Confession time: upon learning of the Franklin Christoph Model 40 Pocket I told myself, "I don't think I'll ever own one." Perhaps my thoughts were that it was a bit out of the norm for me, or that maybe it was kind of a "bandwagon" that a lot of people were jumping on and I wasn't sure I was convinced of how great it was. Maybe I'm just a little cynical by nature? I try not to be.
Well, as you can tell by this post, I have acquired a Franklin Christoph Model 40 Pocket in the Smoke and Ice finish (very popular) and, honestly, couldn't be happier with it.
I purchased this Model 40 second hand from my friend Keegan of One Star Leather Goods so I knew it would be well cared for. Whilst Keegan found the Model 40 lovely to use, I respect the man for being a bit of a minimalist when it comes to pens. He purchases pens and tries them out to see what sticks for him, and the Model 40 got beat out in carry time by a Kaweco AL Sport in the "pocket pen" arena. This man has the willpower to part with a pen that is not being used regularly... whatever addiction course he is taking to overcome stockpiling pens I probably need to sign up for. On a side note, if you haven't checked out Keegan's wares make sure to do so. His goods are amazing quality.
The Model 40 is made from a solid clear acrylic which has been machined to remove some of the "insides" thus creating cavities to hold the ink cartridge, converter, nib unit, etc. The machining process removes the crystal clear look of the acrylic giving the inside a bit of a matte finish which adds a bit of mystery and a hazy aesthetic which is extremely captivating.
The smoke section at the top of the cap is made from a different colored material, but machined seamlessly with the clear. The top is also adorned with the Franklin Christoph logo, an engraving of an Old English "F" and four diamonds underneath. Classy.
Used as an eye dropper where the ink is free to slosh around inside the barrel (scary...but fun), it is hard for anyone to argue just how fantastically beautiful these pens are filled with shades of blue, red, purple... What is unique about this pen is that, when filled, the color of the ink changes the personality of the pen. Blues are more icy and serene while reds are more fiery and a little more fierce. I've never had a pen that will do this and it makes the pen intriguing to carry.
I'm finding that my fondness for acrylic barreled pens is growing rapidly. Traditionally I've been a metal pen guy (which I still am and will be), but the feel of acrylic in your hand is so smooth and comfortable. To me, acrylic seems more delicate but feels very refined. It is hard to describe. I'm thinking more along the lines of pens that are turned from acrylic rather than molded as the finish on the surface is different.
My Model 40 came loaded with a steel Mike Masuyama medium italic nib which is a pleasure. The ink flows effortlessly through the nib and the italic grind provides some nice line variation which keeps things very interesting while writing.
I wish I was a cursive writer as it would be much more interesting to see my handwriting (I should work on that), but even with my all caps, block print style it still is enjoyable to see the line differences in the letters. To make an upgrade to the Masuyama nib from Franklin Christoph's site is only an extra $15 which seems like a steal considering the work he puts into it.
The cap, much like the Kaweco Sport, posts on the end of the barrel extending the pen's length for writing. To get a snug fit so the cap doesn't jostle while writing you have to give it a little nudge onto the barrel, but not too hard. If someone went too crazy they might be able to crack the cap which would be bad.
The grip of the pen is narrow, but comfortable to write with. It tapers and gets smaller towards the nib and doesn't have any ridges or curves like many other pen grips do. I haven't found the acrylic to be overly slick, but if you tend to have sweaty hands it may be a bit of an issue.
Because of the material I don't really think I could consider the Model 40 to be a good all around pocket pen particularly if you are looking for durability. Granted, I'm not carrying around a fountain pen in my pocket while using heavy machinery or anything so it hasn't been a huge concern, but if you find yourself in situations where your pocket could be struck by objects or potentially smashed, may not want to carry this one in there.
As mentioned before, I couldn't be happier with the Franklin Christoph Model 40 Pocket. It is different than any other pen I had owned before and is a refreshing change. I find myself genuinely enjoying each time I use it because of how unique and special it is in design, material, and feel.