This Just In: Franklin-Christoph Model 02 Intrinsic Gemstone

Franklin Christoph Model 02 fountain pen in Gemstone acrylic
Franklin-Christoph Model 20 Intrinsic Gemstone

The Franklin-Christoph Model 02 Intrinsic, in Gemstone acrylic came to my attention in a recent Franklin-Christoph email blast. I usually either just delete these marketing emails, or save them for when I want to catch up on what’s happening. I happened to open this one soon after it arrived. The photo was gorgeous and immediately caught my attention. I didn’t really read the email, just clicked through to the website and the pen. I knew I liked F-C pens and the Model 02 specifically, so I decided quickly, and didn’t take a day or two to consider it. It’s probably good that I didn’t wait since the pen is now sold out. I don’t pay too much attention to Franklin-Christoph these days, but my impression is that a lot of their pens are short runs of unique acrylics, which may or may not repeat. This is one reason I don’t pay too much attention to them, it’s exhausting trying to keep up.

It’s the green and red in the gemstone material that caught my eye. I’m not a fan of blue. While there are blue specks, it’s the least visible color. Or, my brain reflexively suppresses it. In any case, I wasn’t too concerned about the blue. I ordered the pen late Monday afternoon, and it was in my hands on Friday.

Unboxing and First Impressions

When I unboxed the fountain pen and opened the zipper pouch I was a little disappointed. The gemstone material didn’t “pop” like it did in the photos. I was in very subdued, indirect lighting. Under good photography lighting the material certainly does pop, so there was no misdirection. The acrylic also looks much brighter under my normal desk lighting. I’ve gotten past my initial disappointment and the first impression has worn off.

First Ink

Franklin Christoph Model 02 Gemstone fountain pen with pouch

The Model 02 comes with a pen pouch rather than the traditional clamshell or presentation box. While I probably won’t use the pouch a lot, it’s certainly more practical packaging than a box I’ll never use. It is all in a small cardboard box that provides protection and structure for shipping, so it’s not just the pouch. A converter is provided, along with one blue and one black cartridge.

So I removed the cartridge and flushed out the section with a bulb syringe. I returned the cartridge and left the pen in my Penwell while I cooked, ate, and cleaned up after supper. So, well over an hour. Still no ink could reach paper. The ink cartridge went into the garbage. The pen got another quick flush and I shook out the water into a cloth. Then the converter went on and I filled the pen with Waterman Intense Black. If the pen has any issue with Waterman ink it’s going back.

My disappointment grew as I tried to ink the pen. I like to avoid waste and use the included cartridge as the first ink. I picked the black cartridge as the first ink and popped it into the pen. I tried a couple Franklin-Christoph inks when they first introduced their own ink line, and I didn’t like them. Because of that I almost skipped the cartridges, and I should have. Even though the pen spent several hours nib down in my Penwell, and got some help from me, the ink never reached the business end of the nib.

I was very pleased when the Model 20 wrote perfectly with the first stroke. The extra-fine nib is nice and smooth, with a line that’s true to the nib size. The pen wouldn’t be going back.

Using the Model 20 Intrinsic

Franklin Christoph Model 02 Gemstone in a Penwell Traveller.

The pen can be capped/uncapped in less than one rotation, about 3/4 of a turn. The threads are at the bottom of the section, just above the nib. They are thick threads. At one time F-C called them block threads although I haven’t seen that term recently. They are a bit of a pain when I bottle fill with the converter attached. The ink gets into the threads and needs to be aggressively wiped off with a soft towel. My impression is more ink is wasted than in other pens, since the ink can’t be easily swiped back into the bottle, and the threads collect more ink than a flat section. With a typical section I usually “scrape” it along the bottle top to get some ink back into the bottle. I may be overestimating the lost ink (I’m not about to figure out a way to measure it), and in any case, it’s a small amount.

I still have the original Model 02 (rev 1) which has the traditional higher, and smaller threads. I prefer it’s design over this one, but I can see where the original’s threads would bother some people. The current Model 02 (rev 2) is slightly thicker, which is a point in its favor. Although, I don’t notice a difference when using the pens. Both versions are comfortable. My longest writing session with the new pen has been three 8.25″ x 11.75″ pages, and it was fatigue free. I expect to easily duplicate the 2+ hours sessions I have with the original Model 02.

The Model 02 can be eyedropper filled, although I don’t plan to do that. I don’t need a large capacity these days, and I like changing up my inks.

My only real complaint is the clip. It’s extremely tight. I can’t slip it over any of my pen case material. That’s not a huge issue since the clip fits inside the pen slot, and stays secure. I can slip it over a thin shirt pocket, but it’s a two-handed operation. The tight grip makes it extremely secure.

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 Intrinsic Gemstone

Wrapping Up

Franklin-Christoph says they tune and test the nibs on all the pens they sell. I can believe it. The extra-fine steel nib is a smooth and consistent writer. The Gemstone material, while subdued in indirect lighting, really sparkles when there’s any direct light hitting it. It doesn’t have the depth of my Kanilea Kona Cherry, but it is less than half the price. I can get lost staring into the Kona Cherry. That doesn’t happen with the Gemstone Model 20, but the Gemstone acrylic still makes me smile.

