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Cross Verve

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15 replies to this topic

#1 Russ



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Posted 12 January 2009 - 16:24

Cross Verve

My review of the Verve will be quick and decisive, mirroring my initial impression of the pen when it arrived. My impressions after a few days of use will be provided in blue.

First Impressions (5/10)

I felt confident that the pen would present yet Cross’s usual quality as I opened the shipping container. The white outer box and brown inner boxes were the same as those used for my last purchase, the Apogee. In fact, after my experience with the Townsend and Apogee, I was really looking forward to what I thought would be a greater experience of refinement. I was wrong, as noted below.

Appearance & Design (5/10)

The satiny selenium blue had a dark marine character, like something underwater which both held light yet reflected a portion of it. I could learn to appreciate the color; I kind of liked it. The torpedo shape of the pen was perfect, except that the cap lip was a little bit out-of-round and did not match up exactly with the barrel (see below).

I was disappointed in the smoky plastic lip which surrounded the chromed clip. It reduced the refined, quality-like appearance of the pen as a whole. The flush-sprung clip seemed to be more a stylistic gimmick than a functional clip intended for years of trouble-free service. My fingers felt as if they were pinching the narrow end of the pen just to get the clip to elevate, and I had a difficulty getting the pen to clip to my left shirt pocket. I immediately missed my Apogee’s massive clip. Using the fingernail of my right middle finger, I can left the clip and slip the pen over my shirt pocket easily – a movement some users disliked, admittedly. However, I felt that it was more secure and preferable to the fashionable but cheap clip of the Verve.

I learned after a few days that the top of the clip actually projects out from the top of the pen in order to accommodate thicker pocket material. This was ingenious. However, the clip does not grip tightly, and I was always concerned lest it slip out of my pocket.

Okay. Cap off. I was surprised that the cap wall was not reinforced at the lip, as it is on the Century Classic II, Townsend, and Apogee. I foresaw that, should it be dropped, the cap lip could easily become deformed. A weakness, in my opinion.

Likewise, the silver band on the section had not four but three raised lands which fit into the cap lip to snug the cap to the body. I felt unsure that this was a good design. How many cycles of off and on would occur before the lands wore the cap inner diameter down so that the cap became loose and easily worked loose in the pocket? Planned obsolescence? I hoped not. Likewise, I wondered if the light (and thin?) body of cap and barrel would ding and dent easily.

Laying the Verve next to a Sheaffer Snorkel, I was struck by the similarity in their appearance. The Verve appears to imitate the conical nib of the Snorkel in appearance, and the threaded silver ring on the Snorkel section was visually represented by the silver ring with three lands on the Verve. Very interesting. The similarity seemed intentional, and – with the very classy inlaid nib – also seemed to bear an oblique reference to Sheaffer’s inlaid nibs. What impressed me above all was that the fit and finish of the Verve’s section and nib was superb.

Weight & Dimensions (10/10)

The size of the pen was of more surprise to me than its weight. The Verve was as long as my Townsend and wider at midpoint. I was pleased that it felt really quite comfortable in my hand, much lighter than the Apogee. Whereas the widest point of the Apogee occurs near the nib, the widest point of the Verve was moved back toward the middle of the pen.

The Verve continued to feel absolutely perfect in my hand after days of use. This quality alone would make it difficult for me to part with the pen.

Nib & Performance (9/10)

The nib plating was perfectly smooth on all surfaces, a definite plus for me. The appearance of the stylish nib was the focal point of the pen, and was done very well. I noted in particular that the tipping material was distinct both in size and shape. The generous ball on the end would be ideal for making a stub or italic, and the tipping was actually a tad bit wider than the tines which led to it. Oh, yeah – lotsa material for shaping.

The distance from the tip to the breather hole was longer than either the Townsend or the Apogee, yet while I had hoped for more spring in the nib I was disappointed. The tines would separate a little, but only under brute pressure. There would be no finesse to the action of this nib. I was pleased, however, with flow; it was generous and uniform out of the box. The only limitation was that the nib had uniform tooth; that is, tactile feedback was felt in every direction of movement.

The nib has an incredible “just right” feel as it touches paper. The angle of approach, while nearly vertical (!), feels right. The length from tipping to the place on the section where my hand feels comfortable is just right. I like writing with this pen! It feels natural.

Filling System (10/10)

The orange screw-in converter was included in the box with two black cartridges. I like this converter better than the green push-fit model; it is more secure and it seems a little wider. While I really prefer pistons (e.g., Pelikan, Lamy, etc.), I have learned to appreciate the much-maligned converter. It only takes a second to spin the barrel off to see how much ink is left, and in my experience ink flow rarely becomes airlocked using the converter. If it does, a gentle shake or a turn of the screw instantly restores flow. Likewise, I can’t recall using a full converter of ink except on the heaviest days of use, and I am happy to carry a bottle of ink in my coat pocket. Since I usually carry more than one pen (like three or more), not to worry! My only lament is that the Cross converters hold less than the longer international converter used in my YOL Standard.

