One of the problems of attending a pen show is that you come home and think, “Why didn’t I…?” There’s so much going on– so many pens and people and inks to see– that your focus tends to drift. Well, MY focus tends to drift.
When I got home from the DC Super Show, the question rolling around in my pen-brain was, “Why didn’t I spend more time with the folks from Franklin-Christoph?” They had a well-laid out set-up and were very approachable, but they were also very busy. I stopped by early on, then meant to stop back, but each time I circled by they were pretty swamped. Still, I meant to make it a point to spend more time at their booth, but somehow, I forgot. (I’m blaming that swirly hotel carpeting for messing up my concentration. It’s disorienting, I tell you!)
Happily, not long after I got back home, Franklin-Christoph announced two new Special Edition Model 27 fountain pens- Diamondline and Radiant Red. Nice looking. Great price. Here was a chance to mend the error of my ways. Tough decision, but I went with the Diamondline. Ooooooo…shiny.
The pen arrived and was as shiny and great-looking as I’d hoped. But there was one little snag. One of the included ink cartridges had somehow popped its seal and dripped a couple of spots of ink (tiny ones, but still) on the pen “cushion” inside the box. It didn’t REALLY matter, but I do keep all my boxes stored away, and I like them to be pristine. So I emailed Franklin-Christoph, explained the issue, told them that it really wasn’t a very big deal (though my OCD tendencies thought otherwise), but wondered if I could get a new box. I HAD AN ANSWER WITHIN THE HOUR. Maybe even sooner than that. A new box went out IMMEDIATELY and arrived a few days later along with a very nice Franklin-Christoph keychain. So customer service? High, high marks right there.
The Model 27 is a cartridge/converter pen, with the following dimensions (as taken from the Franklin-Christoph website)-
Narrowest portion of the grip: 0.32″
Weight: 1.65 oz/46.78 g (without ink)
It’s a fairly slim pen with a nice weighty feel. When posted, the pen feels a bit top-heavy, and this is something that Franklin-Christoph is up-front about on the product page (see the Designer’s Note). I’ve been using this pen unposted almost exclusively and find it to be very comfortable. Those with large hands, though, may find the grip section to be a bit too narrow.
Grip comparison: Model 27 vs. Lamy AL-Star
While the grip is quite different than the grip on the Lamy AL-Star, the other dimensions are not, as shown below.
The clip is spring-loaded and the profile reminds me of Faber-Castell clips. This one has just a bit of detail, subtle, but consistent with the Diamondline theme.
Bodywise, the only thing that bugs me a little is the fact that the cap screws onto threads that are on the section, not on the pen’s body. Because of this, I sometimes twist the entire section out of the body when I’m just trying to uncap the pen. I did find that if I over-tighten (just a hair) the section in the body, this happens far less often.
The Model 27 is available in a wide range of nib choices, in both steel and gold nibs. I chose a steel nib with a medium stub. As I understand it, nibmeister Mike Masuyama grinds all of the custom nibs (needlepoint, medium italic, medium stub, broad italic, and broad stub) so that was a definite selling point. To get a quality pen, at this price point, with a Mike Masuyama grind was a no-brainer.
Though I’ve been a hardcore fine/extra-fine nib user, I’m beginning to inch toward nibs that are a little bit wider, mostly because ink shading is much easier to see and appreciate. This medium stub by Mike may just be my new sweet spot. It’s still on the finer side of medium, but with just a bit of a stub to bring out the beauty of the ink- Iroshizuku kon-peki, in this case. There’s not much line variation to be had (not in my hand, anyway), but the steel nib is smooth with a middle-of-the road wetness. I just love it.
One things for sure, the next time I get to a pen show, I plan to hunker down with the folks from Franklin-Christoph. They aren’t just selling shiny things, but shiny things done right.