Showdown: Lamy 2000 vs. Pilot Vanishing Point
"Help! Which pen should I buy, the Lamy 2000 or the Pilot Vanishing Point?" This is a question that pops up very often in fountain pen fora and Facebook groups. So I thought, why not join the bandwagon and talk about this topic too? Haha! Seriously though, it's not surprising that the battle for that next-level pen often boils down to these two. They're both classics, they write superbly, and they're both really, really cool.
Before we start the showdown, let's go over each pen briefly: The Lamy 2000 is Lamy's flagship fountain pen. It was designed by Gerd A. Müller and was launched in 1966. It is considered representative of the Bauhaus style and reflects Lamy's principle of form follows function. It is a piston-filling pen that holds a considerable amount of ink. It writes with a 14-karat semi-hooded nib. Nibs are available in EF, F, M, B, BB, OM, OB, and OBB. The Lamy 2000 line also features a mechanical pencil, a roller ball, a ballpoint, and a multi-pen. (For more info, you could visit the Lamy website.) The standard finish of the Lamy 2000 is in black / dark grey Makrolon. It is also available in brushed stainless steel for a higher price. In 2016, a Lamy 2000 in "black amber" was released as a special edition to commemorate its 60th anniversary. The Pilot Vanishing Point is a "capless" fountain pen launched by the Pilot Corporation in Japan in the 1960s. It uses a special nock/click mechanism to deploy the nib. It is a cartridge-converter pen which uses Pilot proprietary cartridges and its Con-40 (and the old Con-50) converter. It writes with an 18-karat gold nib which is available in F, M, or B. A replacement stub nib unit is also available. Several models come with a "special alloy" nib at a less expensive price. The Vanishing Point is available in many different colors and finishes. Limited Editions are also released on a yearly basis. (For more information, please visit the Pilot US website.)
The contenders: The Lamy 2000 used for today's review is a standard model in Makrolon. It has a medium, 14K gold nib and is inked with Pilot Iroshizuku Kon-Peki. The Pilot Vanishing Point, meanwhile, is in broad and has an 18K gold nib inked with Diamine Sherwood Green. The pen's broad nib, however, is more comparable to a European medium. So, let the showdown begin!
Design: This is a tie! No surprise here. Both pens are unique in their own right, and I find both very attractive. Gerd A. Müller's minimalist, modern design makes the Lamy 2000 a classic. Its streamlined looks and its hooded nib make it a discreet pen. The Pilot VP, on the other hand, grabs attention. It's so different from any other pen that I frequently get asked what it is. It's quite simply a very cool pen. The mechanism fascinated me, and this is why I ended up buying the VP first.
Feel: The Lamy 2000 takes this round. I cannot explain it adequately, but that Makrolon material just feels really good to the touch. I love holding this pen! Some people have described it as "warm", and that sounds like an accurate description to me. It's something that has to be experienced. So get thee to a pen store!
The Pilot VP also feels great in the hand. I usually prefer hefty pens, and the VP's weight gives it a reassuring feel. You'll know it's there when you're writing. It's not a pen that would disappear in the background. As for the clip, its position doesn't bother me at all. I know that it does bother other users, though, so if that's a deal breaker for you, I highly recommend trying this pen before buying it. Whereas the Lamy 2000 feels "warm," I would say that the VP is usually cool to the touch. It is a metal pen, after all. That's not a bad thing. In fact, I like it that I associate these pens with very different sensations. Ease of use: This round easily goes to the VP. It's the only pen I own that could be deployed one-handed. It's also easy to keep in a pocket and take out whenever needed. Its weight and its secure clip will make sure it stays in the pocket and won't fly off unheeded. The Lamy 2000 is by no means a difficult pen to use. The cap slips on and off very easily, and you could start writing in a jiffy. Writing experience: This one goes to the Lamy. Both are excellent writers and the nibs were stellar performers right out of the box. However, the Lamy 2000 just feels a tad steadier. Its firm nib simply glides on the page, smooth and unwavering. It's a pen that says "I've got this." Don't get me wrong, the VP also writes very smoothly. Its nib will certainly not disappoint. It actually has a springiness to it that makes it fun to use. The Lamy just feels a little more reliable, and a little more enjoyable to write with. For longer writing sessions, the Lamy 2000 will likely be more comfortable, being the lighter pen. The VP's weight could make it difficult to write several pages at a time. The position of its clip may also be cumbersome for some. For quick notes, however, the VP shines. You could use it one-handed. Just click and go! Recently, I took it with me to Ikea and it handled the business of jotting down Swedish furniture names and shelf numbers like a boss. As for the Lamy 2000 nib, I've heard about issues with a small "sweet spot". Mine is a medium nib and I haven't experienced any difficulty with this. It didn't seem like it had a "sweet spot" any different from other nibs I own. Perhaps I received a good nib, or perhaps my writing position is suitable for the Lamy 2000. It's also possible that this is an issue that is more prevalent with finer nibs. I wouldn't know for sure as this is the only Lamy 2000 that I own.
