Moonman continues to explore new ways to incorporate their #6 nib into new pens. The most recent example is the Moonman C2, a refresh of the popular M2 eyedropper-only pen.
The pen accomplishes a couple of things:
On the last point, Moonman has also hedged their bets and makes the C2 in a second configuration with their smaller #5 nib. This may be a first: a pen sold with either a #5 or #6 nib!
Moonman must understand that many people (including yours truly) swap stub nibs into the M2 for a different writing experience. Chinese-made #5 stubs are cheap and plentiful whereas there are no Chinese suppliers for #6 stub nibs. Rather than abandon the nib-swapping market, Moonman lets existing M2 users enjoy the new model and still make the most of the nibs they have on hand.
The design of the C2 feels modern. The Moonman branding engraved at the base of the frosted bottom half of the cap is subtle. The matching thread patterns inside the cap and barrel add visual interest. It reminds me a bit of what TWSBI is doing with the GO!
The pen is produced in bright red and blue along with clear and a purple they call grape. Priced at under US$12 (plus shipping) on Taobao, the cost is near impulse-buy territory.
The product page shows the pen in contemporary settings with fruit, fashion and art. Think yuppies with half a nod to women. Moonman is trying to broaden its appeal.
The resemblance to the Franklin Christoph Pocket 66 is impossible to ignore. The Moonman C2 is the spitting image, down to the chamfering on the ends.
I wasn't familiar with the Pocket 66 until I started research on the Moonman C2. In fact, when I first saw the C2 I thought it might be something like the long-lost Karas Kustoms Vertex. Nope, not the Vertex.
Franklin Christoph has now removed the Pocket 66 from regular production and makes it only in special editions. Moonman doubtless sees this as an open segment in the market. Of course, the Pocket 66 retails for around US$150 and the C2 is less than a tenth of that.
Still, it's more than a little disappointing to see Moonman copying a design so blatantly. Kudos to PenBBS for not going down that path.
Or does Moonman have a licensing agreement for the design with Franklin Christoph? That would be interesting, but I've seen no indication so far.
The Moonman C2 solves some of the problems that nag the M2. Moving the threads to the front of the section does away with the cross threading my M2 persistently exhibits. The cap now posts deeply and very firmly. It goes on and off in 2½ turns. Oh well.
The Moonman C2 does have its own idiosyncrasies. The step behind the section is noticeable and sharp. It would have been nice to smooth this a bit. The M2 solves this by having a metal ring in between the cap and the barrel. The C1 is that respect is a step backward.
Then there's the noise. When I first took up the pen after filling it and fitting the section, I found the section oddly loose. Pressing down with my thumb with the pen in the crook of my hand caused the section to creak and shift. Tightening the section helped but doesn't solve things completely. The pen is is something of a fidget toy: rotate-flex-creak, rotate-flex-creak, rotate-flex-creak.
The parts of the pen are beautifully polished. There are o-rings on the bottom of the section and the top of the nib assembly to keep the pen sealed. The nib assembly comes apart easily.
Like the Moonman M2, the Moonman C2 is almost too short to write with unposted. Posted, the C2 is a comfortable length - and it posts much better than the M2. The section is an hourglass shape similar to the Moonman C1, compared to the straight taper found on the M2.
|Moonman C2||Moonman M2||Moonman C1|
|Capped Weight (inked)||16.07g||16.83g||22.03g|
|Uncapped Weight (inked)||12.05g||12.96||16.15g|
The Moonman C2 is an easy pen to like. The section is on the small side and the step is always there, but the pen has enough girth and is nicely balanced. It's light so feels agile and friendly.
The #6 nib fits the pen well and performs flawlessly. I can understand why Moonman wanted to get yet another pen with this nib into the marketplace.
As a pure writing instrument, the Moonman C1 still comes out on top. Both pens are about the same weight (the C1 is 0.08g heavier inked) but the C1's larger and longer section make the C1 feel more substantial. Visually, the Moonman C1 is art and that doesn't hurt either.
So it really comes down how you'll use the pen. Do you want a pen for your desk or one for your pocket?
As much as I like the Moonman C2 and the idea of having an attractive, low-cost pocket pen that uses the excellent Moonman #6 nib, it's disheartening that Moonman chose not to go with an original design. Other Chinese pen makers are moving in that direction and there are plenty of designers out there who'd love to show off their chops.
But that's not what Moonman elected to do. I was expecting different. It would be great if Moonman ended the C2 with the pens they've already produced and moved with deliberate speed to a different design for a friendly pocket eyedropper to show off their terrific nib.
Or they could join forces with FC to produce an authorized version and bring a budget-friendly version this great pen to an even wider audience. In Coke bottle green. Wouldn't that be something.
More often that not, my desk is my pocket. But everyday desk items doesn't have the same ring.