Cost & Value (8/10)

I bought the pen during Cross’ 2009 winter sale, at $130.00 plus tax and shipping. During my first impressions, I felt that the pen was not worth $130.00 given design weaknesses noted above. While weight alone is not indicative of quality, my impression of the clip and capping action cost the pen quality points. And the lack of spring in the nib was a letdown. I would have to use the pen for a while to determine whether I wanted to keep it – I was that disappointed, following the inner impression of quality I had anticipated.

I continue to feel that the Verve was not worth $130.00+, yet I recognize that I am relentlessly thrifty. The feel of the entire pen is a joy; its action in when writing is perfect. I just wish it was secure in a shirt pocket, or that I had room in my coat pockets for a pen case. At work there were too many needful things in my pockets besides a pen case.

Conclusion (Final score: 78/60 or 78%)

I really did not intend to write a negative review when I first opened the box, but my feelings were so strong that I decided to write while I was still in the moment. I will leave others the task of providing exact dimensions and more technical review. I wanted reviewers to hear my experience and to weigh it against their own preferences so they could make a decision that was right for them. While I would like to keep the Verve in my collection as a representative of this model, I would have felt better about the pen had its design received more thoughtful, comprehensive attention and planning. I’m afraid the Verve won’t retain its classy panache twenty or thirty years from now. I am reasonably sure, however, that many Townsends will still be serving with a loyal following and that many Apogees will still be appreciated for their style and reliability.

I finally decided to send the pen back. The difficulty of clipping it to pockets and my reluctance to just toss it around a workstation made it a pen I would keep at home, and to me it isn’t that special a pen that it needs to be kept at home. If a Cross can’t go to work with me, it doesn’t need to stay with me at all.

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#2 lovemy51


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Posted 13 January 2009 - 09:00

thanx for the honest review. i like the nib. like you, the clip is one of those things that make me not to wanna buy this pen.

#3 Ghost Plane

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Posted 13 January 2009 - 12:20

If, like me, you hold your pens farther back on the barrel than most, you may find this pen a little too short. I find it, even posted, catching in the web between thumb and forefinger. Not using clips, I don't care one way or the other. The nib IS lovely, however, and well behaved, except with inks known for their creep.

#4 oracle202



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Posted 13 January 2009 - 18:43

I also own this pen and use it as a daily writer some weeks. Like this week. I have the all chromed version. I can attest to the tooth this pen has, BUT the ink flow is great and the line it puts on the page is right on with my expectations of a Fine line. It also feels great to write with even though its a little toothy.

I always get compliments with this pen as its unusual nib design is a eye catcher. One thing that continually annoys me about this pen is the cap doesn't like to stay on when posted. Sometimes it comes loose and jiggles around and i have to push it back down again. They could have come up with something better than a simple tension fit for it.

For the price though, I am happy with this pen. It looks more expensive than it is and writes more expensive than it is, even though it doesn't feel expensive in your hands. Its almost too light it makes you suspect its plastic.


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#5 Col



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Posted 13 January 2009 - 19:08

QUOTE (Ghost Plane @ Jan 13 2009, 12:20 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If, like me, you hold your pens farther back on the barrel than most, you may find this pen a little too short. I find it, even posted, catching in the web between thumb and forefinger.

I don't hold the pen farther back on the barrel usually, but with this pen I had to learn. I found that when filled from a bottle, despite carefully wiping it, the nib design is such that the slightest contact with any part of it stains my middle finger with ink. That's less of a problem using cartridges, but then you're limited to those ridiculously small Cross ones, and in only two colours.

Having said that, and acknowledging that it's probably a triumph of form over function, I still like my Verve (Merlot). It certainly writes very nicely, once you've got the hang of it.


#6 QM2



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Posted 13 January 2009 - 19:34

I received the pen in your review for the holidays. My husband bought it at a ridiculous clearance price at the Cross store in Harvard Square that is closing down. This was my first Cross fountain pen, and my first Cross instrument since my school days, when we were given engraved Cross ballpoints for making the honor roll every year. I have to say that the Verve restored my respect for Cross as a brand, despite their downward spiral into Chinese outsourcing and outlet sellouts during the past decades.

My Cross Verve in Selenium Blue is a fine pen. The form and finish give it a faberge-egg-like appearance. When the pen is turned so that the clip is not visible, it is so graceful that it almost reminds me of a Nakaya, or of my Sheaffer Lady Skripsert tulle pens -- or, with its frosted finish, an icicle-shaped Christmas tree decoration.

