that his pen had turned shiny after years of use, but I knew (from pen message boards, as well as this video made by Brian Goulet) that this was not unexpected with normal usage (from the friction created between the user's fingers and the pen's matte surface). If you choose to do so, you can restore the original matte look of your '2000' by using a gentle abrasive on it (but please watch the video above for some guidelines!).

(There's that barrel seam!)

The ballpoint takes a proprietary refill--the Lamy M16 refill -- which comes in blue, black, green and red ink. The refills aren't cheap, but they lay down a nice, smooth, consistent line. The Lamy '2000' is a comfortable ballpoint to use, and a very welcome addition to my Lamy collection.

The Lamy 'Accent' fountain pen was designed by Andreas Haug (who also designed the Lamy 'nexx', nexxM' and '4pen') and was touted by Lamy as being "the first customisable premium writing instrument on the market" when it was released in 1998. It originally came in three different models - model 95 (with a palladium finish and steel nib), model 97 (matte black lacquer finish and black steel nib) and model 98 (brilliant lacquer finish and 14K dual-tone gold nib).

My particular "Accent" is model 97, but my second-hand fountain pen came with a silver-coloured steel Lamy nib, not the black one it originally came with. I knew about this before I bid on the pen so it wasn't a surprise, and it was easy enough to acquire a replacement black steel nib (shown in these photos) afterwards; they aren't very expensive and a lot of local pen stores stock them.

The original 'Accent' came with no less than twelve different grip options (all shown in this informative blog post) including the black and white one (called "Edelharz"- German for "high-grade resin") that came with my pen. I love the contrast between the pen's austere, business-like cap, clip & barrel, and the whimsical cow- like pattern on the grip :)

To access the converter/cartridge, you unscrew the pen at the barrel-grip joint, and slide the nib section unit out. This action prevents the grip from getting stained with ink when you are filling the pen from an ink bottle, which can be a problem if your 'Accent' came with a wooden grip.

I knew the 'Accent' used a Lamy Z27 converter or Lamy's proprietary ink cartridges, so I was surprised to see mine arrive with a Parker converter in it! (see photo above) The Parker converter fits perfectly, but I later swapped it out for a proper Lamy converter (not shown).

See the little "fins" on the nib section unit above?

Those "fins" are important because they have be to properly aligned with the grooves in the grip section (shown in the photo above) in order to screw the barrel back on.

The silver-coloured steel nib (model Z 50) that came with my pen was easy to switch out with the replacement Z 50 black steel nib--the nibs slide on and off the feed fairly easily--but be careful not to break the feed when doing so! (side note: the Z 50 nibs also fit the Lamy Safari, Lamy Al-Star & many other Lamy models). My pen's Medium black steel nib writes very smoothly with no skipping or hard-starting. If you want to upgrade your 'Accent's' steel nib to a gold nib, you can buy a Lamy Z 55 two-tone 14K gold nib separately for around $125 CAD. If that's too rich for your blood and you just want a fancier-looking black steel nib, you can swap out the original Z 50 nib for a Lamy Z 52, a polished black PVD-coated laser-etched steel nib; it costs a bit more than the Z 50 nib, but a lot less than the Z55 gold nib. Confused about all these nib numbers? Check out the official Lamy Nib Guide!

Measuring 4 34 inches from nib tip to barrel bottom, I find the 'Accent' is comfortable enough to be used unposted. It does post very securely with a nice "click" (thanks to two little plastic nubs on the barrel end), though, extending the pen to a little over 6 14 inches. This may seem rather long, but the posted pen is very well-balanced, and at 24 grams (without a converter/cartridge inside) isn't heavy. The pen measures 5 1inches with its cap screwed on, and is slim enough to fit in most/all pen cases. The grip section is slightly bulbous, but subtly so, and it has a really nice feel when held. The pen's metal clip is simple in design, but functional and secure.

Overall, I'd recommend the 'Accent' fountain pen if you like being able to create your own pen with the various grips and cap/barrel material options, and want a smooth, reliable, well-designed writing instrument. It's more expensive than other Lamy models that take the same nib, but I really like its simple but elegant design, and its customization potential.

 To prevent any (further) confusion, a few words about the newer Lamy "Accent" models now...
The 'Accent' model seemed to drop out of sight for a few years--I thought it was discontinued by Lamy--but it magically re-appeared
around the year 2014, in slightly different materials. The newer Lamy 'Accents' are made of aluminum (and are lighter than the original 'Accents') and are available with two new grip sections--one made of Karelia wood and the other made of black rubber.  The old grip sections still fit on the new pens and vice-versa, though, so you can mix & match as you please-one of the many things I love about this pen. I also own an 'Accent' ballpoint and it, too, uses interchangeable grip sections---the same ones that fit the 'Accent' fountain pens of both generations.

Wow, I didn't expect my review to be *this* long, ooops. Thanks for reading 'til the end :)

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