One of the nice things about working with stationery is all the new products that appear. For most people, a stationery delivery means a chance to stock up on some new pens or staplers or whatever but here we get all sorts of desirable items constantly turning up. This can encourage a rather fickle attitude with must-have items quickly being replaced with the next new thing. What this means though is that any item that endures against all the stiff competition must be pretty special, especially pens because we have so many to choose from. So when 50% of the office is using the same pen, as their personal choice, from all the pens we offer – it must be good.
The pen in question is the Lamy Vista – the clear barrelled version of the classic Lamy Safari with all its working parts proudly on display. For me, I choose this pen partly because it looks a bit technical but also because it changes colour depending on the ink you use so lending it a bit of extra personality. I asked the other Vista-Owners in the office to give me a brief reason why they chose it, and they said; because it’s see-through (Faisal), because it’s cool (Isaac) and because it reminds me of a transparent Game Boy I used to have (Pawel).
The thing is though that we are not alone. Vista sales have been increasing and the pen is fast becoming one of our best-sellers. We have also noticed a lot of interest in spare parts, notably the barrel, which leads us to thinking that lots of people out there are customising their pens. Essentially, by swapping the fountain pen barrel to a rollerball barrel and then sealing up the holes at the bottom, you can turn your pen into an eye dropper – where the ink flows freely in the barrel rather than inside a cartridge or converter. Now whilst this looks very pretty it is not without risk as leaks can and do occur. Still, life is no fun without risk and in the scheme of things, this is quite a low risk activity.
Once you go down this road there are all sorts of options for customization, all equally fraught with risk. I have written about my Vista Snow before, a sort of snow globe version of the pen with glitter floating around the barrel. It looks very beautiful but to date I haven’t managed to stop it oozing unpleasantly out of some as yet unidentified section. I am working on it, slowly. Faisal experimented with putting coloured water in the barrel around the converter but again, it leaked and proved bothersome. We haven’t lost hope though and further experiments are inevitable.
The Clear Choice
Ultimately the reason this pen is so popular though is because of the opportunity to show off the brilliant colours of all the inks we stock, especially the metallic shimmer inks. With the metallic inks especially, the gold or silver particles sink to the bottom and with the Vista you can see them in the converter and the feed when you leave it on its side for a while. I have been using the Herbin Anniversary Emerald ink for quite a while now but with a new colour due out late summer, the fickle part of my nature will surely kick in and I will have to have the latest version. The pen stays though, no matter what comes through the door.