Performance was impeccable straight out of the box. No problems with flow, starting, skipping, or drying out what so ever. The Medium nib puts down a crisp, beautiful line. Refreshing for a modern pen company.

Despite holding my pens very low, I've had no difficulties using the Verve. I hold the section right above the nib: my fingers rest on the cutout areas on both sides of the longer metal strip that protrudes in the middle. I find this position very comfortable and my fingers do not slip into the nib or feed mechanism.

The one and only feature I am not entirely happy with, is the cap closure. I am just not a fan of the snap-closure, or whatever the proper name for it is, and I find these difficult to operate. Otherwise, the Verve is a wonderful and innovative pen.

Edited by QM2, 13 January 2009 - 19:43.

#7 Peter from Sherwood Park

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Posted 13 January 2009 - 19:40

I have a Verve which sees regular use. The clip on my pen grips quite firmly -- there may have been an issue with your particular pen.

I do agree that this pen is pricy at full MSRP. However, as Cross pens often sell for substantial discounts, this shouldn't be a problem for a diligent bargain hunter.

#8 Tumbleweedtoo



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Posted 25 August 2009 - 00:53

Today, I received the Blue Cross Verve directly from Cross that I bought on their clearance sale. It had all the flaws that Russ pointed out in his review: loose clip on the cap, pen not secure in shirt pocket, the cap did not seat well on the nib section (too hard to take off and put on), the nib section did not meet with the barrel properly (either the barrel or the nib section was malformed, for the neb section would not seat properly into the barrel). The Broad Nib wrote beautifully (I bought it for a good broad nib). I do have an XF Blue Verve and an F Platinum Verve that do not have any of these defects or problems (though the XF nib writes a little scratchy IMO). Maybe this information will help the next buyer who gets a Verve with similar problems, for I have two Verves that do not have any of these problems. I am sending the pen back to Cross tomorrow and I will report on the results.

All the best,

#9 Ghost Plane

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Posted 25 August 2009 - 12:37

They DO have lovely B nibs.

#10 MikeF


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Posted 25 August 2009 - 20:37

Mine's a fine and it's not scratchy at all - very smooth indeed...

Actually, I must say that I returned the first one to the shop where it had been bought, and for the original price I bought another Verve Platinum (also fine nib) and a Pelikan M1000... and there was still some change left.

Edited by MikeF, 25 August 2009 - 20:40.

#11 smerdiakov



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Posted 26 August 2009 - 01:22

It surprised me to see some low scores, specially coming from a Cross guy. It´s a looker, though, at least in photos.

Good review. Thanks a lot for being honest.
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#12 Jeff E

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 02:15

I have a Verve Gold Shimmer with a medium nib. I initially filled the pen with Noodlers ink (Luxury Blue then Navy) and had all kinds of problems with nib creep. When I switched to Waterman Blue Black the pen was well-behaved. The medium nib is firm, smooth, and lays down a true medium line. I don't believe it's worth MSRP, but if you can get one at a deep discount it's worth considering.
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#13 satrap



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Posted 26 August 2009 - 04:48

QUOTE (Ghost Plane @ Aug 25 2009, 07:37 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
They DO have lovely B nibs.


You have a Verve? roflmho.gif Oh wait, they look like Carenes. Never mind.
"... because I am NOT one of your FANZ!" the INTP said to the ESFJ.

#14 Ghost Plane

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Posted 26 August 2009 - 10:47

Well,DUH! biggrin.gif

#15 adamselene


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Posted 29 August 2009 - 08:51

I have a platinum M and a Merlot F. Bought at ridiculously cheap prices on fleabay, NIB.

I usually post, but not these.

The trick to the clip is to depress the top, which pops out the bottom, not to try to catch the bottom with a fingernail.

I use a namiki leather case, and it is easy to clip it in place.

I like them both. I somehow got the two-toned nib on both of these.

The "Faberge egg" analogy is apt, these are very light.

I like them both.

* * *

I just got a Lamy titanium person. and I am in lust still, or maybe it is true love, but talk about a vectious clip!



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#16 rogerb



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Posted 25 November 2014 - 23:30

I had a Medium-nibbed Merlot, and found a matching ballpoint at a very good price at a London Show.(I always liked Cross BPs)

I loved the textured feel of the body, and the smooth-writing nib, but had the problem, mentioned above of getting inky fingers ... the ink seems to linger in the interstices around the inlaid nib.


I also found the barrel a little too short and too tapered for my comfort, and I sold the pair at the last London Show, to an Italian gent who had never previously seen one.

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