Lamy LX Rose Gold Review

When Lamy announced their new range of fountain pens, the Lamy LX to celebrate their 50th anniversary and I caught a glimpse of the photos I knew I would needed to have one of these pens. They copy the iPhone colours and I immediately fell in love with the rose gold. I bought my LX from the London Pen Show after seeing them in the flesh.

Pen design

The LX design is a staple Lamy design resembling the AL Star with its anodised finish. The uniqueness of the LX range comes from the available colours and the pens packaging. The rose gold is really pretty and the main reason I snapped one of these pens up.

Lamy LX, Lamy AL Star Copper Orange and the Lamy Safari

Lamy LX, Lamy AL Star Copper Orange and the Lamy Safari

The packaging however is unnecessary. It’s a long tube shaped design with padding to protect the fountain pen which is all fine, but this sways from the standard Safari and AL Star packaging added an additional layer, that I’m paying for. The design reminded me of Retro 51s packaging. I just don’t need it and it serves no purpose for me once I have opened the pen up and started using it. This additional added extra, plus the novelty of the iPhone colours makes the LX a steep £45. If I hadn’t fallen in love with the rose gold colour I wouldn’t have given this pen a second look purely based on the price.

Lamy LX packaging

Lamy LX packaging

The nib

One of the other unique features with the Lamy LX that sets it apart from the Safari and the AL Star is its black nib. This nib works really well with the rose gold pen giving it a premium, slick feel.

The sleek black nib

The sleek black nib

In terms of performance I have found the nib to be a little firmer than my AL Star and Safari fountain pens. It writes very smoothly on the page and the medium nib gives me a nice line width and flow of ink.

So, is it worth it?

Probably not. The colour range on the LX line is lovely and the rose gold and gold are definitely different in the Lamy line-up. The anodised finish works well and gives these pens a quality look and feel. However the price just edges this into the realm of ‘do I really need this pen?’ Had Lamy kept the LX in a similar price band to the AL Star then I would jump at this fountain pen and recommend it to everyone. I probably would have bought more than one. However, the additional cost makes me question whether its needed.

Despite my reservations, and to completely contradict what I have just said, I am really happy with my LX based on its sheer beauty, I just didn’t need this pen.

Notebook Comparison: Rhodia versus Clairefontaine A5 Notebooks

Rhodia and Clairefontaine notebooks

Rhodia and Clairefontaine notebooks

Since I have been using my Start Bay Navigator, I have been using A5 notebooks from Rhodia and Clairefontaine. I opted for these brands as they are renowned for having high quality paper thats suitable for fountain pen use. As I have been using them, usually alongside one another, I have come up with some thoughts on both trying to work out which notebook I prefer.

Rhodia

Rhodia staple bound A5 notebook in black

Rhodia staple bound A5 notebook in black

I have used Rhodia paper before therefore I was familiar with the brand and the paper quality. The A5 Rhodia notebook is a staple bound book with a black or orange coated cover. I have been using the ruled grid as I am doing long form writing in these notebooks.

The Rhodia paper is 80g and takes various different writing tools really well. I have used gel pens, pencils and fountain pens and they all work wonders on this paper. In all you get 96 pages which is pretty good and means you’re not flying through these notebooks too quickly.

A small thing I really like about these notebooks is how they feel and sound once they’re full. The pages get a slight crinkle making that dreamy noise when you flick through the notebook. It’s like the notebook is acknowledging that I have filled it up giving me a pat on the back.

The only downside I can find with the Rhodia A5 notebooks is the prominent blue colour used for the different grids. This isn’t just on these staple bound notebooks, a lot of their lines have this grid colour, but I find it a little too bright and intrusive. I really like the Rhodia ice notebooks which have a cool grey grid line that blends into the background nicely and I wish they had a version of this in these notebooks. But despite this once the words are on the page you really don’t see the ruling at all.

Clairefontaine

I have used a few Clairefontaine notebooks in a couple of different designs. The easier to come by version has white paper, staple bound notebook with 90gsm paper. This paper stock has a slight sheen to it and giving it a smooth feel. Fountain pens almost glide over the page it’s that smooth. Even though the paper does have a coating of some description dry times with fountain pens has been good.

