Fountain Pen Review: The Cross Century II

By Daniel Whitehouse

Cross Century II fountain pen writing signature

Fountain Pen Review: The Cross Century II

By Daniel Whitehouse

Cross fountain pens are often passed over by most highfalutin luxury pen enthusiasts, but that’s really unfair. I think the Cross Century II fountain pen is a great example of a luxury pen that does everything we need it to for a reasonable price—purists be hanged. And so many people agree with me; it’s one of our best sellers.

So, here’s my Cross fountain pen review of the Century II. 

The Best Things About the Cross Century II

The best things about the Century II are its...

  1. Price
  2. Design
  3. Weight
  4. Texture & Grip
  5. Nib

I’ll talk about each of these aspects individually.


The price is so much more reasonable than, say, a Montblanc fountain pen. While a Montblanc is definitely a worthwhile investment, their cheapest fountain pens begin around the $500 mark and ascend well over a grand.

The Century II price range begins just under $100 and will generally hang around the $143 mark.

Design of the Cross Century II Fountain Pen

Cross Century II Rollerball Pen Black Lacquer
The pen of choice for numerous recent presidents including Obama, Biden, and (briefly) Trump, the Century II's design features clean-cut, noble-looking lines. It sort of looks like the secret love-child of the slimmer Classic Century and the much more substantial Townsend Cross pens (pictured below).
Cross Townsend Ballpoint Black Gold Trim
It’s just a really beautiful pen, and it looks good any way you look at it.

Weight & Construction 

It’s not what you’d call a heavy pen, but also it certainly doesn’t feel cheap. While it’s construction is mostly metal coated in a black lacquer, it’s not filled in. 

Some luxury pens these days are built like a tire iron, and the space within the pen is filled up as much as possible. The mentality seems to be “the heavier the pen, the better the quality”, but that’s honestly not good design sense. 

Weight does not equal quality, and luckily a lot of other reviewers of the Century II understand this. Waste of materials also does not equal quality. 

I’d rather pen designers do more with less than try to convince me by any other means that the pen with which I’m writing is the best because it taxes my hand to write. If that macho man mentality is anywhere in the pen design world (which, luckily, I don’t think it is), then I’ll be very happy with a Bic Cristal, perhaps the best designed ballpoint pen of all time. 

Texture & Grip

Like I said, the black Century II fountain pen is coated in a smooth lacquer. Some people might find this plastic-y, but I honestly love it. It’s got a feel similar to fine bone suit buttons. And I like that.

The grip has some ribbing that runs in line with the barrel. It just gives it the slightest bit of catch so you’re not having to crank down on it with your fingers and crap. I hate when I have to keep adjusting my fingers (I think everyone does), so the ribbing just helps to reduce that quite a bit.

Nib Performance of the Cross Century II fountain pen

Fountain Pen Nib

Probably the most important aspect of writing with a fountain pen, however, is the nib.

If the nib is crummy, it’s honestly not going to be worth your time.

Luckily, the Century II fountain pen nib is surprisingly smooth (take that, naysayers!). Zero scratchiness, zero catching or spluttering. The flow is smooth and consistent.

 Shop Now: Ink refills from Dayspring Pens

The Only Thing I Didn’t Like...

The only thing I didn’t enjoy about the Cross Century II was the ink—it’s kinda… gloopy. I used one of the Cross brand blue fountain pen cartridges.

Fountain Pen Ink and Converter

While the nib is on the page, the gloopy ink feels kind of magnetic and smooth, but when you lift up a little string of blue ink will hold on for dear life to both the page and the nib.

This means that if you’re writing fast, you get these annoying little lines between letters.

My recommendation here is to find a better ink brand to go in a decent convertor for the Century II.

That’s my only bit of criticism.


Cross Pens Century II Fountain Pen with pen case

This has been my Cross fountain pen review of the Century II. I hope it’s helpful to those of you looking for an affordable fountain pen or a pen for professionals.

Not everyone is a purist when it comes to luxury pens—in fact, most people aren’t. Most people are looking for a luxury pen that gets the job done, stands out distinctly from their Pilot G2, and just adds that extra something to their writing. We also don’t need to be spending $400 just to avoid an overly invested pen enthusiast’s nit-picky criticism: it’s got to be more or less affordable.

That's why I think the Century II is a great option.

If, however, you're interested in Cross ballpoints or gold Cross pens, be sure to check out what we've written on them.

If you need a second take on the Century II, be sure to also read The Pen Addict's great in-depth review.

But now it’s your turn: tell me what you love (or don’t love) about the Century II in the comments.


Daniel Whitehouse is the President and CEO of Dayspring Pens. He uses his expertise with premium writing utensils to create exceptional, intentional products and craft easy-to-understand articles that help both new and experienced users learn more about their writing tools. He lives in Virginia where he and his wife are raising their four children.

To learn more about him and his insights about custom engraved gift pens, follow Daniel on LinkedIn.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.