Cross Update From Bert:
When I first started selling pens I used my Cross 14kt Gold Filled Ballpoint Pen (only on Saturdays since that was when we waited on customers and did not do any stock work). I always felt that the Cross 14kt gold filled pen was a better and more luxurious pen over the 23kt gold plated pens from Sheaffer and Parker. The rich rolled gold on the Cross ballpoint was far superior to the others, and the sales proved it.
In the mall where that shop was located was also the premier shopping venue for tourists from around the world. Busses would drop off people and wait in the parking lot until they “shopped ‘til they dropped”. If those busses were from Asian countries, we knew from experience that by the time they were done shopping, our inventory of the Cross 1502 and solid gold pens would be sold out. Cross also made 12kt pens but changed to 10kt sometime in the early 1990’s. Why am I telling you this? Well I got notification from Cross that the Century collection in 10kt, 14kt, and 18kt gold will be discontinued as well as the Century II in 10kt, and Townsend in 10kt.
I understand times change – as inevitably they do. I’m sure sales of Cross Century precious metals pens have fallen to record lows as the era of slim pens was forever changed in the 1980’s by the Montblanc 164. But it still stings a little as the Century collection in precious metals was for the most part only sold in fine jewelry stores where the sales reps were chauffeured to their accounts in NYC rather than dealing with traffic and parking a car. It was the best of the best, mechanically superior to the other US brands (IMHO).
On the other hand, I just heard from the sales rep from Cross that they’re introducing the Classic Century, Century II, and Townsend models in 23kt gold plating. Unfortunately, it’s the same finish I didn’t care for in Parker and Sheaffer 30 years ago. Hopefully technology has improved, and these new finishes can stand up to the original since according to Cross, the technology for gold filled/rolled gold is no longer available to them. Cross has always been an iconic American brand. I certainly hope they’re up for the challenge to continue this legacy.