Back in 2014, I wrote about the iconic Lamy 2000 fountain pen, and talked about my love for the design and the writing experience of the pen. Well, here we are in 2016 and I've expanded my Lamy collection to include a Lamy 2000 rollerball. A lot about the rollerball is the same as the fountain pen version, but this one is obviously a bit more simple since it only has a rollerball cartridge inside. Even though there are a lot of differences between this and the fountain pen, it's a great pen that would be perfect for a lot of people looking for an elegant, classy, and reliable pen for daily use.
In my original Lamy 2000 review, I wrote about the design of the pen:
The Lamy 2000 is unique. There isn't another pen like it in design. It's sleek, modern, and welcoming at the same time. It looks like a pen meant to write, but classy at the same time. It works with casual and dress clothes splendidly. It always gets comments out in the wild.
I don't think it's fair to call this a "different" pen, since the exterior is completely identical aside from the nib area. When the pens are capped, it's difficult to determine which is which. From what I can tell, there's only one way to tell from the outside: the top of the cap has a small dimple in the rollerball version, whereas the fountain version is completely flat and smooth. The fountain pen version also feels like it might weigh a few grams more, but not much.
Obviously, it's pretty easy to tell them apart once the caps are off, but the differences are limited to the nib area only. The grip section is identical, the cap fitting is identical, and even the piston knob is identical. But, why does the rollerball version have a piston knob? Well, it's not actually a piston knob — just a section that screws off to give you access to the cartridge. But, the thing is the back cap is the same length and location as the piston knob, and equally difficult to notice when closed.
Saying that the attention to detail that went into the rollerball version of the 2000 is impressive almost does it justice. Lamy went above and beyond to ensure this looks every bit as classy, timeless, and modern as the older, more sophisticated cousin.
This is a rollerball that can stand its ground in any board room.
That's great that it looks just like the fountain pen version, but the fountain pen version writes so well (provided you don't have a faulty nib), right? Right, but that doesn't mean that the rollerball version has a bad writing experience. Quite the opposite, actually.
From what I can tell, Lamy sourced the cartridge through Schmidt, and we all know what that means. This is a smooth writer. Coming from the same company that provides the ever-so-glassy-smooth Retro 51 refills, this Lamy 2000 refill is no slouch. Lamy dubs it the M63, and it retails for $5.
Like the Retro 51 stock refill, the Lamy 2000 is also a 0.7mm size, and it is smooth and well-flowing. I'm a huge fan of Schmidt refills of all kinds, and this one is no exception. There really isn't anything I dislike about the way it writes — it's smooth, it always starts right away, never skips, and lays down a dark, crisp line of inky pitch black.
My only gripe is the line width, which is the same "problem" I have with the Retro 51 stock refill. To get a smaller size (like a 0.5 or so), you'll have to find the refill directly from Schmidt. While this is fairly easy for the Retro 51 refills (Schmidt P8127), the Lamy version can be a bit difficult to locate. From what I can tell from reading this Schmidt catalog (pg. 25), the Schmidt SRC5888F (0.6mm) and SRC5888M (0.7mm) refills would work in the Lamy 2000 if you had a small extension for the base — about 2mm long. Still, the price is about the same, so unless you want the slightly smaller tip size, I'd stick with the Lamy-branded refills.
If you're a fan of the Lamy 2000 design, but are looking for a non-fountain pen version, the rollerball is perfect for you. It's a bit cheaper than the fountain pen version, just over $100. It's not "cheap," but it's also a price that I feel is fair given the attention to detail, prestige of the 2000 line, and the beautiful design and writing experience.
If you're nervous about jumping on a Lamy 2000 because you're new to fountain pens, this might be the perfect entry point into fine pens.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)