Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fountain Pen Review: Lamy Safari Aquamarine

The 2011 limited edition Lamy Safari Aquamarine  is now in Manila! The wait is finally over.

I read about the new 2011 Lamy Safari color from Goldspot Pens' announcement in early February. Like many avid collectors of this line of fountain pen, I was more than happy to know that another pen will join my collection. Fortunately, Charlene Ngo of Times Trading has kindly sent me one to review here on the blog.

The 2011 limited edition Lamy Safari Aqumarine comes in a neat and well-designed packaging. The pen is inside two boxes: an outer box and an inner box. The outer box, shown below, is made of silver-gray board paper without any fancy design. All it has is the Lamy logo printed on the lower right corner of the box. It is so simple and minimalist, yet very stylish.

The inner box, below, is made of gray plastic that splits open from the middle when the two sides are pulled apart, as indicated by the arrows.

The top sides are pushed under the bottom part of the box, and a hard plastic pen clamp holds the Aquamarine Lamy Safari fountain pen in place. This packaging is a lot better than those slim gray paper boxes that my earlier Lamy pens came with, as it offers more protection for the pen.

The Aquamarine Safari is the newest and youngest member of Lamy's Safari line of fountain pens. Designed by Wolfgang Fabian, the first Safari was introduced in 1980 and has stayed in Lamy's regular production since then.

The Aquamarine Lamy Safari fountain pen measures 5.5 inches while capped, 5 inches uncapped, and 6.5 inches when posted. It feels very light on my hand when I write with it, but then I don't post my pens.

Lamy Safari pens are made from sturdy ABS plastic, more technically known as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, a common thermoplastic that is widely used in a variety of products. You wouldn't believe it, but the Lego blocks you played with as a kid has the same material as the Lamy Safari you may be holding now. And did you know that the inner walls of your refrigerator has the same plastic as that of the Safari?

Below is the Aquamarine Lamy Safari's parts: cap, section with converter, barrel. 

The cap of the Aquamarine Lamy Safari like other Safari fountain pens has the iconic flexible chrome-coated oversized paperclip-style clip.

The cap's top has a button cross, another unique identifying feature of Lamy Safari fountain pens. I noticed though, that this pen's cap top button is different from those of the previous limited edition Safari pens.

Below is the Aquamarine Lamy Safari together with my other limited edition Lamy Safari fountain pens. The earliest version is the lime green pen (2008) with the black cross cap top that is seen in almost all regular Safari fountain pens. The creme orange (2009) and pink (2010) Safari pens have simple dots as cap tops in the same barrel and cap colors, instead of the usual black cross. Note that the Aquamarine Safari (2011) has a cross cap top, but in the same color as the pen's cap and barrel – aquamarine. Interesting details.

The Lamy Safari's section has unique features to make writing easier. The triangular section has two recessed grips and the finger anti-slipping brake to prevent a user's fingers to slip into the nib part while writing. Some fountain pen users find the triangular grip annoying and uncomfortable. I find it helpful so I get a firm grip on my pen.

The pen's barrel measures around three inches, and the flat areas on both sides prevent the pen from rolling especially when it is uncapped. 

Lamy's logo is boldly etched on the top/end of the pen's barrel.

An ink window near the barrel's threads allows me to check on my pen's ink. This is an excellent feature, not to mention a cool design, as I don't need to unscrew the barrel of my pen every time I need to check on its ink. 

Like the rest of my Safari and other Lamy fountain pens, I can ink my pen in two ways: with Lamy's proprietary T10 ink cartridges, or from an ink bottle using the Z24 converter. The Z24 converter can also be used in other Lamy fountain pens including the Vista, Al-Star, Joy, and even the Nexx.

Towards the middle of the Z24 converter are two tiny nipples (can be seen in the photo above too) that fit snugly into the small grooves in the upper part of the section.

This is how the tiny nipples on the converter fit into the specific grooves in the section. They fit perfectly so that the converter, while filled with ink and inserted, will not easily turn or be accidentally pulled out.

Because my Aquamarine Lamy Safari is new, I could not pull out the feed from the section to show here, but it has the same feed as those on other Lamy pens (Safari, Vista, Al-Star, Joy, Nexx, and Studio).

Lamy Safari fountain pens have polished steel nibs available in a number of widths: extra fine, fine, medium, broad, and left-handed. It can also be fitted with an italic nib ranging from 1.1mm to 1.9mm since the Safari shares the same section, feed, nib and cap design with that of the Joy, Lamy's set of calligraphy pens. Lamy nibs have the tendency to run wide, but they all write wet and smoothly.

I usually use medium Lamy nibs on my Safari and Studio fountain pens, but I am very fortunate that Charlene sent me the Aquamarine pen with a broad nib.

