Wednesday, July 11, 2018

REVIEW: FRANKLIN-CHRISTOPH MODEL 66 STABILIS FOUNTAIN PEN

Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis fountain pen review
WARNING! put on your sunglasses, or you might risk getting blinded by this ridiculously orange Franklin-Christoph 66 Stabilis! This has been my #killwinterwithorange pen for the past winter, I think you can guess why. I bought this uber-flashy pen remotely through my pen-pal Janine (@Janinescribbles on Instagram) who attended the DC pen supershow last year, and it has been in rotation ever since!
Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis fountain pen review
Instead of elaborate packaging, Franklin-Christoph provides their pens in a leatherette pouch
The Model 66 Stabilis has always spoken to me because it's such a radically different, desk pen-style design. Admittedly, it might not be the most practical pen for everyday carry, but in return it's a very comfortable writer to use at your desk.
Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis fountain pen review
The long, strongly tapered shape of the pen makes it look and feel balanced. The cap-to-body ratio does seem a bit odd at first, but it's part of the concept of a desk pen. And because it has to stay put on your desk when you're not using it, it was designed with a flat side on the barrel to keep it from rolling around.

Oh wait! And it's ORANGE! This is a bright and colorful pen (duh!). Which -admittedly- is not usually the type of pen I'm after. I don't know why, but orange is a color that just work well for pens. Not surprisingly, of all pens I own, this one is by far the pen that turns the most heads in public. It's very big, and very orange, maybe not the kind of pen for meeting rooms.

Build quality is excellent, unlike the -now discontinued- P40 that I reviewed a long time ago, where I had my gripes with the 'Solid Ice' finish that wasn't up to snuff. The acrylic on this 66 is finished flawlessly (as it should be!), the block threads are crisp and sturdy (and the opening and closing action is satisfyingly smooth). And despite being an all-acrylic pen, it feels solid and durable.
Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis fountain pen review
As I already mentioned, the 66 is a fairly large pen. Being a desk pen, it's especially long, but the diameter is not too out of proportion compared to the rest of the pen, but it's not overly girthy either. Especially the strong taper means that the diameter narrows down considerably towards the section.
Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis fountain pen review
L to R: Kaweco Brass Sport, TWSBI 580Al, Edison Collier, Franklin-Christoph 66, Lamy Al-Star, Lamy 2000
In true desk pen style, the Model 66 has an extended body. At 16cm (6.3") capped, and 15.5cm (6.1") uncapped, it's certainly long enough for anyone to be used comfortably. But with a diameter of around 1.5cm  (0.55") at the widest point, it's not wider than usual. Being an all-acrylic pen, it's lightweight at just 23 grams total.
Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis fountain pen review
In terms of comfort, the weight, size and shape all work together to create a very comfortable writing experience. There's a small step behind the section that isn't overly bothersome, the threads are at the front of the section, so they don't interfere with your grip. It might not be the most portable EDC pen, but it's definitely suited for long writing sessions (which is of course the main intended use for a desk pen).

On the writing end, FC uses JoWo nibs with a custom laser-engraved logo. They call it 'High Performance Steel nibs', even though they are basically just stock steel nibs. The name is quite appropriate though. I got two nibs: a stock broad and a music nib, and both are fantastic writers. I'll do a separate review on the music nib later. So for now, let's focus on the steel broad nib.
Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis fountain pen review
The black-coated nib looks super-sleek combined with the bright orange pen. Franklin-Christoph is one of the few companies that put a strong focus on their nibs, and they actively try to bring new and exciting things to the table. Apart from a wide variety of stock nibs to choose from (including a semi-flexible nib) in both steel and gold, they also offer custom-ground nibs by Mike Masuyama (aka. possibly the best nibmeister in the world!) for a very reasonable premium.

Even though mine aren't Masuyama nibs, they are still incredibly solid writers! The broad nib is smooth as butter (it lacks the coarse pencil-like feedback that most coated nibs tend to have). It has a wet and consistent flow that keeps up nicely during long writing sessions. The broad nib lays down a wide line, even for western standards.

It's a stiff nib, but dependable and quite enjoyable too. It certainly proves why Franklin-Christoph has such a loyal customer base.
Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis fountain pen review
To conclude, the Model 66 Stabilis really pushes a lot of the right buttons for me. The form factor means it isn't the easiest pen to take with you, but I did find it juuuuust fits the Visconti Dreamtouch and Franklin-Christop Penvelope cases (and of course the leather pen pouch it comes packaged in!). So you don't necessarily have to leave it desk-bound.

Franklin-Christoph pens are not the cheapest, but the interesting form factor, flashy materials and excellent comfort and writing experience make it worthwile. I paid 170$ for mine with the stock steel B nib (Other nib options can run a bit more expensive). Unfortunately, if you want your own 'carrot pen', or another more exotic materials such as this one, you'll have to search around a bit. Apart from the stock colors, FC only sells the special colors directly at US pen shows. On top of that, the special materials are randomly made in small numbers, so you might have to go through quite an effort to get your hands on one (or do as I did: choose your friends wisely!)

Note: This product was bought with my own funds. I was in no way influenced in the making of this review, the opinions shared in this review are completely my own! This post does not contain affiliate links.
Franklin-Christoph Model 66 Stabilis fountain pen review

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