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Cross Century Fp & Bp


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8 replies to this topic

#1 soapytwist

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 22:14

My journey with the Cross Century is a long one, beginning when I bought a Chrome ballpoint in the Harrods sales with Christmas money when I was eleven. Apart from a Parker 15 it was my first quality writing instrument and I still have it boxed in my cupboard. I loved its elegance, the smooth twist-action, and the other-worldly screw-in refills that came in opulent-looking gold cardboard tubes (I had only ever seen Parker refills before!).

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Unfortunately for me, I found that the chrome finish was too slippery to hold such a slender pen, and I never really got on with it. In the meantime Cross began making a fountain pen to match the ballpoints and pencils that were their mainstay for so many years and, in my opinion, they nailed it first time with the Century FP. It's still my favourite slim fountain pen, the only downside for me being that for a metal pen they are as light as a feather.

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I eventually managed to find a rolled gold set that I reviewed in my 'Supersize My Nib' marathon (see sig for link), but I prefer a solid metal pen rather than I plated one, so I don't have to worry about wear. I replaced them with a sterling silver set about six months ago. I'm glad I did as the silver finish isn't as slippery as the chrome or plated ones, and consequently I can hold onto the biro a lot better. The fountain pen has a couple of scuff marks on it, that brought the price down to an area I was happy to pay!

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I also have a chrome pencil, which has a very assured twist-action for propelling lead, so I'll try to find a silver version sometime in the future. Cross ballpoint refills aren't my favourites but they aren't the worst either (and I have yet to try any non-Cross refills that fit).

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#2 overwriter

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Posted 09 April 2011 - 00:18

Nice to see. nearly everyone I know was given these at graduation yet one never hears of them. Mine is, well, very old now. still works great.

#3 greencobra

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Posted 09 April 2011 - 01:34

Enjoyed your comments on this Cross set. I have a Townsend FP, BP set someone gave me. Cross is not really the first name you think of in fountain pens but they can actually hold their own to their European cousins. Thanks for sharing your set.
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#4 Drone

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Posted 09 April 2011 - 02:42

The BP in this review is a most likely a 10kt gold filled-rolled "Cross Classic Century". I have an 18kt gold filled-rolled version that has a gold cap jewel and gold top cap ring separated by a small plastic ring. A Superb pen that has seen many years of flawless service. I remember seeing a rose colored gold filled-rolled version in Asia once, but not since.

The 10kt filled-rolled version BP is an excellent buy IMO at as low as $30-$35 USD street price. The 18kt version is more than twice that. There is a solid gold version - around a thousand USD.

This is a slim pen, but with some heft to it. The BP presents well - even in the most elegant of settings. The Bold refill is a nice performer. I wish Cross would come out with a gel refill. But I think the refills are too slim to hold enough ink as a gel.

Thanks for the review. Rgds, David

Edited by Drone, 09 April 2011 - 02:44.


#5 akrishna59

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Posted 09 April 2011 - 08:22

i have bought cross bps for years now and i have always loved its slim and weightless elegance. although a lttle plating loss occurs over the years generally they have been very good in my experience.

i would have bought matching fps also, but cross does not seem to do very well in the fp market.

after seeing your review perhaps i should revise my above opinion.

rgds.

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#6 MSA

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Posted 09 April 2011 - 12:17

Cross has made some good fountain pens. The original Century is very elegent and writes very nicely. I also have a Metropolis and a Solo. Recently, I took the body of Parker Big Red II ball pen (c 1972) and switched the section with a Cross Solo section. The result is nice it fits perfectly. The Solo has a smooth Pilot (Japan) made nib.....and Big red has classic good looks. I have one in Yellow and one in Orange.

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#7 soapytwist

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Posted 09 April 2011 - 13:36

The BP in this review is a most likely a 10kt gold filled-rolled "Cross Classic Century".

No; the pen in this review is most definitely a silver one, the tell-tale clues being its silver colour, its hallmarks, and the words 'Sterling Silver' on the cap... Posted Image

As an adjunct to this you can tell visually the finish on Cross Century pens by the following signs (I've put the 1987 UK price for the fountain pen in brackets for comparison):

Silver, thick black cap end, 'Cross' on clip in block capitals: Chrome (£35.50)
Gold, thick black cap end, 'Cross' on clip in block capitals: 10K Rolled Gold (£75.00)
Silver, thin black cap end, 'Cross' on clip in script: sterling silver (£100.00)
Gold, thin black cap end, 'Cross' on clip in script: 14K Rolled Gold (£95.00)
Gold, thick black cap end with gold tip, no 'Cross' on clip, only '14K': 14K Gold (£1,250.00)

Gold, thin black cap end with gold tip, no 'Cross' on clip, only '18K': 18K Gold (£1,750.00)
Obviously the Black (£42.50) and Gray (£38.00) versions are easy to spot.
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#8 jar

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Posted 09 April 2011 - 14:22

I always like the Classic fountain pen, even better than the Townsend. My brother-in-law loves Cross pens so recently gave him all my Cross pens, mostly BPs but also two Townsend fountain pens, a couple Solos and an FP BP Classic set.

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#9 Drone

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Posted 09 April 2011 - 15:21

Hi, soapytwist,

Sorry, the pics in the OP look like the pens are gold, I didn't look at the stamps on the pens.

BTW, my Cross Classic Century ballpoint (BP-only we're talking about here) I mentioned in my post is stamped "CROSS" (all caps in larger font) then next-line: "1/20 18KT GOLD FILLED/ROLLED GOLD", next-line: "CAP/BARREL". It was purchased in Singapore Airport IIRC some years ago. The cap-top is tipped with a gold top with a small black ring below. Shortly after purchase, the top gold cap piece fell off (no drops or mis-handling). I returned the pen to the Cross counter in Singapore Airport and the pend was replaced anew, no questions asked at no charge. I picked up the replacement when I was transiting through the airport a few weeks later. It has endured very heavy use ever since with zero problems, no brassing at all. I've signed many a binding contract/document with this pen (I never sign binding documents with a fountain pen or anything even close to the likes of a gel-pen). Price was well over $100 USD at the time (typical airport rip-off attempt), but after some haggling (yes this possible in Singapore) and a discount as I'm a Singapore Airlines frequent-flier, the price came down to around $100, which was near street.

I don't see the 18K filled/rolled version listed in you identification of these pens. I'm 99% sure this pen is a Cross original due to the performance, heft and wear. But you never know in Asia.

Regards, David






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