Lamy eBay Confusion

I know there’s been some talk of counterfeit Lamy Safaris, but I never paid too much attention. I tend to buy new pens from authorized or at least well-known retailers, so I didn’t have any reason to look deeper. I figured there couldn’t be a big market for counterfeits of a low-cost pen. (Low-cost knock-offs are another story, I’m talking about pens that claim to be Lamy.) Two unrelated events happened one-day last week which triggered a two hour time sink into (what must be) counterfeit Lamy’s on eBay.

The first was a review of my remaining accumulation to see if there were any other pens I can sell-off. I came across my two remaining Lamy Salaries, a Petrol along with a Dark Lilac. I made a mental note that one of them could go. It would probably be the Petrol, but there wasn’t any rush. An hour or two later, I came across a Reddit post of someone wanting to buy a Lamy Petrol. So, as usual, I started by looking for recent eBay sales. The Petrol was a 2017 Special Edition. While not limited by numbers, it had a limited manufacturing timespan and the authorized retailers sold out long ago. So I didn’t expect to find many recent sales.

I was utterly wrong.

Lami Safari Petrol (EF) with Blue Ink Cartridge

Lamy Safari Petrol 2017 Special Edition

Let me digress a bit and define my two Lamy pens. The “Lamy Safari Petrol, released in 2017, is a distinctive teal color. The “Lamy Safari Dark Lilac” was released in 2016 and is a purple color. All the authorized retailers I’ve seen have called the pens by their quoted names. Ok, back on track.

A search for “Lamy Safari Petrol” on eBay resulted in a mess. There were 55 listings, 54 of which were for new pens. Many of the listings were for multiple pens. There were all variations on the name, such as “Lamy Safari Petrol Blue,” “Lamy Safari Petrol Purple,” and even one “Lamy Safari Petrol Black.” Most (maybe all, I didn’t check every listing) sellers of the new models were in Vietnam, Hong Kong, and China. Many were priced at one-third the price that the pen cost from an authorized Lamy dealer back in 2017.

Recently completed sales did include a couple used pens that seemed legitimate and sold for twice the cost of recent “new” sales.

I did find a couple “safari petrol” listings that avoided all mention of Lamy and didn’t say Lamy on the pen barrel. So those sellers probably met the letter of the eBay law by not misrepresenting anything in the listing. They even used a lower case “s” for Safari. They were called limited editions, but that’s not a lie since there’s a finite number made at any one time. So I’d consider these knock-off trying to pass as Lamy. But, the rest all clearly claimed to be real Lamy pens. I’m not an expert on Lamy, so while it’s possible they were all legit (and a couple did seem legitimate), I find it impossible to believe that many were not counterfeit.

Like I said, I was wrong. There’s a significant market in counterfeit Lamy Safari pens. While I only looked at eBay, there are claims that Amazon has a similar problem.

Some people may be happy buying a look-alike pen at a lower price and may know what their gettings. Plus, I’m sure it harder to sell legitimate models, either used or new old stock at a reasonable (i.e., profitable) price. If I do decide to sell either of my Lamy Safari pens, I doubt I would list them on eBay.

###Additional Reading

My Experience With a Counterfeit Lamy Safari – The Desk of Lori

How to Spot a Knock-Off Lamy Safari – Goldspot Pens

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Ink and Pen Notes: Lamy 2000 And Omas Turquoise Ink

Lamy 2000 fine nib with Omas Turquoise ink bottleI inked up my Lamy 2000 with Omas Turquoise ink back on February 2nd. I wrote it dry today so it lasted just over a month. The Lamy 2000 has a fine nib which was very scratchy when I received it, as I mentioned in my review. But the nib has since been tuned by Mike Masuyama.

The ink performed well in this pen, no skipping or hard starts. Unfortunately the ink is, well, turquoise. It’s not a color I like at all but I did use it enough to write the pen dry. (The ink was included with my Omas pen.)  It was loaded into the pen because its line number in my ink spreadsheet was picked by random.org. I wanted to give the ink a chance so I picked a good pen for it rather than put it in a pen I also wouldn’t want to use.

Considering the light color it provides good coverage on all colors of paper.

The ink flow is on the wet side from this nib. It’s also slow drying and I did have a few accidental, careless smudges.

The ink was easy to clean from the pen. Piston fillers aren’t a favorite of mine when it comes to cleaning, at least when I’m cleaning it for storage and want all ink traces removed. But it was a quick process to remove all traces of this ink from the Lamy 2000.

Review: Lamy 2000

Capped Lamy 2000 on marblesYou’d think that after nearly 50 years there would be enough Lamy 2000 reviews. But obviously not since I’m adding another.

The Lamy 2000 is an iconic fountain pen designed in the 1960’s. See the “Additional Reading” section if you want to read more about the history and background of the Lamy 2000.

Why I Got It

Despite its iconic status I never really considered the Lamy 2000 until this past Christmas. I like to see a nice big nib and the Lamy 2000’s semi-hooded nib didn’t appeal to me. Although I have to admit that a full nib wouldn’t fit with the design so I can’t fault the semi-hooded nib

I was browsing Amazon last December and the Lamy 2000 popped up at an unbelievable price. It was offerred directly by Amazon. While Amazon isn’t my first (or second, or third…) choice for buying an expensive pen I knew a return would be easy if needed. It was at a price that even if I needed to pay for nib work (the Lamy 2000 nibs have a spotty rep) I’d still be saving money off the typical $150 street price so I went ahead and ordered it.

