The Middle Child: Lamy’s CP1 Matte Black Fountain Pen

Thanks to Brad Dowdy’s weekly “Ink Links”, I stumbled onto a beautifully photographed post featuring Lamy’s CP1 Matte Black fountain pen. That post, with its simple yet stunning photos, was enough to push me to purchase this little-discussed Lamy offering.

Lamy CP1 Matte Black fountain pen

CP1 clip and branding
CP1 clip and branding

I think of this pen as Lamy’s “middle child”— tucked between the introductory and familiar Safari/AL-Star offerings and the more upscale Lamy 2000. With its stainless steel spring-loaded clip, matte black body, and simple timeless looks, the CP1 certainly seems like a relative of the classic Lamy 2000. If you’re talking nibs, though, the CP1 is clearly a sibling to the Safari/AL-Star lines as nibs can be swapped between these models, but not with the 2000.

Black steel nib

Speaking of nibs, when I ordered mine from The Goulet Pen Company, I opted for the black steel nib (fine) to complete the pen’s “blacked out” look. I’ve occasionally had issues with black Lamy nibs writing so dry that they had to be returned, so I included a quick note with my order asking if the nib could be QC’ed prior to shipment. I’m happy to report that the fine nib on this pen is wonderfully smooth and very juicy. Really perfect. Though my past issues with problematic black nibs have always been handled quickly, it’s best not to have a problem at all. This one is simply great.

kon-peki colored feed
Iroshizuku kon-peki colored feed

Price-wise, the CP1 falls between the Safari/AL-Star and the higher-end 2000, running about double the price of the former, and less than half of the latter. I paid $56 which makes this a reasonable and cool upgrade/change from the basic Safari without having to go all in on the pricier Makrolon 2000.

Like its Safari/AL-Star siblings, the CP1 is a cartridge/converter pen, but in this case, the converter is included, which is a nice little feature. Having to “add-on” a converter always bugs me just a little bit, so it’s nice to receive the complete package. Filled with Iroshizuku kon-peki, I keep looking for excuses to use this pen. I can’t figure out what the slim matte body is made of— some sort of metal, I suppose— but I do know that I like the weight and balance and ultra-minimalist look. (Some days I’m all about swirly depth and sheen and eye-popping color in my fountain pens, and the next I’m drawn to a super simple, super stealthy look. Oh, how my pen moods swing!)

Weighing just 17g and measuring 0.37″ in diameter, holding this pen is a little hard to describe. It’s light, but has some heft— sort of a denser feeling than that of a Safari or AL-Star. It’s very slim, yet still comfortable. The snap cap posts easily and doesn’t throw off the pen’s balance in a significant way. Vital measurements are as follows:

    • Capped: 5.3″

CP1 capped

    • Posted: 6.2″

CP1 posted

    • Unposted: 4.6″

CP1 unposted

I sometimes initially dismiss pens this slim as being “too narrow,” but then realize that I’m perfectly happy using an even skinnier woodcase or drafting pencil. The CP1 has a bit more girth than a pencil, so though it is certainly slim and trim, it’s not at all uncomfortable for me and my middle-of-the-road size hands. The grip section appears to be plastic (I can see a bit of a seam), but I can’t confirm that either. Even the Lamy website is pretty stingy with material specifics. The grip’s ridges give my fingers just the right amount of traction.

CP1 vs. Stabilo pencil

Middle children often find themselves struggling for attention between the first-born and the baby in a family. Lamy’s CP1 fountain pen seems to suffer a bit from “middle child syndrome,” quietly tucked between the colorful and popular Safari and the iconic 2000. Like those middle kids, this pen is special in its own understated way.

Lamy CP1 Matte Black

The CP1 Matte Black fountain pen— certainly worthy of some attention, and maybe a little of your Lamy love.

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Embrace the Darkness: Pilot Iroshizuku take-sumi

Many thanks to the fine folks at JetPens for sending along this bottle of Iroshizuku ink. I was not otherwise compensated, and this review reflects my experiences and observations with the ink in my pen and on my paper. Your results and opinions may, of course, differ.

When a bottle of Iroshizuku take-sami (Bamboo Charcoal) showed up in my mailbox, courtesy of JetPens, I immediately knew which pen I’d fill. I recently outfitted my Matte Black Pilot Vanishing Point with a black-plated 18K nib/converter unit, so I all I needed to complete the stealthy trifecta was a superb black ink, and here it was.

Iroshizuku take-sumi

In my previous job of 14 years, I was required to write in black ink (ballpoint, but still) all day, every day. So you’d think that I’d run screaming for the hills now that I’m free of that SOP-dictated requirement. Funny thing is, I still like and use black ink, and am always on the lookout for a particularly good one.

