If I hadn’t had the the opportunity to try the Lamy 27 in real life I’d probably not realized the greatness of this non-blingy little pen. It is hard to capture its greatness in photos – this is a pen that must be seen and held.
Click on photos to view them in a bigger size
Designed in the beginning of the 50s with a classic – yet slightly futuristic – Bauhaus touch; classical streamlined shape, rounded peep holes for checking the ink level – making it look like a mini rocket – and a semi-hooded 14 k gold nib. The shape is a forebode of the space age – as many other things designed during the 1950s and 1960s. The rounded corners of the ink windows gives it a both playful and futuristic look. I really fancy the combination of playfulness and futuristic space age. Humour, futurism and classical elements combined. If I should pin down which design elements – beside the overall design – that made me want a Lamy 27 it would be the ink windows and the cool cap jewel – clean, smart L. They come in a wide variety of incarnations – check out the links in the end of the review to see photos of many other variants – but I like the simplicity of this one. The classic black/gold in a non-conservative setting.
It is a traditional piston filler – just like most German quality fountain pens. The piston moves smoothly without any problems – without having been serviced (I presume) for many many years. The ink reservoir seems rather big according to the pen’s size. The ink level is easily checked through the awesome little peep holes – rocket windows – which pleases me very much. It is easy to fill and flush – very easy and convenient to use. Out of all filling systems I prefer the piston. It is reliable, stable, easy to fill and flush and one can almost always see the ink level through an ink window. Another bonus of the semi-hooded nib and the streamlined design is that it is very easy to wipe off after filling it.
Quality & Function
This pen is made to function as a work horse. It is very well built – with a great attention to details. I bought this one used and can see some signs of use, but neither the clip or cap band has begun to show brassing. The piston knob has the right kind of resistance to prevent it from accidentally unscrewing and is still smooth and easy to handle. It posts very well without scratching the barrel. One feature that some may not like is that the cap is friction fit and not screw fit, but it is a very well made friction fit that works excellent – no flimsiness and it is neither too easy or hard to pull of the cap. All moving parts thus work very well – some forty odd years since it was made… In all this has the feel of a well made German quality pen – like a VW or Audi – top notch quality and clean design without unnecessary bling.
It is a slender, lightweight pen. Its soft tapering towards the nib presumably provides a comfortable writing experience for many since there is no huge step between the gripping section and the barrel.
Lenght uncapped: 12.5 cm
Lenght capped: 13.5
Length posted: 14.5
Weight: 16 g (loaded with ink)
Nib & Writing experience
This pen is sported with its original Oblique Medium nib in 14 k gold. Vintage obliques are often similar to stubs, but this OM is more of a cursive italic. The line variation is very good – as you can see in the writing samples. It is very smooth being a OM/CI and it is very easy to write fast with. The flow is now medium – neither dry nor wet.
Liberty (a cheaper pen with similar design) and Lamy 27 side by side
When I got it the flow was quite inconsistent and dry. I believe it hadn’t been used for a long time, so I let it soak for 24 hours in ordinary tap water and flushed it, but I had to flush and soak it once more to improve the flow, and now – using various Diamine inks in it – it doesn’t have any flow problems. I wouldn’t call it a wet writer, but it is not a dry either – a classic medium flow. Since it is semi-hooded one can let it rest uncapped for a while when one is writing, which is a real good thing if one is taking notes. I really like this obliqe medium. For a fast scribbler like me it is narrow enough to write small and smooth enough to write fast without digging into the paper – thus perfect for note taking and scribbling. Smoothness and control – the two things I like – in one.
In all this is a very well made and – if you have a bit of luck at eBay – a rather cheap pen. You can get a real quality piston filler that will work and work and work for years for under $75 (shipped) . Compared with the current price policies of some of the big manufacturers it ought to be considered as very price worthy and affordable. Another plus is that its shape makes it fit into Filofax loops (at least A5 and Personal) which I like a lot! This has become one of my regulars during the month(s) I’ve had it. I really recommend this pen – especially the oblique variants. In my opinion these obliques are as good as the customized nibs that you get from nib experts – and you don’t have to wait for ages to get the nib customized and you don’t have to pay the extra money to get it customized . A very good deal – especially for lovers of italics and stubs.
Other sources of information: A state of the art review – the review of the Lamy 27 – with extensive information about the history and the different models can be found here and here. This review and this review of its predecessor are also very useful. Most of the background info that I mention in my review comes from the article at the website MYUs pen review corner.
Some photos together with a cheaper pen of the brand Liberty that I found by accident. That pen is of lower quality (but still quite good) and has a steel nib and square shaped peep holes.