Like many people I’m a sucker for one offs… pens included. I find that value is oft determined in our society by one of two things. Either the fame of ownership or scarcity. The problem is I can almost never afford them. They are usually the reserve of high price or bespoke manufacturers, to which my meagre pen budget does not extend. I also like clipless pens, their sleek profile uncluttered by metal appendages, but again they are usually rare.
But thanks to some negotiation with the good folk over in Raleigh NC, and the promise of a review (unbiased nonetheless) I managed to purchase this fitted with a Mike Masuyama ground ‘needlepoint’ nib.
This pen is a one-off. clipless, ‘smoke and maroon’ edition of the Franklin-Christoph 03 ‘Iterum’; the one -off nature of it being due to it being clipless. . Its given name (which means ‘again’ or ‘once more’) is due to its design being something of an homage to the first Franklin Christoph (model 01).
Description: This pen is made of a pearlescent black/grey acrylic. The smoke effect is the variation in tone starting with black through various tones of ash grey, highlighted with a much lighter pearl silver that swirls through the body of the pen. The cap has a maroon disc insert in the finial which adds a touch of contrast without looking gaudy. The disc is engraved with the Franklin Christoph monogram along with their ‘four diamonds’ logo and the cap barrel is discretely engraved near the base with the make and model.
The pen is extremely comfortable in hand due first to its long tapered and concave grip section. This has a large single screw-thread at the top to secure the cap. If I have any issue at all with the shape of this pen it is that it lacks a little finesse in that it is a very straight up and down pen without much in the way of taper.
Dimensions: This pen is 127mm (5.01″) unposted from tip to barrel end. Posted it is 175mm (6.91″)long. When the cap is secured the whole pen is 140mm (5.51″) long. the grip varies from 9.9mm (.39″) to 12.2mm (.48″) wide. The barrel at its widest is 13mm (.51″).
On Test: This particular pen is of interest on a number of counts. First is the nib I decided to get with it. This is an EF steel nib custom ground to a needlepoint by Mike Masuyama. A needlepoint nib by definition is a very fine implement and not to the taste of many. As someone who prefers writing with a finer nib I have a particular use for this nib. So far the nib works extremely well. The line is very fine and the nib while not smooth isn’t overly scratchy either. These nibs are usually used for numbering and printing and are not meant to be smooth, cursive writers per se.
In terms of handling this pen is very comfortable to use. The outer finish is smooth and tactile. The pen posts but only barely; it is usable posted but I prefer not to use it thusly, as to me it looks oddly long above my hand.
Summary: If your penchant is for broad nibs or you are using cheaper paper I think that using this type of nib will be something less than pleasurable. If you have a particular use for one of these then this is a reasonably priced option for you to purchase. Franklin Christoph offer a great range of steel and gold nibs for any taste and should be commended for this.
As for the pen itself it has many fine characteristics, if you like the design style of Franklin Christoph then you will probably like this pen. The depth of colour and outer finish of the pen are excellent.