Okay, I’ll put my hand up and say I purchased another pen last week; a Lamy Vista. However I managed to get it and a 5-pack of cartridges for about £12 due to some cards and discounts I had. Normally, the purchase would have cost me about £23.
The Lamy Vista is a model similar to the Safari of which I have heralded before, so here we go:
Design and Appearence – 8/10
The Lamy Vista is a Demonstrator (transparent) model, meaning you can see the innards of the pen. The design is basic and simplistic, but none the worse for it. I’m not a huge fan of the clip, which resembles a paperclip in my opinion, but it is functional and tense. I wouldn’t like to see it poking out of my top pocket (although I was using it in the Chemistry lab earlier this week, and I quite like it in my lab coat – it goes with the scientist look, see?)! The nib is only adorned with ‘M’, the size of the nib and ‘LAMY’. It is plain silver steel, and fits with the design and trims. It’s not hard on the eyes, but it isn’t a shocker. It’s got a durable look to it, and isn’t elegant like the Pelikan I own (pen brand.. not pet!). In fact, I do quite like it!
Construction and Quality – 8/10
The body of the pen is transparent ABS plastic like the Safari, so it’s tough stuff! Obviously, I haven’t had the pen long, but I can’t see this picking up scratches easily. The pen is solid, and not flexible. I can squeeze the inner rim of the plastic cap a little, but who would do that anyway? The nib looks and feels like it could take some abuse, which is a positive thing of course.The clip is pretty tense, so I don’t think it’ll lose it’s spring in a hurry. Pretty standard stuff really, this is a pen built to last.
Nib and Performance – 10/10
This is where the magic happens! I was genuinely and happily surprised with this nib. As said, the pen was £10, and the smoothness honestly rivals my £62 Pelikan M200 (not quite though). On the Rhodia 80g paper I used to write this review up, the Vista lays down a nice medium line, perhaps just edging towards the fine side. The nib starts every time, even having been left uncapped for at least five minutes, and hasn’t skipped at all so far. I’m really pleased with this.
Cost and Value – 7/10
In WHSmith’s, the pen sells for £16.99, but I got off a bit cheaper. The pen comes with the one blue ink cartridge, but you should buy some more at the time of purchase so as not to be caught short. Let it be knbown though, that this pen does NOT take standard, international cartridges. It takes specific Lamy carts, a Lamy converter. However, Monteverde do do their inks in ‘special’ Lamy Cartidges. I’m definitely pleased I bought the pen, although I’m sure more deliberation would have occurred at the original price.
Cleaning and Maintenance – 7/10
The pen is a cartridge filler, so cleaning is easy. Just flush through the nib with water every few fills or whenever you change colour, and Bob’s your Auntie! Maintenance is more ink dependent; an ink like Baystate Blue will need constant attention in any pen, but a non-saturated ink like the Lamy Blue will be no trouble at all. The Vista does pick up points for the fact that you can see the internal nib section, so you should be able to see any clogs. Unfortunately, the pen doesn’t come apart like a TWSBI does.
Overall and Conclusion – 47/60, 78%
Well, this is definately a lovely pen, and well suited to a busy everyday life. Rugged, easy fill and a good writer. Brilliant pen for the price, much like the aforementioned TWSBI pens. I think a good converter could make this pen a dream, unlocking the vice and price of using cartridges (the figures may differ with other brands, but Parker Quink Ink is approximately seven times cheaper by the bottle than in cartridges!). All of the scorings incorporate the price of the pen and so on – whilst this nib gets 10/10 for the price, it wouldn’t stand up to a Montblanc!