I Really Like This Franklin-Christoph Model 20. A Pen Review.

This is a special pen for me.

I first got wind of the 20 at the Ohio show, it might have been 2013. Maybe 2014. In a slow moment, probably on Sunday, I was hanging out at the Franklin Christoph table with the singular Jim Rouse. He was telling me about a new pen they’d been working on, a throwback paean to old Waterman style pens with a slip cap. Now, I love a slip cap. I understand threads are perhaps the most secure way to secure a cap on a pen, but I like a slip-on cap even better. They take a bit of design and engineering, but that is not my freaking job. Push the damn cap on, and it should stay there. Pull it off and it should stay wherever you put it, provided it doesn’t roll away.

Well, I was excited about the pen just from Jim’s brief description. It was but a few months later, in Philadelphia, when the pen was available for sale for the first time. I wasted no time. I was working with Jim again, and ordered up a 20, hold the mustard. Jim asked what nib I wanted on it and I asked for a Masuyama Cursive Italic in Fine.

Jim told me that that was not actually an option, the CIs were only medium and bigger. No matter, though, they had a couple fines anyway. So that’s the nib I got.

To this day it remains one of my favorite nibs to write with, and it’s inked virtually all the time. My first 20 is scratched and worn by now, and I love it all the more.

The slip caps on the first-generation 20s have a peculiar property. I can more or less make my 20 impervious to uncapping by a right-handed person.

It’s typical to apply a tiny twist to the cap of the 20 when posting it. It secures the cap a little better than just pushing it on dead straight.

But a right handed person, meaning to de-twist the cap, will actually be tightening it all the more while trying to get the damn cap off. It’s hilarious.

Subsequent iterations of the 20 have a pressure-relieving groove carved into the barrel near the section seam to keep this kind of thing from happening, which was a smart move. But I’m still glad I have the impenetrable 20, the first-gen, Philly bought pen I got from Jim.

I like:

  • The simplicity of the pen.
  • It’s a slip-cap! I love those.
  • The fine CI nib suits my handwriting extremely well.

I don’t care for:

  • It’s easily mistaken for a boring pen.

Bang for the buck: on par with other F-Cs

Special out of the box: it sure was.

Looks: like like a smooth, shiny object.

Writes: like my hand is singing.


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  1. Catherine Hofmann on January 11, 2019 at 8:25 am

    Like my hand is singing.
    I love that Tim!!

    • Tim Hofmann on January 11, 2019 at 11:35 am

      Thanks Mom!

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