Cross Pencils are "Switching It"

 Change is usually good. Rolling change is sometimes not such a good thing. With the introduction of their pen-to-pencil converter called the "Switch It," the AT Cross company decided to modify their lines of Cross Classic Century pencils, changing their offered lead size from 0.5mm to the 0.7mm that the Switch It refill provides.

Big Deal, Right? Well, there are some bumps on the road to this new changeover. First of all, it didn't happen right away, it was a rolling change to take effect whenever they ran out of the 0.5mm pencil inventory. We were notified of the "switch" months before the first item was ever sent. So, when we started to receive these new 0.7mm pencils, we did not realize we were getting them in since they had the same item SKU#'s as the old ones.

Leave it to our observant customers to find the difference before we got a chance to make the changes on our website! We've been working with anyone who has received the 0.7mm expecting the 0.5mm lead. In some cases, we still have the old stock, but they are rapidly depleting. If you have the same issue and have purchased the Cross pencil from our company, please contact our customer service department at 800-963-7367 or by submitting a question through our Goldspot Helpdesk.

If you are interested in buying one of the 0.5mm pencils that we still have in-stock, please call our customer service line to check stock on specific styles.


Preview of Aurora's Torino 150 Special Production

In 2011, Italy is celebrating 150 years of unification. The entire country is going to be partying for 9 months starting in March. Aurora, Italy is the official pen-maker for this occasion. To commemorate the first "capital" of Italy, often referred to as the "cradle of Italian liberty," Aurora will release the Torino 150 in March as a special production in the same vein as the red Firenze set of pens. Featuring a cool, blue resin and sterling silver overlay on the cap, this pen collection stands out with symbols that represents rich Italian history and a level of quality that only Italian artisans in the Aurora factory can produce.

The Aurora Torino 150 will be available in a piston-filling fountain pen, complete with ink window, 18kt solid gold nib and a bottle of ink included in the special edition gift box. The set is also available in a capped rollerball and a twist-action ballpen. Retail prices start at $895 for the ballpen. If you would like more information on the release of this pen and to be included on our e-mail list, please comment below and we will secure you one of the first pieces to come into the USA!


Response to What Would You Want to See in our Catalog

A huge thanks to everyone that has responded to our open thread last week, asking "What Do You Want to See in a Fine Writing Catalog." Among the comments on Facebook and Fountain Pen Network, I noticed that the two biggest concerns were large, detailed images of the items and measurements, including dimensions of the pen capped, uncapped and with the cap posted. While I would like to address all comments that were made in regards to improving the catalog, let's concentrate on these points first and continue the conversation later.

Click for a larger view of the catalog page.

Above is a sample page with Parker Pens featured. We sacrificed the ability to fit more pen lines on a page to make the hi-resolution pen images larger. In the case of the Parker Premier, which has a beautiful solid gold nib with a unique design, we included a zoomed-up shot to feature the nib. The Premier Stealth Black pen also shows the pen in the box, which is unique to the series. We take it for granted that we know most fine pens come in a presentable gift box, but we don't believe that readers are often aware of it.

Measurements were included for each pen that differed in size and weight. The explanation of those measurements would be outlined in a diagram that would be inserted in a prominent location on the inside front cover of the catalog so that laypeople would be able to understand what is meant by uncapped, capped, posted and diameter. For the diameter measurement, I went with the largest diameter size of the barrel. I already apologize to our metric-minded customers, as this is a U.S.-based catalog and us Yanks love our inches and ounces. (Side note : it was intentional to leave out the measurement of the rollerball, as the differences in length and weight to the fountain pen are negligible.)

I thought that Ron Zorn (of Main Street Pens) made a good point about including measurements with his reply on Fountain Pen Network. He wrote,

"As a guy who sells vintage pens and a few moderns, the time and effort needed to measure all of the pens, then record the data and make sure it got with the right pen, would be more than most vendors would be able to, or willing to, invest."

He confirmed the dread I felt when it was suggested that meticulous measurements, including weight, be included for all pens in our catalog. Sometimes it's hard enough to bug some of the smaller, boutique brands to get hi-res images of the pens themselves, let alone detailed dimensions of each pen. So the onus will be on us to go through our entire inventory and capture these measurements, which we would do happily if it translates into our customers being able to use our catalog more confidently when making their purchase.

I am certainly curious to see if this will make a big difference with pen buyers. Please feel free to drop us a comment on this post, on our Facebook Fan Page or by tweeting us @goldspotpens. What do you think? Is this a move in the right direction? What other features could help give you the most detailed impression of each pen?


TWSBI Diamond 530 Nibs Now on Sale

With the successful debut of the TWSBI Diamond 530 fountain pens on our website several weeks ago, we've been asked a few times if replacement nibs will be available. Your wishes have been granted! We now offer the steel nib replacement units in Extra-Fine, Fine and Medium point sizes. These points are compatible with the clear and colored Diamond 530 piston-filling fountain pens.  This is a great opportunity to give your writing instrument additional flexibility when you want to write a bit broader or if you want to switch to meticulously small note-taking.

They are currently on their way to our office and will arrive by early next week. Price is $27 per nib.


Sneak Peek : New Lamy Safari Color for 2011

This just in : the new special edition color for the ever-popular Lamy Safari is Aquamarine! With turquoise being the Pantone color of the year for 2010, it is smart on Lamy's part to take advantage of this hot color. Slated to become available after May of 2011, the Aquamarine Safari will be available in a fountain pen or ballpoint. The fountain pen will have a stainless steel nib in extra-fine, fine, or medium widths.

In Fall 2011, you can also expect Lamy to debut a new Studio color, along with a Black version of the Dialog 3, which I'm particularly excited about. I wonder aloud if the change from the palladium finish to black will lower the price? For more information and updates on the releases of these anticipated Lamy pens, please sign up for our free e-mail newsletter.


Open Thread : What do you want to see in a Fine Writing Catalog?

Sorry for the short break in posts. We're hunkering down into catalog mode here in the office and that means not much time for anything else! If you've been with us from the beginning, you'll know that each new issue of the catalog strives to improve over the previous issue. We want it to be more informative, easier to read and more entertaining. We are excited to introduce new ideas and concepts into this current issue that will make it our best Goldspot catalog ever.

Of course, we can't talk about those ideas just yet, but we are interested to see if you could think of anything you would want to see in the ideal fine-writing paper catalog. What are some characteristics of a catalog that make you want to hold on to it, show it to friends and family, or display it proudly on your coffee table? Do you want the pages to read like a novel or have the pens take center stage with large, almost "real size" beauty shots of the pens? Are there any specialty brands that deserve a page or two that usually don't get any in other pen retailer catalogs? These are just some considerations to get your mind primed for throwing in a suggestion.

With the ever-evolving state of the internet, mobile browsing and social media being an overpowering force of communication, we realize that the necessity of a paper catalog is dwindling in its current form. However, it still remains a useful tool to many, especially the pen & paper crowd that prefer the tactile pleasure of turning pages over the clicking of a mouse. With your help, we want to make the Goldspot catalog a relevant, useful communication tool for pen fans everywhere.