It’s Lamy time again. I’ve had this Lamy Accent for a few years now. To be precise it is a Model 198 LD 0.5mm Lamy Accent Brilliant Mechanical Pencil. There are both Lamy Accents and Lamy Accent Brilliants, the ‘brilliant’ bit denoting the body is ‘brilliant black lacquer’ finish as opposed to the matt black or palladium finish bodies. Brilliant is a suitable adjective for this Accent as it is a high gloss black – a very shiny and classy looking mechanical pencil.
The LD bit of Model 198 LD means the grip section is “diamond lacquer”, which is also frequently referred to as “rhodium rings”. A feature of the Lamy Accent range of writing instruments is their interchangeable grips. Other grips currently available include Briar wood (BY), aluminium-palladium (AP), India rubber (KK) and anodised blue aluminium (AB). Lamy advertise the grips as interchangeable, but on their website the “accessories” list only includes refills and erasers, so buying another grip might be a little easier said than done. Certainly that was the case for me, but I did manage to obtain an anodised blue aluminium grip as a spare when I purchased my pencil.
Weighing in at about 35g, the Accent is not a lightweight. Combine this with a fairly wide body, the glossy black colour scheme and shiny metal trims and you have a very impressive pencil in your hand. It looks solid; it feels solid; this is a mechanical pencil of substance. The lead sleeve is a small conical metal tip, not retractable. This pencil is for general writing only, and is not meant to be treated so callously as to be put in a trouser pocket. Clearly the designers intended you to use the pocket clip on the breast pocket of your jacket, or a pen loop or carry pouch.The pocket clip is solid metal, very shiny…clean, simple, and effective. It is spring loaded. There is a small amount of side to side play in the clip. I really like the look of the rhodium rings grip. The brilliant shine of the silvery metal and the black body look good together. The rhodium rings are not quite a perfect match to their adjacent black resin rings and you can feel a little texture beneath your fingers. I did worry that the super shiny grip zone would not provide a particularly stable grip, but it did better than I expected. Certainly it’s not the most secure grip in the world, but it’s acceptable. At about 12mm diameter the grip zone is wider than average and that helps – shiny and thin would probably be a disaster. One other comment is that for me the grip zone is just a little too high up on the body. I wanted to hold the pencil right down towards the lower end of the grip, almost off the grip and onto the taper of the tip section.
As mentioned above, the grips are interchangeable, and I bought an anodised blue aluminium one as a spare. That was a mistake. The blue grip just doesn’t go with the black body. Too dull. To change the grips you unscrew the body and simply swap them over.Up at the top end of the pencil is the push top button, which is boldly marked with a number to indicate the lead size. Ten clicks will get you about 7mm of lead. The mechanism is quite firm and fairly noisy. You definitely feel like you are pushing on some substantial spring loaded mechanism. Beneath the button is a small eraser…emergency use only. There is also a clean-out rod should you suffer a lead jam, and naturally the eraser caps off the lead magazine.Every time I look at this top button I just think that something’s not right. It’s that grey ring at the base of the button…I just keep thinking, “Has it popped out or something? Ummmm...am I really supposed to be seeing that?” I searched around for pictures of the Lamy accent on retail websites. The grey ring is clearly visible on a lot of photos of Accents, but not so obvious on photos of Accent Brilliants, so I emailed Lamy about this grey ring - Was it supposed to be visible or somehow was my push top button sticking too far out of the body and the grey section wasn’t normally meant to be seen? Now a lot of companies have a “Contact Us” section on their website and then you never hear from them. Luckily Lamy are not one of those so I received this reply, “You are perfectly right, the push button is composed of two different materials. The reason is that this push button is removable and that the lower (grey) portion is rubbing on the inner side of the barrel when it is taken out or put in. Choosing this material makes sure that the push button is not damaged or scratched in the process.” Well that’s fair enough, a scratched button can be an eyesore, but for me personally that grey ring really looks out of place on a brilliant black bodied mechanical pencil and I feel they could have done better.
Quite a few Lamy writing instruments are not obviously marked with the Lamy name, but the Accent is. Up by the pocket clip we have ‘LAMY’ in small lettering, and if you look really hard you will see a well hidden ‘GERMANY’ in the recess on the underside of the pocket clip.Lamy pride themselves on their selection of materials and their design ethic. With the exception of that grey ring, I think they have done a good job with the Accent. They are also one of the few higher end brands who offer a mechanical pencil option as part of most model ranges, so irrespective of whether their pencils are to your taste or not, we should all give them a nod of appreciation for that.
- Best Points – It looks and feels impressive.
- Not So Good Points – That grey ring. It just looks like it’s sticking out and you aren’t really supposed to be seeing it. I’m not sure the grip zone is located in the ideal position.
- Price Range – High.
- Does this pencil make it into the Top 5? – Now that’s a tough call. Lamy 2000 and Parafernalia Revolution are safe. That leaves Rotring 357, Rotring Newton Trio and Caran d’Ache Ecridor. It’s all a bit even, so I feel I must stay with the status quo, and thus Lamy Accent doesn’t make it into the Top 5, but it’s close.
(Click for hi-res)