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Cross Affinity - Initial Impressions


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#1 James P

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 19:32

A few weeks ago, I received a Cross Affinity fountain pen. I've been playing with it ever since and I'm not merely "impressed" with its quality - I'm blown away. In my line of work, I find that a fine or extra-fine nib is most suitable, since I tend to take a lot of notes and write marginalia. One of the biggest problems with most "European" style fine nibs is that they're actually pretty wide. That's one of the reasons I really like Sailor pens and other Japanese makes - their nibs run pretty true to size. With the Affinity, Cross seems to have taken a page from its Asian counterparts because the the fine nib writes a much finer line than I thought it would. It is NICE! Fairly smooth, with enough feedback to know you're using a pen and not an ice cube. Excellent ink flow, with no false starts, skips, streaks, or any glitches whatsoever. I filled my Cobalt blue Affinity with one of my favorite inks, Diamine Sapphire Blue, which also complements the pen's resin finish beautifully. So far, I've written on a variety of different papers to test the nib, including Rhodia, cheap Office Depot legal pads, Post-it Notes, and 20# copy paper. So far, the Cross has performed excellently on all of them.


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The pen is nicely weighted - like the Waterman Phileas, it has a resin base with a metal insert for some heft. The Affinity looks and feels much more solid than the Phileas, however. It is a much more elegant pen and would be at home in a purse, in school and even in a corporate boardroom. In retrospect, the nib doesn't look as small as I thought, but it's not going to leap out at you as being big, either. In length, the Affinity is equal to the Full Size Sailor 1911, but it's girth is more akin to that of the 1911M; a nice balance, in my opinion. The fit and finish really is first rate. It's a bummer that a pen at this price point doesn't include a converter and comes only with two dinky-sized ink cartridges; nevertheless, at $80, it's still a very good value. But since the some retailers are including a free converter with every Affinity fountain pen, hopefully that will not really much of an issue for most buyers.

James

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#2 Kamiyashi

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 19:41

It looks a little top heavy in the photo. How's the balance?

Love the color, though! :thumbup:
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#3 James P

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 19:49

It looks a little top heavy in the photo. How's the balance?

Love the color, though! :thumbup:


It's actually very well balanced. The cap is a lighter-weight resin material, so it doesn't add that much weight when it's posted. The balance point is on the barrel, slightly below of where the bottom of the cap meets the barrel (does that make sense?) In other words, with the cap posted, the balance point is roughly in the center of the pen. Posted length, by the way, is about 5.75".

Edited by James P, 22 December 2009 - 19:51.

So here's what happened
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And then I vanished...
But now I'm back


#4 MYU

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 05:27

Thanks for this review, James. The Affinity is a nice move forward from the designs that Cross is typically known for. I like the metallic color choices available, too. Makes the pen look like the body is made of metal, when in fact it's resin. The cobalt blue color is really striking, very nice shade. The burgundy looks good too.

I'm a major fan of Lamy, so your preference for the Affinity has perked my curiosity. :)

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#5 TheNibsmith

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 05:35

What other colors does it come in?
What about nib sizes?

#6 gross

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 05:49

I had marked Cross off my list of pens to purchase, displeased as I was with their move. However, with the looks of this Affinity I am given pause. With your favorable review, I am forced to admit that I might should reconsider Cross and my list of pens to purchase. I am very pleased to know from your review that the nib is truly a fine "fine". I am put off still by their move and the lack of an included converter, but . . .

Thank you for the excellent review.
-gross

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#7 James P

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 16:06

Oh, I forgot to mention three things that bug me about this pen.

The first is that the nib is unmarked - if I didn't open the box marked "F" on it, I'd have no way of knowing that the pen was sporting a fine nib just by looking at it. Seems like it would be pretty easy to stamp a single letter on the nib or feed and I don't know why Cross overlooked that.

The second minor irritant is with the little piece of metal on the clip that's engraved "Cross." Instead of molding that part of the clip, it's a metal insert, held onto the clip with what appears to be two pins or rivets. While I'm sure they're pretty sturdy, it doesn't appear as "top drawer" as it could.

OK - the last thing that bugs me is the threads - I have no problem with the fact that it's a screw cap (in fact, I like those), but it seems like it's a wee bit too easy to unscrew, and might just unscrew accidentally in the wearer's shirt pocket. I've not had this happen, and it might be an entirely imaginary worry, but it persists nonetheless.

Still, on balance, I really love the pen. And despite those minor flaws, I will not be giving up my Affinity any time soon.

Edited by James P, 24 December 2009 - 00:27.

So here's what happened
While you were nappin'
I just went out for a snack
I was feelin' famished
And then I vanished...
But now I'm back







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