What I Got

Lamy 2000 nib

The pen arrived in a simple but stylish cardboard box. It complements the pen design nicely without adding to the price. I inked it up with Sailor Jentle Black and put nib to paper. Ouch! It as terribly scratchy and skipped a bit. It got better over time but that’s relative and it was still a terrible writer. The rest of the pen looked fine so I decided against returning it to Amazon. Instead I waited until the new year and included it in the pens I sent off to Mike Masuyama for nib work. Just an adjustment, no grind.

What I got back in February was a “new” pen with a silky smooth nib. This review is based on the adjusted nib rather than the out-of-the-box experience.

The Lamy 2000 is a piston filler made of black fiberglass (Makrolon) and brushed stainless steel. The hooded nib is platinum coated 14k gold and lacks any design or engraving. Thanks to the texture of the pen the seam at the piston filling knob isn’t noticeable unless I look really hard in the right light. I ordered the pen with a fine nib.

The pen has a slip on cap with a brushed aluminum spring loaded clip. The clip slips easily over my pocket material. There’s an aluminum dot at the knob end of the pen. I guess it provides a little contrast but I could do without it.

The Numbers

  • Length Capped:  5.4610″  (138.70 mm)
  • Length Uncapped:  4.8765:  (123.86 mm)
  • Length Posted:  6.0620″  (153.96 mm)
  • Section Length: tapered, no real section. Silver area 0.9220″  (23.42 mm)
  • Section Diameter (near nib): n/a tapered to nib
  • Section Diameter (where silver meets black):  0.4210″  (10.69 mm)
  • Cap Diameter:  0.5585″  (14.18 mm)
  • Barrel Diameter:  0.5225″  (13.27 mm)
  • Weight:  0.8 oz (26 g)
  • Weight (body only):  0.6 oz  (16 g)

 Using the Pen

 

Underside of the Lamy 2000 nib

The breather hole on the underside of the nib

The piston filling system works smoothly and has a long travel to suck in a lot of ink. It seems like this pen writes forever. There’s a small hole on the underside of the section which has to be submerged to take in ink. The hole is about .4110″ (10.43 mm) from the tip of the nib.

The pen is light which avoids fatigue when writing. I don’t post my pens but the cap does post securely and doesn’t negatively affect the balance of the pen. The pen puts down a consistent fine line with a light touch thanks to the Mike Masuyama nib adjustment.

My main complaint is that I have a tendency to rotate the pen while writing which moves the nib from its sweet spot. The all silver semi-hooded nib makes it hard to tell the nib orientation when I’m writing so in long sessions I inevitably rotate the nib a bit which causes some skipping. With a full, visible nib I subconsciously keep the nib oriented properly so I don’t even have to think about it.

Some people complain about the two tabs on the barrel that hold the cap in place. I do touch them when holding the pen put they don’t bother me. At least they don’t bother me when writing, their look does annoy me. In my opinion they don’t fit with the sleek silver/black design of the pen.

I like ink windows so I can check the ink levels but this one is a little small and hard to use. There’s a optical illusion when viewing the window which makes the ink look like it’s in an inner chamber. At first I saw a clear “outer chamber” and thought ink was low. This, along with ink coating the chamber, makes it hard to tell how much ink is really left. When writing the draft of this review the pen went from seeming full to empty in a few pages. The skipping was the first clue that the ink was low and when I checked the window the increased translucence confirmed the reason for the skipping.

The Lamy 2000 is a pleasant writing experience suitable for long sessions. The texture of the pen makes it easy to hold firmly without needing to keep the pen in a choke hold.

Cleaning the Pen

Cleaning piston fillers is a pain. Neither the nib or plunger is removable on the Lamy 2000 so cleaning is just repeated fills and flushes. The filler nob turns quickly and can move the water out quickly. It’s still a pain to clean, but about as easy as can be expected.

OK, the pen can be taken apart without tools if needed, but this isn’t something I want to do to clean the pen on a regular basis. But if you need to remove stains it is possible.

Inks Used

I used Sailor Jentle Black before the nib adjustment. While not a pleasant experience the problems were all nib related, the ink seemed to flow fine.

R&K Blau-Schwarz is one of my favorite inks and has been used since the pen returned from its nib adjustment. Flow was great and consistent and it flushed completely from the pen without any special effort or chemicals.

Wrapping Up

The Lamy 2000 is a more enjoyable pen than I expected. It wasn’t great out of the box so I’d recommend buying from someone who can either test or adjust the nib. Or do like I did and find a great buy and budget time and money for nib work if needed. The pen typically retails for about $150 and I’d say the pen is clearly worth the price once the nib is tuned. It’s a keeper.

Additional Reading

Lamy 2000 And The Origins Of Lamy Design on FPN – A 5 part definitive history of the Lamy 2000

Lamy 2000 Awesome Review at FPGeeks

Lamy 2000 at That One Pen

Cool Trick for Greasing a Lamy 2000 Piston at Ink Nouveau

Stephen Brown’s video review

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