Since I first came across the Franklin Christoph website, I’ve wanted to own one of their Italian Ice demonstrator fountain pens; it’s been a long wait (they sell out very quickly) but at long last I have one.
Although after several years of checking their site regularly I’d pretty much given up hope of ever being able to own one; then one night I dropped by and there it was a Model 31 in Italian Ice and it was in stock.
Then do you know what I did next?
I closed the tablet and went to sleep, it was very late, and I don’t think I believed my eyes; so, the next day I went back and looked again, and it was still there and I am now, one birthday later, the very proud owner of an Italian Ice Model 31.
Before embarking on my review of the Model 31 I should point out that it has many features from other F-C fountain pens but rather than recite them I’ll let F-C tell you:
The Model 31 encompasses features from several F-C models. The grip section is like that of the 40 Panther, the silhouette is a slightly slimmer version of the 19, precision posting like the 20, 45, and 03, cut grooves and recessed nib like the 20.
And rather than fiddling around with rulers and callipers I’m just going to give you F-C’s official spec.:
.625″ cap diameter (15.87mm)
.531″ upper barrel diameter (13.49mm)
5.50″ capped length (139mm)
6.755″ cap posted length including nib (172mm)
5.250″ barrel length including nib (133mm)
.42″ grip section at thinnest point (10.67mm)
Weight without ink = .92oz / 26.0g
So, there you have it those are the basics of the pen and I can now go on and tell you what I think of it, cap, barrel, section and nib.
Starting at the top the finial is clear acrylic with the F-C logo and four diamonds very discretely engraved on the top of the finial. The four diamonds are repeated down the clip and again the engraving is very discrete; like the finial you really have to look hard to see the engraving.
The clip is very firm and if anything, it possibly has too tight a grip when new but I’m sure it will ease up with a little use. Below the clip and above the thread the full company name is engraved around the cap and, other than the nib, that is the last of the very discrete branding you will find on the pen.
Finally, the interior of the cap; this is a clever piece of design work, it has been designed in such a way as to encompass the whole of the section with a separate chamber for the nib (this part of the cap is textured whilst the rest of the cap is clear) which helps to ensure it does not dry out and my pen has been inked for over a week during which time it was left for three days without use and when I used it, I experienced no problems.
The barrel is made from a single piece of polished acrylic; the exterior being smooth whilst the interior retains the ice effect finish; the finial is clear and has a flat end to it to match the finial on the cap. It is possible to see how well F-C have engineered this pen just by looking at the way the interior of the barrel is made to fit the converter with just a few millimetres between the end of the converter and the end of the barrel.
The internal and external threads are well cut and are very smooth in use; the external threads for the cap are not, unlike the Model 02 and other F-C pens, found at the nib end of the section, on the Model 31 they are at the end of the barrel where it meets the section. But once again they are very smooth, and I have not noticed them when writing with the pen.
Barrel & Section threads.
The section on the Model 31 is longer than that of the Model 02 by around 4ml and it tapers from the barrel threads towards the nib where it flares to give your finger somewhere to rest and not slide onto the nib. Now the thing that is different about this nib, when compared to other pens, is the nib is recessed into the section. I’ve never owned a pen with a recessed nib but to be honest, in use, I can’t say I noticed.
The nib itself is a standard #6 Medium the only difference being that this nib is black with a little gold diamond containing the F-C logo.
I loaded the pen with Diamine Sapphire Blue and as with every F-C pen I’ve had the nib is wonderful; it worked perfectly out of the box gliding effortlessly across the paper.
I’ve tried all the usual tricks to get the pen to skip and/or hard start and I have not been able to achieve either even when I left the pen uncapped for several minutes it worked without issue.
One thing you may notice about the Model 31 is that it is not wholly dissimilar to the Model 02; whilst they each have their own unique features, they also share some of the same design characteristics.
The Model 31 posts very nicely, but it is not necessary as it is long enough to use and not need posting but if you prefer to post your pens the Model 31 happily allows for this.
As with a lot of the F-C pens this one could easily be adapted to an eyedropper with a small amount of silicone grease however, given that the interior of the pen is textured I’m not sure I’d recommend it as, dependent upon the ink you use, it might take quite a while to clean.
Writing with this pen is an absolute pleasure, it is comfortable to hold, well balanced and it’s very eye-catching. Under artificial light it is crystal clear and the textured surfaces sparkle exactly like ice; but when you see it under natural light it really comes into its own having an amazing lavender glow.
Would I recommend it, definitely.
I think every collection should have a Franklin Christoph and if you can get an Italian Ice version get it while you can because even if demonstrators aren’t your thing an Italian Ice version is something special.
Disclaimer: The pen was purchased at retail price. The opinions expressed in this review are my own; and I am not connected with either the retailers or manufacturers in any way.