Let’s start with the background story. As I understand it, these pens weren’t intended for sale when they were first designed. Both the 66 and it’s smaller companion pen the 65 were made to hold all the nib options on F-C pens, Model 65 for #5 nibs and Model 66 for #6 nibs. With over 20 options between the two sizes and different materials/grinds, F-C wanted to give everyone a chance to try all their options. The pens for this should be simple, easy to ignore so you can focus just on which nib you want. If you’ve ever been to a show where F-C has a table you realize how well they accomplished this. The pens are long and sleek, with small caps, and a big flat section in the middle where they’ve put the nib material and grind.
That ability to ignore the pen is in part why I love these so much. At first glance they’re simple pens, the Model 66 is the larger of the two, at 6.3 inches capped. But the more I stared, the more I realized there were lots of subtle details that make this pen far more interesting than it may appear at first.
While it’s undeniably beautiful, (or as undeniable as that can be I guess, eye of the beholder, etc.) the cap, for starters, is tiny compared to the rest of the pen. I took a picture next to TWSBI Vac700 to compare overall size, but more specifically the proportions of the 66. The cap is small, with a nice rounded bevel up to the flat top. This is a deign decision driven by the original use case I believe, with a small cap, when you’re taking it off and on all day there’s less air to get trapped in there, and once you take the cap off you see how the reduced the room for air even more. Once you take the top off the threads jumped out at me. Instead of being at the bottom of the section they’re right behind the nib. They’re also THICK, which helps them disappear under your fingers, if you end up having your fingers over them at all.
The section is incredibly comfortable, I’ve happily sat and written page upon page with this, no cramping at all. It’s a thick pen all told, but the section tapers in beautifully and should be comforatble for most grips.
The most notable feature of the rest of the body is the flat portion. On the testing versions the flat section is much larger, but on the Model 66 there’s a small flat section which helps keep the pen from rolling away. It also holds the only branding, Franklin-Christoph Model 66. It’s a lovely and practical addition, another way in which this pen speaks so clearly of its original intended use.
I went with an EF nib in steel, and as usual it wrote beautifully immediately. It’s a tad wider than I was expecting, but I realized quickly that was because I’ve been using a lot of Japanese pens of late. My nib tastes have been shifting as well, so I’m overall happy. I’m very curious about the gold options so I may grab a slightly wider gold nib, or go for the one of the best deals in all of fountain pendom and get a Masuyama cursive italic/stub. I have a lovely cursive italic for my Model 40P, one of the #5 nibs. It's a cartridge/converter fill pen, and the converter it comes with is a standard twist fill converter, but good quality, with a firm seal.
All in all the Model 66 is a subtle, sleek pen that I have fallen in love with. I’ve kept it inked continuously since I got it in December of 2014. It tends to stay on my desk as opposed to traveling with me due to the length, but I find my hand reaching for it first most times when I’m going to write. While it’s not flashy, there’s a lot of small details that add up to something special. They just recently released a version of this in the ice acrylic, which turns a sleek, subtle pen into an astonishing, and depending on the ink flashy as all get out eyedropper. This wasn’t my first F-C pen, and I’m sure it will not be my last.