This is my third review in this forum.
For a long time I have been puzzled by one particular aspect of products, namely the pricing. If you think real hard, sometimes it’s difficult to fathom the reason for a specific price tag of a specific item. It may be related to the material, the finish, the brand concerned, manufacturing process (like manual vs mechanical assembly) and lastly it may be a complete marketing gimmick. The performances that various products at different price points produce may not be sufficiently different, but followers of one particular brand on the list will always swear by it.
With this prelude, I would be reviewing one fountain pen that is surprisingly underrated and overlooked everywhere. This pen is the ‘Franklin Covey’ Lexington (? By Cross). There is also one Franklin Covey Freemont fountain pen that i'll cover in a later review. I have heard that the famed Cross manufactures (? manufactured!) these pens for Franklin Covey, for reasons well beyond the grasp of my little brain. This may be their attempt to take a shot at the non-premium low cost fountain pen market, but actually benefits Franklin Covey as they take both the name and the money.
I chose Lexington black for its attractive looks and cheap price.
I became a fan of this after the nib simply knocked me out with its performance.
The Franklin Covey Freemont Red and Franklin Covey Lexington Black
1. Appearance & Design (8/10): Lexington Black is a beautiful fountain pen with symmetrical torpedo like shape. Both the ends are pointed with a swollen mid-section. The body is made of black lacquer and both the cap and the section are made of polished metal. There is a chrome coloured pointed finial attached to the lower end of black lacquer body. Both this appendage and the top of cap have four rings engraved over them. Other models of Lexington have chrome metal body along with golden or chrome trim. The lower end of the cap is mostly flushed with the body. The chrome top and bottom with shiny black middle creates an attractive contrast. This along with the pleasant shape makes this pen appealing. The clip is a curved standard clip with Franklin Covey engraved on it. This branding is accompanied by a small target sign sitting before the name. The cap closes with an assuring click. It posts well over the pointed finial and remains fairly secure. Overall the design looks very modern and professional. The design feature I don’t like is the glossy section part. This causes the finger to slip under humid weather conditions. Also ugly looking scratches are formed after some usage. I have tried to cap the pen with utmost care and gentleness, but still the cap will scratch along the section no matter how gently it is handled. There is a groove just beneath the nib on the section, but it doesn’t create any problem while gripping. In any case a glossy metallic section will create more problems while gripping than any other design features.
Notice the rings engraved on top and bottom, the brand name and the little target sign, also scratches over the metallic section due to usage
2. Construction & Quality (9/10): The materials are of good quality. The body is well polished and sturdy. But this lacquer model attracts scratches quite easily. The cap and section is made of strong metal. This pen feels well-built and strong in hand. It has quite some weight to it and that makes the feel all the more premium than the cost would suggest.
That is one gorgeous pen, isn't it!
3. Weight & Dimensions (9/10): The dimensions are as follows
Pen Length Capped 14o mm
Pen Length Uncapped 120 mm.
Pen Length Posted 154 mm
Average Barrel diameter 10 mm in the middle, tapering at both ends
Weight 27 gm. approximately
This pen feels very comfortable and well balanced both posted and unposted. The shape and balance is perfect for long writing sessions.
From left: Kaweco Classic sports, Parker Vector Standard CT, Rotring Espirit and Franklin Covey lexington
4. Nib & Performance (10/10): The nib is ‘the factor’ for liking this pen. It is a monochrome unbranded nib. There is no breather hole in it, two diverging lines curve outward on both side of middle groove. ‘Iridium point’ is all that is written on the nib. It performs very well. It’s very smooth although there is a hint of feedback that helps to control the hands better. I’m not one of those persons who constantly obsess with nibs, but still it’s one of the best nibs that I have. It will glide over any surface including cheap papers, and there is no feathering, of flow abnormality. The nib has very little flex.
5. Filling System & Maintenance (7/10): This pen is supposed to take ‘international cartridges’, but I never tried any. I received one Franklin Covey cartridge with the pen and reused the same by filling it with a syringe. Later I was able to fit one ‘Jinhao’ standard converter with this pen. The converter wouldn’t suck ink while attached to the section, so I filled the converter separately and then fixed it to the section. It never caused any flow problem. Due to metallic section, there is no way to use this pen as eyedropper.
Note the Jinhao converter used by me
6. Cost & Value (10/10): This pen is valued at INR 1000-1100 (22$ ). It’s a total giveaway at that price. If the Cross part is true, then in fact you are getting a genuine cross made pen at such a low price.
7.Conclusion (Final score, 53/60): By this time it should be clear why I embarked on the musings about pricing and performance. A cross pen gets ubiquitous attention and laurels whereas a cheaper product coming out of the same production line gets no attention. It’s the way this world works. But a deeper look at the product may prompt many to appreciate the hidden beauties. Performance wise this fountain pen is hard to beat. The slippery section and inconsistent filling mechanism are the only problems in the way to achieve a perfect score. This pen is widely available in amazon.
Edited by Samrat, 30 May 2016 - 21:55.