For my first pen review I decided to go somewhere different. It would have been easy to extol better known pen makers, and to be sure I will in the days to come. But for my premier pen review I thought I would showcase a pen from the good ol’ US of A which I think is a dazzling blend of looks and function.
The Franklin-Christoph (FC) M27 ‘Collegia” SE (special edition) comes in this drop dead gorgeous ‘Radiant Red’ as well as a host of other colours, (I quite like the Tennessee Orange/silver too!) It is produced by Franklin-Christoph and can be bought from their website. At about $70 (that’s about £43) I think a pen this good-looking and of this quality is a steal. But let’s get down to business:
Dimensions: Uninked this beauty weighs in at just under 47g and in terms of length is 138mm (5.5″) capped length / 170mm (6.75″) posted length / 119mm (4.75″) from nib tip to barrel end (imperial measurements courtesy of FC website and checked) So it has some heft with it!
Description: This pen boasts stunning good looks. The silver chrome clip, end cap and collar add their own highlights and the black chrome clip collar add nice contrast to the solid metallic red of the pen itself. The clip is strong and has four diamonds engraved down its length. The cap is laser engraved and the collar is engraved with the maker’s name. The grip inside is black and tapered to accommodate a good grip on the pen below the screw threads for the cap. It is fitted with a converter which is supplied with the pen along with some international sized cartridges. Mine has a broad stub nib ground for FC by Mike Masuyama. The premium to pay for these nibs is a bargain when you consider what having a nib re-ground would entail and cost. The nib itself has, I think, been laser engraved, and it functions well. The pen comes in a pleasing box supplied with spare ink cartridges and a converter and a card authenticating the nib work by Mike Masuyama.
Feel: The M27 SE has solid and sophisticated feel. The barrel is smooth but not slick, not wide and not to narrow, the cap is solid and reassuring and the screw fit precise. To save time when refilling one can operate the converter via the removable base cap, a detail which I find helpful.
Writing Test: I chose to ink this pen up with J Herbin 1670 Rouge Hematite and wrote on Rhodia dot grid 80gsm paper. The colour of the ink enhanced the test as it was an excellent choice. The broad stub nib gave a great degree of line variation and the nib gave a pleasing amount of feedback. In use the feed and nib work well together and supply ink without any gapping or the so annoying false starts with which we’re all too familiar.
Verdict: All in all this is a great pen. It looks great and writes well. On the value for money scale it scores highly, and considering FC themselves throw in free worldwide tracked postage with any order over $50 one like this can be in your hands extremely quickly wherever you happen to be.