Lamy's modern minimalist design extends even to their nibs. These polished steel nibs do not have the usual fancy engravings -- just plain, simple, shiny metal pieces with 'LAMY' and a letter for the nib's width to mark them. My pen's broad nib is marked 'B'.

I flushed this pen before I filled it to ensure that there is no factory residue or ink on it. When I used it, the pen wrote instantly, and did not need any strong pressure to start writing. It kept writing very smoothly and did not skip as I filled an entire page of my A5 Daycraft Signature notebook journal.

Below is a writing sample of this cool Aquamarine Lamy Safari fountain pen.

The Aquamarine Lamy Safari next to a Venzi cahier in A6 size. The ink used in this writing sample is Lamy Turquoise. Ink review to follow.

Here is the pen again with my limited edition Lamy Safari fountain pens.

This Aquamarine Lamy Safari is a cool new addition to Lamy's growing line of fountain pens. Touted as a beginner's fountain pen and a student pen, this plastic pen actually feels very good in my hand because it is light, but strong and firm at the same time. And it's available in many colors! So it's not only a reliable, sturdy, user-friendly fountain pen, it's fun to collect too! I just got my Aquamarine pen but I'm already thinking of the 2012 Safari color. Purple? Not bad.

My pen with a bottle of Lamy turquoise ink and a large Venzi notebook.

Lamy Safari pens are widely available in reputable pen sellers worldwide. For a global search of Lamy sellers worldwide, follow this link.

In the Philippines, the Aquamarine Lamy Safari (and other Lamy pens) is available from Times Trading Company, through their increasing number of kiosks at National Bookstore outlets around Metro Manila. A Lamy Safari (including the Aquamarine pen) sells for PhP1,499.75 (USD35), and a 50ml bottle of ink costs around PhP375 (USD9).


  1. that is a beautiful Lamy!

  2. Wow - I wasn't going to get one of those, but seeing all those gorgeous pictures... I might get one after all!

    Are you speculating about purple for next year, or have they said that will be the colour? Purple is my favourite colour, and I'm really hoping they do one!

  3. wow cute pen thanks for this info

  4. @Kerry: Yes, it is a beautiful pen. Thank you for reading the review.

    @Penemuel: Get one! It's a limited edition pen and it should be in every Lamy Safari collector's pen case. About the purple Safari, no, Lamy has not indicated that it will be the next color. I just wish it will be the next Safari color. But who knows?

    @Glenn Encinares: Thank you too!

  5. I snagged an Aquamarine as soon as I could. Interesting about the packaging, though - none of my Lamy pens have ever been sold in anything that large. They come in square paper tubes, but these used to be plastic. Sometimes there is an inner silver box, sometimes only a card attached to the clip. Your packaging is handsome. However, I have to ask everyone: what the heck does one do with all those pen cases if you collect most (or all) of the colors? It was already an issue with two other manufacturers, so I am kinda glad that my Lamy packs were minimalist and recyclable.

    Back to the topic at hand: the aquamarine looks rather spiffy when running turquoise ink! It is the only real match to Lamy ink; the green is not so well teamed . . .

    Keep up the good work/word!

  6. @MILLICENT: My Lamy Nexx and the red Lamy Safari I bought in January both came in these boxes. Your concern about their storage space is also mine. But I've kept them in bigger boxes for whatever future use. I also have pens which came in the slim gray paper boxes, and I have nothing against that except that I am scared the pen inside may easily get damaged.

    Thank you for your comments and for reading my review. I agree with you: the Aquamarine pen and the turquoise ink are a perfect pair! Watch out soon for my review of the ink. :)

  7. My Lamy 2000 came in the same type of packaging, so I've always assumed it was for their fancy-shmancy or upper tier pens.
    My bigger pen boxes are all over the house now- they're great for holding fridge/freezer doors open when you defrost, or as little legs to keep electronics from heating up. :p

  8. Anonymous6:36 PM

    I love it. I got mine early this week and filled it immediately with Waterman South Sea Blue. Wish I could find the earlier Safari limited editions like your orange and lime green.

  9. Great review and pics!

  10. One of these passed through my hands to I got to take a look at it. The color really is lovely and vibrant. Makes for a cheery pen.

    Love the facts in your review and the great closeup pictures!

  11. @eilu: I've thrown away several of these boxes, but I kept some, including the old-style box of my first Lamy Safari -- the Stormtrooper.

    @freehold: A lot of people are asking about the previously issued LE Safaris. Perhaps Lamy should just reproduce them. All the same, you can start collecting the LE pens now, with the Aquamarine pen. Then get next year's pen...

    @Speedmaster: Thank you! I shot photos every morning for four days before I go to work. It has not been very sunny here lately and getting the proper lighting for photography has been difficult.

