Pen Review - Franklin Christoph Model 65

I admit, I'm usually the last one to the party, if I even show up at all.  (Metaphorically speaking, of course - if I actually have somewhere I have to be, I'll show up at least 10 minutes early...)  There was quite a bit of buzz last week about the FC Model 65, due to great reviews over on The Pen Addict and The Gentleman Stationer.  My review comes courtesy of my friend Paul loaning me his black Model 65, and if you want to skip all the wordy bits you can head down to the bottom of this post where there is a video, though it's not my best production since my autofocus was constantly being thwarted by the highly reflective finish on the pen.

Physical presence
Let's start with the obvious, at least what will be obvious if you get this pen in your hands - it is a loooooonnnggg pen.  This is because the Model 65 is meant to be a desk pen, which in general tend to be longer in order to be more comfortable for longer writing sessions.  Luckily, it is also quite a light pen, so the extended length does not become unwieldy in any way.

L to R: Lamy Safari, Model 65, TWSBI Vac 700

As you can see in the picture above, the Model 65 is just a bit longer than the Vac 700, which is the largest pen I own and certainly not a lightweight at all.  The real feeling of the size of this pen can be seen when it is uncapped, where you can see that most of the length of the pen is in the body:

Head and shoulders above the rest

This pen does indeed post and because the cap is so short and the pen itself so light and well balanced, I found that posting did not throw off the balance of the pen at all.

I am pretty sure that the Model 65 is made from acrylic, and while it is polished to be very shiny, this pen is not slick to hold.  The material has a bit of grip to it, in a way that is hard to describe in words.  Just know that this pen never felt slippery to me, though I do not have especially sweaty hands.

Being a desk pen, the Model 65 is clipless since you don't need a clip for a pen that will never be clipped to anything...  I happen to not be the biggest fan of the aesthetics of a clipless pen, but a nice feature that was included on this one is a flattened side on the body of the pen, so that you never need to worry about things rolling away and landing nib down, as we know nice things are wont to do.  You can see this in the very first picture of the post, as well as the name of the pen engraved in said flat spot.  The engraving is very subtle when not seen in direct light, and I think the whole presentation is a very classy way of branding a pen.

Writing experience
The Model 65 takes #5 nibs, so I'm assuming that you could swap in a lot of vintage or modern nibs of that size.  However, given the huge selection of nibs that Franklin Christoph offers, including custom grinds from Mike Masuyama, I doubt you would need to do searching elsewhere to find a nib that fits your style.

The nib I tried was a basic steel M.  It was not the best nib I've ever used, but it was pleasant, smooth, and reliable, so I can't complain.  Given that even the most "boring" nib I could have used was not disappointing in any way, I would have great confidence in future FC nibs.

The section of the Model 65 has a slight hourglass shape which combines perfectly with that slight "stickiness" of the material to really lock your fingers into place and make writing very stress-free.  There is also no concern of threads getting in the way, since FC does a neat little trick of putting them at the nib end of the section, thus allowing users to hold the pen as high or low as they want and never having fingers rub on threads (though they are quite smooth on this pen anyway, so it wouldn't be an issue regardless of placement).

Filling system
Not too much to say here - this is a cartridge/converter pen, that takes standard international sizes.  Given that there are no metal parts other than the nib, you can also use it as an eyedropper and given the huge size of the pen, I would be that eyedroppering it would give a giant capacity suitable to starting the draft of an epic novel.

Closing thoughts
I like this pen.  I don't really have a need for a desk pen, but if I did I would seriously consider one of these.  My biggest problem is the cost, which I guess is a common theme around here?  It's not that I think all pens are overpriced, but this particular pen with a steel nib will run you $150, and it goes up from there if you want a gold or custom ground nib.  And for that price you are getting into other pens that come with a gold nib as a default and are also quality products (I'm thinking Pilot here, as well as a few Lamy pens).  

However, if you are in the market for a desk pen, chances are you are not looking for a "budget" item because, well, a desk pen is not the pinnacle of convenience for all-purpose use.  If that's the case, I would definitely recommend this as a desk pen, and I am hoping that when I go to the DC pen show this summer, I will be able to check out some of the other finishes that might be a bit flashier than the basic black.

And, if all those words were not quite enough (or if it was too many words), here is the review in moving picture form: