News from Heidelberg
I’ve leapt into the world of fountain pens. A rite of passage I skipped was owning the widely-available Lamy Safari from Germany that every pen fiend is supposed to start with. Instead, when Lamy announced this special edition orange beauty: I had to have it even though it was not an ABS plastic Safari but the more expensive (£21) aluminium Al-Star. The colour!
I ordered the pen straight away from Fontoplumo just after New Year and it arrived in February. In fact, I jumped the gun because the matching ink was not available then. Now you can get copperorange (one word) in cartridges and bottles. So for this review I started using Orange Indien ink which is similar but lighter than the pukka copperorange ink.
And now I’ve taken so long before starting to write about this pen that I’ve carried every day, that Lamy have brought out a new special Safari colour: NeonLime. The CopperOrange Al-Star remains on sale presently.
It’s all good
I ordered the 1.1 nib size which is very broad, because I like a bit of line variation. There was not as much as I expected. The first thing I noticed about the nib is that there is no tipping material. Usually a blob of iridium sits on the end of a nib. Still, it’s smooth enough and quite firm. There’s a tiny amount of give: it’s more flexible than a girder, but only just. Under the microscope we can see the nib is rounded and polished at the end. You can also see what looks like rust: this is dried orange ink and a couple of fibres. Some wag on the PenAddict Slack thought I had been filling it with sea water! (Under normal light the nib is shiny and the plastic feed is black.)
With the J Herbin Orange Indien ink, the pen would not start writing immediately if I had left it for a few minutes while I gazed into the middle distance thinking about who knows what. After a hard start the ink was also darker. The arrival of the copperorange ink relieved this problem: no more scribbling in the corner to get the ink flow going and it also seems a bit smoother.
One ink note: I missed the brilliant orange of the J Herbin ink. The Lamy ink is darker and shades less.
At 20 grams the pen is 2/3 the weight of a TWSBI and I have no problem using the Lamy with the cap on. The cap snaps on when closed and the unusual clip is secure in the pocket. Unlike my TWSBI it has never detached from the rest of the pen while pocketed! My grip (the way I hold a pen) suits the funky transparent triangular section.
So, to sum up, this is a smooth writer. It looks great: the metallic surface gleams with rich orange shades. There is nothing wrong with this pen.
I don’t know whether Lamy took wabi-sabi into account when they designed this pen. After a couple of months there is wear at the base of the cap and barrel. The base aluminium is showing through the orange coating. It’s not noticeable: I needed a microscope to photograph it. Am I obsessing over details? Did you notice I used a hyphen once in wabi sabi but not in the heading? Thought so. Exactly. I hope you’ll enjoy some more pictures: