More and more people are starting to want to upgrade their entry-level fountain pen to a more established, luxury brand so we are seeing more and more people reaching out to ask why some pen brands are more expensive than others and if their price tags are worth it. We have noticed a number of people reaching out and asking why Cross pens are so expensive recently so we have decided to make this the main focus of todays article.
We are hoping that our article will be able to help any of our readers who are considering adding a Cross pen to their stationery collection and go over the various factors behind their price tag. That said though, the price tag of the Cross pen range is not as high as it could be and although the reputation and quality of Cross pens has fallen since they moved production to China, falling sales has also forced them to reduce the premium on their pens and lower their prices.
Many penthusiasts would not class the Cross pen range as expensive due to this as the prestige that the brand once carried has all but gone now. If you are looking for a pen that carries a large amount of prestige with it due to its branding, build quality, and performance then the Montblanc pen range is for you. They are the only brand from the old guard that still holds their high, premium price tag with its prestige premium due to the excellent quality of the brand.
Although there are still some people who feel that Cross are the epitome of pen brands, they are usually referring to the older models that Cross released prior to moving production to China. Cross used to be one of the best pen brands in the world but times have changed and brands such as Cross, Sheaffer, Waterman, and Parker just don’t have the reputation that they used to due to stiff competition from competing brands increasing quality and lowering price tags.
Why Are Cross Pens So Expensive
Although the older Cross pens were build to last with the average Cross pen having the ability to literally last for decades with some being passed from parent to child and having generational value the reduction in build quality definitely shows. Although seven US presidents have used the Cross pen range, they have had a specially made and customized pen that was actually made in the USA rather than the made in China retail pens that Cross sell to the masses.
With the Montblanc pen range holding their value and growing their reputation while the Pelikan range of pens keeps on going from strength to strength with each new release, Cross really are facing a tough few years ahead. With increasing pressure from the Japanese brands such as the Sailor pen range and the Pilot pen range aggressively growing their North American market share due to their low prices and excellent performance, Cross may struggle to make it through.
Cross Pen Reputation
As we have touched on a few times already, the reputation of the Cross pen range used to be second to none in North America and they were seen as the all American pen brand. Not only had US Presidents used Cross pens for over a century but other world leaders had also used brand with the reputation of the brand going from strength to strength.
Although we would guess we will never know the exact reasons that they decided to move the production of their pens from the USA to China but there is an almost exact correlation between the change in production and the change in the reputation of Cross. Whereas prior to the move in production to China, Cross pens has enjoyed an almost guaranteed increase in sales and reputation with each passing year, since the shift in production, the opposite is true with a few recent additions to the Cross pen range failing to earn a market share.
Cross Pen Nibs
Unlike some pen brands who try to ensure that all of their pen nibs offer a similar writing experience such as the Pelikan range of pens almost always being wet writers as well as other brands offering similar similarity with their pens, Cross flip between dry, standard and wet writers throughout their range. Although this can in theory open up their range to more people as each user has their own preferences when it comes to how their nib performs, a lack of similarity across a brand can have a negative effect.
In addition to this, the surge in popularity recently for wet writing fountain pens due to them offering a smoother writing experience and the lower price of high GSM paper making it easier to avoid issues with bleed, feathering, and ghosting has reduces the available market share for the dry and standard Cross nibs. In addition to this, the nib on the Cross Century II has been controversial to say the best with it offering a scratch writing experience and many users returning the pen and switching to a competing brand.
As most of our readers will probably be considering picking up a brand new pen rather than a pre-owned one, we would recommend that you try to get to your local stationery store to try any potential Cross pen prior to purchasing it as experiences can vary. Brands such as Lamy have continued to go from strength to strength and take advantage of the once-popular North American pen brands to rapidly grow their market share by offering lower-priced pens that offer better performance.
The nib size selection of the Cross range of pens do them no favours either. Some of their pen models have no extra-fine or broad options and although fine and medium do tend to be the most popular nib sizes, extra-fine and broad do still have a sizeable user base to cater too. This could be another reason that people are ditching the Cross range and opting to go with a competitor that offers extra-fine or broad nibs as standard as well as offers additional nib sizes as well as oblique options too.
Cross Pen Barrels
One thing that Cross have to be given credit for is the quality of their barrels remaining and they are still tough and robust enough to offer a buyer generational build quality. That said though, the question is if the nib quality is lower than expected then why would you pay the price for a poor writer that could be scratch when there are better options from other brands.
Some of the popular Cross models do not let you switch nibs either or are only available with a nib size of fine or medium restricting their potential market share even further. Although the barrels are tough as well as light to prevent a build-up of fatigue when writing, these advantages are simply outweighed by lotto of getting a good nib on your pen or not.
Cross Pen Caps
We know that some people do prefer the push to lock cap system on their pens and this does tend to be fine for pens that have a price tag of less than $100. Due to many of the pen models in the Cross range coming in with a price tag of over $100, their insistance of a push lock cap can be called into question as we feel that more of their pen models should be using a twist lock cap.
The preference of the user seems to have switched over from a push to lock cap to a twist to lock cap for higher price point pens too with the Pelikan range of pens and another twist to lock pen ranged going from strength to strength. People have realized that a twist lock cap helps to add additional security to the pen by securing the barrel and cap togather. This ensures that the barrel will not accidentally detach and go missing or fall and break when capped and clipped to your jacket pocket or to your paper.
With the price tag of the Cross range, their higher price point pens should all have a twist lock cap in our opinion but some of them do still use a push to lock system. Although it is not a major selling point, we can’t help that feel this can also contribute to the declining sales of the Cross range with more and more people opting to purchase a pen model from a competing brand.
Cross Pen Ink Resevoure
Another thing that may go against Cross is that many of their pen models only come with cartridge convertor models without a piston filler variant being available. Although cartridge convertors are becoming more and more popular, many people still prefer to use a piston filler and this alone can be the reason that some people will opt for one pen model over another further dropping points for the Cross brand.
In addition to this, Cross seems to be stuck in their ways when it comes to their cartridge convertor system and are failing to even try to innovate to improve the system. There is no doubt in our mind that this is going against them due to the Pilot pen range having their CON 70 convertor that is probably the best cartridge convertor system in the world.
That brings our article going over why the Cross pen range is so expensive to an end. In our opinion, the majority of Cross pens on the market are not worth their price tags and there will almost always be a better option available within the price bracket from a different pen brand. We wish it was still the glory days of Cross where they dominated the North American market but times have changed and their competition has gone from strength to strength where as Cross have remained stagnant and lost market share and reputation over the last decade or so.