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Cross Affinity Quick Overview


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35 replies to this topic

#1 michael_s

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Posted 14 October 2009 - 11:51

Just received my Affinity from Amazon (USA) tonight, so here's a quick overview of Cross's new line:

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From top to bottom: Century II, Townsend, Affinity. Note this photo was taken at an angle, not top-down.
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Measurements
Length capped: 14 cm
Length uncapped: 12.8
Length posted: 14.3

Widest diameter is at the cap band, 1.5 cm
Diameter at the top of the barrel, 1.2 cm

Weights (without cartridge/converter)
Affinity: 25 g with cap, 17 g without cap
Century II: 23 g with cap, 14 g without cap
Townsend: 34 g with cap, 17 g without cap

Random Notes
Nib is steel. The twist-off cap's threads are plastic, while the matching threads on the barrel are metal. A little over 3/4th turn is sufficient to uncap the pen.

Unlike the Century II or Townsend, it cannot house a spare ink cartridge in the barrel.

Metal insert in barrel to provide some weight.

2 black ink cartridges in box. Does not include a converter. Appears the friction-fit Cross converter will work, but I have not tested for leaks, so don't hold me to this, especially since Cross's website specifies a different model number for the Affinity's converter.

Initially my fine nib was scratchy. Determined the nib was not centered on the feed. Much better after centering. Quite a wet writer.

Affinity's profile reminds me of an Eversharp Skyline, with its wide cap and tapered barrel.

-Mike

Edited by michael_s, 15 October 2009 - 00:14.


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#2 Bipedallou

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 02:22

Thank you Michael for posting this information on the Affinity. I have been interested in this new model from reading the other posts on about it in this forum, and from what I could find on the web. I have check with my local B&M, which does carry the Cross line, and they had not yet received any of this particular model at the time I last checked.

Thank you for including a picture of it with the cap on, as the official Cross site has only the posted view of the pen. I also like the side-by-side picture with the Century II and Townsand for comparison It is interesting that the barrel portion of the Affinity is the same weight as the barrel of the Townsand, (but of course the Townsand cap is equal in weight to the barrel, a fact that some have found a detriment of the Townsand line).

There were several points you made, and I am glad you brought them out, that have cooled my ardor somewhat.
1) The matching of metal threads to plastic threads, which I feel may lead to excessive ware on the plastic side.
2) The lack of a converter, (personally I never use cartridges in my Townsand, which is the only FP I own capable of using them). The fact that the pen came without the converter speaks, in my opinion to a decline in Cross’s customer orientation. Secondly, although Cross converters for their other fountain pen lines (#8939 for Townsand and #8030 for the others apart form the Affinity) have an MSRP of $4.00, the Cross web sit, while identifying the Affinity converter as #8756 does not list it on their site. Have you tried to obtain a converter for the Affinity? (Of course you may be very satisfied with using the cartridges which seem to be the same standard one used in Cross’s other FPs.)
3) The nib being misaligned on the feed section does not, again in my opinion, speak well of Cross’s Quality Control, and while they are now boasting that their nibs are being mass produced in China they ought to be extra careful to get them right.
4) You feel your steel fine point nib is a wet writer? The only experience I have with steel nibs are my three Esterbrook nibs, two of which are fine points, and one medium. From these I was under the impression that steel nibs were, a) thinner than a gold one designated as being the same size, and B) slightly drier than the gold counter parts, but that is not to say poor writers by any means. Of course these impressions, and perhaps misunderstandings, of the nature of nibs may certainly be the result of my limited experience.

All in all I want to again thank you for posting this information on the new Affinity. I will be curious to learn the views of others, especially of those who have a good opinion of Cross products. I myself have a high regard for Cross, and I hope I don't have to alter it in the future, (I have the Townsand FP, and the pencil, ballpoint and select tip in both the Century II and Townsand lines, and I regard my Townsand FP as a high quality and excellent writing instrument which I use equally as much as my Pelikan Souveran M400). But for now I am no longer tempted to buy an Affinity from a web site before I have a chance to carefully examine one.

Lou

Edited by Bipedallou, 20 October 2009 - 02:22.


