I said it before when they first came out and I'll repeat it again - Cross missed a trick when it came to the Star Wars pens and priced them far too high. They won exclusivity on the branding and franchising and they will have it for the next six years (and beyond) as the hype around Star Wars continues and builds and builds. It was any manufacturers dream. If they had pitched those pens at around €100 to €150 a shot, they would have flown off the shelves faster than the Millennium Falcon could jump to light speed. Everyone I know who's a fan of the films ooh'ed and aaah'ed over the pens (and they aren't even fountain pen users) then either yelped or laughed when they saw the price. A golden opportunity to hook in a whole new generation of fountain pen users who might come back and buy some of your other products, lost. 'Upscaling' does not always work and 'upscaling' within a franchise rarely works - people just feel like its a cash in. But I'm sure they must be feeling the squeeze in other ways. Quite a few of Montblanc's latest offerings over the last two or three years have more than an air of Cross design aspects and I guess MB feel they could give the company both a squeeze and a run for its money. I know who will win. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Cross end up scaling down into focusing most of their business into general stationary.
Perhaps Cross realize that too. Have you seen their $22 Starwars Yoda, Darth Vader and R2D2 fountain pens? They are Sheaffers actually, but given Cross owns Sheaffer now technically can say Cross is not finished with marketing the Starwars pens to a broader price range.
In that light Cross offers quite a broad spectrum in price range from $45 Beverly right up to a $10,000 solid gold Classic Century fountain pen, offering a model in almost every price range in between. While they go upscale, they don't seem to be abandoning the lower range. Hope Cross has the fortitude to offer such a wide spectrum and remain profitable. Their higher end pens are probably having more traction in Asia I suspect while their low to mid tier pens continue to hold the fort in the west. Time will tell how Cross does.
Keep in mind there was a time when Cross were considered more prestigious than Montblanc pre 90's. It were Cross conical tops that adorned the shirt pockets of many executives, more than the white star. While Montblanc went exclusively upscale in the 1990s(wisely) abandoning the lower end completely (Montblanc use to sell pens in office depot too), Cross miscalculated and continued to compete in the lower and mid tier, as did Parker and Sheaffer, and suffered the consequences and Monblanc reaped the benefits of a better strategy and thrived. I think the new executives in Rhode Island see that mistake now and are making necessary adjustments to their strategy. So I wouldn't count Cross out so quickly. IMHO of course.
BTW, Cross even offer a bluetooth feature on the Peerless that can be used with your smartphone to track where the pen is so you never lose it. Can't blame Cross for not being innovative.
Edited by max dog, 07 October 2017 - 22:27.