If the Pilot Capless (Vanishing Point) didn’t exist the Lamy Dialog 3 would be the wonder of our age. It does, though, and comparisons between the two are inevitable and, to my mind, come out in favour of the Capless in almost every respect.
I bought the Lamy out of curiosity, because I wanted to compare it with the Capless which I have found to be almost indispensable. It’s worth saying that it’s a fairly expensive way to satisfy one’s curiosity as the Dialog comes in at £159.68, on top of which I had to pay an import VAT duty of £25 and a clearance fee of £13.50. In my book, that’s serious money!
Having got it, though, I’m not disappointed. It’s a great pen. I won’t go through the rigmarole of describing the packaging to you. It’s nice packaging but you don’t write with it. The pen is, I suppose, for want of a better term, minimalistic. It’s a matte black cylinder with rounded ends. Parallel lines run from the clip to the base and there is the Lamy logo. Twist the barrel and the shiny nib cover moves aside and the nib is displayed. I must say I prefer the Capless’s one-handed clicking action to the twist action of the Lamy. When you retract the nib, if you overshoot in the turn that you make you begin to unscrew the barrel, so it isn’t particularly positive. I have been told, though I’ve yet to experience it myself, that if you leave it for a couple of days it will dry out. That’s not true of the Capless.
Filling it is quite an inconvenient procedure. First you unscrew the barrel, then you unscrew the entire converter and nib unit out of the pen. Dip the nib in the ink and fill the piston style converter in the usual way. That’s a less convenient method of filling than any other pen I can think of.
When it comes to writing, the Dialog’s nib is wonderfully smooth. Mine is described as a medium but it seems more like a broad to me. The pen is very heavy – around 50 g – and the grip takes a little getting used to. I don’t think I could write with this pen for a protracted period. It’s just too heavy and awkward. Having said that, the nib is so good that I would wish to try to persist. It isn’t flexible but it’s springy which makes writing with it pleasurable.
Of course, the capless pen isn’t a new concept by any manner of means, and the twist action is probably the oldest way of achieving that. It reminds me of the old safety pens – though only in its action! In appearance it’s something quite new. I had a look at some reviews before I wrote this, and most people seemed to like its appearance, some even going so far as to describe it as “very sexy”. I wouldn’t want to associate myself with those remarks. People live their lives in their own way and it’s none of my business what they do. I’ve no wish to be prudish about this but I will restrict myself to saying that it’s a nice pen. And leave it at that.
Joking aside this pen would be a market winner were it not for the fact that the niche it occupies is already claimed by the Pilot Capless. The Capless is lighter, its action is one-handed and more convenient, it’s slightly easier to fill, it has a better grip and all in all, it is the better pen. But I’m very impressed with this pen too. Such faults as it has are very minor ones with the exception of the filling procedure. For someone with bigger hands and no arthritis, this might be the pen of their dreams.