#3 Bipedallou

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 02:31

In my previous reply an emotion face appears in the text, but this was unintentional. I was using the lower case alphabet item listing with a ) to separate the letter from the statement. Apparently the letter b followed by the ) will produce B) . Annoying, especially when one is unaware of the result until it is posted!

Lou
(I think I like the previous 'skin', or whatever you call, the former look and functionality of this network better.)

#4 anthony13

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 03:06

I purchased a Medium nib Cross Affinity in Red this weekend. I don't have a review, so I hope it's okay that I jump in on this 'overview' thread and share these pictures.

Close up of the nib. Notice the "M" to the left of the Cross logo. I kind of like the unusual placement of the M. I also like the nib design. It's not too fancy, but not too boring IMO.
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Size comparison with my Lamy Safari. I thought this would be a good comparison since so many people are very familiar with the Safari. As you can see, the two pens are just about identical in length when capped.
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Size comparison with the Safari, both pens posted. The Lamy becomes a much larger pen when posted.
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Close up of the Affinity and Safari nibs. Notice the sleek, elegant lines on the Affinity compared to the blunt/flatness of the Safari.
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Close up of a writing sample
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Full writing sample
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Some additional notes:
*The Affinity is a beautifully smooth writer. I also appreciate that the line this pen produces is actually what I expect when I write with a medium nib. Most people know that the Lamy nibs run wider than listed. I might call this a "true" medium, but I don't have enough experience with nibs so I'm not sticking to that.
*I really like the weight of the pen. It's heavier than the Lamy, but not what I would consider a heavy pen. That being said, it has a substantial feel so that you know you're holding a nice pen. The weight is great for taking notes in class.
*The clip is very stiff. I can slide this pen easily into the pen holder in my timbuk2 bag, but getting it out is another story. It was quite embarrassing trying to take it out in class Monday morning.
*You really have to see the pens in person to appreciate the deep colours. They are truly stunning.
*When you post the cap, there is a nice rubber or squishy liner in the cap so that the pen is not scratched. This also provides for a very secure fit. Also, the liner creates a tiny gap between the cap and the barrel so that you will not have a ring marking on the barrel.

(edited to add 2 writing sample pics and 1 additional note)

Edited by anthony13, 21 October 2009 - 16:42.


#5 Tumbleweedtoo

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 03:44

Thanks so much for these reviews and pictures! As a Cross fan, I am impressed; now I also know I do not need a Lamy. I hope some more people who have the Affinity will leave their impressions on this thread too.

All the best,
Tumbleweedtoo

#6 Bipedallou

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 22:08

Thank you, anthony13, for including the additional pictures of the Affinity Fountain Pen. I'm glad you are pleased with the look and performance of your new Affinity. You specifically noted the look of the nib, and provided very good pictures of it. From the first picture I thought it might just be the camera angle that made the tines of the nib appear to be misaligned or unbalanced, but the second picture seems to show the nib as not having two equal tines. However you are pleased with the writing smoothness, and didn't mention an ink flow problem (either too heavy or light).

Thank you for the additional information about the cap construction. The rubber gasket, or whatever it is, is a nice touch for Cross to have put in to protect the barrel for those who prefer to post the cap on the pen when writing; and as you pointed out it helps to secure the cap in that position. (I do not post my caps when writing because I do not want to mar the barrel portion, and perhaps because I didn't jam the cap down on the barrel the few times I tried writing with a pen posted, the cap loosened and became a hindrance!)

Back to the appearance of the nib, perhaps some others might share their views and thoughts on it? I am also thinking of the original post in this thread, because of the minor misalignment of the nib on the feed. As I have stated before, I very much like my Cross Townsand FP, I have always thought Cross a quality pen maker, but I am becoming a little wary of trends which have workers mass producing nibs as cheaply as possible. I ask again is there a laxness in the QC Cross is imposing on their Chinese manufacturing?

Lou

#7 Tumbleweedtoo

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 22:35

It also seemed to me that the left side of the Cross nib was wider or thicker at the point of the nib than the right side in the picture. The Safari nib seems not to have that problem. It does appear that the pen writes well. It will be interesting to note if the pen begins skipping or hard starting due to what appears to be a nib problem. Perhaps a closer look will reveal a picture angle problem and not a pen nib problem.

