First off, I’m going to gush a bit about the body of the Lamy Aion. The photos and descriptions truly don’t do justice to the hard-anodized black finish; it makes you just want to hold the pen, and adds a satisfying amount of grip. The section also has a more velvety texture that adds to this. The anodized coating feels incredibly durable and functional but is also more elegant than you’d think, in a satisfying minimalist way. It feels like this pen will hold up to every day carry and punishment for years without showing any sign of wear thanks to the tough coating — but I have heard reports that people are able to chip it or scratch it with metal-bodied pens. I think it’s a pen that might actually benefit from a little wear to give it the wabi-sabi aesthetic. Do be careful not to put the Aion in a pocket with soft plastic pens though or it might scratch them.
Now, it is a large and moderately heavy pen, but balances perfectly unposted so you don’t feel the weight or size. It just settles naturally into your hand and the relatively thick section helps with ergonomics. It posts (not very firmly), but you probably won’t want to — the balance becomes back heavy and the unbalanced extra weight makes it awkward.
There’s a number of small polish points on the body – the threads are smooth and the machining flawless. The clip is tight and springy (but not excessively).
I wish I could say the same of the nib. When it arrived the EF nib suffered from hard starts and moved so roughly that it felt more like a cheap ballpoint than a fountain pen. Lamy makes a big deal about the new nib but aside from the flaws it didn’t seem that different from the other Lamy steel nibs — maybe a tiny bit more spring and a minuscule amount of line variation. Which is a small plus since Lamy nibs are the definition of nails. But the more I used the pen, the more the roughness irritated me.
Unfortunately I made the mistake of ordering from a European vender after Lamy delayed shipping the Aion to the US, so I had to fix this myself rather than falling back on a warranty or Goulet customer service. I ended up polishing the nib a bit, flossing it lightly, swapping inks to something wetter, and washing the nib under soap and water. None of this helped much, so I swapped in a Lamy Safari M nib and went to town with that (great writing experience). Eventually I swapped the original EF back and lo-and-behold I loved it — the roughness was mostly gone, leaving a tiny bit of pleasant feedback.
And then the nib problems came back. I’ve finally resorted to swapping in the EF nib from a Wing Sung 6359. This Al Star clone uses a Lamy compatible nib and feed — you do need to gently open the mounting brackets up a bit because the Wing Sung nib is tighter than the Lamy, but it works beautifully. For the cost of a $2 Chinese pen, I have a lovely, smooth nib with a touch of softness and line variation and no hard starts. The new nib imparts a precise, controlled feel when writing. Lamy, take notes: you made a great pen but your nib quality control is being beaten by Chinese pens at a fraction of the price.
Now that the nib issues are sorted out, this is one of my favorite everyday carry pens, and a pleasure to use for extended writing.
Overall, the Aion may cost a bit more than a Safari or Al Star, but you definitely feel like you’ve gotten your money’s worth. This one gets my enthusiastic recommendation as a next-level pen, as long as you make sure it has a solid nib. If you’re unlucky like I was, that might mean talking to the seller or swapping in a gold Lamy nib or one from a Wing Sung 6359 or 3008.