Franklin-Christoph make distinctive looking pens and the Pocket 40 (sometimes known as the M40P) is no exception, particularly with the ice-effect barrel that has become one of their trademark materials.
Price: $130 (steel nib) $210 (gold nib)
Nib options: extra-fine, fine, medium, broad; 1.1mm & 1.4mm cursive calligraphy (steel only)
Masuyama-ground nib options: needlepoint, medium cursive italic, broad cursive italic, medium stub, broad stub (an extra $15, worth every penny, and available in gold or steel)
Barrel options: black and cinnamaroon, smoke and ice, cinnamaroon and ice, emerald and ice, ruby and ice, solid emerald (mine is fire and ice, it’s possible that this is what’s now called cinnamaroon and ice but the red on my pen looks a little lighter); clip available for an extra $10
Filling system: standard short cartridges or eye-dropper (just smear a little silicon grease on the threads)
Size: 10.7cm (4.2”) capped, 13.2cm (5.2”) posted
The ice effect on the barrel is gorgeous and even though you see it everywhere you see a Franklin-Christoph pen (to the detriment of some of their other beautiful materials) I can never get tired of it. Used as an eye-dropper (you can alternatively use short international cartridges) the acrylic shows off colours and changes character when you change your ink.
The only problem with this design is cleaning. The ink clings a little to the slightly rough innards and to get it properly clean you’ll need to poke around with a cotton bud (q-tip, American friends). With the pen being so short this is easy enough. It’s not a problem if you use a cartridge, of course. Ink also leaks into the section a little but this is easily rinsed through as everything comes apart.
The red end to the cap sets the whole pen off and the transparent section maintains the aesthetic. I prefer this to the smoke and ice design of my M02.
The cap screws onto the barrel. The threads are chunky and well out of the way so despite being a small pen it’s comfortable to grip. Being so small you have to use this pen posted and this is its Achille’s heel. The cap pushes on to post and the friction point is the internal thread. Unfortunately this acts as a pivot and so the cap wobbles and is liable to come loose.
There are very many options for this pen, particularly when it comes to the nib. The nib on my pen is a Masuyama-ground medium cursive italic (steel). It is absolutely completely and utterly beautiful. There’s the tiniest hint of feedback, reminding you that you’re moving a pen over paper. The line is crisp with good variation, bring out the shading qualities of the ink, but it doesn’t snag. It’s as if it knows what you’re going to write and helps you along.
The Pocket 40 is an absolutely stunning pen with beautiful looks and an incredible nib. It’s comfortable to hold but … that rocking cap! It’s maybe a minor detail but if it wasn’t for that this pen would be perfect. It’s so frustrating.
An incredible nib (with lots of alternative options)
Eye dropper or cartridge
Cap moves about when posted
Needs extra care when cleaning
You can find some more reviews of the Frankin-Christoph Pocket 40 on Pennaquod.