It’s been a long time since I used a Lamy Studio. It was back in early 2016 that I bought my last one, the brushed steel with the rubberised grip. I remember being intensely irritated by the sharp little step at the end of the section, and finding the section’s convex taper made my fingers slip. It needed a Herculean tug to get the cap off. I hated it.
But maybe it’s time for a reappraisal. I’m writing this review with the new Lamy Studio Aquamarine, and I’m enjoying the experience a lot.
I’d go so far as to say that it’s really comfortable. The barrel stepdown is a non-event. The shiny metal section isn’t slippery at all. The uncapping motion is tuned to just the right level of effort. It’s like I’m writing with a different pen.
The Studio sits in the middle of Lamy’s range, with the 2000, Dialog and Imporium above. It provides a noticeable step up in style and quality for those that have outgrown entry-level pens like the Safari. It has the same steel nibs, and it’s still a (proprietary) cartridge-converter with slip cap, but that’s where the similarities end. Design touches abound, including the unique “twisted” propeller-blade cap.
With the Aquamarine, the star of the show is of course the colour. I’m a sucker for teal, turquoise, blue, blue-green… and this is already one of my favourites.
The lacquer finish over the metal barrel is matte-finished, almost frosted blue with a tinge of green, and huge reflectivity: it’s practically iridescent, which makes it a pleasure to twirl. Unlike, say, the Pacific Blue Al-Star, this is a darker, richer colour that feels a bit more restrained and upmarket.
It’s also a bit of a chameleon, in that the colour varies under different light. As with many blue-greens, it’s a devil to capture accurately on digital camera — the green washes out to leave a bright blue. But compare it to a true blue and the difference is obvious.
The bright silver finials and distinctive propeller clip set off the colour, and the overall effect is simple and contemporary. The Lamy branding sits on the lacquer of the cap in small silver letters.
In the hand the Studio has real mass and solidity, yet it strikes a nice middle ground in terms of size and weight. Uncap it with a tug and the curved shiny metal section comes into view, finished with the usual Lamy steel interchangeable nib.
The proportions are spot on. It reminds me very much of the Visconti Van Gogh. Under the fingers it’s tactile; you can feel the cool of the metal and the texture of the coating.
The section is really quite long, so the barrel stepdown is well out of the way. It’s definitely not as sharp as I remember it being, but it’s noticeable when you touch it.
The writing experience is simple and pure. Like every Lamy I’ve used (including all three that I’ve received this month), the nib writes great straight out of the box. Lamy is one of the few mass-market manufacturers that tests each pen with actual blue ink, and it shows. The steel medium has just the right flow with Montblanc Maya Blue, perfect medium line width, and the pen writes easily under its own weight.
Filling is through Lamy proprietary cartridge or converter, accessed by unscrewing the section. No fuss. Watch out though — not all retailers include a converter. The Writing Desk does.
At £62 including converter, the Studio Aquamarine is a relatively affordable pen that sits nicely in the step-up category, without getting too scarily close to £100. Remarkably, it doesn’t feel like a cost-cutting exercise full of compromises to get the Studio down to this price; instead, it feels truly designed, cohesive, and actually quite premium.
It’s miles classier than a Safari or Al Star, with a timeless upmarket design and smart use of texture and colour. It’s also really comfortable, not too big or small, has a reassuring weight to it, and writes beautifully. In this colour especially, I find it irresistible.
I am seriously tempted now to go back and pick up last year’s olive and terracotta editions, which have the same sober-yet-interesting vibe to the colour. I reckon they’d look great together in a set.
I received this pen as a free sample for review from The Writing Desk. You can gets yours here, before they sell out. Remember, this is a limited edition!