The stockroom section of the Franklin-Christoph website always provides fountain pens of interest. This time the new(ish) Model 20 in a new Tiger Red acrylic caught my attention so I added it to my accumulation. The listing implies that Tiger Red will be a production choice but this was the first (test?) batch. I don’t really understand why it wouldn’t just be added to the regular product page since the price is the same, so I have doubts about my interpretation that the eventual “real” version will be exactly the same.
As the “This Just In” title suggests, this pen is newly arrived and barely used. I’ve had it a couple of days and probably written with it about three or four hours in total. So this is just an initial impression. I’ll be interested to see how things change when I review the pen in a few months.
The black/red acrylic doesn’t photograph easily. The black and red are very dark in most indoor lighting, at least my indoor lighting. But on close inspection, or in good lighting there is a lot of depth to the acrylic. Even though I really like the black and red combinations I was a little hesitant based on the photographs on the Franklin-Christoph website. The Tiger Red just didn’t “pop” in the photos. I worried for nothing, I love the design. No, it’s not bright and in most lighting both the red and the black are dark. But they do stand out and there’s a lot of depth.
I ended up picking a plain old medium nib for this pen. It’s hard to pass up a Mike Masuyama nib, but the ones that were available weren’t suitable for me. I went with the medium nib with the intent to get it ground to a left oblique sometime in the future. Naturally I had to use the medium nib before getting it ground. Holy cow! I really like it. It’s very smooth with great ink flow. Yes, it’s thicker than I typically prefer so I can’t use it when I want to write small or for marking up documents.
I went with the clip-less version which does have its drawbacks, such as easily rolling off a desk. But this does make the pen very light.
The signature feature of the Model 20 (a.k.a. Marietta) is the slip cap. It slides on/off and is held in place with friction. I’m still not used to the cap yet and I’m paranoid that I will crack it. The cap acrylic seems really thin when viewed through my paranoia. Cracking is a potential problem so I uncap the pen by pushing up at the base of the cap using the same hand that’s holding the pen. Since there’s no “click” when the cap is secure I do find myself not pressing the cap down enough due to fear that I’ll push down too hard. I am getting comfortable with it.
I’ve been carrying the pen in my Fodderstack XL for a couple of days. Since there’s no clip the pen does slip out if I turn the case upside down, but this hasn’t been a problem. Pulling up by the cap has removed the cap, probably due to my hesitation in recapping the pen, so I’ve begun to push the bottom of the pen up (through the material) and then grabbing it. This makes the pen ready to write faster than removing a clipped pen.
There’s no threads to interfere with the grip so the Model 20 is comfortable to hold. The pen is also very light. It’s one of the few pens that is as comfortable (to me) whether posted or unposted. Since there’s no clip the posted cap feels like an extension to the barrel. I have posted the pen a couple if times when I couldn’t hold the cap and it would roll away if I put it down.
The Model 20 is a mid-sized pen compared to other Franklin-Christoph fountain pens. It just enters the size of what I find big enough to be comfortable, but it is comfortable. I haven’t used it for any long writing sessions yet, the longest was about 20 minutes. There was no fatigue. I was initially a little concerned that the pen is too small & light for my tastes and it would be a pen I subconsciously grip too tightly, but so far that hasn’t been a problem.
My first ink for the pen is Graf von Faber-Castell Garnet Red, it seemed like this pen should have a red ink. I’ve got no complaints so far, they are working well together. My initial impression of the Franklin-Christoph Model 20 “Marietta” is very positive.
As I mentioned in the article, the vibrancy of the color varies with the light. These photos were taken in natural, indirect sunlight (near a window).