Thursday, February 8, 2018

Review: Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Fountain Pen Needlepoint Nib @1901FC

At the DC Pen Show in 2017, I was fortunate enough to bring home a Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis in the new Garnet color, complete with a gold Masuyama Needlepoint nib. WOW. What a combo! I'm excited to share this with you because I don't have many fine nibs (or extra, extra fine nibs), and there are few super fine nibs that I really enjoy. This is one of them.
Review Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Fountain Pen Needlepoint Nib @1901FC 16
ABOUT

Body material: Acrylic
Trim: None
Nib material: 14kt gold
Filling System: Standard international cartridge/converter, eyedropper-capable
Cap: Threaded
Posts: Yes, friction
Length (capped): 160.2 mm/6.30″
Length (uncapped): 152.9 mm/6.02″
Length (posted): 175.0 mm/6.90″
Diameter (barrel): 8.3 – 14.2 mm/0.33″ – 0.56″
Diameter (section): 10.0 – 12.2 mm/0.39″ – 0.48″
Weight (all): 24 g
Weight (cap): 4 g
Weight (body): 20 g
Price: $279.50 USD (with Masuyama Needlepoint grind)
Where to buy: Franklin-Christoph

PACKAGING

I really like Franklin-Christoph's packaging. I hate having a bunch of pen boxes, even the gorgeous, really interesting ones. I just don't have space or interest in keeping them. This Model 66 Stabilis came in a black leather, zippered pouch with a soft suede-like interior. The pouch and pen were delivered in a simple, light, recyclable white cardboard sleeve. Not only is it less wasteful than a larger clamshell box, it also weighs less (for shipping). The zippered pouch is something that can be used as a pen (or pencil) pouch, or it can be used to lend a friend a pen... it has more than one use! Also included: a warranty card and a stamped nib-modification card.
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APPEARANCE

The Model 66 has been around for awhile now at Franklin-Christoph. This 66 Stabilis is a desk pen; it is long with a round cap and barrel that tapers to a rounded-off end, and a blunt top. The finial is engraved with the FC "F" logo, with four diamonds. This is a clipless model, so the cap is smooth. The barrel is round except for one flat facet, which is engraved with Franklin-Christoph Model 66. The section is smooth and round, with an hourglass shape and block threads at the front. The section is a little on the small side, compared to the rest of the pen.
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The Garnet is a gorgeous pearlescent, flecked deep red. It looks like a fabulous desk pen with its long, tapered shape. The pen is polished so it is shiny and bright. I think it's a beautiful color.

NIB & PERFORMANCE

This nib is a 14kt gold nib, ground to a Needlepoint by Mike Masuyama. It starts as an extra-fine (if not XXF). Here's what Franklin-Christoph says about it:
Needlepoint nibs are carefully ground to a smaller tip. Needlepoints are commonly used in printing and numbering with small clean lines. We recommend these nibs for this kind of specialty writing/drawing. Our needlepoints are ground to approx .25mm. Try our extra-fine for a more ideal nib for use in script writing which has a .35mm - .4mm . 
The nib has a single slit, a round breather hole, it is laser engraved with the Franklin-Christoph logo, and it's engraved with 14K-585 EF. I was able to sit down with Scott at the DC pen show and he smoothed this nib slightly to my taste. Let's not forget this is a needlepoint so it can only get so smooth. The nib is medium wet but a wet Needlepoint, if that makes sense. It's on the wet side for such a fine writer. I would expect a dry writer to keep the line fine enough but the ink flow feels ideal for comfort and line crispness. Drying times are fast so I can definitely see how many enjoy this nib for journals, planners, fast note taking, and drawing.
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The nib is as smooth as a Needlepoint can be. I actually find it surprisingly enjoyable to use. The pen writes with no pressure so the nib does not feel particularly soft. With a tiny bit of pressure, you can achieve some line variation but I would not recommend this as you may spread the tines - even a slight amount of spreading will change the Needlepoint.

The nib puts down clean, precise lines and makes for a great daily writer. It makes my handwriting look fairly hideous so I need more practice.
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The section has quite a few threads, so give it a bit of silicone grease and it holds up well as an eyedropper. I have not eyedroppered this particular pen but I have eyedroppered my Model 66 Stabilis Antique Glass without issue. I have not done this one because the nib is so fine that an eyedropper filled version of this pen would take forever to empty.

IN HAND

This model does not have a clip. It would be too large to fit into a pocket even if it did. The sections on FC pens are quite comfortable for me. The block threads at the front are not sharp, and the indented shape keeps my grip in place. I do not find this section slippery at all, even during long writing sessions. The ridge from the section to the barrel is a little sharp.
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Top to bottom: Edison Menlo Drawfiller, Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis, Franklin-Christoph Pocket 45, Ryan Krusac Legend L14, Lamy Safari.
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Unposted, I find the pen incredible comfortable. It is long but tapers so it doesn't feel blocky, it's not too thick, not too heavy, and it's well balanced. I love it! I barely have to grip the section, and it requires almost no pressure to write (though it depends on what nib you are using). Depending on the orientation, I can feel the flat side of the barrel in my hand, but it's not sharp.

The cap can be posted by friction. It is a small cap, so it doesn't add much length or weight to the back of the pen. It isn't super secure unless you give it a small twist - then it's snug and won't fall off. I don't find it top heavy, just a tad long. I prefer to use the pen unposted and hold the cap as I usually do with unposted pens.

PROS & CONS

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OVERALL

I'm not well versed in Needlepoint nibs. I don't have many very fine writers so this is a new exploration. I can say I was not horrified at all, and in fact, I was rather surprised by how smooth and pleasant the nib was to use. It's reliable, consistent, and it's a great nib option on a gorgeous pen. The model is comfortable, well-designed, and the finish is beautiful.

The price may seem high and obviously, it's not an inexpensive pen. This is a gold nib, perfected by a true nib master, and Franklin-Christoph is a solid company to support and purchase from. Great customer service, great pens.





I received this item free of charge so I could review it here for you. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion. No affiliate links.

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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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