The Franklin-Christoph Models 02 and 40 in Smoke and Ice have been something of a hit in the pen community - to put it mildly. They look very cool, but there was something stopping me buying one. I don't use a pocket pen, so the 40 was out, and I tend not to post my pens so the taper on the 02 designed to allow posting just seemed ugly. Also I was never quite sure about the "Smoke" section. There was some part too that did not want to just get the same pen as everyone else. When I stumbled across the newly released Model 66 Stabilis desk pen in Ice, it gave me the best of both worlds, making the decision very easy!
The Ice finish is simply spectacular - I immediately applied silicon grease to all threads and converted the pen to an eyedropper - if you do not do this, then I have no words for you. The look of the finish itself has been covered many times over in the Model 02 and 40 reviews, so I won't go over old ground. Suffice to say that the extra length of the pen, and the lack of a "smoke" section to distract, showcases the finish even more. It is not uncommon that I find myself looking at the pen instead of writing.
My one aesthetic concern was the cap - it looked pretty ugly and functional on the website. I guess this is less of an issue on a desk pen - it is either in use or away - but I needn't have worried. The cap is fine - nothing spectacular - but the eye is drawn to the barrel anyway. In fact, its functional nature makes it feel as though you are uncapping an artist's brush, which is actually a pretty good description of what it feels like to use this pen.
This brush feeling is also down to the length - at 152mm uncapped it is longer than my Nakaya portable by a good 23mm. This is in part due to the long clear "tail" that nicely contrasts with the ink filled smoke, and is nicely symmetrical with the cap when closed. The material is light enough that this is never uncomfortable, however, and while long, it fits in my NockCo Brasstown without any problems.
As a desk pen there is no clip, but there is an inbuilt roll stopper in the form of a subtle flat section on the barrel. This doubles as a spot for the engraved "Franklin-Christoph Model 66" - it is nicely done and unobstrusive while practical.
The other feature of the design that I love is the barrel thread. It is just above the nib itself rather than between the barrel and the section. It is also one very thick thread (actually 1 1/4 turns), which allows it to seal nicely, but look like a simple bevel design feature on the section. You have to look again to realise that it is actually the thread! It is a wonderful, innovative and pleasing piece of design.
I picked up the pen with the Masuyama steel 1.1mm stub, but also bought a Masuyama needle point, and the new F-C music nib. So far I have only had a chance to use the stub, but since it writes like a dream I am in no hurry to change. The ink (Sailor Gentle Sky High in the photos) flows beautifully and I have not had a single hard start, even when leaving the pen uncapped for a minute or two. The chance to get a preground Masuyama nib for $15 premium is not one to pass up.
I took a risk when getting this pen, but it is one I am glad I took. Pocketable? No. Practical? Just about. Deeply satisfying and fun to carry? Absolutely.