Cross Bailey Light

Cross Bailey Light
White CT

Since the start of my fountain pen hobby, initially I reduced my budget to beginner fountain pens (budget of max. € 20). And then after each buy, I gradually raised my budget. Now, at this point my budget gives me the opportunity to buy pens from the – what I call – next-level fountain pen class of which the price range is between € 20 and € 50. So, as a start in this class, I wanted something completely new, a brand I never bought or even tried out: a Cross pen. For some time, my eyes fell on the Cross Bailey Light in white colour. Let’s share my thoughts about this pen in this review.

I ordered the Cross Bailey Light fountain pen at La Couronne du Comte on the 3rd March, in white colour and with a medium nib. I paid € 21 for it. The next week I received the pen…be it left outside in the dripping rain. As a result, due to the rain, the box containing the fountain pen is damaged. Luckily the pen is in good condition. Although I never had complaints about PostNL, this time what they did was not ok.

Sometimes when you have something new, it gives you immediately a good feeling. Well, I have to admint when I started to use this pen it was almost as love at first sight. Why? Well the pen looks good, somewhat stylish classical. And then when you remove the cap, there is a nice mean looking nib. Don’t have to tell you how excited I was to ink up this pen and started writing with it.

The pen is produced by the AT Cross pen company, headquartered in Providence, Rode Island, USA. Actually, this is my first American fountain pen, be it wit a label ‘Made in China’. The Bailey Light is the cheaper version of the Cross Bailey. Where I live the Bailey Light costs € 21 where the Bailey costs € 49.

The Cross Bailey Light’s main components are made out of resin. Don’t call it plastic. After doing some research on the difference between resin and plastic, it seems that resin is more of a natural origin whereas plastic is more of a synthetic polymeric nature. As this is not a class in chemistry I will leave it as is. One thing I for sure can say is the glossy resin of the Bailey Light looks really of great quality. The parts of the pen are really well finished, adding quality value to the pen. To be a next level fountain pen, one can expect more, and it is more.

The pen comes in a nice box with the Cross company logo on it. The pen is well protected and fixed inside the box, despite the box being damaged by the rain.

I started to ink up the fountain pen with the included small Cross black ink cartridge. I remember starting it up was not as fluent as I thought. Now and then I encountered some drop in inkflow, but after shaking with the pen I always could continue. It’s not that this happened frequently, but everytime it happens it gives you a bad feeling. Because the small ink cartridge quickly ran out of ink, I switched to the Pelikan 4001 brilliant black ink. My impression was that inkflow was better. I used the pen a lot for doodling, and the inkflow problem mainly happened when colouring in shapes. During this review I again switched back to Cross ink, after buying Cross blue black bottle ink.

The nib on my Bailey Light is a stainless steel medium nib. The Cross company also offers EF and F nibs for this pen. On the nib you find the Cross logo and text together with the nib size. The nib to me looks somewhat classical, but the nib bends down at the end which gives it a special look: sporty, mean looking … I don’t know how to describe it. Anyway I love the look of the nib. When writing with it it seems you have to get a little bit used to it. When I compared my handwriting between the Lamy and the Bailey it seems my handwriting looks nicer with the Lamy. Perhaps is just because of getting used to this pen.

Lamy Al-Star broad nib vs. Bailey Light medium nib

Besides the exceptional small problems I had with inkflow, the nib writes smooth and soft, not scratchy at all. The writing tends to be more on the wet side. For cleaning the nib it is impossible to remove the nib and feeder. Even when using some power to force it. I must say it’s a strong pen. The strange thing is, after I tried to remove the nib by using some power, all of sudden the pen started to write wetter and a bit thicker. Did my force change the writing performance of the nib?

On the grip section is a small ring that seperates the nib. I noticed this ring started to hurt when writing for a long time. The front section is the same material as the barrel, white glossy resin, and feels good. The section connects with the barrel by screwing it on. The threads on the grip section side are in stainless steel.

The barrel is also completely made out of white resin. The thickness is more then enough, so I don’t expect it to crack when screwing the grip section onto the barrel. At the back of the barell is another small chrome ring. This ring suits well for posting the cap on it. I used this pen a lot in a posted way and I have to say the cap remained tight and secure.

The cap also looks really good. The silver center band looks nice and gives the really a quality look by being some eye-catcher. On the clip of the cap, the ‘CROSS’ mark is engraved/stenced.

For inking the pen, Cross does not support the standard international standards with regards to the cartridge. The included ink cartridge is small and results in a reduced ink capacity. Strange, but the shape of the Cross ink cartridge looks like a German grenade from WW2, or is my imagination completely lost :-). If you want more ink capacity, larger cartridges are available. Cross also offers converters, unfortunately not included.

Parker Vector vs. Cross Bailey Light vs. Lamy Al-Star

As a final conclusion the Cross Bailey Light fountain pen gives me a good overall feeling. The Cross company suggests this pen to be an everyday option. I think they are right. I used this pen on many occasions, and, beside some minor inkflow problems, it never let me down. Also the pen looks really good, is cheap and in some way different from other pens. What also makes me happy is I noticed no scratches on it, even after using it for a while. As my first pen in the next-level fountain pen class, the Cross Bailey light will for sure be a strong contender.

The good and the bad:

+ overall good quality at a fair price
+ a nice and good performing nib with a sporty, mean look
+ strong build
​- silver ring at the grip can start to hurt after a while

Some technical info:
  • Length:
    • 13,7 cm closed
    • 12,5 cm without cap
    • 15,2 cm posted
  • Weight:
    • 20 gr. complete (ready to write)
    • 13 gr. without cap
  • Ø
    • ​1 ,2 cm barrel
    • 0,9 cm grip
    • 1,4 cm cap
    • 1,6 cm cap with clip included

Bailey Light is the first of its kind in the Cross collection. Crafted to our exacting standards, the design shares all the statement-making appeal of the original metal pen, but it weighs less in glossy resin. To complement the new attitude of this dependable, everyday option, we offer an array of fresh finishes.

Are you excited to know the in and outs of the Bailey, big brother of the light? Sorry for now, but this review will be soon available.

–> soon available

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