Vintage (?) Cross Mechanical Pencil Review

Cross has been making fine quality pens and mechanical pencils for 167 years.

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Cross pen and pencil sets have been the go to graduation gift for as long as I can remember and I’m sure long before that.  They are very elegant and run as high as 3000 USD for 24 kt gold versions.

I picked up this used Cross mechanical pencil a couple of weeks ago at an antique mall for ten bucks.  It says 10 kt gold on it so it probably retailed for between 35 and 90 dollars depending upon whether it was part of a set or a stand alone.  It is difficult to know its precise age, because you can purchase similar pencils as part of sets at Office Max.  The font of the lettering on the pocket clip is different from modern versions, so it is at least one styling iteration removed.

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Like all Cross pencils of this design, the lead advancement mechanism is a barrel-turn mechanism.  It seems really solid to me.  The lead of this pencil is 0.9 mm.  On the Cross website you can fully customize a pen or pencil to your liking, selecting many options, for a premium price.

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The eraser on mine is worn down and seems pretty old.  There are also scratches on the body.  I don’t mind.  It gives it character.  Its been loved.

Pencils like this exist for elegance and for showing off professionalism.  They are not intended to be functional pieces.  They exist to make you look really good while you’re doing whatever it is you do.

So how does it rate?

Writing experience: OK (Great for people that like tiny pencils and don’t care for textured grips)

Quality: Great (Mechanism and manufacture seems high quality! There is a question as to the current manufacturing of these pencils.  Some say partially made in the US and partially made in China.  Others say entirely China.  I’m not sure which.  Of note is that Cross does offer a lifetime warranty, so that’s a rarity.)

Features: OK (Hey, it has an eraser!  You’re not buying a pencil like this for the features, if we’re being honest.)

Price: Expensive (Office Max) to Luxury (custom on Cross’ website)

Does it make the Top Ten?  Not even an honorable mention, but I don’t really rate pencils for their elegance alone.  Its worth knowing options for elegance. Parker, Shaeffer, and Cross are all known for their elegance in writing.

The Top Ten and Honorable Mentions:

1) Rotring Rapid Pro

Writing Experience: Great, Quality: Superb, Features: Good+, Price: Expensive

2) TWSBI Precision

Writing Experience: Great, Quality: Great, Features: Great, Price: Moderate

3) Pentel Sharp Kerry

Writing Experience: Great, Quality: Great, Features: Great, Price: Moderate

4) Pilot S20

Writing Experience: Great, Quality: Great, Features: Good, Price: Expensive

5) Tombow Zoom 505sh

Writing Experience: Great, Quality: Good, Features: Good, Price: Expensive

6) Pentel Sharp P20X

Writing Experience: Great, Quality: Good, Features: Good, Price: Cheap

7) Pentel Twist Erase GT

Writing Experience: Great, Quality: Good, Features: Great, Price: Cheap

8) Tombow Mono Graph Shaker

Writing Experience: Good, Quality: Good, Features: Good, Price: Cheap

9) Uni Shift Pipe-lock

Writing Experience: Good, Quality: Good, Features: OK, Price: Moderate

10) Alvin Draft/Matic

Writing Experience: Good, Quality: Good, Features: Good, Price: Moderate

Honorable mentions (in alphabetical order):  Pilot RexGripPilot S3Staedtler Triplus Micro 774, Uni Kuru Toga, Zebra Delguard

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