Review: Franklin-Christoph Model 45 (Fine Cursive Italic)

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Hand Over That Pen, please!

Pamela: The Model 45 is a sexy panther of a pen.  The lines of the pen are soft, curvy and sleek. The shape and the size reminds me a lot of the Pilot Prera, which is one of my favorite pens to use.

Katherine: It’s a clean, sleek pen. It’s not too flashy, but it looks like someone put some thought into designing it. I know a lot of people wanted to wait and see what others colors came out post-IPO, but of the prototypes I saw, the only one I liked more than the black was the Bronze. So, I got the black. (And at $110, it’s a pretty good deal!) One nit (which is hopefully uncommon) is that my pen showed up with a pretty scuffed nib. There’s an obvious scuff between the slit and the logo, and about half the gold-coloring on the nib is gone. I’m guessing this is a remnant of the nib being hand-ground, but it was a little disappointing anyway. Thankfully, it doesn’t affect writing quality at all — just gives me pen a little more “character”.

Franz: The Franklin-Christoph Model 45 XLV may be a simple looking pen but it has some elegance and the term aerodynamics come to mind. There are a number of different color acrylic prototypes of this pen floating around from the past few pen shows, but similar to Katherine, the black features the shape well.

In the Hand: F-C Model 45 (posted)
In the Hand: F-C Model 45 (posted)
In the Hand: F-C Model 45 (unposted)
In the Hand: F-C Model 45 (unposted)

The Business End

Pamela: It’s a Mike Masuyama nib.  Need I say more?

The nib alone is well worth the price of the pen.  Not only are cursive italic nibs typically only available after a custom grind from a nibmeister, this is a cursive italic grind completed by one of the best nibmeisters available.  The CI nib is smooth and crisp.  I have read that CI is usually less forgiving when it comes to finding and maintain a “sweet spot” but I don’t find that to be case with this particular nib.

Katherine: As Pam mentioned, it’s a crisp and smooth nib. But, magically, its very forgiving and I’ve never caught paper with it. It does run a little drier than I’d prefer — but that makes it great on cheap paper.

Franz: The Model 45 sports a No. 5 size nib which for me seems small, but it works out in the design and for the pen’s small size. Similar to the ladies above, I found the fine cursive italic nib quite smooth and seemed to have a wider sweet spot than I expected. The supplied blue ink cartridge may have been the issue but I found that the flow was too dry for my liking. I think that if I used a better flowing ink, I would have been happier with it.

Pam writes like a font. 
Pam writes like a font.
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A writing sample in Katherine’s messy handwriting. (Pilot VP fine for comparison)
The 45 hanging out on a coffee table in Katherine's office. Notice the scuffs on the nib.
The 45 hanging out on a coffee table in Katherine’s office. Notice the scuffs on the nib.

Write It Up (20-minute writing experience)

Pamela:  Posted, the pen is well balanced and rests perfectly in my pixie size hands.  The girth of the pen is just wide enough for the traditional tripod grip to be comfortable for a relatively long writing session.  I am not used to the traditional grip so my hand tends to cramp up with any pen with a stub or CI nib.  I experience fatigue with this pen, but taking a quick break to shake it off is easy enough.

Due to the nature of the grip (the traditional tripod grip) and the nib, my writing speed is decreased to ensure that the CI nib really shines through with it’s crisp, clean lines and edges.

The results from the pen is well worth the extra time and effort.

Franz: I had to write with this pen posted the whole time and it was fairly comfortable. Journaling with it’s cursive italic nib was very nice and pleasing but after an A5 size page of writing, the pen’s size made my hand tired. The longer I wrote with it, my hand seemed to squeeze on the pen tighter.

Katherine: For longer writing sessions, I tend to prefer this pen posted. It stays comfortable in the hand and I like to think the cursive italic helps me keep my hand writing even and (marginally) nice looking. Additionally, putting the threads on the end of pen is an awesome touch — even if I move my grip around (my lazy hand cramps sometimes) I don’t worry about holding threads.

In my small hands, this pen is totally usable unposted, but it feels pretty light. (I have eczema, pls ignore. :<)
It’s a better balanced pen when posted.

