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Franklin Christoph Model 29 Bellus


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#1 gmcalabr

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 03:51

Franklin-Christoph Model 29 Bellus

 

This is a classy pen, probably more suited to formal dress than the jeans and polo shirt that I'm wearing right now.  I first saw this on one of the many tea and fountain pen blogs and it was love at first sight. I have a soft spot for anything Art Deco, especially those that are modernized on Art Deco.   I think this fits a particular niche of that look, a very slightly industrial Art Deco.

 

Aesthetics: 8/10

 

This pen is gorgeous.  Everything about it is top notch, machined and polished.  I’ll try to highlight the looks without describing everything in the pictures here.  The nib is pretty, although my biggest gripe with the pen is that the F-C logo on the nib looks a bit cheap.  It looks like F-C phoned that logo in from wherever they buy their nibs.  It's not bad, but it's the weakest point of the pen in my opinion.  Also, the nib is a bit on the smaller side, but it’s not bad or mis-fitting.

 

Back to the good: the pocket clip has a direct line to my taste in design.  It is 90% function-as-form design, 10% swept lines and pure form  Since the metal clip is a separate cast piece of metal held at the fulcrum, it does not need to curve into the cap or connect to the cap on its own like most clips.  This allows the clip to visually be its own piece at both ends.

 

And the best part: the cap closure.  This cap is held in place by a strong magnet.  There's a rotational cam mechanism around both the metal barrel end and the section allow the cap to pop off easily, but still hold tight when fully capped.  The feel of the cap slipping back onto either end is wonderful, aided by the hefty mass of the pen.

 

Oh yeah, the weight of the pen.  This is not small or light. The pen is a bit narrower than a 146, but as long or a hair longer.  For me (small hands) this is perfect.  One issue is that the cap is about 42% of the entire weight of the pen, and when posted, begins to fatigue my hand in about 5 minutes.  This pen is clearly designed for writing un-posted, and is weighted perfectly for that.  The barrel and section is plenty long enough for me to be comfortable without posting.

 

Function: (8/10)

 

As said, this is pen is too heavy to write posted for long, and that lack of fully flexible nibs isn't quite ideal.  That said, nearly everything else is positive. I ordered my pen with a steel medium stub nib, and it is one of the most buttery smooth nibs I've ever written with.  There's just a hint of line variation in the writing, which is exactly what I was aiming for; something that I could use every day and would look good, but wouldn't look like I was using a calligraphy pen.  There's also a little bit of flex in the nib, although the edges of the specialty nib grinding do not allow for much flexing without getting a bunch of tooth.

 

I will say, the writing “foot” of this nib is ground and polished very nicely, but the custom grinding work is quite visible. It does leave a bit of a scratch if you’re even a little off.  My nib is also ground on a slight angle and with a curve at the end (so that the nib isn’t writing with its full width since the right side is pulled away from the paper slightly).  I guess a picture here would be best, so I’ll have to try and grab a macro with my phone when I get back home and see what you guys think.  Overall, I hate to complain because it’s one of my favorite pens to write with.

 

And then there's the filling mechanism... yes, this is a cartridge/converter pen.  I will continue to defend these fillers due to their flexibility. Ink capacity will not be great, but I can always keep a standard international cartridge around in case.

 

Value: 9/10

 

I've written with a 146, 145, and Starwalker at the MontBlanc boutique, and I'm much more impressed with this.  At $100, there may be some other choices, but the fact that this can fairly compare with pens 3 to 5 times its price is awesome.  Also, these pens are made/assembled about 3 hours from my house, near my Alma Matter, so I feel a connection and like that I'm supporting a small local company over a big German pen maker.  Honestly, I don't know how these aren't more popular already.  Based on the value and writing experience of this pen, I absolutely plan to get the Model 25 and maybe even the 19 in the foreseeable (though not immediate) future.



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#2 thedeacon

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 05:16

That's a great FP.  The look and feel are awesome.  They are a joy to write with.  I'm still kicking myself for missing out on the 29 in radiant red.  Which color did you go with?  Any pics?


