Tag: cross

Modern vs. Old Style Cross Century II

Last February, my husband bought me an old-style Cross Century II fountain pen. I can’t really consider it vintage, but I know that this was before Cross was bought by a Chinese company. The logo is different and the design is also slightly different. The body of that Cross Century II pen was a little beat up, it has a lot of microscratches, and I wasn’t too keen on the stainless steel body. All it took to change my opinion about it was to ink it up and write with it. It has one of the best steel nibs I’ve tried so far, rivaling many of my gold-nibbed pens. The steel nib was incredibly smooth and the flow was wonderful. The pen itself felt wonderful in my hand. It quickly became one of my favorites (I haven’t taken it out of rotation since I got it).

Fast forward to last weekend. I went to this warehouse sale where I bought two sets of Century IIs because I was completely infatuated with the pen that I have had in my EDC for months.

PC068918

When I inked it up and tried to write with it, the nibs were good but not as good as the old style of Cross Century II that I have. It just felt so different. I tuned the nibs a bit to lessen the feedback, that worked, but there’s really just something different about the older pen.

At first glance, they look identical aside from the color. It’s just when you give it a closer look that you realize some differences. Of course the most noticeable is the logo. The one on the left is the old logo and the one on the right is the modern one. I prefer the old logo because it’s prettier. The slim and  boxy style looks classier. Even the way it’s stamped on the clip looks better. The modern logo’s kerning looks too wide and the style isn’t that distinctive.

IMG_3438     IMG_3439

The cap of the old Cross Century II has an additional etching near the top. It’s very faint, but I thought it really tied up the design quite well. The branding was well-made. The caps of the modern Century IIs don’t have this little detail.

IMG_3442

The finials are also different. The one on the left is the old style, the one on the right is the modern style. Again, I prefer the continuity of the design of the old style of Century II. The black disc on the finial of the modern pen looks like it serves no purpose and makes it feel like an afterthought, or something they did because they couldn’t make the top of the pen all in one piece. The old style of the cap is also a tad longer than the modern ones, though they both have the same kind of plastic inner cap that makes sure it secures the cap when closed and that it posts on the pen without scratching the finish of the barrel.

IMG_3441

The nib detailing is also different. The etching on the nibs look the same, but the etching on the old style of Century II seems more polished, deeper, and smoother. The modern nib (on the right) looks to be etched just to pattern it after the original design of the nib. However you can see that the etching is not deep and the finish is not as smooth.

IMG_3425     IMG_3433

A closer look at the nib’s iridium ball also shows that the two are quite different. The older nib (left) is less bulbous. Look at the size of the tipping on the modern Century II (right).

IMG_3435     IMG_3434

I’m not sure how the tipping of the modern nib affects the writing, but I feel that the old nib lays down a more consistent line, and it’s really a lot smoother than the new ones. Watch the writing samples below:

I’m not saying the modern Cross pens are not good. I’m saying that they’re not as good as the old style of Century IIs. The workmanship is just very different. Even the way that the trims are put together look much better than the modern pens. Well, like what they say, they don’t make ’em like they used to. 🙂

These are good pens, though. They write without skipping or hard starting. They are good steel-nibbed pens and they look great too. My favorite of the two would have to be the blue one. It’s a little pearlescent in color and I inked it with Emerald of Chivor because…sparkles!

Warehouse Sale!

There’s this nondescript warehouse along Pasong Tamo (near the Ford dealership several meters away from Walter Mart) that we visited because my brother said that they had Cross fountain pens. We arrived early in the morning and I of course made a beeline for the Cross booth. These pens were on sale for over 80% off. They were being sold as a set of fountain pens and ballpoint pens. I picked the blue and matte black (gave the ballpoint pens to my brother and husband, and kept the fountain pens for myself).

IMG_3403

Since my husband bought me a Cross Century II last year, it’s been one of my favorite pens. The nib is so smooth, even though it’s steel. It’s such a great writer. Other models of Cross were on sale, but I stuck with the Cross Century II because I love how it feels in my hand, the design of the nib, and the classic appearance. Personally, I think it’s such a pretty pen. These were the last two sets of Cross Century IIs (not sure if they will still have more next week, December 9-12). Merry Christmas to meeee! ^_^

PC058913

Review: Cross Century II Medalist, Medium

cross-century-ii-5

My husband bought me this pen as a Valentine’s Day gift. It’s a Cross Century II Medalist, and yes it’s very shiny. It’s chrome with gold trim, and it’s got some age to it.

