The super, normal Lamy Aion

I’ll come straight out and say it: the Lamy Aion is a great pen and I like it much, much more than I thought I would.

In fact, when it was first announced I didn’t pay it much attention at all. Oh great, a mid-range Lamy, metal, same nib (ish) as the Safari. Yawn.

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The only concession to adornment is the Lamy name stamped into the side of the clip

Then the reviews started trickling in, and they were generally pretty positive. My interest was piqued and I ordered one. Hey, it was only about £45 — what did I have to lose?

It arrived. No box to speak of. No converter. Not a great first impression for someone most recently used to unboxing Montblancs, Grafs and Pelikans. But once the pen was in my hand it all made sense. And that love at first sight has only blossomed in the weeks since.

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The Aion uses texture to great effect

Here’s what I love about the Aion.

The size

This is an unabashedly big pen. It’s not incredibly heavy, but it has substance and presence, and that’s without tons of lumps or rings or shiny things to catch the eye. It’s just a big tube. In the hand you’ll notice that it’s not only long, but has a really wide section, which is unusual.

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You might be surprised that the Aion is bigger than a Pelikan M800.

The comfort and practicality

Let me count the ways. Snap cap — nice and quick to take off. No threads to worry about hurting your fingers, either. Nice grippy satin texture on the section. Sprung clip, like on premium Lamys like the 2000. Robust bead-blasted finish on the barrel and cap that doesn’t show scratches. Unique nib design that is nonetheless interchangeable with all other “normal” Lamy nibs. This is a pen that’s easy to own.

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The sprung clip is a nice touch

The design

When I first read about Jasper Morrison’s “supernormal” design ethos I rolled my eyes — more designer guff. But then I recognised that I admired it already, in things like the unbranded wares from Muji, or Lot2046.

Super Normal began with an understanding or rather a gradual noticing that certain objects, usually the more discrete type, and mostly, though not inevitably, anonymously designed, outperform their counterparts with ease when it comes to long-term everyday use.

I can absolutely get behind anonymous design that has its sights set on long-term, everyday use.

Many of the features I have already mentioned above — the use of texture instead of colour, the lack of branding and adornment, the lack of a fancy box — speak to supernormal’s “anonymity” as much as comfort.

But other features of the Aion speak to the “long-term everyday use” aspect, even when they’re invisible, placed where the average user would never notice them. For example, the solid square-cut threads that hold the barrel to the section, or the subtle grip-ridges under the clip to hold your clothing steady. This is a thoughtful pen, and I like that a lot.

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Three little ridges under the clip help hold clothing

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The threads are robust, and mate with a brass insert in the barrel

The build

This is also a really well-made pen. All of the surface finishes are perfect, the nib QC is good (more on that later), there’s no unwanted wiggling or rattling. The only thing that’s not quite perfect is that the seam between barrel and section is not quite flush all the way around.

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The section and barrel don’t quite meet flush

The nib

At first I did not like the “swoopy” new design compared to Lamy’s normal nibs, but in situ on the pen — despite being a tiny nib on a huge pen — it looks right at home.

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This is one of the best EFs I’ve used on a budget pen

Most importantly, it writes really, really well. I ordered an EF and it’s just perfect. It’s a true EF, for a start, and it’s not at all scratchy or dry. Just a perfect line, smooth and easy. Going back to the idea of “supernormal”, it gets out of the way completely.

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The nib has little personality, but gets out of the way and just writes

Everyday premium

Muji already makes a fountain pen (for about a tenth of the price of this one). But the Aion is better. For someone like me, who has fantasies about wearing only monochrome unbranded clothing and living out of a single bag in a Japanese cyberpunk capsule hotel, this pen is a perfect expression of the ethos.

It feels miles better in the hand than a Safari or Al-Star. Not only due to the size and materials, but details like the sprung clip, seamless design and subtle mix of different textures elevate it and make for a much more satisfying experience. Considering how little there is to the Aion’s design, it doesn’t feel lacking. And of course, due to the size, weight and materials, the overwhelming sensation is that the Aion is substantial, and tough. Much like a Kaweco Al Sport, I wouldn’t worry about putting the Aion in a pocket or bag — in fact, marks on the finish would enhance the feeling that this is an everyday tool, not a piece of art.

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I’ve already put a dent in mine. I don’t mind.

You could of course buy a TWSBI Eco for about £20 less than the Aion, which comes in a much better box, with a wrench and silicon oil, and gives you a demonstrator piston filler, o-rings aplenty, and half a dozen fonts on the cap band. It’s a great pen. But the Aion for some reason feels like much more than the sum of its few parts. It’s got dignity.

In fact, it sparks much the same feelings as the Lamy 2000 — it has such its own identity, a quiet presence in the overlap between design and practicality.

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You could say the Aion is the lovechild of the 2000 and the Al Star. But it’s all grown up!

I bought my Aion in the (admittedly pretentiously named) Olivesilver colour, which is just raw aluminium. Your other choice is black, which looks great too.

I can recommend you try the Aion. I think you’ll like it more than you’d expect from looking at pictures. I bought mine, with my own money, from Write Here.

13 thoughts on “The super, normal Lamy Aion

  1. I got a Lamy Safari and really didn’t like anything about it. Neither the design, the nib or the feel. I decided that Lamy wasn’t for me. But. Then I had to try the Lamy 2000 after all. So many great reviews out there. And I love everything about it. Great nib, cool design and a workhorse writer. I have found fountain pen peace with my Pilots and the Lamy 2000.

    But now you have ruined the peace! – and got me curious 🙂

    Thanks for the thorough review. The Aion could be next on my list. I already like the design – mulitcolor are not my thing – and the price is good too. If the nib is better than the Safari, I might have to try.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was interested to read your opinion of the Aion. I am glad that you are enjoying it. The silver version looks very nice. A good addition to your collection.
    It is built to last a lifetime and looks as though it would withstand pretty much anything.
    Mine is the black one, with a Fine nib, which also performs really well. Currently inked with Cross black, the steel nib is firm but it writes effortlessly.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love reviews where the reviewer is super positive about the pen but in most cases the pen is way out of my budget. Then there’s this one. I too hadn’t really given the Aion much thought. Yeah, it look ok, but meh! I too have a 2000 and love it. Now I’ve read your review and I’m going, must have this pen. Cheers for adding another pen to my ever growing wish list, but at least I can afford this one. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great review. I’m still working out how I feel about the Aion. It has a poise and stance all of its own – at times a solid, minimalist writing instrument, at others a little too imposing for my liking. One thing I have liked from the start is the nib design, but I’m not a huge fan of the look of the standard Z50 nibs.

    Like

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