This is my first first review, although by now I've owned and used quite a few fountain pens. Franklin Christoph is one brand I've found myself going back to - perhaps it's their exceptional customer service, perhaps it's the quality of their pens, or perhaps it's because they ship worldwide for free.
I had seen a "Smoke & Ice" version of their Model 40, and had been thinking of getting one for a while. So when I saw they're releasing a similar smoke & ice version of their flagship Model 02 (Intrinsic), I just had to get one!
Appearance, Material & Design
I'll let the photos do the talking!
The pen really looks & feels like a quality product. One thing you notice when you hold the hefty-looking pen for the first time is how light it actually is.
You see demonstrators all the time, but the whole concept of "Ice" (glossy transparent acrylic on the outside, textured inside) on this model is simply stunning! So much so that you cannot help but convert this to an eyedropper. The "smoke" parts (section, finial) are also nice, they have a subtle glow when held to light.
The design is quite interesting. The placement of the threads at the end of the section makes the pen comfortable to hold (without the threads getting in the way when you hold the section). Moving the threads in the cap to the very inside means the cap can be posted quite deep - making the posted length not much longer than capped length. Writing with the Model 02 feels about the same posted or not. You get a slight feeling of insecurity when you post the pen - I'm a little hesitant in pushing the cap down really firmly, the transparent barrel makes it look fragile (although I'm sure it isn't). I also wouldn't want scratches on the end of that beautiful barrel
To me, the nib is the most important part of a pen. However well a pen is constructed, if it doesn't write well, it's just an expensive paperweight. This is where the Model 02 moved from "eye candy" to a fantastic writer. Franklin-Christoph offers Mike Masuyama nibs for a small fee, and they're amazing! I've used standard round nibs in all my pens until recently. Then I tried the Masuyama Medium Cursive Italic when I purchased a Model 27 earlier. Let's just say I cannot see myself going back to round nibs any more! I ordered a gold M-CI nib with the Model 02. It writes very well, but a little too wet for my liking, so I ordered an additional steel nib that writes somewhat dry - it's super smooth, and now this pen is just right for my writing style!
Standard cartridge/converter, but the material pretty much forces you to convert it to an eyedropper. The increased ink capacity doesn't hurt - another incentive to use this as a daily writer. I know it's a big risk, but a bit of silicone grease and a leap of faith, it's done. Let's see how it holds up over time. The ink I'm using (my absolute favourite, Noodler's Liberty's Elysium) would possibly make it a nightmare to clean later, but that's a bridge I'll cross when I get to it
At $180 for a unique pen with a Masuyama nib ($90 additional for the gold nib), one that can be used as a daily writer (one that you'd want to keep using), I'd say it's pretty good value.
This is my favourite pen, one that I look forward to using the next time. It's wonderful to hold in your hand, and just as great to write with. Add Franklin Christoph's lifetime warranty and exceptional customer service, this ticks all the right boxes for me.