Despite the initial disappointments, I’m extremely happy with the Franklin-Christoph Model 20 Intrinsic with Gemstone material and an extra-fine nib. My Lamy Aion Dark Green has been my daily workhorse for a few weeks. Once the Aion goes dry (very soon) the Model 20 will take over and it will have a chance to show me what it can do. I’m looking forward to it.

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 Intrinsic Gemstone (EF)
Franklin-Christoph Model 20 Intrinsic Gemstone (EF)

Saying Goodbye: Sometimes It’s Not That Hard

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 medium nib Tiger Red body

On Wednesdays in March I’ve been posting Goodbye articles about pens that I sold off the week before. Usually, it’s been a pen that I felt I should like, or did like at one time, but its history of non-use made it evident that it wouldn’t find a place in my regular rotation. I had to force the logical side of my brain to take control and let the pen go..

No such problem with the four pens sold last week. The three Franklin-Christophs were long-unused, but unlike some other Franklin-Christophe I didn’t feel the slightest urge to ink them up. The same with the Kaweco Sport, although that was more because it was one of three Sports, and I liked the other two more.

The three F-C pens had a combined 16 1/2 years in my accumulation, yet had only been used a total of 8 times. It’s no surprise that most of those uses were when the pens were new(ish).

I had two Model 20 pens and decided to keep one. But that was mainly because it has a history of some leaking, I didn’t want to troubleshoot the leaks, or use the pen enough to confirm it no longer leaked, so it stayed, and the other one went. I certainly don’t need both pens.

The Model 19 (my review)was another failed attempt at exploring nibs outside my comfort zone. The nib was too wide to get any regular use by me. While a new nib or a nib grind was certainly an option, the pen didn’t excite me.

The Model 29 had the distinction of kicking off what became a F-C addiction. Unfortunately, the newer Franklin-Christoph pens pushed it far out of the rotation.

While it was easy to say goodbye to these three Franklin-Christoph pens, I have a bunch of Model 02 and Model 03 pens (they are similar). I inked one up to test it, before selling, and decided I didn’t want to sell it. Eventually I’ll sell one or two of them, but for now, I can’t decide which pens or nibs to keep. I’ll put off the decision until I’ve further reduced my fountain pens and figure out which on fits into the reduced accumulation.

The Perfect Penvelope

The Prefect Penvelope

Back in the days when I made daily trips into an office I would use my Franklin-Christoph Penvelope Six case to carry my fountain pens.. True to the name it has six pen slots, but another pen can fit on each side (although with less protection) allowing an eight pen carry. Back in those days I would keep a mix of nib sizes and ink colors. Since then I’ve just loaded whatever pens were handy when I used the case. I only had a a few fountain pens inked up so I decided to ink up a selection appropriate for the Penvelope.

My Penvelope Six dates back to March 2012 and is an early model. I want to say it’s the original version of the case but I could be wrong about that. The case is boot brown leather with a rust colored heavy cloth interior. The leather attracts scuffs and scrapes which gives it a distressed look that I love. The more recent cases claim to be more resistant to scuffs, which is a downgrade in my opinion.

This isn’t a top fountain pen and ink list per se. While I certainly like all these pens and would consider them to be among my favorites, there are certain limitations imposed by the Penvelope. Plus I want a nice mix of nibs and ink. The case has openings on each side and the leather provides little support against crushing. The slots are formed with thick cloth material which isn’t safe for fragile clips. So fragile pens, such as my Sheaffer Balance II’s and vintage Sheaffers don’t travel in this case, no matter how much I like using them. Finally, there are some pens that are just too big for the case, such as my Newton Eastman.

The Prefect Penvelope - raised pens

I use fine & extra fine nibs along with three distinct ink colors for marking up documents. So at least three of the pens will need to meet these requirements. I’ll pick the rest to provide a little variety in the writing experience.

My first fountain pen choice was the Pilot Custom 823 with its fine nib (a thin Japanese fine) and Pilot Blue-Black ink. It was already inked, but it would have been picked anyway. The 823 is a great writer and so comfortable that I can write with it for hours. That said, it is the least aesthetically pleasing fountain pen that I use on a regular basis.

Joining it was the Montblanc Meisterstück Ultra Black LeGrand with Montblanc Bordeaux ink. This is my favorite ink and was an obvious choice for inclusion in the case. I always want to have this ink in at least one pen, at least until I run out. The pen is perfectly sized for my hand and the oblique medium nib meets the paper perfectly with my natural grip. The larger medium nib means I don’t use the pen for note taking. It gets used for longer, sit-down writing sessions.

My new(ish) Visconti Brunelleschi, also made it to the Penvelope. It’s another medium nib but a great writer and comfortable in my hand. I filled the pen with matching Callifolio Aurora ink.

