Review: Franklin-Christoph Model 25

Franklin-Christoph Model 25 on a mirror

The Franklin-Christoph Model 25 Eclipse is a pen I bought back in September 2012. The Model 25 turns fountain pen design on its head, literally. When clipped in a pocket or pen case it’s nib down, unlike just about every other fountain pen ever made. While not unique for fountain pens in general, the Eclipse has a semi-hooded nib which makes it unique for Franklin-Christoph.
Because of the nib design the nib isn’t easily replaceable. F-C recommends sending it to them for a nib replacement. They also say they’ll email specific instructions upon request. Spoiler: I love my nib and have never considered replacing it.

Why I Got It

Another simple but unique design. The pen is designed to be carried nib down and that intrigued me. I’m not a fan of hooded nibs, I like the look of a nice big nib, but the semi-hooded nib peeks out enough to satisfy me.
This was also my first ever Mike Masuyama nib. I picked the medium stub since I wanted a nib I knew that I would like since swaps are a hassle.
While the pen currently has a choice of a creme or smoke band, at the time I ordered the pen the creme band was the only choice. Even though I like the smoke design I’d probably stick with creme even if I was ordering today. It provides a nice accent to the pen.

What I Got

Franklin-Christoph Model 25 nib

A Franklin-Christoph Model 25 Eclipse with a steel Mike Masuyama medium (0.9 mm) stub. The pen is made of black acrylic with a rhodium plated clip and a creme band. The pen is a cartridge/converter fill. There’s metal in the barrel so an eyedropper conversion wouldn’t be advised. Franklin-Christoph also warns that the creme band will also darken if used as an eye dropper.
The semi-hooded nib allows for a small cap which can be slipped under the clip to “post”. If you consider this posting, then this is one pen I do post. If the clip wasn’t enough to prevent rolling, the cap will certainly prevent it when slipped under the clip.
The Franklin-Christoph logo is engraved in the finial on the top of the barrel. The creme band is just below the clip band. The spring loaded clip is rhodium plated and has the four Franklin-Christoph diamonds engraved in it. The clip ring has a very small “Franklin-Christoph” engraved on the back. The clip is attached to a clip ring rather than molded into the acrylic. The clip is firm and I usually need two hands to slide it into a pocket. Once clipped, it’s firmly attached to the pocket.
The barrel seam is noticeable in the photo at the top of this post. But in most normal room lighting it’s not noticeable. It’s manufactured to a high standard and the seam is very smooth.
Despite being carried nib down didn’t have any problem with ink in the cap. There hasn’t been any more ink than other traditional pens that are also bouncing around in my bag, and often less ink. Just a few drops on occasion.

The Numbers

  • Length Capped: 5.4655″ (138.83 mm)
  • Length Uncapped: 5.1980″ (132.03 mm)
  • Length Posted: same as uncapped
  • Section Length: N/A
  • Section Diameter (near nib): same as barrel
  • Section Diameter (below threads): N/A
  • Section Diameter (mid-section): N/A
  • Cap Diameter: 0.4710″ (11.96 mm)
  • Barrel Diameter: 0.4710″ (11.96 mm)
  • Weight: 0.7 oz (20 g)
  • Weight (body only): 0.6 oz (18 g)

Writing With The Pen

The semi-hooded nib would be extremely hard to clean if dipped in an ink bottle. I fill the pen either by dipping the converter into the ink for filling or I use a syringe to fill the converter.
The cap needs just under 1 1/2 rotations to remove and get the pen ready to write. I generally clip the cap under the clip when writing with the pen for anything other than a quick note. The pen is always carried or stored nib down so dry nibs are next to impossible. Even when stored flat on my desk for a night it’s ready to write in the morning.
I can pause for about 15 minutes before the ink evaporates off the semi-hooded nib, although this will vary by ink. (I used Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine.) Even after 15 minutes the skip was only the first stroke and the flow picked right up.
I love the medium stub. Even though fine and extra fine nibs are my preference the medium stub is still small enough for my writing and the stub adds some character to the writing. I do need to slow down just a bit to get the most from the nib, which isn’t a bad thing. But even if I go faster the nib is still problem free, it’s just my writing that suffers. I get some nice line variation from the nib and, depending on the ink, some nice shading. It’s more subtle than the 1.1 mm stub but unlike the 1.1 mm stub this one fits my writing. While the difference between .9 mm and 1.1 mm seems minor, on the nib it’s like night and day for me. Obviously I can’t write as small as an extra fine but the medium stub feels natural for me. The 1.1 mm stub requires a conscious effort to change my writing when I use it.
The same clip that makes it hard to slip into a pocket also securely holds the cap in place while I’m writing. I’ve never had it slip off.
This is a thin pen so I expected it to bother me when I’m writing, But since there’s no traditional section and I grip the barrel I haven’t had a problem. I find I can write for about 90 minutes before feeling any fatigue.
The pen is is a comfortable weight, with much of the weight coming from the metal clip. But this doesn’t make the pen feel top heavy since it sits in the web of my hand (between thumb and forefinger) when being used.
The medium stub nibs falls just short of being a daily writer for me since it’s not as forgiving as an extra fine. Using it to take notes at a meeting where my writing is quick isn’t the best use for it. But using it to draft a letter or web post is a perfect use for it. I slow down just a little which also allows me more time to think before I write.

Cleaning The Pen

Cleaning the hooded nib would be a major hassle so I’ve never dipped it into an ink bottle. So with that caveat I can say the pen has been easy to flush out after use. I frequently used the pen before getting the ultrasonic cleaner and it flushes easily with just the converter. It’s never been in the UC. A bulb syringe makes flushing faster but the collar around the feed is high so I would have to use a cutoff cartridge to get a good seal with by bulb syringe, otherwise water squirts back at me. So the old school method of using the converter to flush the pen is the easiest.

Inks Used

I’ve used many bottled inks since getting this pen. All worked well and were problem free. For this review I spent a month with a Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine cartridge in the pen. This was the first cartridge ever used in the pen. I’m about half way through the long international cartridge and it’s been skip free. I also let it sit for an enforced 5 days and it wrote immediately. Not really a surprise since it was stored in its natural nib down position.

Wrapping Up

The pen is a unique yet practical design. I used it a lot in the months after I got it and enjoyed every minute. But then I moved on and this pen was mostly forgotten and was last inked July 23rd of last year. That is just wrong for a nib this good so I’m glad I pulled it out for review. Over time the novelty of the pen design has warn off. So while I do like the looks of the pen I will admit the nib is more appealing than the pen. The Franklin-Christoph Model 25 Eclipse is a keeper, at least until I get a medium stub for one of my other F-C pens.

Additional Reading

Reviewed On FPN