The Lx comes in the four colors shown above in that Lamy press release photo. The color I liked the best is the Rose Gold (pink!). I like the two on the right, which Lamy calls Palladium and Ruthenium, but I already have two Al-Stars in very similar colors. That gold color could go either way, so I’m leery there. The Rose Gold is the one I bought.
The Lx is based on the Al-Star, which is based on the Safari. But compared to those older pens, the Lx has a nicer nib, nicer clip and trim, and an anodized aluminum case.
Also, a pretentious and silly name. Lamy advises us all that “Lx” is to be pronounced “luxe.”
But no, thank you. I refuse to call anything that. That’s a syllable, not a word. And it’s not even spelled that way. And, mostly, it’s awful. So, no luxe, not here. I shall fight that to the end. On the beaches, on the seas and oceans, and certainly on this little blog.
But even if I call it the “El Ex,” the Lx still retains a higher price. In the US, the Lx retails around $56, versus about $38 for the Al-Star and about $29 for the Safari. That does not include a converter, which adds to the total. (They all use the same converter.)
Let’s talk about the Lx upgrades. First, the case.
I’m not sure you can tell from the photo, but that thing is huge. It does make a nice presentation box when you first get the pen. And I guess you could throw it into a (very roomy) bag to carry around the pen. But it’s a rather large, shiny metal cylinder, like a giant’s lipstick tube. I find it large and awkward. Chunky and clunky.
Here’s a shot of the interior. To hold the pen in place inside, there are nice black rubbery fins inside. The black band made of the same rubbery material makes for a secure closure. However, that rubbery material is a dust magnet.
Also, can you tell that the box or “case” is a slightly different color than the pen? Yep.
The bottom-line for me is that I’m just not feeling this as a case. As a presentation box, it’s great. And I already have put it with my other presentation boxes, in a basement closet, where it will never see the light of day, unless I sell the pen.
So onto brighter things. Literally. Look up at that photo again, ignoring the huge gaping maw of the open “case.” The Lx cap medallion is bright and shiny and matches the color of the pen. It’s blingy.
That contrasts with the Safari and Al-Star, whose current cap medallions are black plastic. (There have been Safari cap medallion variations in the past, but that is a different treatise. Instead, let’s focus on the present.) Left to right we see the cap tops of the Al-Star, the Safari and the Lx.
Is this “ooh shiny” asethetic a little tasteless? A little “I’m dating a guy with a pet miniature giraffe”? Well, perhaps. But I don’t mind.
And that is lucky, because the bling repeats at the other end of the Lx. Again, left to right are the Al-Star, the Safari and the Lx.
Then there is the Lx clip, which matches the pen color, instead of being silver or black like a standard Al-Star or Safari clip. (Yes there have been Safari clip variations, too, but once again that is a different treatise.) The Lx clip isn’t super blingy; instead it blends in nicely.
There is one final trim difference of note — and this is my favorite detail. It’s the way the “LAMY” name is imprinted on the Lx. On the Lx, “LAMY” appears in shiny relief. On the Al-Star, the “LAMY” is incised in outline form. On the Safari, it is fully etched into the plastic.
The most practical upgrade of the Lx is its stainless steel nib. Now, again, the Lx is an Al-Star with fancier trim. There is no functional difference — not in the converter, not in the feed, not in the section. The parts are the same; the design is the same; you can swap everything.
Thus Lamy starts with the same nib used in the Safari and Al-Star. But for the Lx, according to Lamy, the nib is PVD-coated. I looked that up: it means “Physical Vapor Deposition.” So there you go, science people.
I majored in liberal arts. We may not understand science, but we are communicators. We’d say, “the Lx nib has a special coating.” And then, “whatever that means.”
The Lx nib gets a slightly different look. It is always black, and it has an elongated gold “U” around the slit and breather hole. Compare the Al-Star and Safari plain nib on the left with the Lx nib on the right.
When it comes to writing with the nib, whatever that PVD coating is, it rocks. My Lx nib is a medium, and I love how it writes. It just writes much more smoothly than a standard Safari medium nib, at least in my hand. Now this is an excellent upgrade.
The nib width is true to size, exactly what you’d expect from a medium nib in the Safari family. Which is not earth-shaking — since it’s the same nib, just coated and then “U”d.
Here is a writing sample, comparing my Lx with medium nib to a Safari fine nib and an Al-Star medium nib. All pens are filled with Pelikan Brilliant Black.
It seems that Lamy is attempting with the Lx to extend a popular, but older pen line in a more upscale direction. And perhaps to appeal to more more mature pen users. Those are solid goals. It’s nice that Lamy has created a more attractive packaging, to make a more appealing gift. And I do like that Lx nib. So there’s value in the $56 price of the Lx.
It’s probably a pretty fair price, actually. It’s still less than the price of the Lamy Studio (which uses the regular Safari nib). If you are considering your first Al-Star, you probably should consider upgrading to the Lx instead. It’s worth it for the nib, alone, but the Lx also has nicer details. Plus, bling.
But for people like me, who already have a lifetime supply of Safaris and Al-Stars, buying the Lx is a harder calculation, I think. For now, I’ll just be happy with my Rose Gold. However, if Lamy ever makes the Lx nibs available separately, I’ll buy a few nibs right away.