Stitched binding and ivory paper Clairefontaine notebook

Stitched binding and ivory paper Clairefontaine notebook

The second Clairefontaine book I have used has a stitched binding and ivory paper. The ivory paper is softer on the eye which I find really nice to write on. The ruling is grey rather than blue found with the white paper. I haven’t been able to source these notebooks anywhere which is a real shame and I’d love to get my hands on some more of this version of these notebooks.

So which is best?

Both notebooks have a lot of similarities which makes it hard to decide which notebook is better. With the Clairefontaine notebooks you have different cover colour options and the cover is a matte finish with a small box on the front giving you space to write a title on the book. I have really found this small design feature rather helpful. The paper in the Clairefontaine notebooks has a sheen whereas the Rhodia notebooks don’t. Both the notebooks with the white paper has the same bright blue grid lines which is a negative for me. And both notebooks come with a wide ruled grid which I prefer as my handwriting is a little on the large side.

Rhodia and Clairefontaine ruling

Rhodia and Clairefontaine ruling

I like both of these notebooks and as you can see the differences are really quite small. I have found myself preferring the Clairefontaine notebooks. If I can source the ivory paper versions then for me there will be no contest. I like the design of the Clairefontaine notebooks, the paper quality is lovely and the helpful additional features make it feel like how this notebook is used has been thought through. However despite all of these bonus features the Rhodia notebooks are lovely and I will happily use these too. So I guess what I am trying to conclude is that both of these notebook brands are really very nice and you shouldn’t be disappointed with either choice!

My Fountain Pen Day Line-Up

The fist Friday of November marks International Fountain Pen Day. This year to celebrate I have decided to share the fountain pens I am using and the paper products I use with them.

Lamy LX, Tacticle Turn Gist, Kaweco AL Sport, Kaweco Skyline Sport and the Pilot Kakuno

Lamy LX, Tacticle Turn Gist, Kaweco AL Sport, Kaweco Skyline Sport and the Pilot Kakuno

Fountain pen and ink combinations

Lamy LX in Rose Gold with a medium nib and KWZ Brown Pink - this is a new fountain pen and ink combination both bought at the London Pen Show. The rose gold colour of this pen is gorgeous and works so well with the KWZ Brown Pink ink, it's a natural pairing. Over the past few months I have been enjoying broader nib widths and the medium nib on the Lamy LX is perfect. This was I get to really see and enjoy the inks I am using.

Tactile Turn Gist with a fine nib and Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-Kai - this combination is left over from my 1 week 1 pen mini series. It’s my sensible combination that I can use is almost all scenarios.

Kaweco AL Sport with a fine nib and J. Herbins Bleu Nuit - I really love my AL Sport. The grey colour is so nice in person and the Bleu Nuit seems to be the perfect ink colour for this pen. It’s a very wintery fountain pen and ink partnership.

Kaweco Skyline sport with an extra fine nib and Diamine Ancient Copper - I love the mint colour of this fountain pen, it’s possibly one of my favourites. I have this loaded with a Diamine Ancient Copper cartridge, an ink colour I have been keen to try for some time. The thing is I am not sure that this pairing works very well, therefore I don’t see this partnership lasting long.

Pilot Kaukuno with a medium nib and Pilot Iroshizuku Syo-ro - I love my Kakuno. As it’s a simple, entry level fountain pen I don’t feel too precious about it and its one that comes on the move with me. I opted for Iroshizuku Syo-ro as it’s a nice deep green for the autumnal season.

The notebooks I am using

The notebooks I am using

My current paper choices

The Soukime plain A5 slim notebook is used for blog post planning and outlining of ideas. I have this with plain paper in the dark green cover.

I have a Midori Kraft notebook that I use as a photo journal. This is crammed with photos of my son documenting the small developments he is making and the things we are doing together. This isn’t a journal I use everyday and is somewhere I can experiment with different journaling techniques.

My Rhodia staple bound ruled notebook is being used for notes for my Open University course. I am using this in my Start Bay Navigator.

I have a Clairefontaine ruled notebook for morning pages, or my version of it. This is also in my Navigator.

I am using a Field Notes Lunacy edition notebook to capture notes on the move and for some journaling on the go.

I have the English version of the Hobonichi Techo which I am currently using as a sort of bullet journaling and planning notebook.

My Midori 019 free weekly refill is being used as a small memory keeper recording snippets of my day.

