An extraordinarily rare Lamy 2000

11 09 2008

At first glance, can you tell me what’s so rare about this Lamy 2000?


If not, don’t worry.  You’re just like everyone else…except for its owner (a man called Matt from the East Coast).  Matt relayed a story to me about his trip to this year’s DC Supershow a few weeks ago, and it really impressed me on a couple of levels.

Matt went to the show with very few goals; the most important one was to get his Lamy 2000 F ground down to an XF, which would be more to his liking (as I’ve said before, the Lamy 2000 nib runs at least one size broader than its stated width – this must have been a paintbrush to Matt!).  His intent was to have Richard Binder do the work, but Matt didn’t get there until 9:15AM on Saturday, and found a waiting list 26 customers deep (which definitely says a lot about the quality of Richard’s work!)!  With no way to get back to the show on Sunday, Matt thought that his hopes were lost…until he got to the Sailor table.

Yukio Nagahara, one of Japan’s most talented nib artisans, was quietly sitting at the table tuning someone’s Sailor.  Matt said that he asked if there was a long wait, and he was overjoyed to find that there was only one person ahead of him in line!  Twenty minutes later, Mr. Nagahara looked up, gave a playful grimace at Matt’s Lamy (after all, he does work for Sailor), and laughed when Matt apologized to him for not handing him a Sailor. 

A few minutes later, Mr. Nagahara handed Matt his perfectly-ground Lamy 2000.  When Matt reached for his wallet, he was told to put it away…this one was on the house. 

Here’s a picture of the finished work, and a writing sample.

So why is this pen so rare?  Well…how many of you own Lamy 2000s made by Sailor? ๐Ÿ™‚

This story impressed me on a number of levels – many of them from a business perspective.  In no particular order, here they are.

  1. Richard Binder’s work is so hotly in demand that he was taking pens into his queue at the rate of almost 2 per minute, in the first 15 minutes of Saturday’s show!  That’s the value of word of mouth marketing.  Sure, Richard has a great website and he’s active in the fountain pen community, but singlehandedly, getting your work to be that greatly demanded…that’s a pretty big job.  I know for fact that Richard has legions of fans; I’m one of them.  He does fantastic work.  I’ve got three nibs that he’s done for me, and my wife has one.  Each one is different, but there’s no slouch among them.  His customers do more advertising and marketing for him than he could ever do.  Word of mouth marketing is extraordinary in its power.
  2. The Sailor Pen Company knows the value of investing in the future of their brand.  They knew that by taking that 2000 and having Mr. Nagahara grind it to exactly what Matt asked for, that they would give Matt a taste of what a Sailor pen is like (Matt, by his own admission, doesn’t own any Sailors yet).  They may not have bargained on getting any publicity for it, but I would imagine that they knew that if Matt enjoyed his 2000, then a purchase of another pen – this time a Sailor, couldn’t be too far off.  They were right, too.  While he hasn’t bought one yet, it’s moved to the top of his list.  That’s the value of investing in a relationship with a prospective buyer.
  3. The Sailor Pen Company knows what it means to share.  By giving back to the fountain pen users who are prospective buyers without expectations in return (let alone working on another company’s product to make the prospect happy), they’re also setting a higher standard for every other pen company out there.  It would have been just as easy for the Sailor rep to tell Matt, “Sure, Mr. Nagahara would be glad to grind your Lamy’s nib; if you buy a 1911 from us today, we’ll throw in that customization for only $20 more!”  Instead of that, though, they ground the nib for free, and set a very high standard that Matt won’t soon forget. 

I know I won’t forget that story, either.  Matt, enjoy your pen, thank you for the photos, and most importantly – thanks for sharing the story. 




13 responses

11 09 2008

I especially agree with your second and third points. Preemptively pleasing a customer with great service can very well do more for a brand than yet another insipid ad. (I should know, I make ads. Not all insipid, I hope. ;))

11 09 2008
Jason Echols

Thanks for the story. I was as impressed as you were when you shared it with me and Michael the other night.

11 09 2008

Considering my Lamy 2000 is still persnickety AFTER having been overhauled by Lamy, I think I’m going to run over it with my car and buy another Sailor. converter or not.

THIS is the kind of customer service that I only usually dream of. Seriously. – I want another Sailor.

Does anyone want to trade me a F Sapporo or a F Pro Gear Slim for my L2K?


11 09 2008

Wow, great post!

11 09 2008

Biff, I don’t have a Sapporo, but if you’re planning on running your L2K over with the car, I’ll gladly pay your postage to send it out to me. ๐Ÿ™‚

12 09 2008

Thanks for sharing this great story. Couldn’t agree more on the 3 points your made.

12 09 2008
Thibault Halpern

I think kudos goes first to Nagahara-san and not to Sailor. After all, he’s the one deciding to work on Matt’s Lamy. There is no Mr. Company Sailor Man telling nibmeister what he should and should not work on. ๐Ÿ™‚ So, kudos to Nagahara-san.

12 09 2008

Just for the record, Yukio Nagahara isn’t a free-range nibmeister like Richard Binder. He is Mr. Company Sailor Man; he’s studied under his father (who is himself a 50-year veteran of Sailor) for 25 years.

14 09 2008

I own a trio of Lamys, including a (non-persnickety) 2000. This is a great story, and says a lot about both Nagahara-san and Sailor.

– Barrett

15 09 2008
Lamy Links and Others

[…] An extraordinarily rare Lamy 2000 – a little story of how Matt gets his Lamy 2000 reground at the DC pen show. […]

2 10 2008

I need to find myself an old style Sailor King of Pen with a medium nib.

19 01 2013

I love this pen and come back to admire your photos often, but your picture links have broken! Jeepers! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

21 05 2013

Yeah, I know. Hopefully someday I can get them back into working form. Due to an error on my part, I’m afraid that I may have errantly blown them all to smithereens. It may not physically be possible to restore them all. Cross yer fingers.

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