I really wanted to like the Lamy Imporium

When I found out that Dapprman had a Lamy Imporium, I practically jumped up and down with glee to try it. And then he let me borrow it! See, the pen community is a wonderful thing.

The Imporium is Lamy’s flagship, descended from the 1990s Persona. It’s an uncommon pen.

I am a huge fan of Lamy gold nibs, after a positive experience with my Dialog 3. They are smooth, juicy and bouncy, and I happen to think they’re enormously attractive, too.

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The two-tone nib is small, but special.

So the Imporium, equipped with such a nib, was off to a good start, in my book. This one is a fine, and it lays a nice wet medium. Just as expected.

The second big plus point was the design. This is an incredibly striking pen, like a classical column hewn out of sandblasted metal. Uncapped, the column turns into a tower of Hanoi for the section. The cap is smooth, with a neatly integrated sprung clip.

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The sprung clip is nicely done.

The Imporium looks like nothing else, in Lamy’s portfolio or anyone else’s.

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No other pen looks like this. Apart from the Persona. Which looks more or less the same.

The version I borrowed from Dapprman is all matte black, accented with a gold clip, gold barrel finial, and a gold accent on the nib.

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I’m not normally a gold guy, but it goes with the black.

I personally prefer the titanium version, but this colour scheme is pretty funky too. And since this one has been in daily use for a decent amount of time, and still looks pristine, I think we can vouch for the robustness of the finish.

In the hand and once the sizeable cap is removed, the Imporium is quite small, short and very, very dense. I wouldn’t even think about posting it, even if I wasn’t concerned about damaging the finish on someone else’s pen.

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Note how the Imporium goes from being longer than the Aero (my only other ribbed pen)…

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…to shorter, with a shorter section, too.

Unfortunately, this is where I didn’t quite get on with the Imporium. Don’t get me wrong, I could use it, but I noticed a degree of discomfort after just a few minutes. I can’t blame the nib… as expected, it was smooth and willing, and needed only the weight of the pen to start writing a fluid line in Lamy Black.

Instead, I blame pressure points caused by the ridges on the section, the steep slope down to the nib, and the tiny-but-sharp step up to the barrel, combined with the sheer mass of the pen. Anyway, I found it distracting. Which is a shame, because the small size, the density of the Imporium makes it quite agile for scribbling.

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I didn’t much get on with this section.

There are some other downsides, mostly minor. The cap threads are famously shallow, almost invisibly so, and prone to cross-threading. There’s a simple solution, which is to twist slightly in the uncapping direction to make sure the cap is properly aligned before tightening it down. I didn’t find it a problem. But the cap did take a little too much twisting to remove — I noticed the delay when trying to capture notes on a call at work.

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These are the shallowest threads I’ve ever seen.

The Imporium fills through the same basic converter as any other Lamy, with the barrel-section interface on chunky plastic threads. For a pen that retails usually for around 250 quid, I might have liked a fancier filling mechanism (I’ll give the Dialog a pass because of its complicated engineering). But again, a minor complaint.

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A pretty basic C/C for an RRP of over 300 quid.

Compared to the fancy flush clip on the ancestral Persona, the clip on the Imporium is a little more conventional. But I can’t argue against its function.

And surprisingly, that’s all I have to say about the Imporium, really. It looks very busy, but this is quite a simple pen.

I wanted to like it a lot, because hell, it’s another vehicle for the amazing Z55 gold nib, as well as being a striking and storied design exercise. But actually I found it very heavy and rather uncomfortable, and I found myself wishing for a Z55 nib in a more ergonomic body.

Which is a shame, because right now the Imporium is available on Amazon for about £175, which is a very good price. Or get it from a proper pen shop like Iguanasell for about £250.

2 thoughts on “I really wanted to like the Lamy Imporium

  1. Pingback: Lamy Imporium | dapprman

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