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#3 gmcalabr

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 19:33

That's a great FP.  The look and feel are awesome.  They are a joy to write with.  I'm still kicking myself for missing out on the 29 in radiant red.  Which color did you go with?  Any pics?

 

Meh, I'm not a huge fan of the red.  Too much for a more subtle pen for me.  The maroon would be nice though.

 

I ended up with the tan band.  The red is classic and very pretty, but looks just a hair too much like Rambo's bandana to me.  Still very nice.  The olive green took 2nd place.  It would be interesting to see if replacement bands could be ordered and switched out by hand...

 

No pics.  I've lost my good cameras and don't feel like uploading garbage phone pics when much much better photography is out there.  I'll have to set up my loupe on my camera lens for a close up of the writing point though.



#4 TheGreatRoe

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 19:52

 

Meh, I'm not a huge fan of the red.  Too much for a more subtle pen for me.  The maroon would be nice though.

 

I ended up with the tan band.  The red is classic and very pretty, but looks just a hair too much like Rambo's bandana to me.  Still very nice.  The olive green took 2nd place.  It would be interesting to see if replacement bands could be ordered and switched out by hand...

 

No pics.  I've lost my good cameras and don't feel like uploading garbage phone pics when much much better photography is out there.  I'll have to set up my loupe on my camera lens for a close up of the writing point though.

 

When you say "the red" are you talking about the red cap band or the red pen (limited edition, that quickly sold out)?  I have both...but there is nothing subtle about the red pen.

 

7363363_orig.jpg


Edited by dcroe05, 14 June 2013 - 19:53.

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#5 thedeacon

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 23:52

 

When you say "the red" are you talking about the red cap band or the red pen (limited edition, that quickly sold out)?  I have both...but there is nothing subtle about the red pen.

 

Are you following me just to make me drool even more over that one?  :puddle:

gmcalabr, the red FC 29 pictured is the one I was referring to.  It was gone before I found it.  I like the radiant red, it would have added a little bling to my normal collection.  To be honest, I like all of the 29 collection.  I don't think you can go wrong with any of them.


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#6 doctoralberto

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 11:43

Beautiful pen but mine got rusted at the end of section. Is a fine nib and its a little scratchy.



#7 jameswatts

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 15:14

I have one with the grey cap band and a .9 cursive Italic nib, which is a wonderful writer. I have several F-C pens, and all are exceptional.  



#8 hardyb

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Posted 15 June 2013 - 19:17

The Model 29 Belius just won the Pen World Reader Choice Award in the Most Incredible Value category per the June 2013 edition (pgs.28-30).  Second win for Franklin-Christoph in the Readers Choice poll.  Well deserved!


Edited by hardyb, 15 June 2013 - 19:18.

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#9 Newjelan

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 09:23

Well, I weakened based on your review and ordered one. Would have loved red but black will have to do. Can't wait!

#10 gmcalabr

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 03:23

 

When you say "the red" are you talking about the red cap band or the red pen (limited edition, that quickly sold out)?  I have both...but there is nothing subtle about the red pen.

 

 

 

Sorry, I was not clear.  I was, at different points, talking about both.

 

I don't particularly like the radiant red as pictured.  Agreed, there's nothing subtle about that pen.  Still very very pretty, but given the choices, I'd have the black or even the maroon body pen before the radiant red.

 

The second reference in my original review was for the red banded black body pen.  The red band looks like a bandana to me.  Still, there's something very appealing about the way F-C did it, and I'd be happy to have it in any color

 

The Model 29 Belius just won the Pen World Reader Choice Award in the Most Incredible Value category per the June 2013 edition (pgs.28-30).  Second win for Franklin-Christoph in the Readers Choice poll.  Well deserved!

 

Totally agreed.  It's not the most mature pen, since it's a C-C filler, non-factory nib/feed, and too heavy.  But for $100 compared to MB's $3-400 Starwalker, it's phenominal.  Also, huge props to F-C for offering custom ground nibs at the same price as standard if purchased with pen.

 

Well, I weakened based on your review and ordered one. Would have loved red but black will have to do. Can't wait!