All the best,
Tumbleweedtoo

#8 anthony13

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 00:36

I'm afraid that the pictures are accurate, though not a perfect representation. The nib is wider on the left. Much wider actually. The decorative lines on the nib do not appear to be even either.

This has not hindered performance of the nib as far as I can tell. At the same time, the nib may write better if it was split evenly; I don't know. It is a disappointment that an important detail like that was not taken care of at the factory.

#9 anthony13

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 00:43

Another thing to think about:

I was going to add this to my little notes section - the nib does have a bit of feedback. Not scratchiness, because I have some very scratchy pens. Just a bit of feedback. I wonder if this is due to the uneven nib?

Perhaps Michael_S can let us know if his Affinity has any noticeable feedback.

#10 Tumbleweedtoo

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 03:14

If you have had your pen for less than 30 days, Cross will probably replace it for free. Contact Customer Support at cross.com. If you have had it for more than 30 days, it should cost you only $10.00 plus shipping to them to have them repair or replace it. I have had very good customer support and can heartily recommend this approach. I do not think I would keep the pen with that defect. You might also mention that this was recommended to you by some on the Fountain Pen Network. I think they are sensitive to maintaining good public relations and publicity because their customer support is generally outstanding.

All the best,
Tumbleweedtoo

#11 anthony13

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 03:51

Tumble,

I took your advice and wrote Cross an email explaining the situation. I attached the links to the email so they could see what I'm talking about. I only purchased the pen this past Sunday (10/18) so the whole 30 day thing should not be a problem. Once they reply, I will relay their actions to this bulletin board

#12 Bipedallou

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Posted 22 October 2009 - 17:27

Anthony, I feel confident that Cross Customer Service will, as they have with so many others, respond quickly and seek to remedy the problem to your satisfaction. A Cross representative corresponds on FPN, mainly seeking to know how Cross is doing with such enthusiastic and devoted fountain pen users as are found on FPN, but also answered some questions from others. So I feel that, as Tumbleweedtoo pointed out, your association with FPN will be a positive inducement, (though the need of one is hardly to be thought necessary), to having this nib issue resolved, either by repair, replacement, (which is far more likely to be the case), or explanation of the nib design (which certainly looks unusual to me).

Please keep us posted as to how this turns out.

Lou

#13 michael_s

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 09:57

Wow, quite a few responses since my initial post on the Affinity. And great photos anthony13!

To bring everyone up to speed on my Affinity... despite aligning the nib on the feed, it was still a bit scratchy. Using a loupe, I found one tine was just a hair lower than the other, so I balanced the tines using my thumbnail. But it was still a tad scratchy, so I finally resorted to the 0.3 micron micromesh that I had purchased long ago from Richard Binder. A dozen very light strokes on the micromesh, followed by two passes (one per tine) between the tines, finally resulted in a smooth writer.

In my first post, I forgot to mention that my Affinity was tightly jammed into the "holder" of the case. Cross needs to make the pen easier to remove from its case.

I agree with anthony13's assessment that this nib provides more feedback (not scratchiness) than other nibs. To put it another way, this nib allows the writer to feel the texture of the paper. I think I read the Nakaya nibs share this feeling of feedback.

Like my other Cross pens, the Affinity starts-up without skipping after being unused for a couple days.

I feel the Affinity's curvier design makes it more inviting to use than the business-like profile of a Century II or Townsend, and this feeling is reinforced at a tactile level by the warmth of its plastic/resin construction. None of the coldness of a metal barrel pen. And I must emphasize that it's high quality plastic, not like a Bic.

As with the Townsend, the Affinity has a posting ring near the end of the barrel. When posting the cap, just push until you feel the ring being engaged. Now the cap is securely posted onto the barrel. Unlike the Townsend's slightly unattractive black rubber/plastic ring, the Affinity's prominent posting ring is an integral part of the overall design of the pen --- it's the counterpart to the silver ring on the cap.

The Affinity is definitely a new direction for Cross. If you prefer medium-sized pens but didn't care for a Century II or Townsend, I encourage you to try the Affinity when it arrives at your local store. Hopefully by then Cross will have resolved the quality control issues with the nib.

