When I was in high school, I carried a Cross Classic Century for a while, which met an untimely end when it was run over by a truck in the school parking lot. Nevertheless, I enjoyed using the pen, despite the mediocre refill. It added a touch of class to my notes and essays. The one thing I always held against it when writing, however, was how thin and slippery the grip was.
After developing a taste for finer pens, Cross completely fell off my radar. The pens they sold in the big-box stores never appealed to me, and I had a bad taste in my mouth from the ballpoint refills they used. But, that changed when I got the Cross Townsend fountain pen. To be honest, I was not impressed upon opening the box — so much shiny! Cross is known for their chrome, but it was surprising still.
But, after writing with it, I immediately fell in love with how it writes.
Look and feel
First off, if you're not a lover of chrome, this pen probably isn't for you. To be fair, there are other finishes available from Goulet if you aren't into Chrome. Due to the chrome finish and shape of the pen, it has the look of an executive pen. And, turns out, it's sometimes used by U.S. Presidents to sign bills, so that executive look and feel isn't just for show.
When I first looked at this pen, it triggered an association with the Hughes H-1 Racer — it wasn't made of chrome, but stainless steel is close enough.
The pen feels perfectly weighted in my hand as long as it's not posted. The cap of the pen weighs almost as much as the pen, coming in at 18g compared to the 21g of the body. If you like to post, it does an exceptional job by clicking into place on the back of the pen. It doesn't rattle, wobble, or shake.
The grip section is made of plastic, but it feels nice. Honestly, I don't think I'd like a chrome grip section, and the black plastic helps break up all of the shiny chrome.
The clip is sturdy, but not too stiff. There's "CROSS" branding present on the nib, the clip, and the top ring of the cap. It's not obtrusive, though, and I even had to look carefully to find them all.
The nib is a tad small compared to the rest of the pen, but not in an awkward way.
Overall, it's a really sharp pen to look at.
If it's good enough to sign a bill, it must write pretty well, right? Oh yes. For my tastes, it writes like a dream — exactly how I would expect an executive pen to write. The ink flows freely, the nib is extremely smooth, and there's no feed issues with starting or skipping. Even better, this pen has never had any issues with starting after being stored for over a week with the nib pointing up in a Dudek Cube.
The nib didn't require any adjustment at all, which is something I didn't expect. I had the impression that Cross dealt in such large scale that the nibs wouldn't be perfect out of the box. Maybe I got a perfect fluke, but if all of the Cross nibs come in this condition, that's an extremely good thing for the brand and their fountain pens.
As far as ink goes, this pen takes proprietary Cross cartridges. It comes with 2 black cartridges, but I'd highly recommend picking up a Cross cartridge-converter if you snag this pen.
Overall, I really love this pen. At first sight, I didn't think we'd get along at all. I'm glad it proved me wrong.
Goulet Pens sells several models of the Cross Townsend, as well as the converter to go along with them. The model I have here goes for $145, but the price can go up to $450 depending on the body and nib materials.
(Goulet Pens provided this pen at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)