I’ve already decided that my Cross Apogee fountain pen doesn’t have a future in my accumulation. But I want to start giving my soon to depart pens a quick look and publish a review before they move on. So I’ll start with the Cross Apogee. Unlike my full reviews this pen was only used for a day, with one ink, before writing this review. Despite having the pen for several years it was very rarely used, which provides a clue about what I think of the pen. The draft of this review was the longest single writing session with the pen.
I associate Cross with those thin ball point pen and pencil sets given as graduation gifts or gifts for other similar events. Back in my youth the Cross brand had a certain luxury cache’ to it because of this, but by the time I acquired this pen that had long worn off.
I don’t have a record or recollection of where or when I acquired the pen. I would have guessed it was over 10 years ago but according to an old press release I found the Apogee line was launched in September 2005 so it’s newer than that. Then I realized my Cross Verve came before this one so that puts this one joining me in 2009 or later. The pen currently lists for $185 but according to the press release the price ceiling was $150 back when it was introduced.
The pen has a medium 18kt gold nib that’s rhodium plated. I like the one-tone nibs, especially when they match the pen design as this one does. “Cross” is engraved into the nib along with some decoration that gives the nib a bit of a feather look. As a writer the nib is surprisingly smooth, at least I was surprised. There is a bit of tooth to it but just enough to know it’s writing. Some nibs are enjoyable and a pleasure to write with, but despite being a technically good this nib just doesn’t do anything for me. The one flaw is an occasional skip, usually on a down stroke. A check of the tines shows a slight misalignment. The skipping isn’t enough to be annoying but it probably contributes a little to the lack of joy when using the nib.
A converter was included with my pen although the Cross website says the converter is currently optional (so add $5.25 to the cost) which is unforgivable in a pen at this price point. The filling system is proprietary so if you stick with cartridges it’s Cross only.
While I must have written with the pen when I got it, I don’t recall ever using it. For this review I used one of my few remaining Cross Black cartridges. The ink flow was good except for the previously mentioned skipping. The pen wrote immediately after being left unused overnight. But the pen has only been inked for a couple of days.
I like the Chrome design which Cross cross “guilloché-etched chrome”. While I can’t speak to durability since I’ve almost never used the pen, the finish remains shiny and untarnished after all these years. “Cross is engraved into the clip and “Cross -est 1846-” is engraved into the back of the cap band.
The clip is a spring loaded lever. It’s necessary to push down on the end of the clip to slide it over any material. Maybe it could be done with one hand after some practice, but I needed two to slip it into my shirt pocket without fumbling with the pen.
The pen posts securely although it takes a little extra pressure to push the cap down so that the inner cap locks onto the barrel. Posting makes the pen way too heavy for me although it may be fine for people used to posting.
The slip on cap emits a nice solid click when it snaps closed. The black section, which seems like plastic, has a sleek appearance and smoothly merges with the barrel making the pen comfortable to hold.
- Length Capped: 5.5550″ (141.10 mm)
- Length Uncapped: 5.0240″ (127.60 mm)
- Length Posted: 5.6215″ (142.78 mm)
- Section Length: 1.0790″ (27.40″)
- Section Diameter (near nib): 0.3785″ (9.61 mm)
- Section Diameter (near barrel): 0.4695″ (11.93 mm)
- Section Diameter (mid-section): 0.4365″ (11.09 mm)
- Cap Diameter (at band): 0.5670″ (14.40 mm)
- Barrel Diameter: 0.4845 ” (12.31 mm)
- Weight: 1.4 oz. (40 g)
- Weight (body only): 0.8 oz. (22 g)
I hadn’t used the Cross Apogee in years and didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. I actually found myself considering keeping it in my accumulation as a Cross representative. But the reality is I just wouldn’t ink it up.
Not including the converter in a $221 (list) pen is unforgivable and makes me wonder what else they cut corners on. This pen does seems solidly built, but my experience with other Cross pens would leave me worried about it’s long term durability. I’d have a hard time recommending this pen to someone as a new purchase. If you like the look and want a metal pen it could be worth the money since it’s low maintenance (the chrome doesn’t tarnish). For me it’s not a keeper.