 

You won't be disappointed.  I've got a wish list of pens about $2k long, and there are two other F-C's on there (25 and 19).



#11 csacks

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Posted 11 July 2013 - 22:58

I have got the 29 (with olive green stripe), and a medium stub. It is beautiful but scratchy, It works well for short writing, but it produces some feeling of tiredness on longer runs.

 

After that, I bought an orange/silver 27, with broad italic nib, lovely, but just a little bit thin to me. Unfortunately, nibs can not be interchanged in between them.

 

Probably the 29 with the broad nib would be a nicer combination.

 

Anyway, for their prices, the both are great pens. 



#12 K. Cakes

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 01:38

The Bellus is one of my absolute favorite pens.  The design is quite unique and absolutely beautiful.  I only wish they would offer neutral cap bands.  I don't especially like any of the colors offered.


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#13 TheGreatRoe

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Posted 12 July 2013 - 02:32

The Bellus is one of my absolute favorite pens.  The design is quite unique and absolutely beautiful.  I only wish they would offer neutral cap bands.  I don't especially like any of the colors offered.

 

I spoke with Scott at the Triangle Pen Show, and he said that the current 29 will be discontinued and redesigned (he said "a little" but who knows what that means).  Write him, request a neutral option.  Based on their other pens, it's certainly not a color scheme they're afraid of.


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#14 soum

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 09:15

  I'm still kicking myself for missing out on the 29 in radiant red. 

 

As per their website, the Radiant Red is in another round of production and would be available again around September, 2013. :)



#15 gmcalabr

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 15:26

 

I spoke with Scott at the Triangle Pen Show, and he said that the current 29 will be discontinued and redesigned (he said "a little" but who knows what that means).  Write him, request a neutral option.  Based on their other pens, it's certainly not a color scheme they're afraid of.

 

Interesting.  I'm curious to see how it comes out.

 

I wish I had gotten up there to see the show.    I had a bunch of stuff here in Charlotte to take care of or I would have taken the drive.  Unfortunately, Charlotte has about bunk when it comes to pens (one MB kiosk in 150 miles doesn't count for much).  Houston, as I found out last week, is quite taken care of.  +1 for Paradise Pen in Galleria, +5 points for Dromgoole's in Montrose.  Those people are really into the hobby and like to talk about it.

 

Greg



#16 K. Cakes

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 21:25

 

I spoke with Scott at the Triangle Pen Show, and he said that the current 29 will be discontinued and redesigned (he said "a little" but who knows what that means).  Write him, request a neutral option.  Based on their other pens, it's certainly not a color scheme they're afraid of.

I'll have to do that.  I believe the radiant red came with a black band, so I'm sure it could be done for the standard models. 


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#17 TheGreatRoe

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Posted 13 July 2013 - 22:09

I'll have to do that.  I believe the radiant red came with a black band, so I'm sure it could be done for the standard models. 

 

Yes it did.  Hmmmmm...that almost--almost--makes me want to try to switch the bands on my 29s.


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#18 FranklinChristoph

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Posted 04 November 2013 - 21:33

Was just reading through this thread from this summer. Wanted to let you know the 29 and 27 do have interchangeable nibs. The housing can get tight in the 29, so you may want to just pull and re-install them. But they both will unscrew with the housings holding the nib and feed and you can switch from one to the other as they are both #5 nibs. Just email us at client service@franklin-christoph.com if you have any questions. 

 

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I have got the 29 (with olive green stripe), and a medium stub. It is beautiful but scratchy, It works well for short writing, but it produces some feeling of tiredness on longer runs.

 

After that, I bought an orange/silver 27, with broad italic nib, lovely, but just a little bit thin to me. Unfortunately, nibs can not be interchanged in between them.

 

Probably the 29 with the broad nib would be a nicer combination.

 

Anyway, for their prices, the both are great pens. 


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#19 Sefter

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 20:54

Does anyone have problems with this pen drying out? I was given one and it dries out in less then a day of not being used, have to give it a good prime to get anything out of it. It is really cool, and with my larger hands it is a great fit and weight, if only it didn't dry out overnight. I think I have an older model then the one mentioned here.






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