Monday, September 4, 2017

Fountain Pen Review: 2017 Special Edition Lamy Safari Petrol


After surprising fans last year with a matte purple pen, Lamy launched another matte-finished Safari in 2017. Done with the batch of flashy green neon pens, Lamy makes up with two consecutive matte-finished, black-trimmed pens: Dark Lilac and Petrol.

Lamy's Special Edition Safari pen for 2017 is called Petrol. I have a fountain pen, but the Petrol Safari collection also includes a rollerball and a ballpoint. Petrol is not a 'limited edition' pen like the previous ones, but a 'special edition' Safari. I received the Petrol fountain pen and its matching ink in this review at no cost from Lamy's authorized and exclusive distributor in the Philippines, Times Trading Company.

Petrol Safari fountain pen in box. 
Times Trading, through its sellers in the Philippines, includes a T10 ink cartridge
and a Lamy Z28 converter for every purchase of the Petrol Safari.


Lamy released the Petrol Safari fountain pen in a packaging similar to that of the 2014 Neon Coral and 2016 Dark Lilac. Instead of the old, bulky plastic pen box, Lamy now uses laminated cardboard boxes with the year's color theme for their special and limited edition pens. The laminated pen box is enclosed in a sleeve of simple white board.


Many waited for the Petrol Safari's release after its announcement in December 2016. Similar to the Dark Lilac, the 2017 special edition pen is not glossy and bright (read: neon). Instead, the Petrol has a muted and subdued deep teal color in a matte finish. After the 2016 Dark Lilac, Lamy brought back the combination black clip/black nib used in the early edition Safari pens. The combination looks better on the Petrol, instead of the shiny chrome clip and nib.


The Lamy Safari is a student pen, called 'starter pen' by fountain pen enthusiasts. The Petrol Safari with its matte finish is still made from the sturdy ABS plastic – the same material used in Lego blocks, keyboard keycaps, inner walls of refrigerators, and the filament commonly used in 3D printers. Designed by Wolfgang Fabian, the first Safari pen was presented during the 1980 Frankfurt exhibition (read more in Lamy's Company History) and has been in Lamy's regular production since then. Despite some fountain pen enthusiasts' low regard for this plastic pen, a number of fans around the world collect the Safari and its aluminum cousin, Lamy Al-star.


The Petrol Safari's parts are: barrel, section (grip + feed + nib), converter, and cap. The Z28 converter (new version of the Z24) was included in the box, together with a T10 cartridge in blue. Safari fountain pens measure 5.5 inches when capped, 5 inches without the cap, and 6.5 inches if the cap is posted. It's a lightweight pen and can be used for extended periods of writing. The cap with the oversized clip is 2.5 inches long, the length from the nib to converter is 4.6 inches, while the barrel measures about 3 inches.

Lamy's proprietary piston operated Z28 converters are used to fill the Safari fountain pen with ink from a bottle, but T10 Giant Ink cartridges are also available.


Petrol shares the same finial (top cap button) with those of previous limited edition Safaris: Lime Green (2008), Neon (2013), Neon Coral (2014), Neon Lime (2015), and Dark Lilac (2016). In their previous limited edition pens, Lamy used different finial styles such as the button-type for 2009's Creme Gelb and Pink limited edition pens, and the cross-type finial in the same body color used in Aquamarine (2011) and Green (2012). Below is a photo of different Safari finials from my review of the 2015 Neon Lime.

Safari fountain pen finials. 
Lamy issued different finials for the limited and special edition Safari fountain pens.
Lamy's triangular grip. 
It's a helpful feature for beginners, but some people find it uncomfortable.

Some people do not like the Safari's triangular grip, saying it is uncomfortable and annoying. This feature, however, is designed to make writing easier — it is meant as a guide for users to have a firm and secure grip on the pen. An anti-slipping brake near the end of the section prevents a user’s fingers from slipping into the nib while writing. I do not find the triangular grip uncomfortable at all. I actually do not notice it when I'm using my Safari pens.

Lamy's interchangeable nibs are very useful. A Safari fountain pen uses the same feed and nib as those on the Vista, Al-Star, Joy, Nexx, and Studio. Due to the color difference, my nib options for the Petrol is limited only to a broad nib from an older Safari. For calligraphy, I used a 1.5 nib on it, but the color difference bothers me. But that's just me. Any Lamy nib for the Safari, chrome or otherwise, will fit the Petrol.

Safari fountain pens bought in the Philippines have medium nibs, but other nib sizes are available: extra-fine, fine, broad, and left-handed. The Safari can also be fitted with an italic nib ranging from 1.1mm to 1.9mm.

Lamy Safari through the years. 
Limited and special edition Safari fountain pens from 2008 Lime (topmost) to the 2017 Petrol (bottom).
Safari fountain pens in matte finish: Umbra, Dark Lilac, and Petrol. 
The first Safari, Savannagr√ľn, and the Terracot and Griso pens that followed all had a matte finish.
Fans are waiting for Lamy to reissue these pens.


When Times Trading sent the Petrol Safari pen to me, they kindly included a bottle of Petrol ink, a matching ink color for the 2017 special edition fountain pen.


The 50ml Petrol ink is in a Lamy T52 bottle that comes with a roll of blotter that can be used to clean a pen after filling or to blot writing. The bottle has a small basin at the bottom, to allow filling when the ink level is low.


Lamy offers special edition inks together with their special edition pens beginning with the 2014 Neon Coral Safari. I love blue inks, and the 2017 special edition Petrol, a perfect color match to the Safari pen, is an excellent addition to my growing collection of blue inks. Petrol has a deep blue-green teal color with red sheen. It has medium shading that is easily seen when used in a wide nib such as the 1.5 italic nib I used in my calligraphy doodles (photos towards the end of the review). Petrol is a highly saturated ink, but flows smoothly and is not too difficult to clean off the converter and pen.

Petrol's deep color makes it suitable for daily note taking, or for business purposes. It is sold in 50ml bottles, but ink cartridges are also available.

Petrol ink writing sample.
A dark blue-green teal ink with medium shading and red sheen, Petrol can be used daily for business.
Petrol ink swab.
A single pass of Petrol shows the depth of this dark teal ink. 
Petrol ink swab.
Twice swabbed, Petrol is dark and deep, and the sheen is now visible.
Petrol has sheen!

Below are photos of calligraphy doodles I wrote using the Petrol fountain pen/ink combination. I swapped the medium nib of my pen to a 1.5 italic to write these. Both photos are posted on my Instagram page, instagram.com/clemdionglay.


Similar to the Dark Lilac, Petrol's unique color makes it a stand out -- the deep teal changes with the light, or its background. It can look very dark in soft light or bright background, but changes to a lighter blue green against a dark background. It's a different Lamy Safari, and another one to add on to my Lamy Safari collection.

If you want to get a Petrol Safari, you better get one now. It's almost sold out, and to date, Lamy will not be making this special edition pen and ink combination anymore. Go get yourself a Petrol pen and ink now!


Lamy Safari pens are widely available from pen sellers worldwide. For a global search of Lamy retailers, visit: http://www.lamy.com/content/find_a_retailer/index_eng.html.

In the Philippines, the Petrol Safari (and other Lamy products) is made available by Times Trading Company, through branches of National Bookstore and Scribe Writing Essentials.

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