Smoke and ice: Franklin-Christoph Model 02

Although I couldn’t resist snapping up Birmingham Pens’ ‘Unicorn Barf’ beta pen, I’m not a man for loud colours in my pens. Most of my collection is various shades of black and grey.

Luckily, Franklin-Christoph caters to colour-minimal buyers like me, and I find their pens irresistible. The model under review here, the Model 02 Intrinsic in Smoke and Ice, is my second F-C pen. The first was a Pocket 66 in the so-called “Coke bottle” finish, properly titled Antique Glass.

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Miss you, baby

I loved that pen dearly, but sold it in a misguided fit of downsizing. I almost immediately bought this pen to replace it, and I’m glad I did.

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Mr Greyscale strikes again

Comfort is the main reason. This is one of the few pens that really feels natural to me in the hand. My grip settles in to the sculpted section and stays there, without feeling like my fingers are too close to the page or too pinched. It’s a long and large pen, and the section is set back from the page by one of Franklin-Christoph’s most inspired and distinctive features, the cap threads, which sit right at the end of the pen.

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Yep, those are the threads.

The cap twists on in less than a turn, rolling on these unusual oversized threads. The cap itself has a very tight clip, in two-piece construction engineered much like that on Karas’s Decograph, only more elegantly done. The cap posts very deeply on the 02’s stepped barrel.

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Hidden two-part clip

The majority of the pen is in translucent “ice” acrylic, mirror polished on the outside and left textured inside. But the cap ends with a chunk of smoke-swirled acrylic, seamlessly joined to the rest of the cap.

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That’s the smoke bit

The edge is bevelled and the F-C symbol is engraved on the end, along with the brand’s four diamonds, which repeat along the clip.

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Four diamonds. Don’t play F-C at cards.

The words ‘Franklin-Christoph 02’ are engraved around the circumference of the cap. But because the engraving isn’t filled and the material is clear, none of this branding leaps out.

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Subtle engraving

With a translucent finish like this, it’s very tempting to use the pen eyedropper-style. But the texture inside the barrel catches ink, and I stained my 66 this way, particularly on the micro-cracks that form along the threads during use. So for this beauty, I’m sticking with a converter, ugly as that is.

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Textured barrel = stick to converter

The larger F-C models all take #6 nib units that screw in and are swappable with many different makers’ pens. Mine here is a Masuyama-ground needlepoint, a nib that I was really excited to try out and compare against my 3776 UEF and FPnibs XXF.

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Pretty nib. Scratchy af

Unfortunately, the needlepoint was dry and, to put it bluntly, scratchy as fuck. I mean, awful. So I spent some time with a nail-buffing stick butchering the work of a nibmeister. I turned it into the wet and slightly stubby EF that you see here, which is still a bit scratchy but a damned sight more usable than it was. The nib of course is steel, but I won’t ding points for that.

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Ink is Diamine Imperial Purple

From top to toe the 02 is a beautifully put together bit of kit — the joints are flush, the threads are smooth and tight, and the surfaces are finished consistently (although the style varies along the pen with different machining steps). I also think its design simply kicks arse, with classy materials and smart choices that make the pen both practical and comfortable.

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Give up counting the finishes.

Even though the converter isn’t massive, the EF nib means you’ll get pages and pages before running dry, and the clear acrylic means you’ll have plenty of notice, too — so this is an excellent pen for work. If you don’t mind being distracted from your meeting as you admire the smoke and ice.

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Smoke and ice in all its understated glory. And a converter.

The Model 02 is available direct from F-C. It’ll arrive ludicrously quickly across the Atlantic with a nice zip-up pen sleeve and a customs charge a few days later. The Masuyama grind brings this to $195.

7 thoughts on “Smoke and ice: Franklin-Christoph Model 02

  1. I am curious, do you plan to eye-drop yours?

    I also had needlepoint and found its scratchy. Fortunately FC does have excellent exchange policy and I exchanged it for medium stub by Masuyama. I also have broad SIG and love them both.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think I’ll eyedrop it, just because of the risk of staining — and because with a huge amount of ink and an EF nib, I’d get bored before running it dry! Alas I bought my pen second-hand so didn’t feel I could take advantage of the exchange 😦

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Well, I’m not gonna ask if you’re planning onto eye dropping it…. you know why ? Because you answered this in your post !! …. 🤨😶 Weird people…. Anyway… That’s such a gorgeous, GORGEOUS (yes, shouting it !!) pen! My dreams are made of these pens ! FC designs are so classy without being snob or pretentious. (Sorry for non accurate English vocabulary and grammatical mistakes… 🤫). About the Masuyama grind, there were no options to send it back to modify it ? One of the reasons I didn’t have one yet is the crazy nibs options !!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have already eye-dropped my once and it is really beautiful. Unfortunately I have probably used bad silicone grease or low amount, so my started to leak. I plan to do second try soon.

    Just to be clear I have Stabilis 65.

    Regarding exchange I have bought mine from FC directly. They have assured me that I can exchange it up to 30 days. So I have used needlepoint for few days, but because it did not work for me, I have exchanged it. It was fast and easy and Mandy from FC was very helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Open heart surgery on my collection | UK fountain pens

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