Review: Franklin-Christoph Model 20 Marietta

 

Hand Over That Pen, please!

Katherine: I love the shape of this pen — it’s so clean and well proportioned. My one gripe, as with the Pocket 20, is I don’t love the lines on the cap and at the end of the barrel. I’ve owned two Model 20s, but over time I’ve sold both. I love the frosted finishes, but the barrel is too large for me to want to eyedropper the pen (because I’ll never be able to write it dry) and they don’t look quite as nice with converters.

Pam:  Franklin-Christoph never disappoints.  I am happy to review their classic Model 20.  I was initially turned off by the shape of the pen when it saw it in the Ice and Antique Glass finish.  In the black finish, it’s actually quite subtle and doesn’t bother me at all.  One of my favorite features of this pen is the snap cap.  It’s so practical for my specific use case.

Franz: The Model 20 looks so simple and sleek! The beveled flat ends, and the very slight taper of the barrel give the pen a lovely silhouette. Actually, the barrel’s slight taper is there for both function and form. I’ll expand more on that later on. For now, I’m just saying that the Model 20 Marietta looks oh so good! =)

 

In the Hand: Franklin-Christoph Model 20 (posted) — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam
In the Hand: Franklin-Christoph Model 20 (unposted) — from left to right: Franz, Katherine, and Pam

 

Details: Franklin-Christoph’s logo engraved on the cap’s finial, and the flat end of the barrel.
Details: Beveled ends of the cap and barrel, Franklin-Christoph’s Diamond design on the clip, and the rings designed on each end.

 

The Business End

Katherine: Yay Masuyama cursive italics! I prefer the Fine, but the Medium is similarly smooth while still be nice and crisp.

Pam: The nib is a Masuyama M cursive italic that was tuned by Jim Rouse at time of purchase.  The cursive italic has a small amount of bite, but nothing bothersome.  It’s also the nature of a cursive italic grind to be less smooth than a typical stub grind.  Like always, it’s a joy to write with and the bit of a bite is pleasant feedback.

Franz: As far as I know, when Franklin-Christoph introduced the Model 20 in early 2015, it was the first recessed nib fountain pen they had. And that design alone attracted me to the Marietta at the 2015 LA Pen Show. It wasn’t sold back then but I knew I had to have one!

The Model 20 is fitted with a #6 size Jowo nib like most of their larger pens. This nib in particular was pre-ground to a cursive italic by Mr. Mike Masuyama and then as with all F-C pens sold, it was finally adjusted by Mr. Jim Rouse to my liking. It provides a crisp line and also quite forgiving.

 

 

Write It Up

Katherine: This pen is definitely comfortable — it’s light and the section is a good size! I’ve definitely written page upon page with this pen, it’s unobtrusive and, paired with a nice grind, lots of fun.

Pam: Due to the lack of threads, my typical writing grip is REALLY comfortable.  Yay for no threads or steps!  The section is a good fit for me in the tripod grip.  The little flare is quite helpful in keeping my fingers in check. However, due to the lack of a step and the seamless transition from section to body makes it so the section can accommodate larger fingers and grips.  #bearpawsallpaws

I highly recommend using the pen unposted for those of the smaller hand persuasion.  It’s a bit top heavy when posted.  Without the cap the pen is nice and light.

Franz: Just like Pam, I definitely enjoyed the lack of threads on the barrel so that the pen can be held at any spot you’re comfortable with. As for myself, I was comfortable gripping either on the pinched section or the barrel itself. Also, both writing modes (posted and unposted) were very comfortable for my large paw. As a preference though, I prefer the cap posted for it gives more weight and a better balance for me. With the cap unposted, the pen seemed to be a little too light.

 

EDC-ness

Katherine: I’m not generally good at tightening my caps or well… remembering to close things all the way. Except the fridge. And the Model 20 is no different, but the slip cap is even more dangerous. As a desk pen, or one sandwiched in a notebook, it’s generally fine — but if I relied on the clip, I had several close calls with the body sliiiiiding away toward the floor. Yikes. It’s super convenient, but because it’s a slip, not snap cap, I have a pretty hard time telling when I’ve closed it “enough”.

