Friday, 11 October 2013

Lamy Safari Fountain Pen Review

Many fountain pen enthusiasts will agree that the Lamy Safari is the "tank" of fountain pens. Designed by Wolfgang Fabian and made of tough ABS plastic, Safari's continued production since its humble beginning in 1980 is a living testimony of its enduring design. Targeted at younger market, the Lamy Safari comes with many colours, some of which are limited editions released on yearly basis. For those that are made with aluminum, Lamy market them as 'AL-Star' and whereas the clear version is marketed as 'Vista'. With the exception of the AL-Star, which are slightly fatter and featuring clear sections, all the Safari's come with same dimensions.

I use the Safari on daily basis, taking advantage of its diverse colours  paired with similar coloured ink. The Safari comes with an unassuming box, a simple gray paper box with cut away windows. Simple in presentation yet functional in protecting the pen inside. 

The pen is clipped sturdily on a piece of card placed diagonally inside the box. Don't be fooled by the paper box. You have to touch and feel the box to see how tough it is.

The body of the pen feature an ink window, a big clip where the Safari is famous for, a 'screw' like design on top of the cape and a stainless steel nib. It comes with glossy surface, with exception to the charcoal black Safari. So despite being tough, the pen is not free from micro scratches after some use. The Safaris that I have all come with a converter.  I read somewhere that in some parts of the world it comes only with a cartridge, which is proprietary and unique to Lamy.

The good thing about their nibs is that it is easily exchangeable. There are many articles on the internet on this subject so I will not elaborate further here. As the nib is made of stainless steel, it is not flexible but very smooth, especially their B nib. Like all European nibs, the size of the nib is generally broader than its Asian counterparts. I use M for normal writing with English alphabets. Their F nib will not be fine enough if you were to write in Chinese, Kanji or Hangeul characters on regular lined papers. Their EF nib is suitable for that purpose, but I find it not as smooth compared to the Japanese nibs.

Like all things made in Germany, Lamy Safari is a good example of fine German engineering. Simple,  reliable and  tough. The Safari is affordable and a pleasure to use, definitely recommended for fountain pen beginners and veterans alike.

Monday, 30 September 2013

My First Fountain Pen

Ten years ago I bought a  Montblanc ball point pen to mark my first step into the legal profession. To commemorate the tenth year, I decided to buy a rollerball pen for the purpose of signing documents I thought. The Meisterstück series was again given the honour to be included as part of the collection. Pens from this series feature cigar shaped bodies with snow emblems at the top of the caps. Most people will refer to this shape as the the classic  Montblanc "look". Even though the Meisterstück is more commonly known and favoured in black resin with gold accents, I was more inclined towards the black and platinum version. This  combination exudes unmatchable charm and elegance where no other colors could compare, not even the much coveted yellow gold. Upon reaching a local Montblanc boutique, I was told that they did not have any Meisterstück rollerball pens in stock... 

Utterly dissapointed but unwilling to leave the boutique empty handed, I decided to stay on with the hope of finding an alternative pen. As fate would have it, a particular pen caught my attention. This pen had a two tone decorated was a fountain pen. I have no previous experience of using fountain pens due to the impression that we lefties could not use these pens without smudging the ink all over the place. However, since the initial plan was for this pen to be used for signatures only, it really didn't matter if it was a fountain pen. So despite its hefty price tag, it wasn't too long before I made the decision  for the purchase.

Upon reaching home and having tried using the pen for a while, it soon became clear that  it would be unfortunate for such marvelous pen to be confined to signing documents only. So searches were made through the internet for a solution. I later found out that with different positions of writing, left handed people like myself could use fountain pens without smudging the paper. Overwhelmed with excitement, I couldn't stop reading articles, blogs and forums posts on fountain pens. Little did I know that from that fateful day when the first fountain pen was bought, I have ventured into the realm of fine writing instruments and  rediscovered the art of penmanship.  I never stopped writing since then.