EDC-ness

Pamela: I don’t use the model 45 at work since I have other pens that are better suited for the quick deployment like the Pilot VP. I also don’t feel comfortable carrying this in my white coat without a clip or using it on the patient units without a roll stop.  On the flip side, it’s a great opportunity to get creative and customize this pen.

I reserve the Model 45 for the reflective/contemplative writing sessions.  Using this pen is almost meditative for me as I slow my pace and be more intentional with my writing.  Watching this pen in action brings me a sense of joy and ease as I practice a little slice of mindfulness.

Katherine: The 45 uncaps quickly, which is nice for jotting down quick notes. And the dry nib makes taking notes on mediocre work paper a possibility. Perhaps because of the dryness of the pen, it doesn’t seem to spit into its cap as I drop it and throw it in my backpack or pocket. The only downside is the lack of a cap or rollstop — so if I’m not careful with where I put it, the 45 can easily roll away.

Franz: I brought this pen to work for one day and it was actually very good for writing quick notes. Just like Katherine, I appreciated the quick uncapping capability. However, being a clipless pen made it difficult to store in my jacket pocket, or even in my shirt pocket. I found that I was having to “fish” it out of the pocket each time I needed it. So, it just stayed on my desk and only used it when I got to sit down.

Grip-ping Impressions

Pamela: I was initially apprehensive about the Model 45 given how small it is that it would feel too insubstantial and well, plastic-y.  I am pleasantly surprised that the material is sturdy and has great acoustics.  Yes, acoustics.  The sound of the cap separating and meeting the body of the pen is satisfying and even enjoyable for me.  (It’s really the little things in life right?)  It takes less than a full turn for me to get the cap off the pen for fast and easy deployment when needed.

Posted, the pen is the perfect length for comfort and is well balanced. Despite the small size of the pen, it’s really comfortable for me to hold in the traditional tripod position for the optimal use of the wonderful CI nib. Writing a couple sentences with it is easy, breezy and beautiful.

I can’t think of a better way to express my appreciation for a pen than with a purchase! The review is was a very convenient rationale.  I know, the sacrifices we have to make…

Just be aware that between both our pens, our fine CI nibs were on the dry side out of the box.  My writing pressure is significantly heavier than Katherine so a small tweak was all it took for me.

Katherine:  I tried Dan’s (hello Dan! Do you have a website?) 45 before purchasing my own — I was wow’d by how comfortable it was to hold, posted or unposted, and by how smooth the F CI nib is. So I got my own, and it hasn’t disappointed. I tend to use it unposted (I’m that lazy), but it’s equally comfortable either way for me.

Overall, I think this pen is great value for $110 (we’ll see what the post-IPO price looks like!). It’s a small pen (it easily fits in my skinny jeans’ pockets) that is comfortable to write with even for long durations. It’s a solidly built writer with an interesting nib that transitions well from my workday to my before-bedtime journaling.

Franz: I feel that the Model 45 is a very good pen for people with small to average sized hands. With my larger hands, I can say that the 45 is not for me. I was only able to use the pen posted unlike Pam and Katherine. This is coming from a person who owns and enjoys writing with a Franklin-Christoph Model 66. But that’s probably reserved for another review.

Since pens are a very personal and tactile experience, I do recommend everyone interested to try out and hold this pen to see if it’s right for them.

Large hands notwithstanding, I do like the pen’s appearance, build quality, and nib variety. I also feel that it’s a very good value for the money. Thanks for letting me use your pen Katherine!

 

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Closed pens from left to right: Pelikan M805, Edison Beaumont, Pelikan M200, Franklin-Christoph Model 45, Parker 75, and Lamy Safari

 

Posted cap from left to right: Pelikan M805, Edison Beaumont, Pelikan M200, Franklin-Christoph Model 45, Parker 75, and Lamy Safari
Posted cap from left to right: Pelikan M805, Edison Beaumont, Pelikan M200, Franklin-Christoph Model 45, Parker 75, and Lamy Safari

 

Unposted from left to right: Pelikan M805, Edison Beaumont, Pelikan M200, Franklin-Christoph Model 45, Parker 75, and Lamy Safari
Unposted from left to right: Pelikan M805, Edison Beaumont, Pelikan M200, Franklin-Christoph Model 45, Parker 75, and Lamy Safari
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