(Susan M. Pigott is a fountain pen collector, pen and paperholic, photographer, and professor. You can find more from Susan on her blog Scribalishess.)
The Franklin-Christoph Model 20 "Marietta" is a simple, minimalistic pen. Originally offered in black, the pen also comes in a beautiful olive- green color, and I'm told other colors will be offered soon. The design, with clean lines and a few flourishes, is reminiscent of vintage pens.
The Marietta is the perfect size for me. It's a slender pen compared to many of the other Franklin-Christoph models. It can be comfortably used posted or unposted. The pen is 5.0 inches (127mm) from nib tip to barrel end and 5.45 inches capped (138.43mm). The barrel diameter is .51 inches (12.95mm), and the grip is .41 inches (10.41mm) at its smallest. The pen weighs 22.7 grams with the converter (no ink).
One of the best design features is that the grip has absolutely no threads to worry your fingers. The cap slips on and off rather than screwing, so the grip is completely smooth. And, the cap makes a satisfying "click" sound when you slip it off the pen.
Matching grooves adorn the top of the cap and the bottom of the barrel adding interest to the otherwise straight lines.
The clip is small (about half the size of the cap) and sports the diamond motif.
An "F" is engraved in the finial.
The company's name and model number are lightly engraved around the cap. I appreciate the subtle branding of Franklin-Christoph pens.
I chose an 18K gold Masuyama medium cursive italic for my Marietta.
Even though I love the steel nib on my Model 65, I wanted a gold nib for the Marietta. I thought the gold diamond etched on the nib would complement the green color of the pen, and it does.
Like most of the other Franklin-Christoph pens, the Marietta can be used with a cartridge, a converter (included), or as an eyedropper. For now, I'm using the converter though I may turn my Marietta into an eyedropper eventually.
The pen wrote perfectly the first time I inked it. For my written review, I used Sailor Jentle Epinard, an ink that matches the pen almost exactly. I've had no problems with hard starts or skipping. It's a firm nib, but it writes a gorgeous line with just enough variation to give my handwriting character.
I don't have anything negative to say about this pen. It's beautiful, light, comfortable to write with, and has a great nib. The color is unique and sophisticated. I love the ease of the slip on cap and the simple, elegant design. I am so glad Franklin-Christoph made the pen in a color other than black, and I'm looking forward to the other colors they will offer in the future.
The Marietta starts at $165 (steel nib) and comes with a leather case. With a Franklin-Christoph 1.9 steel music nib, the pen costs $175. The pen costs $255 with any 18K Franklin-Christoph nib. And for nibs specially ground by Mike Masuyama, you'll pay $180 for steel and $270 for 18K gold.
- Elegant, simple, classic design
- Easy on and off slip cap
- Comfortable length, width, and weight
- Beautiful, sophisticated color with gradations from light to dark green
- Customizable with numerous nib choices
- Comes with a leather zipper case
- People who like heavy pens may find the Marietta too light
- Similarly, those who prefer pens with a wider girth may not like the Marietta's slender profile
Note: I purchased this pen for my own use and was not compensated by Franklin-Christoph for this review.