Fountain pen day 2016

I have found that my fountain pen usage has swayed towards Western brands and that I have begun to enjoy a range of different nib sizes. A year ago all of my fountain pen choices would have been extra-fine or fine nibs, but this isn’t the case any more. I have tried to align my current ink colours to the time of year enjoying Autumnal tones. As usual I am using a lot of different notebooks at one time, (I plan on streamlining this a lot next year). Due to my love of fountain pens I have found and acquired a range of notebooks that have the right types of paper for fountain pens.

This year I won't be celebrating Fountain Pen day by adding to my foutain pens as I am happy with my purchases from the London Pen Show. Instead I will be enjoying some time writing and appreciating those fountain pens I own.

Start Bay Notebooks Navigator Review

Start Bay Navigator in Chic Tan with brown elastic

Start Bay Navigator in Chic Tan with brown elastic

Before I get into this product review I want to point out that the kind folks at Start Bay Notebooks sent me the Navigator to test out with the purpose of reviewing it here on the blog. This has not impacted on my thoughts of the Navigator and in this review you will get my honest opinions.

When you receive the Start Bay Navigator you immediately get a hint that this is a serious product because of its packaging. Whilst packaging is not the most important thing when you buy a product I believe that it shows a company has thought about all aspects of the product they are selling. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive it should just show care of the item(s) it holds. I feel that Start Bay gets this balance right. They package up their products in a cloth bag tied with string and a leather branded tag. It’s simple but it works really well.

Start Bay packaging

Start Bay packaging

When I was contacted by Start Bay they asked if I had a preference for the leather cover I wanted to test drive. I opted for the Chic Tan Navigator which is the A5 size leather notebook cover. At the time the Chic Tan was a new colour offering and I had only ever used darker colour notebook covers. I also wanted to try out a larger size cover and see how I fared with it.

A peek inside my Navigator. Thick high quality leather.

A peek inside my Navigator. Thick high quality leather.

Initially the Start Bay leather is quite rigid and thick, comparing it to the Travelers Notebooks it is much firmer. The leather is really smooth and nicely sealed and finished off round the edges. There are four internal elastic bands and a thicker brown elastic band that secures the notebook on the outside. The interior of the cover is also really smooth and not textured. On the reverse of the cover the brand logo is embossed at the bottom of the cover in the centre. I find this quite large and prominent due to its positioning and personally think it would be much nicer if it were a little smaller.

The smooth finish on the interior of the leather cover

The smooth finish on the interior of the leather cover

I have been using the Navigator with two notebooks. Initially I did have four notebooks in the cover maxing it out but I found when full it’s just too big and bulky making it hard to actually write in the notebooks. I’ve found two is a happy middle ground. I have one Clairefontaine notebook which I use for my morning pages and a Rhodia notebook for my studying. I don’t have anything else in this cover, no pockets, no clear pouches or anything similar. I literally use this cover as a holder for A5 notebooks that I am using and it works well. It’s taken on a very different set up to my Travelers Notebooks which become a bit crazy and have all sorts of stuff packed in them.

Simple set-up, only 2 notebooks

Simple set-up, only 2 notebooks

I have been using my Navigator for around two months using it everyday, mainly at home. I have found that over this time it has become more pliable and the leather has softened a little. It has acquired some small markings with use but it doesn’t mark easily, the ones I have took some effort. I am not sure if I could use the Navigator on the move. Personally I don’t think the A5 size is portable but more than that the bulk of the cover would be a little prohibitive. I think as a cover for use at home or in an office environment that this is perfect. It looks smart, holds the items you need and can be expanded to work around you. I think that with more use and over a prolonged period of time this cover will age beautifully.

Comparisons against the Travelers Notebook, left the passport size in Camel, right the regular size in Brown. This also shows how thick the elastic is on the Start Bay cover.

Comparisons against the Travelers Notebook, left the passport size in Camel, right the regular size in Brown. This also shows how thick the elastic is on the Start Bay cover.

I really like my Navigator and the brand that Start Bay Notebooks have built. They are a great British company that are producing high quality covers. If you are in the market for an A5 leather notebook cover and want a high quality finish then this is definitely the cover for you. They do offer a range of different sizes and accessories, that I have not used, but I would suspect based on my experience with the Navigator that they would also be worthy of a try.

Thank you to Start Bay Notebooks for sending me the beautiful Navigator to review.