A Lamy Lament: The Lamy Balloon Liquid Ink Roller Ball Pen (0.7 mm)

For the record, I love my Lamy fountain pens, of which I have a fistful. But this is not a love story.

The Lamy Balloon Roller Ball’s translucent body and spot-on green color sucked me in. The white clip is cool. And it’s a Lamy. Lamy is a German pen company and I’m never disappointed by German stuff (German grandparents, German car, fabulous road trip in Germany in the 80’s, even sauerkraut). Until now.

While the body is stunning, lightweight, and fun, the writing experience is, bluntly put, just atrocious. There’s no way around it. Here’s a sample:

And the same sample a little bit closer:

And the sample again with all of the skips circled:

Every few months I get the pen out in hopes that it has miraculously cured itself. (Irrational, I know.) No such luck. A quick check of the reviews on www.jetpens.com shows that I’m not the only one disappointed in the way this pen writes. The overwhelming verdict is that the pen skips, and skips badly. Others have swapped out refills only to encounter the same problem, so it doesn’t appear to be an occasional issue.

A while back I wrote to Lamy USA (with the pen!) and pointed out how badly the pen writes. What I heard back was…..crickets. Not a peep.

So, my advice? Run away from the Lamy Balloon. Run far, far away.

A few closing questions:
1) Anyone else suffering from Lamy Balloon frustration?
2) Are there any other refills that can be hacked into the body? I’d love to put it into action with a refill that does the body justice.
3) Why, Lamy, why?!

20 thoughts on “A Lamy Lament: The Lamy Balloon Liquid Ink Roller Ball Pen (0.7 mm)

  1. Interesting… I have so many ballpoint refills that skip depending what paper one writes on. Some have been so bad I called the company and got a replacement (Parker). Some (Cross) I returned to company demonstrating the poor quality
    and got no reply.

    I think we would all be rich if we returned all the poor refills and pens we’ve used.

    I’m not sure what to say about the manufactures..I would be very concerned if I sold refillable pens and people started returning the refills.

    • Happily, I have very few pens that are disappointments, but your strategy is a good one…actually send the blasted thing back to the manufacturer. Maybe they’d get the point then?

  2. Pingback: Most Improved: Lamy 2000 Ballpoint (Makrolon) | From the Pen Cup

  3. Yes, I have the same problem.

    When January 2011 traveling in Germany I brought one blue Lamy Balloon for myself and one red for my sister as a gift.
    It turned out to be that both pens skips all the time, no matter how often we tried to use them.
    Now these two pens have only the function of souvenir.

    Nevertheless, I do love it’s blue color, so I brought Diamine Presidential Blue ink as replacement.
    I cannot guarantee if these two blue alike or not, but I’m quite content with Diamine Presidential Blue. 😀

      • Sorry didn’t describe clearly.

        Once a while I take out the Lamy Balloon hoping it would be more fluent, just like you, but didn’t work.

        All I can do is put this Lamy Balloon aside and use my other fountain pens……

  4. Wow, I have the same story! I am left-handed and all fountain nibs for my Lamy Safari work just perfectly (though I never tried the one for left-handed, I believe it’s for people who write upside down or something of a sort). And my recent purchase of a Ballon was such a disappointment! The cartridge work without skips for a day or two and then it gets just terrible.

    • Well, I guess I’m happy that I’m not alone in my frustration. I still haven’t found a solution or refill hack that solves the problem. So the pen sits there unused. Too bad, as it IS quite fun looking.

  5. I am also experiencing the same problem. My experience is that this pen is designed for the heavy hands. If you keep pressing the nib against the paper really hard, it does write more smoothly. But it is still a hassle to write in this unnatural way…I do wish I could find a gel pen refill from other brands… It is a shame to make such a beautiful pen that does not write well.

  6. I bought a green and a blue Lamy Balloon because I fell head over heels in love with the design. As everyone else experienced, a day after I started using the green one it started skipping. The same with blue Lamy. So disappointing. How much did we pay for these pens? Hopefully someone will figure out a good replacement. Is it the ink or the piece the ink is in? We need an engineer to help us!

    Fingers crossed,

  7. if someone finds a diferente refill that fits in this pen will be nice. Same issue and sad for me it was a gift

  8. I had the same problem and I just have solved it by oppening the refill and adding a couple of drops of alcohol inside. It is working by now, but I guess that when alcohol evaporates it will end skipping again. At least it is a temporary solution 🙂

  9. Same skipping problems I have on Lamy Al-Star . All my writings remind me first year of my school. Unreadable so much repeating on letters to be them clear.

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