    @bleubug: I met that pen! LOL! Thanks for reading the review. :)

  12. Great review! I never really looked that closely at the converters of my Vistas and Safari before, never noticed the 2 nipples! Lamys are really ergonomically designed. Now that I've seen the B nib in action, am actually curious about that. That's the only nib size I don't have yet.

  13. Beautiful pen! I was considering one seeing it's a limited edition but I gotta rein in on my pen spending.

    I really love how all the 4 limited editions look next to each other!

  14. Karlo4:54 PM

    Great review Archer!

    I was with Raffy yesterday when he picked up his copy. The Aquamarine acrylic has a really striking shade. It is bright but not gaudy and I think Lamy was right to use a self-colored cap top.

    Lamy's turquoise ink is also great and it is the only ink they have that I get along with. It really is a perfect match to this pen.

    I only wish that Lamy would make a Safari II with a rounded section, or offer a replacement section at extra cost for those of us who really can't get along with the triangular ones.

  15. @Mona: Thank you! Now you can properly the converters of your Lamy pens. Get a B nib! Mine is a smooth, wet nib.

    @Peninkcillin: Get one! It's a limited edition pen and a great addition to your collection.

    @Karlo: The triangular section has been a concern among users. I'm surprised that Lamy has not done something about it yet. The ink is wonderful and I'll be writing a review soon.

  16. Karlo7:39 PM

    Clem, I think the triangular section is a concern for users who were not schooled in the German way of holding a pen. Unfortunately, I am one of them. Hahaha.

  17. @Archer, I gave in & ordered one (and lucked out to find the Pink still in stock, too!) -- it should be here any day now. I can't wait :D

  18. Excellent review! I love my Aquamarine Lamy! I love your photo of your 4 different colored Lamy's. What a great collection!


  19. Anonymous8:48 AM

    Nice review. Isn't USD335 for a lamy safari quite hefty?

  20. @Penemuel: Congratulations! Happy you got both pink and aquamarine pens! :)

    @Jackie Flaherty: I love my LE Safari pens, too! Thank you for dropping by. :)

    @Anonymous: Thank you for calling my attention to the error. It's now corrected to USD35. Mea culpa.

  21. I got mine today! I just have the pink and now the aquamarine, I wish I started collecting when the lime green was released :)

  22. Anonymous7:16 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  23. Thanks for a great review. I have a pink one & am using up some 1980's Quink ink. It's a lovely pen & writes much more nicely than some more expensive pens I've owned before.

  24. Have you tried the turquoise with a medium Lamy nib?
    My Lamy turquoise using a medium nib comes out as a much lighter blue than the one in your photo.

  25. Anonymous10:46 AM

    Hi there!are you also selling lamy fountain pens? :) my mom is also a collector and she's looking for a pink and orange Safari Lamys. Looks like we've searched all national bookstore Lamy stalls and Scribe but they only have the standard colors yellow blue red and white :/ if you could please point me to the right direction, i will be verrry grateful :)

    1. Hi Patty! I got my limited edition Safaris from Malaysia. The lime green, creme orange, and pink are all from KL. The turquoise, I got from here na. A few months back, pink Lamy Safaris were available at Lamy kiosks at selected NBS outlets. The pink Safari is now into regular production and not as separate limited edition pens. Please email me separately (c.dionglay at gmail dot com) so I can tell you who to contact regarding supplies and availability of Lamy pens here in the Philippines.

  26. Anonymous5:11 PM

    Hi. I'm thinking of getting a fountain pen because they write really nicely, but I'm not sure if a fountain pen is appropriate for an out-and-about dude like me. The last cheap fountain pen I had took a crap in my jeans pocket because the cap came off, and then it later fell off on a bicycle ride. (In contrast, the pocket clips on my knife and flashlight never fail on bike commutes.)

    I don't know anything about pens, but I'm looking for something practical and relatively cheap with a working pocket clip, and the Lamy Safari looks like it. Is it true to its name, e.g. is it a pen I can take on a hike without worrying about leaks?

    Do you know if the Safari is available at Scribe in Eastwood? Are cartridges easy to find?

    Thanks! I'll be looking forward to a reply.

  27. Clem! I missed out on all the limited edition Safari fountain pens! All I have now are the gloosy black. the Vista, the gloosy yellow, glossy red, glossy apple green, and glossy white, I have a glossy dark blue that I gave to my son, but he said he hasn't used it yet so I might be the one to use it instead. Been looking for the other colors online now, but I have found only the line green available from Art Brown. I'm prepared to buy that, and throw in some inks to save on shipping.

    Any leads as to where some sellers still have the other colors? Thanks.

  28. Ever since I lost this version of the LAMY years ago, I've been on the hunt for a replacement. Ugh.