Lamy’s penchant for Bauhaus and industrial design hardly needs a mention, and the Lamy Aion line of pens is the latest evolution in a lineage of exactly that style that was started by the Lamy 2000 over fifty years ago. In collaboration with industrial designer Jasper Morrison, the Aion is a modern if familiar addition to the Lamy pen range.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of minimalist and industrial design; give me smooth lines, robust materials, and say more with less – and from the first reveal the Aion was a perfect match. The raw aluminium is drawn from a die rather than machined, and curves gracefully towards the end of the barrel and top of the cap, with a brushed texture that goes against the flow of the pen rather than with it.
A polished cap ring and clip accent the pen without taking the spotlight off of the aluminium barrel. In my opinion the Silverolive (though I’ve yet to find the ‘olive’ part) works much better with the design than the black anodised version, and I can only imagine what an all-black version would have looked like with matching black clip. This isn’t to say the black version is bad, it wouldn’t look out of place in a boardroom or a CEO’s desk, just that the silver version just seems to represent the design a bit better.
Not much to comment on here – the ballpoint is the usual twist mechanism, and the rollerball is a rollerball – cap, barrel, M63 refill, done. The caps of the rollerball and fountain pen feature a spring-loaded clip and post snugly, but I’ve found the pen much more comfortable in size and balance without the cap. On the fountain pen is a brand new nib that just oozes style with its curvier design, and you’ll be pleased to read that it’s an excellent writer too – more on that in a bit.
Disappointingly, the fountain pen doesn’t ship with an included Z27 converter. Considering much cheaper pens such as the Logo come with one as standard, this ends up being a puzzling decision by Lamy.
Subjective opinions on look aside, one thing everyone in the office seems to agree on is that the new Z53 nib is a brilliant refinement of the classic Z50. Lamy calls it “expressive”, and I’m tempted to say that it isn’t just marketing hyperbole. I opted for the extra fine version and my first experience with it was surprising – using a wet ink (KWZ Midnight Green), the line was not quite what you might expect of an extra fine nib with a line that seemed much thicker than it ought to be.
With a dryer ink the line was a lot closer to what you’d expect. This might be an annoyance for some and understandably so, but I’d like to wager all would be forgiven once you feel just how amazingly smooth this nib is. No hypodermic needles here, the Z53 glides across the page – and I’ve tried it on almost every paper we have here, from Tomoe River paper to good old copier paper. Lamy’s Z50 steel nibs have never really been considered bad, but these new nibs are in another class – I’ve yet to experience any burping, dry starts, or skipping.
And while the nib is smooth as butter, thankfully the same can’t be said for aluminium grip. Though it looks deceptively non-grippy, the abrasive-blasted section is more than comfortable to write with, and I’ve not once had to readjust my grip.
Value for money
At just shy of £48* for the fountain pen and rollerball, and £39* for the ballpoint, the Aion is firmly priced in the mid-range of Lamy’s pens – cheaper than the Accent AL and Studio, but considerably more than the AL-Star and Safari’s, and honestly I feel it’s a fairly priced pen. A modern design with a robust construction is paired with a fantastic nib. However, the lack of a bundled converter is a glaring hole and definitely worth bearing in mind if you’re not content with the selection of colours available in Lamy’s T10 cartridges.
Additionally, the Z53 nibs are fully compatible with Lamy’s other fountain pens (Lamy 2000 excluded), so you’re well within your right to grab a stand-alone nib and swapping it out on a Safari or AL-Star. But if you don’t own a Lamy pen already (or even if you do!), the Aion is a fantastic pen if you’re looking to spend a little more for a premium feel.
* Prices correct at time of publishing!
The Aion is a brilliant addition to Lamy’s range, and while it might be considered safe and unremarkable by some, I say it is more than worthy to follow the path laid down by the Lamy 2000 fountain pen and one of Lamy’s best collaborations yet. Lack of a bundled converter knocks some points off the final score, but overall I struggled to find much of anything to fault, especially when the nib and pen compliment each other to provide such a fantastic writing experience.