When I first heard of Franklin-Christoph early last year, my only reaction was, “Who?”
However, Chief Enabler raved so compellingly about this unknown (to me) maker that I decided to finally look them up on the InterWebs. My initial online experience was decidedly lukewarm. I thought their pens wore overly plain, if not monochromatic clothes, and figured they wouldn’t be landing on my wish list any time soon.
Several weeks passed and Chief Enabler surprised me with a clipless Model 20 Marietta in standard Franklin-Christoph black. It looked almost too simple and felt almost too light. Almost. Yet the more I held it, the more it seemed to meld with my hand. Its voodoo oozed from its design. Being slip capped, it needed no threads on its barrel or section. This created an impeccably uninterrupted surface along its entire length, and nothing I have written with has felt this seamless or comfortable. Ever.
It initially wore a prototype black Medium nib that was tuned to flow like a monsoon flood. So wet it was that I mistook it for a BB until I read its size mark. Its lines took an eternity to dry on good paper and on the cheap stuff, it wrote like a Sharpie. Fun as this was, I couldn’t use it for my daily needs.
Many months later, I scoured the F-C website to look for a suitable replacement nib and came across a lovely version of their flagship Model 02 Intrinsic. The newly minted amber orange material bestowed a seductive character on the pen. The very moment I saw its glamour shots, I was reeled in. Chief Enabler sent a few email queries to Wake Forest and after a reasonably short wait, the goodies arrived.
The Intrinsic looked even better in hand than it did in pics. Like most F-Cs, the threads were cut at the very tip of the section in a smooth bloc pattern, removing any risk of abrading the hand as the pen is used. The flecked Cinnamaroon acrylic finial was a subtle yet perfect complement to the warm orange resin. The steel Masuyama Medium Stub was so refined and forgiving, even someone new to italics can easily find its sweet spot.
Oh, and the Marietta? An Extra Fine turned it into the perfect daily driver. It writes more like a Japanese F-M but it’s still within my comfort zone for notes and journaling.
Both pens take International cartridges or converters but a modest sliver of silicone grease unlocks their fullest potential. With no metal bits in their guts, the Marietta and Intrinsic easily morph into eyedroppers. I have a ton of ink on tap without having to worry about piston shafts or seals. Unless I’m trying out a new ink, this is how I choose to fill my F-Cs.
Simple solutions are truly the most elegant answers to most woes, and Franklin-Christoph’s prescriptions are exactly what the doctor (or enabler) require.
(These pens were purchased directly from the maker but pen geeks in Manila can look up Franklin-Christoph’s local dealer at everythingcalligraphy.com )