Iroshizuku writing sample

I already have a few Iroshizuku inks (kon-peki and fuyu-gaki…both luscious colors) so I was pretty sure take-sumi would get high marks for good behavior. And it does. In this Vanishing Point with its fine nib (Japanese fine, so it’s like a western EF), take-sumi goes on wet, but dries quickly— easily within ten seconds, even on Rhodia paper. It’s smooth and consistent— a very solid black. Solid in performance AND in looks. It’s not a grey black, not a watered down black. Is it the blackest black ever? Probably not, though I haven’t jumped too far into the black ink pool. I’d consider it to be an excellent black— surely the best I own. (How many times can I say “black”? A lot, apparently.)

Smudge test

I don’t regularly expose my hand-written pages to liquid so waterproofness isn’t something I really care about, but in the name of science, I “spritzed” my page.

Spritzed Rhodia page

So, yeah, don’t do that.

"Get to work!"

I don’t have a big collection of inks (though the pull to acquire more is strong), and I’m admittedly drawn to colors that look like the a glass of fine wine or the sea or a freshly sliced persimmon, especially when I’m writing letters and have time to appreciate an ink’s shading and depth and freshness. But there are plenty of times when I just need need to get stuff done, and black ink has always been just the thing for flipping on the “get to work” switch in my brain.

Pilot Vanishing Point Black Matte

It’s easy to love ink colors that pop off the page, but loving a black ink takes a little more work. Packaged in that gorgeously iconic Iroshizuku bottle, take-sumi impresses with its lovely darkness. It’s like the night sky. Usually you take it for granted, but every now and then you look up and think “wow.”

Back of the bottle

I’m smitten.

Resistance Is Futile: Monteverde Invincia Deluxe Nighthawk (F nib)

Monteverde Nighthawk

I’m making plans to attend my first pen show in August- the DC Pen SUPERSHOW. (EXCITED!) Because of those plans, I’m trying to resist buying pens prior to that show so that I have a nice little pen “allowance” in my pocket come August. The key words there are “trying to.” The clinker? The Goulet Pen Company announced the release of a fountain pen that pushes a bunch of my particular pen buttons. Those buttons being:

  • Stealth
  • Matte
  • Carbon Fiber
  • Special packaging
  • Monteverde

SO, I was a goner, despite my plan/pledge/vow. My Monteverde Invincia Deluxe Nighthawk (F nib) arrived last week, and it hits all the right notes. I loaded the included converter with Monteverde Black ink (with ITF), and doodled away. Very smooth. Very stealthy. Very, very cool.

Nighthawk uncapped

This pen is a collaboration between Brian Goulet/Goulet Pens and Monteverde Pens, the details of which are found in this article and video. Brian explains the details better than I can, but I can tell you that I love the outcome of their work. I own a handful of Monteverde pens, and have never been disappointed in their looks or performance. They’re solid, reliable, good-looking pens, and this one may be the best of the bunch. Because it pushes all of those buttons that I listed above.

This may well be the stealthiest pen that I own. With the matte carbon fiber body and all-black trim, the pen is so subdued looking that it’s impossible to ignore. So it’s stealthy, yet stands out in a crowd. Which is a very cool trick.

Nighthawk nibbage

The black fine nib writes wonderfully. Coupled with the Monteverde ink, which I’m trying for the first time, the writing experience is a true pleasure. Effortless and nicely liquid. Wet, but not too wet. Just right, really. Had they outfitted the pen with a matte black nib, rather than the shiny one, that would’ve bumped the awesomeness up one more notch. But I’m not complaining.

Special packaging
Looks a little like a pen wake, doesn’t it?

Though this isn’t a limited edition pen, the first 150 customers were promised special packaging, which is another reason that I made my purchase quickly. Rather than the usual green Monteverde box, this one came packaged in a black and red box that coordinates very well with the pen. Normally I don’t really care about packaging, but the carbon fiber-esque look of the box reeled me in like a pen-loving trophy fish. If there were such a thing as pen-loving trophy fish.

No logo

Normally Monteverde pens sport their mountainous logo (in white) on the end of the pen, but that’s been dropped from the Nighthawk. The pen is branded with slightly raised black lettering on the center band, which completes the totally blacked out look. The stealthiness of the Nighthawk is certainly in the details.

Blacked out branding

At 40 grams, which is about 2.5x the weight of a Lamy Safari, the capped pen is heavy, but in a very well-balanced way. I find the cap difficult to post, but that’s not an issue for me because I wouldn’t post it anyway, due to the weight of the cap (10 grams). The uncapped body measures 136 mm (5.35 inches) and is comfortable in hand. I’m really impressed with the whole package…the weight, looks, feel, packaging, and performance.

Who can resist the charms of the Nighthawk? Not I. Nope, not I.

Handwritten review