I'm a straight-up sucker for blue-black anything. Pens and inks, especially. Blue is my favorite color, but sometimes it can be a little... flashy. Blue-black is like the understated, slightly more refined cousin. And I like it. So when Lisa Vanness of Vanness Pen Company started posting photos of her Special Edition Blue-Black Lamy Scala, I made a comment on more than one of them that I had to have one. She reached out to me and asked if I wanted to borrow hers that she personally bought from her store. I'm sure you can guess my response. Uh... DUH! Gimme.
She shipped it out promptly and I got to hang on to it for a few weeks and put it through its paces. And I did just that. I used it as a daily writer for a few days, made sure to give it a good run-through and then, sadly, packed it back up and sent it back to Lisa.
So the Scala is sort of a beefed-up, fancier Studio. The body is metal and similar in shape to the Studio and it has a similar metal grip. But the cap is a bit chunkier and feels really weighty and nice. When my wife picked up the pen for the first time she said, "It's heavier than it looks." My sentiments exactly. The pen has a nice weight and I'll admit that I'm one of those people that sort of equates weight with quality. I realize that's not always true, but the pens just feels like it's a high quality instrument.
It comes packaged VERY nicely with the special edition having a beautiful, oversized presentation box, which some may find ostentatious, but I rather enjoyed. The pen is nestled next to a bottle of Lamy's blue-black ink. I didn't open Lisa's ink for this review, but for what it's worth, I have my own bottle and I love it. It's a great ink and worth picking up, especially given the fact that you can get it dirt cheap.The box is entirely useless after the fact, but it's a nice step for Lamy to take and gives this pen a bit more of a luxury feel, which I think is nice.
The grip section is metal, which I was worried would be slippery. However, I found it to be just fine. It's not the most comfortable pen for extended writing sessions because of the metal section, but for jotting meeting notes and the like, the pen is quite nice and the snap cap makes for quick deployment as opposed to the threaded caps of other pens. The cap is bold and heavy and sturdy. The clip works wonderfully and the big chrome finial is a tiny bit flashy, but has a neat, modern feel to it. It doesn't draw a ton of attention, but it's not easily overlooked either. All the shiny bits, while wonderfully attractive to raccoons, have a tendency to be fingerprint magnets. So if you're one of those that hates fingerprints on your stuff (my wife need not even comment on my thoughts about fingerprints), you're going to spend as much time buffing and wiping your pen as you will writing with it.
And that brings me to the writing experience... Oh boy. The nib looks like Lamy's standard, user-swappable offering, which can be found on their Safari, Al-Star, Studio, CP1, etc. And it is... Except that it's a two-tone 14k nib with just a little spring and a big ol' blob of tipping material for a smooth, comfy, luxurious writing experience. No skipping. No hard starts. No scratchiness. If anything, it's almost too smooth. I prefer my pens with a little feedback because my handwriting sucks and it gets sloppy if the pen is just flying across the page. This was somewhere between "just toothy enough" and "too smooth." It wasn't unusable for me, but I think the fine nib (this one was a medium) would provide that little bit of extra feedback I'm looking for and enhance the writing experience for me. Also... As with most Lamy nibs, it ran a little wide with the medium being on the finer side of a broad nib by other manufacturers. A fine, I think, would be much more usable for daily writing for me.
I know it sounds like I'm wavering a bit on the writing experience, but it really does deliver and I was 95% pleased with it. I could totally use this pen day in and day out, but my preference for slightly finer nibs would win out given the opportunity to get one with a finer nib.
All-in-all, I think this pen is a really great step-up from some of Lamy's lower-end pens. It uses a familiar, user-swappable nib, but the weighty metal build, 14k nib and overall elegant presentation and feel make this pen hard to overlook when taking your next step for a slightly elevated Lamy experience.
HUGE thanks to Lisa Vanness at Vanness Pen Company for sending this over to review. I had a blast playing with it and I'll be ordering my own as I miss it already. Maybe if I'm lucky, Lisa will pick out one with a super nice fine nib for me... You listenin' Lisa!? Please take a few minutes to check out their brand new website at Vanness1938.com. They have so much to choose from including some hard-to-find inks from the likes of Bungubox and some special in-house stuff like KWZ inks which I am a huge fan of. And they're just awesome people so they should be on your list of preferred retailers. I know they're on mine.
Thanks for reading,