Pen and pouch envy

Lamy Pico (

Lamy Pico (

When Lamy, the German pen company, designed the Pico, it didn’t have me in mind. I didn’t fit the demographic.
The Pico, Lamy’s clipless pocket pen, was simple, functional, and expensive; I was complicated (occasionally), useless (generally), and cheap (absolutely).
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The Anti-Bling

Introduced in 1966, the Lamy 2000 continues to have a cult following among collectors, owing to its understated form factor, among others.

It’s not called the “anti-bling” for nothing.
Or so says Rick Conner in his 2005 blog entry about the Lamy 2000 fountain pen. [See: Conner]
Introduced in 1966, the pen was designed by Gerd Muller, who also designed the Braun electric razor. [See: Muller, Bauhaus]
The Lamy 2000 continues to be one of the few pens sold by the Bauhaus museum in Berlin since its understated form factor is emblematic of the Bauhaus’ “form follows function” ethic. [See: Bauhaus Museum]
Among fountain pen collectors, the Lamy 2000 also has something of a cult following in the same way that some only collect Parker Duofolds or Vacumatics. [See: Duofold, Vacumatic]
It’s not difficult to see why.
True to its designer’s intentions, the fountain pen is not too excited about flaunting its aesthetic and technical advantages.
For instance, it’s hooded 14-carat gold nib is coated with platinum, reducing its bling factor.
First, platinum supposedly strengthens the nib, balancing the flexibility offered by gold.
Second, platinum blends well with the pen’s overall color scheme.
But the pen’s penchant for understatement wasn’t what attracted me in the first place.
It was the shape and texture of the barrel — made of Makrolon — and the fact that it was available in other nib sizes, besides fine and medium.
When I first saw the Lamy 2000 more than a decade ago, it was love at first sight.
Unfortunately, since I was a so-called churnalist at that time, ready to rehash a press release at the sound of a fax machine, I was financially unprepared to get myself one. [See: Churnalism]
And so I waited for better times.
During that long wait, I was lucky enough to live and work in two other countries, enabling me to get the only pen I ever dreamed of — a Montblanc.
When the Montblanc Boheme was launched in 2001, I got one for myself.  [See: Montblanc Boheme]
It was Montblanc’s first retractable fountain pen.

The temporarily incapacitated Montblanc Boheme nursing its wounds on a shelf

You had to twist off the end of the barrel until the nib came out.
To this day, it remains the only bling that I own.
However, like all blings, they need special care. And special care means premium prices.
While abroad, the pen got stuck and the nib wouldn’t come out, no thanks to the substandard cartridge refills I bought off eBay.
It wasn’t until 2007 when I realized how much the online bargains really cost me. (I could have had it fixed at the Fountain Pen Hospital in New York but the estimate I got was far too expensive.)

The Lamy 2000 has the uncanny ability to withstand ugly penmanship.

Now, my favorite bling has acted up again.
While the nib isn’t stuck, it’s becoming more and more difficult to have it come out.
I’ve tried everything — dip the nib in lukewarm water for a night or two, leave it alone without any ink — to no avail.
I’ll probably have it repaired again.
But it won’t be in the near future.
After all, I’ve got the Lamy 2000 to keep me company.
Even though it won’t fit neatly into my shirt pocket.
But who’s complaining?