4.15.2015

How to Spot a Knock-Off Lamy Safari

Yes, they do exist.

Most pen collectors are aware of Mont Blanc counterfeit pieces that exist, and there would be plenty of motivation to knock-off an expensive Mont Blanc pen. Counterfeiting a $30 Lamy Safari, however, takes many by surprise. Consider that almost every fountain pen user usually has at least one Safari and the value of the limited edition colors skyrocket once they become sell out in stores. Coupled with the fact that these pens are made from injection-molded plastic and you have an opportunity for a counterfeit market.

Lets Compare a Genuine vs Fake Safari

Case in point is this 2011 limited edition Aquamarine that has been selling for anywhere from $80 used to $275 on eBay for a brand new piece. As a business, it is frustrating to see other competitors worldwide are deeply undercutting the price of such a great-selling pen. So, we decided to do research and test order an inexpensive Lamy Aquamarine that we had found from a Chinese source through eBay.

We compared it directly against a brand new Safari Aquamarine that we had obtained through Lamy USA directly back in 2011. We put together a quick video to compare the two pens.


Major Points of Distinction

The impressions of the injection molded plastic on the knock-off are more shallow than the genuine article. This is most noticeable on the cross at the top of the cap, the LAMY logo on the side of the barrel and the "Germany" imprint on the bottom of the barrel.

The retainer ring on the knockoff only has imprinting on the outer side of the paper ring. It also is more degraded than the original. Please note that the printing on the outside of the ring is not the ultimate distinguishing factor of being a knock-off pen. It was simply a point of distinction between this particular model and the counterfeit. I've received feedback from several folks who have seen this video and got nervous, seeing their Safari retainer ring did not have printing on the inside. Real Safari pens do sometimes have the printing on the outside only. Please take into account all the other factors mentioned in this post and in the video to make your determination of real vs. fake.

The counterfeit comes with a Z24 converter that is also a knock-off and is a bit rougher to turn the piston mechanism. As you can see in the video, a metal ring also comes off the converter very easily.

The Lamy Nib on a genuine model has a darker imprint of LAMY & the nib size designation. The counterfeit Lamy Safari nib has a lighter engraving and can have a slit that is off center to the nib's breather hole.

How to Avoid Buying a Counterfeit Safari

Buy your Lamy Safari pens from an authorized, trusted fine writing retailer. If a listing for a Safari is going for 40% off or more of the retail price, it is usually too good to be true.

Better yet, buy from us at Goldspot! (shameless plug)

6 comments:

  1. I am looking at over two dozen of those spacer rings, which I still have in my possession. None of them have printing on the interior; it is all on the perimeter. I have never purchased a pen on the big A, so I have no experience with those products. It would be a long stretch to suggest that my collection of 50 plus Al Star and Safaris is comprised of counterfeits. Moreover, I don't recall seeing a ring with the dual printing. There are more reliable indicators of authenticity.

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  2. All of the Safaris and Al-Stars I own had a small amount of blue ink left behind from Lamy's nib-testing process, which I had to flush out prior to use. Do the counterfeits also mimic this attribute of the genuine article?

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    1. Good observation. The counterfeit actually did not look like it was tested beforehand, so it had no blue ink residue like the genuine Lamy pens would.

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  3. Pretty certain I have a knockoff as well. Noticed that the breather hole is closer to the nib tip on the fake and has a slightly off-center slit also.

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  4. Very misleading article. As an official Lamy retailer I can categorically state that Lamy pens DO NOT have printing on the inside of the separator cap.

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    1. The point of the article was not to focus on one particular aspect of a possible fake, but to highlight several key differences that are apparent when looking at a fake versus the genuine article. Not only was the printing missing from the other side, but the ring itself was in poor condition and seemed to deteriorate after removing it from a brand new pen.

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