My first impression of this pen was that it’s really pretty. It’s slim and elegant, probably the slimmest full-sized fountain pen I have in my collection. Despite it’s thinness, though, the weight is pleasantly substantial (about 23 grams). It hits the sweet spot of not being so heavy that it causes hand fatigue after long periods of writing, and not so light that it feels cheap. I like the weight of the pen especially when posted. The length of the pen makes it comfortable to use whether posted or unposted, but posting it gives is that extra heft. The cap has an inner plastic tube that hugs the end of the barrel snugly. It doesn’t give you that grating feeling that it might scratch the barrel. In fact, it makes snapping the cap on and off feel smooth and secure. That cap has CROSS engraved on the clip and at the top.

cross-century-ii-4

The medalist design on the cap and barrel is also pretty. It adds a classy texture to the pen. I must admit that I don’t like pens that look look all smooth, shiny and flat. I like texture, depth of colors, something that will look great as the pen develops a patina through the years.

cross-century-ii-6

The section of the pen is made of what looks to be hard plastic with some ribbing. I was happy to note that the section is pleasantly long. I love pens with long sections because it makes for comfortable writing. For people like me who spend hours upon hours writing, this is a huge plus. The long section and the slender profile of the pen makes it one of the more comfortable writers that I have.

cross-century-ii

The pen uses a piston-type converter. It fits snugly inside the barrel and holds a relatively large amount of ink because it’s longer than most piston type converters that I have.

cross-century-ii-3

The nib of this pen is gorgeous. Simply gorgeous. It looks very svelte, and the engravings on it are elegant. It’s as sexy as the pen itself. The feed under it is a tad fat, though, and it could be a bit problematic for people who write at a low angle. I had absolutely no problems with it.

cross-century-ii-2

It also writes like a dream. It’s generous with ink and shows off shading nicely. The nib is so smooth, it feels like there’s a cushion between it and the paper. The feed keeps up with fast writing and doesn’t skip, hard start or railroad. I noticed it is a little unforgiving of rotation. When I rotate my grip, it skips a bit. I tried capping it for a few days and it doesn’t dry up or hard start even after days of being unused. Please see the video of the writing sample below.  Continue reading “Review: Cross Century II Medalist, Medium”

New Pen Acquisition: Parker 45 Harlequin and Cross Century Classic Gold

I was organizing some of my stuff inside my mom’s library. She had several pencil cases that I didn’t want to open yet since she died. I figured I will open them little by little, like surprises that I spread out over a few years. So today I opened up one of her pencil cases and lo and behold, lovely pens! There were a lot of  Parker Jotters with her name on it, I’m gonna have all of those restored and refilled. There were a couple of things that I super loved, though.

P1030973

This is a Parker 45 Harlequin. This kind of pen was first manufactured in the 60’s, and this distinctive pattern on the barrel is not easily found anymore these days. The Harlequin pattern (first introduced in 1970) was made in circlets and (like the one pictured above) shields. It’s a pretty rare pattern because Parker discontinued it after several years due to the fact that its complexity made it difficult to mass produce. The matte and glossy finish on the barrel is produced by sandblasting.

The body is metallic and the cap actuation mechanism works perfectly. If I remember correctly, this was one of my father’s pens. I don’t currently carry any ball point pen on me, I only carry fountain pens. I think I’ll start carrying this around. It’s so understated and simple. At first glance you would actually think it’s a jotter, if not for the cap-actuated mechanism and the unique Harlequin finish.

P1030974

Behind this PARKER logo is engraved “Made in England LIE”. According to the date code (LIE), this particular pen was manufactured in England in 1983. I think it’s a great pen. Solid in construction like typical Parker pens and made to last.  Continue reading “New Pen Acquisition: Parker 45 Harlequin and Cross Century Classic Gold”