-Mike

#14 michael_s

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 10:15

1) The matching of metal threads to plastic threads, which I feel may lead to excessive ware on the plastic side.

For what it's worth, the cap threads smoothly onto the barrel. I agree the different materials may cause issues if the cap is regularly overtightened onto the barrel. But I think the system will work longer than a friction-fit arrangement.

2) The lack of a converter, (personally I never use cartridges in my Townsand, which is the only FP I own capable of using them). The fact that the pen came without the converter speaks, in my opinion to a decline in Cross’s customer orientation. Secondly, although Cross converters for their other fountain pen lines (#8939 for Townsand and #8030 for the others apart form the Affinity) have an MSRP of $4.00, the Cross web sit, while identifying the Affinity converter as #8756 does not list it on their site. Have you tried to obtain a converter for the Affinity? (Of course you may be very satisfied with using the cartridges which seem to be the same standard one used in Cross’s other FPs.)

Yes, it'd be nice if Cross included a converter in the box. Though many modern pens no longer include a converter. No, I haven't inquired about a converter yet.

3) The nib being misaligned on the feed section does not, again in my opinion, speak well of Cross’s Quality Control, and while they are now boasting that their nibs are being mass produced in China they ought to be extra careful to get them right.

So far 2 out of 2 Affinity's on FPN have nib issues. This is a small sample size though, so we should wait for more reports before making conclusions.

4) You feel your steel fine point nib is a wet writer? The only experience I have with steel nibs are my three Esterbrook nibs, two of which are fine points, and one medium. From these I was under the impression that steel nibs were, a) thinner than a gold one designated as being the same size, and B) slightly drier than the gold counter parts, but that is not to say poor writers by any means. Of course these impressions, and perhaps misunderstandings, of the nature of nibs may certainly be the result of my limited experience.

My understanding is that the distance between the tines, and the distance between the nib and the feed, largely determine the wetness of a pen.

-Mike

Edited by michael_s, 26 October 2009 - 10:15.


#15 Bipedallou

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Posted 02 November 2009 - 16:44

[/quote]
My understanding is that the distance between the tines, and the distance between the nib and the feed, largely determine the wetness of a pen.

-Mike
[/quote]

Mike thanks for your responses. And thank you for this information about what makes a pen a wet or dry writer. I still have a lot to learn about fountain pens, but my ignorance, (which is being removed little by little as I read more and more on the FPN), does not hamper my enjoyment of using my two favorite fps.

But I'm still a little hesitant now about the Affinity's quality, especially at the point I think the most important, the nib assembly. (It is not the quality of the material, but rather the Quality Control over the process.) I keep looking for more threads about the Affinity, or better yet more posts on this thread, from other owners, (but perhaps like me many others are holding back a bit on this newest offering?).

Lou

Lou

#16 drunken spider

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Posted 08 November 2009 - 09:29

I too am very keen to hear more about this pen and whether Anthony has had his issue resolved. I love the look of this pen and am seriously interested in buying one. Indeed, it was this pen that led me to this forum.

Any other new owners with anything to add?

#17 anthony13

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 16:06

I too am very keen to hear more about this pen and whether Anthony has had his issue resolved. I love the look of this pen and am seriously interested in buying one. Indeed, it was this pen that led me to this forum.

Any other new owners with anything to add?


I have not heard back from Cross yet. When I sent the email, I immediately got an automated email sent back to me saying to please be patient because Cross has a very large number of repairs to get to. I don't mind the wait because I've been using the pen everyday anyway.

#18 anthony13

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 04:27

I thought I would add some more Affinity eye candy...

Posted Image

#19 Tumbleweedtoo

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Posted 12 November 2009 - 04:31

Impressive! Thanks for the eye candy! The Affinity does have a certain appeal, but I am not convinced yet that I need to add it to the Cross pens I currently have and enjoy.

All the best,
Tumbleweedtoo

#20 dut1974

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Posted 15 November 2009 - 01:44

All of the Affinity pens are on sale on Cross's website currently. Just thought I would let everyone know.






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