I went with yet a third medium nib when I added the Aurora Optima Nero Perla to the case. Aurora Black seemed an appropriate ink for the pen since I wanted to add a dark ink to the case. Even though the pen looks smaller than my previous choices it’s very comfortable in my hand.

My Penvelope Six has three medium nibs and only one thin nib. It’s time for me to fill out the case with thin nibs.

The Fisher of Pens Hermes with a fine nib was my next choice. The pen is a tall one but does fit comfortably in the case. I wanted a green ink both to match the pen and because I like green inks. Montblanc Irish Green is usually my choice, but this time I went with P.W. Akkerman #28 Hofkwartier Green. This ink is beginning to rival Irish Green as my go to green ink.

The sixth choice is my favorite fountain pen. It may be sixth on this list but there was never any doubt it would be included. The Visconti Homo Sapien Bronze Age with its extra fine nib was picked. I wanted some more color so picked P.W. Akkerman #12 Mauritshuis Magenta ink.

The Blue-Black ink in the Custom 823 along with the Magenta and Green inks in the Homo Sapien and Hermes provide a nice color selection for marking up any documents, but they’re also suitable for note taking and just about any other writing that I do.

Just because it’s a Penvelope Six doesn’t mean I have to stop here. There’s room for a couple more pens.

I loaded the Kaweco Brass Sport (extra fine) with a Visconti Red cartridge. I never know when I’ll want a red ink. The pen is short enough to be completely covered along the side of the case.

The final pen was the Sailor Pro Gear Regency Stripe which was already inked with a waterproof ink. I probably wouldn’t have picked it if it wasn’t already inked, although I did want a waterproof ink and I really like the pen. But it’s a little out of place and unprotected along the side of the case.

There was one fountain pen I hard a hard time keeping out of the case, but I just couldn’t make a place for it. The Sailor Pro Gear King of Pen with it’s medium nib was hard to leave out. It’s a great pen but another medium nib of which I already had three. It’s also a big pen and while it does fit in a pen slot it’s a very tight fit. It’s not easy to remove and I figure all that stress on the pen as I remove it can’t be good. At the very least the cap band would probably wear down over time due to the friction from the pen slot. And last, it’s a pen I use to test new inks and I was unwilling to take an slot with an untried ink.

So is it a perfect Penvelope? For me, at this time I would say yes. It provides a nice mix of eight pens that should meet all my needs. In a month or two I may get bored with a choice or two and it will no longer be perfect, so I’ll make a change. But for now I’m happy.

The Perfect Penvelope pen selection
Perfect Penvelope Writing Samples

Ink and Pen Notes: Franklin-Christoph Model 66 with Rohrer and Klingner Blau-Schwarz

Frankln-Christoph Model 66 with extra fine and R&K Blau-Schwarz LE ink

A second desk pen went dry right after the first. My Franklin-Christoph Model 66 was filled with Rohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwarz LE ink since September 19th of last year. This ink has become standard for this pen, which I use as a eyedropper fill. It was filled the same day as the Edison Huron Grande and went dry the same day even though it holds slightly less ink. Like the Edison, it was also topped off once during the six months it was in the rotation.

The pen and ink are among my favorites and are typically problem free. There was one speed bump with the pen as March began. The pen didn’t write one morning and since it’s always been problem free I was quick to assume it was written dry. I stored the pen nib down (by chance) while waiting to be cleaned. Also by chance, I gave it another try before cleaning and it wrote. And it kept right on writing.

Other than this incident there weren’t any hard starts or skipping. They performed great together and justified why I’ve consistently paired them for nearly three years.

It’s time to give the Franklin-Christoph Model 66 a break, I have too many other pens inked up. The R&K Blau-Schwarz ink remains in the rotation, with my Visconti Homo Sapien.

Ink and Pen Notes: Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with Akkerman #28

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 stub nib with Akkerman #28 ink bottle

The Franklin-Christoph Model 20 Marietta with it’s medium stub nib is a pen that has leaked with it’s last couple of fills. This time I remembered the experience and was more cautious. I made sure the nib was firmly installed and that the converter was firmly inserted. I also kept the pen house bound so that it didn’t bounce around in a computer bag or even my pocket.

I inked the fountain pen up with P.W. Akkerman #28 Hofkwartier Groen back on March 13th. By the 17th enough ink had accumulated in the cap to be noticeable and some had transferred to the section on its way to my fingers. As before, there’s no obvious leak and it seems to be coming through the feed.

Leaking pen aside, I enjoyed this combination. This is the first Akkerman ink that I’ve liked enough to know I will gladly use it again. It performed well in this stub nib.

I’ll refill the Franklin-Christoph Model 20 with Athena Sepia which was it’s first ink and the only one that didn’t leak. I do expect it to now leak, but we’ll see.

There’s no nib close-ups in the photos since I flushed the pen before taking the photos. For nib close-ups see this previous post.

Franklin-Christoph Model 20 stub nib with Akkerman #28 ink writing sample