When someone says, it’s new and improved, my first instinct is to ditch the old and get the new. Suddenly what I have seems inferior. I hate this feeling! What is it about the urge to upgrade? The lure of new features, tweaks to make the user experience smoother, glitches resolved, a rounded corner, a catchier return, in all a better machine, right? Sometimes the march of progress brings a clearly superior product. But often the perceived need for new is just that.
If we resisted the tossing of the old and made do with what we had, where would the incentive be to keep the factories open? As Steinbeck warned us, the monster must be fed. If it does not grow, it dies. Something like that. OK, this is supposed to be a typewriter review, not Commie propaganda, and the product in question hails from Switzerland, the bastion of neutrality. The Hermes 2000.
First, I’d like to meet the marketing madman who came up with this numbering scheme. How’d they skip from 1 to 2000? If there were a Hermes 1000, that might make sense, but as far as I can tell, no such machine exists. The Hermes 2000 was introduced in the 1930s, so perhaps 2000 made it sound like a machine that was decades ahead of its time. And if you just go on the looks of a Hermes 3000, the revamped design suggests a leap of a 1,000 years. This reasoning makes more sense when you consider their ultra-portable was dubbed, The Rocket. Combine the far-out numbering with the crazy-cool color, and yeah, this is Futurama. It’s a machine DeLorean or Disney would use.
What seemed to launch it all was the 2000. While it was still boxy like many of its competitors, by the 1950s its trademark green keys stood out. And this is what makes a Hermes typewriter such a special breed. The keys feel unlike any other typewriter. They’re cupped, soft and the action is supple, quiet and assured. It just feels good to rest your fingers on the keys. Plus, the cool green soothes and draws you in. It’s refreshing like a mint sprig.
OK, it’s a great machine. But how does it compare to the new and improved 3000? Besides the obvious design leap from pretty good to far-out, the 2000 feels snappier and the carriage lighter. While I like the Hermes touch, the 3000 always felt like a heavy machine. The 2000 still has the soft touch, but lighter and quicker. What’s not as light in the 2000 is the carriage shift. While it’s not bad, I’m more of a basket shifted fan. The soundproofing in the 3000 is super-stealth, compared to the lesser padded 2000. If disturbing the neighbors is your concern, the 3000 is one of the quietest ones around. Perhaps due to the entire frame wrapped from top to bottom. It’s mute. The 2000 is still a bit loud. But nothing a solid felt pad can’t resolve.
Bottom line: if you’re after that elusive Hermes touch, but are not enchanted by the 3000 design and want a traditional look with some design flair, get the 2000. You’ll probably save some bucks, as well.