Cross makes a beautiful fountain pen but I prefer thinner lines and more heft..
Jan 24, 2010
Pros: Lifetime warranty, beautiful looking, writes every time, smooth lines, converts to inkwell writing
Cons: Ink lines are very thick, ink can smear, bleeds, very lightweight pen shaft
The Bottom Line: The Cross 3509 Century II Lustrous Chrome Fountain Pen is gorgeous. It writes smoothly and boldly. I prefer thinner lines and a weightier pen shaft however.
Everyone I know knows I love pens. I love to write in journals and notebooks and have all my life. A relative was kind enough to give me a Cross Century II Lustrous Chrome Fountain Pen with Stainless Steel Nib - Medium for Christmas. I like the pen and it was a great gift but, after using it for a while, I found some flaws that I feel make it less than wonderful. About the Pen
The pen is made of brushed chrome with a stainless steel nib. It comes beautifully boxed and with one black refill. I much prefer blue ink but will use the black and buy blue refills when the time comes. In the box is a lifetime warranty against defects.
This pen is sleek and slim. It looks great but isn't the easiest to hold in the hand due to how slim it is. This pen has a clip and a black part at the end where the fingers grip. That part is not rubber or in any way "grippy". It is smooth.
The nib is medium point and that is where my issues have come in. Fountain pens should give a nice, clean line which the Cross Century II Lustrous Chrome Fountain Pen does give. It feels light in my hand and doesn't strain it as I write. However, the ink flow is quite thick and writing can look messy or even smear when using this pen for anything more than signing documents or jotting down a line or two.
When I write, I want a pen that doesn't skip, that writes smoothly, and that doesn't look messy. This pen doesn't skip often and writes smoothly but the end result is a somewhat messy mass of black ink. I very much prefer a fine nib and I am kind of surprised that Cross even bothered to make a foundation pen with such a thick nib for casual writing.
Good pens have heft to them. They feel substantial in the hand. Although the Cross Century II Lustrous Chrome Fountain Pen is pricey, it feels very light - almost too light for a pen of its quality.
One thing I forgot to mention is that the pen also comes with a screw in converter so that the end can be dipped into an inkwell and used like a true foundation pen. I have no interest in that and wouldn't bother with an inkwell or inkpot to write but calligraphers may appreciate this extra bit.
The Cross Century II is a beautiful looking pen and it doesn't need to be scribbled on paper to get the ink flowing. It writes quite smoothly but the thickness, for me, is just unsightly and messy. The ink takes a while to dry and, with such a thick line, could easily smear between writing and drying. It also does bleed through pages so prepare to write on one side of a page only with this pen.
I know this pricey fountain pen will last for a long time and I do have the warranty against mechanical failures and defects. I am looking into the possibility of being able to switch nibs to a fine or ultra fine point one but that seems impossible. If it wrote with a thinner line, I could easily overlook its very lightweight feel and sometimes smeary ink. In all, this certainly is not a bad pen. It's great for those who specifically want a thicker line when using a fountain pen. I happen not to like thick lines that can blot and smear. I also prefer pens with a bit more heft to them. Buying Info
I didn't do a thorough search of prices for this pen because it was a gift and I feel like I am checking up on the person who gave it to me. However, I did see that the cost varies greatly. I would say $70.00 is about what you can expect to pay although it is priced higher on the cross website. It's not a cheap pen!
The Cross Century II Lustrous Chrome Fountain Pen is a beautiful pen. It looks great and does reliably write whenever I pick it up. The converter, for some, may be a selling point but I have no interest in using inkwells for writing. The lines are smooth and the pen only skips now and ten. However, the thickness of the nib along with the very lightweight feel of the pen lead me to give it 3 stars. By no means is this a pen that will give you many issues. I just feel, for me, it is an average pen in its class. You may love it so I recommend that you try it if you like thicker lines when writing.
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About the reviewer
Patty Therre (PattyTherre)
I am a writer, editor, researcher, and reviewer as well as a fashion and beauty fanatic. I am into fitness and like to switch up things so that fitness is fun and not a big drag like it can often be. … more
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