Cap: Well, this is not applicable to the Pilot VP so there is no winner in this category. The VP, after all, is also called the "Capless." The cap of the Lamy 2000 is consistent in design with the rest of the pen. It is also made of the same durable material and is quite plain. However, capping and uncapping this pen is an experience unto itself! This pen is so precisely designed and built that the mundane action of capping the pen is such a pleasure to feel. You see, as you push the cap closed, it slows down eeeevvver so slightly from millimeter to millimeter until you hear that satisfying...*click*. Perfection. Based on that alone, I'm not surprised this pen has won several design awards. The cap posts comfortably on the pen, although I prefer not to use it posted. This makes the 2000 smaller than the VP when writing unposted. It's still a comfortable length to write with though. Now, the VP may not have a cap, but it has the most amazing nib-deployment mechanism. Using it never fails to make me grin. I mean, it's a clicky fountain pen! How cool is that?! Pushing the nock of the pen (yes, it has a name, haha) causes a tiny hatch to open and the nib to extend. Pushing it again makes the nib retract and the hatch close. The hatch is kept closed by a spring and this helps ensure that your nib doesn't dry out. This hatch mechanism reminds me of those huge gates over moat-enclosed castles in medieval Europe. Peer into the front end of a VP, and you'll see! It's an image that has stuck with me and serves to add to the VP's cool factor.
Clip: This round goes to the Lamy 2000. The Lamy's clip is also plain, like the rest of the pen. It is made of brushed metal and thus isn't shiny. The Lamy edges out the VP for its clip design primarily because it is spring operated. Just press down the top part of the clip and it opens for you. This makes it easy to clip and unclip the pen from pockets or shirts. The VP's clip is long, shiny, and smooth, and is attached to the front end of the pen. That is, you could feel the clip as you write. As I've said above, this doesn't bother me at all. You would need to check if you could write well with it. Its clip is very strong and has a lot of tension to it. It takes a bit of force to clip it onto shirts and pockets, but once it's there, it stays on very securely. Just be careful when unclipping the pen from dainty fabric, as it could catch on the material.
Sturdiness: This one is a tie. The VP is a heavier pen and feels like a tank. It could get scratched here and there as part of normal usage, but it would take a lot to actually damage one. The Lamy 2000, meanwhile, is a lighter pen, but it is by no means fragile. It is made of Makrolon, which is a kind of fiberglass resin. The pen itself seems very durable. It slipped out of my pocket once and dropped to the floor and I couldn't even see a single scratch on it. Maintenance: The Pilot VP wins this round. Being a cartridge-converter filler, it is much easier to clean. Just take the nib unit and converter out and give them a good flush until the water runs clear. Being a piston-filler, the Lamy 2000 is a little more complicated. For regular refills with the same ink, it isn't necessary to flush the pen each time. But when you change inks, or after several refills, it is advisable to give the pen a thorough flush. There is a tiny ink window in the barrel that would give you an indication of the ink level, so you can't really tell exactly how much ink you have left. When cleaning, you'd have to go by the color of the water on your sink. Once it runs clear, you've done your job. The pen itself could be taken apart for a more thorough cleaning, but it isn't necessary to do this too often. It is advisable to check the instructions before attempting to do this.
The Verdict! It's often said that the question isn't whether you should purchase the Lamy 2000 or the Pilot VP. The question really is, "which one should you get first?" Well, that's exactly what happened to me. I bought the VP first because the mechanism intrigued me. A few months after, I ended up purchasing the Lamy 2000. However, I feel that a verdict is still due. And as the writing experience and the feel of the pen are what matter to me the most, I would have to say that the Lamy 2000 wins this match. It feels *that* good to write with. Overall, though, these are two of my favorite pens. I love using them both. They're fantastic writers and are unique pens. If you absolutely have to choose just one, then I recommend identifying what you would use the pen for. If you plan on using it for longer writing sessions, then the Lamy is the more suitable pen. If, however, you need a pen that you could use on the go, the VP is for you. If you don't belong in either category, then choose according to how often you're willing to refill the ink, how heavy you want your pen, or what looks nicer for you. The best thing to do is still to visit a pen store and try both pens for yourself. But if that isn't possible, I could say that you really couldn't go wrong either way.