Cross Classic Century Fountain Pen Review

Cross Classic Century Fountain Pen – A review of the timeless writing instrument with classic styling…Is it worth buying if you find one? Find out now…

Cross Century Fountain Pen

  • Timeless Classic Styling
  • Unique, thin body
  • Screw on cap to post
  • Engraving full length masks fingerprints

  • Scratchy nib until manually adjusted
  • Dry writer until you separate the tines
  • Unscrew cap to remove

Design – Cross Classic Century Fountain Pen

cross century fountain pen capped

The Cross Classic Century fountain pen is a beautiful fine writing instrument with classic styling and design. It’s the thinnest fountain pen I’ve ever written with and that’s part of what drew me to this pen in the first place. It is the same width as a BIC Round Stic which means it’s extremely portable and a great pen to have with you that doesn’t take up a lot of space.

The Cross Classic Century is entirely chrome except for the black derby on the cap. It has a lustrous metallic chrome finish and comes standard with a medium point steel nib.

It has finely etched groups of lines that run the length of the body and cap which are barely noticeable except upon close inspection. These help hide the appearance of fingerprints but don’t always line up when you cap the pen, but that’s barely noticiable.

Branding – Cross Classic Century Fountain Pen

cross century fountain pen cap

The Classic Century has CROSS etched horizontally into the edge of the cap under the derby and above the clip.

Cross is also engraved on the top of the pen clip.

Performance – Cross Classic Century Fountain Pen

Writing Appearance

cross century fountain pen writing sample

Man, I just wanted this pen to write well because I love the simple, classic styling and unique thin body. Unfortunately, right out of the box it was extremely scratchy and disappointing. It was constantly ink-starved and even when the ink was flowing there was just too much friction against the page.

You have to understand I was rooting for this pen based on its design; it’s just so beautifully simple and unusually thin for a fountain pen that I wanted the underdog to P-E-R-F-O-R-M!

Unfortunately, its writing ability let me down. I delayed writing this review because I wanted to make sure I got it past its break-in period, hoping it would magically begin gliding on glass but it didn’t happen without some adjustments.

I finally got frustrated enough with it that I pulled it apart, cleaned it thoroughly even though it was new when I got it, and manually adjusted the tines by putting my thumbnails just between them and then again on the outside and lifting them off of the feed a little. That did the trick!

Different Papers

cross century fountain pen nib

After adjusting the tines for better ink flow, it is a good writer on notebook paper. It’s still a bit starved on heavily-fibered paper, skipping and starting occasionally. The Cross ink in the cartridges it comes with smudge readily so it would not be a good choice for left-handed writers.

After minor adjustment, it writes without scratchiness on notebook paper, but not as fluidly as other Cross pens I’ve tested.

Cap Fit

What’s fantastic about the design is that the cap screws onto the body when you post it to write. This is fantastic because other Cross pens I’ve reviewed like the Cross Aventura and Bailey Medalist both require removing the cap to write, otherwise it wiggles off every time. This screw-on cap stays posted firmly. A drawback is that you also have to screw off the cap to use it; I can see wanting a pull-off cap for a daily writer.


cross century fountain pen ink test

It is a typical Cross Medium Nib, which is a little thick of a line for my taste, but about the line-width of a felt-tipped pen.

After adjusting it, it writes a little wet and smudges readily if you drag your finger across it soon after writing. By five minutes, the Cross black ink was completely dry.

Hand Fatigue

Because it’s so light and so thin, there is NO hand fatigue when writing with it for extended periods. It is a dream to hold and the size of it is so similar to a ballpoint, it’s hard to believe you’re writing with a fountain pen. When I first put the cartridge in and used it it was tiring only because it was so scratchy. After pulling it apart, adjusting the tines and cleaning the brand new fountain pen, it glides across the paper much more smoothly.


slim and regular cross fountain pen cartridges

When I received my Classic Century, I pulled it out of the box and without much though plugged in a brown Cross cartridge from my Cross Medalist.

Big mistake.

Because the Classic Century is so thin, the body wouldn’t fit over the 8926S cartridge. So I pulled it back apart, and inserted a much thinner black 8929S-1cartridge.

The pen is easy to get apart and clean. I was also able to manually adjust the tines on this pen by using thumbnails to pry apart the tines slightly because it was so scratchy and ink-starved out of the box.

Overall Value – Who’s The Classic Century Best For?

cross century fountain pen in a plant

The Cross Classic Century Fountain Pen would be good for someone who wants a fountain pen the size of a typical Bic disposable ballpoint pen and isn’t intimidated to pry on the tines a bit for better ink flow.  The good news is that it’s no longer available, Cross has upgraded this pen to the Century II since most fountain pen users don’t want to have to adjust tines for fear of breaking one off.

Because the Classic Century is no longer readily available (it’s been replaced by the Century II), the older version would be a good value for experienced fountain pen users who are willing to make some adjustments to a vintage pen to get it where they want it. The new one for the rest of us!

Get the price on a Cross Classic Century II on Amazon.


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