Pam:  As mentioned previously, this pen is one of the best EDCs for me.  The snap cap makes this pen really easy to deploy and use for quick notes and comfortable enough for longer writing sessions.  It’s a great all rounder pen for me.  The clip was secure and the capping was easy.  The only thing missing from the capping action is a satisfying snap like the Pilot Prera.  (Insert total bias disclaimer here.) It’s hard for me to determine when the cap is securely capped but it is a snug fit and I haven’t had issues with the pen falling out into my pocket.

Franz: Another top reason why I was attracted to the Model 20 is its slip cap feature which makes it a perfect candidate for an every day carry pen. The two ladies’ comments about the pen not having a positive snap is very valid and was one of my issues when I first got the Marietta. However, after watching Scott Franklin’s introduction video of the Model 20, I learned a lot about how the pen was engineered. So with just a liiiiitle push, the cap secures very well. And this works in both closing the pen, and posting the cap. The lip end of the section and the tapered end of the barrel was designed to attach firmly deep inside the cap. To detach the cap, it’s easier to just use one hand. If you’d like to watch the video, link is here Model 20 Marietta Introduction.

The Model 20 can be inked either via a cartridge/converter filler, or eye-droppered. I prefer using the supplied converter and it is a standard international one.

One thing to note, the clip on this Model 20 is the older version and it doesn’t clip to clothing easily. I’d need to lift the clip with my fingers and slip it in my dress shirt. Franklin-Christoph changed the clip to a better functioning one so that issue is solved.

 

Final Grip-ping Impressions

Katherine: This is a pen I thought I loved, but with use found that while I certainly enjoy it, it wasn’t true love. Even then, it’s more one of those “it’s not you, it’s me” things — it’s a very solid pen that’s fairly unique in the industry, but it’s got a couple quirks that just don’t work for me (the generally super convenient slip cap and the lines on the cap and barrel). But every time I see one for sale second hand… I’m tempted, maybe the third time’s the charm?

Pam:  I know that I have mentioned that the Sailor Progear Slim is an “upgrade” to the Pilot Prera starter pen.  I think the pocket Model 20 and Model 20 is the Western “upgrade” to the Pilot Prera.  They both are snap caps and Franklin-Christoph boasts one of the largest variety of steel and golden #6 nibs on the market for their pens.  If you want a great EDC pen with a variety of different nibs that can be swapped out, the Model 20 is close to perfect.

Franz: What else is there to say except to say that the Model 20 is one of my favorite pens to ink up! In the pen comparison photos below, it is very similar to a Pelikan M805 and that’s about the perfect pen size for my larger hands. The Model 20’s features check pretty much all the boxes for me. Simple aesthetic, larger size (length and girth), slip cap for quick deploy, lightweight, and a fantastic nib performance!

Like a lot of their pens, Franklin-Christoph offers the Model 20 in a few different colors on their site, and they also offer more color prototypes at pen shows. I definitely recommend this model for your daily use or even just part of your rotation. See if it’s a comfortable pen for your paws. =)

 

Pen Comparisons

Closed pens from left to right: TWSBI Eco, Pelikan M215, Edison Beaumont, Pilot Vanishing Point, *Franklin-Christoph Model 20*, Lamy 2000, Sailor Professional Gear, and Pelikan M805
Posted pens from left to right: TWSBI Eco, Pelikan M215, Edison Beaumont, Pilot Vanishing Point, *Franklin-Christoph Model 20*, Lamy 2000, Sailor Professional Gear, and Pelikan M805
Unposted pens from left to right: TWSBI Eco, Pelikan M215, Edison Beaumont, Pilot Vanishing Point, *Franklin-Christoph Model 20*, Lamy 2000, Sailor Professional Gear, and Pelikan M805

 

Pen Photos (click to enlarge)

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2 Comments

  1. Nicely done review, gang. I like this pen and have often thought about getting one, so this keeps it in my mind. One quibble: pretty much all the way to the end of the review, it is unclear as to the closing of the pen, because all of Pam’s references still call it a “snap cap” while Franz and Kat refer to it as a “slip cap” (which it is). It would be good for you to do some retro-edits so as to not leave any confusion with the readers.

    1. Jon, good point, it is a slip cap, which is different from a click/snap cap, which are engineered much differently and have their own set of challenges. The 20 is a slip cap – pressure fit, engineered with two contact spots to distribute the pressure throughout the cap.

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