Cross Ion – Dumpy Gel Pen

I’d been after a Space Pen. It’s all Merlin Mann’s fault. I’d seen these before, but suddenly the design made sense. Short and stubby when closed. Can’t be pushed open in a pocket. Nice and dumpy to hold. My handwriting is terrible, and I write so that I smudge the ink, so I really should steer clear of gel ink pens, but I like them anyway.

(Clicky Piccies to see them in Flickr, in larger sizes, with any notes and comments.)

The cap part can clip to a key ring, and won’t pull off straight down – you have to hold the pen horizontally, then pull downwards. Very easy and quick to do, but clicks back in quite firmly. Be careful how you carry it, though. I kept mine clipped to my belt, and ended up losing it – I think it got unclipped by the seat belt when I got out of the car, and flipped out onto the pavement.

With the cap removed, it looks like this…

…with the nib still hidden, and can be pocketed without the cap. The whole thing pulls apart to open, like this…

…and the tip just pops itself out. Push together to close again, and the tip pops back in with a nice satisfying clunk.

I also picked up a spare black refill, and a pretty purple one. I like the purple. It’s distinctive, and everyone would soon know who’d written my notes at work. It stands out well on a laser printout, too. Unfortunately, it just smacked a tiny bit of ‘fourteen-year-old girl’. I figured I could live with that until I imagined signing a credit card payment at the shop till with it, and then backed out.

Mentioned Elsewhere

Notes and Discussion

(Copied over from before this was a Page in this Blog – these bits would be in the comments below if this was being done now.)

Gary says: This is a really cool pen. I ordered one the same day that I read this review, and it came the next day. I haven’t shared with my significant other how much it cost, but quality is worth paying for, isn’t it? I had a minor mishap this morning in the car park as I was putting my keys away – the pen fell out of the keyring holder! Must have been the angle of the dangle. In use, it is a masterpiece of form ”and” function. The mechanism is very smooth, the ink flows very smoothly, and it feels very comfortable in the hand. My first Cross pen – it might be the last unless I win the lottery!

pigpogm: I’ve just come back from Staples after returning this pen. The rubber part at the bottom started to flex as I was using it, and seemed to have grown with use so it was too big for the space it fitted in. The rubber is a couple of millimetres thick layer that’s supposed to be a tight fit over the plastic it’s wrapped around. After two weeks of use, it just wasn’t tight any more, and the edges around that plastic oval were starting to stick up and get caught.

Fortunately, the staff at Staples were quick to see the problem, and immediately offered a refund. I actually paid the extra to upgrade to the metal version, with rubber grip spots poking through metal on the lower section. Should avoind having the same problem, and with the advantage that I still get to have the same pen, which I really do like.

(Hope you don’t get the same problem, Gary.)

In the pack…

Closed…

Open…

Gary says: Mine came in a presentation case – for no extra cost. When I get home tonight I’ll take a photo and upload it here. So far, no sign of any flexing rubber. (Not on the pen, at least – but that new ‘intimate item’ I got – now that is starting to flex and chafe!)

pigpogm (2005-09-01): Mine got lost some time ago, and I’ve been without it for some time now, but I’ve ended up replacing it. I missed the funny little thing.

I’ve just noticed something quite odd about these pens – the ink smells strangely like curry when it’s wet.