I own a fair number of higher end fountain pens and have yet to find any Cross pen that interests me. It seems like Cross's higher end offerings are identical to their lower end models but with either higher gold content or Star Wars theming. I suppose that's a unique competitive niche so maybe that's an okay product strategy. As another poster said, I think that targets people who aren't really into fountain pens. But I'm biased since the basic Cross models (Peerless, Townsend, Century) have little to no appeal to me. I'm sure there are some fountain pen enthusiasts who really like these models who might be interested in more expensive versions of the same.
To me Cross pens are very generic (even if made entirely from 21k gold or Chewbacca hair–actually, a pen made from Chewbacca hair would be really interesting). I suppose a downside of having your more expensive pens just blinged-out versions of your less-expensive models is the expensive pen is at its core an entry level pen and not something unique. Would you rather have a $600 version of a pen (or $4000) that could be had for $150 or a pen that starts at $600? I suppose a lot of limited edition pens follow a similar strategy, but at least those have the feel of being exclusive (even if the limited edition run produces 2000 pens).
To summarize, I think Cross could do okay with their upscale offerings but unless they do more than repackage their existing pens I'm not likely to buy one. If they start selling new and interesting designs I'll be happy to take a look.
My apologies to any Cross fanatics I may have offended.
If you look at Pelikan Souveran, Montblanc Meisterstuck, Parker Duofold, Lamy 2000, Pilot Vanishing Point etc iconic and successful pens, the designs have stayed pretty much the same for decades. Even Parker 51s, except for the internal conversion to the aerometric filling system, did not change much during it's span of several decades other than some minor cosmetic changes from basic pens with lustraloy caps to fancy more exotic finishes. Cross is doing the same with their iconic Century, Cenury II, and Townsend models. Coming out with new and interesting designs every few year is not necessarily a model for success.
Cross philosphy has always been to offer their popular models across a wide spectrum of price ranges for more people to be able to afford and enjoy, from the basic chrome versions with steel nibs to the more exotic finishes with 18K gold nibs. By offering exceptional quality and performance they kept customers at both ends of the price range satisfied. Perhaps they could introduce some more exclusive models with gold nibs only and that sell for over $500. I think they did that in their current Peerless 125 line. Time will tell how successful that will be.
I think where Cross shot themselves in the foot over the last decade were their big summer sales where they would slash prices across all their range right up to the top Townsend lines. All this did was drive down the perceived value of their models and ultimately the brand image. You don't take a $100K BMW M3 and do a summer blow out sale every year and slash prices down to $25K to sell off the stock.
You do set the value of your product or service by how you price it.
Edited by max dog, 27 September 2017 - 05:25.