“Constellations88 is the brainchild of likeminded pen enthusiasts and pen collectors with keen interest in writing instruments and accessories for over a decade.” As their website describes, Constellations88 offers a wide range of accessories and beautifully crafted pens. The pens come in a variety of styles and are handmade with different colored acrylics. Some models even have intricately detailed hand-painted images of animals or religious figures. They graciously sent me one of their newer fountain pen models, the Crux, in the color pattern Beta Crucis to review. They offer four color patterns in this line all inspired by constellations. The patterns are: 1) Acrux, Alpha Crucis which is a Blue-tinged star, 2) Beta Crucis, called Mimosa, which is a blue-hued giant, 3) Gamma Crucis, called Gacrux, which is an optical double star and the primary is a red-hued giant star, and 4) Delta Crucis which is a blue-white hued star is the dimmest of the Southern Cross stars. Check out their whole lineup at www.constellations88.com.
Packaging: The pen arrives in a small black cardboard box with the Constellations88 logo and website embossed on the lid. The pen is contained inside a small leather pen case with a flap closure. This case fits this pen perfectly and feels well made.
First Thoughts: The resin is stunning, it really looks like an image taken by the Hubble telescope of deep space.
Design: The pen is a perfect example of a “Pocket Pen.” When capped, the pen is 110mm (4.33 in) and posted it measures 140mm (5.5 in). The body is thin but easy to hold and can even be used unposted in my large hands comfortably. The cap has a flat finial which shows off the various colors of the material that the pen is made from. The cap has a slight bevel where a cap band would normally be found, which helps the transition from the cap to the body with just a slight stepdown. There is a thin steel cap ring below the finial which sits above the clip. The clip is very thin and has “Constellations88” engraved on it. The clip does have a fair amount of play from left to right and doesn’t always lay straight on the body. I think if the cap ring and clip were one piece it would help stabilize the clip and reduce the movement. The bottom of the pen is threaded below the finial so the cap screws on securely when posted and makes the pen into a “full-size” pen. The bottom finial is rounded and has a thin steel ring that mirrors the cap ring. There is a small step down from the body to the grip section, and the threads are smooth and barely noticeable. The grip section has a slight taper in the middle and flares out to act as a finger stop.
Nib Performance: The pen comes with a Schmidt branded nib and it wrote perfectly out of the box. The Crux model is only available with a #5 medium nib and I found it to be a perfect balance of wet/dry ink flow. The nib has a small amount of decorative flourishes on the tines and there is no breather hole. The nib is engraved with an “M” for medium and “Schmidt Iridium Point.” At one point I left the pen uncapped for over an hour and it wrote without a skip or hard start right away, which is impressive for a standard nib.
Filling System: The pen fills via standard international cartridges. It is not possible to use a converter due to the pens size, since there are metal threads for the body so you can’t eyedropper the pen.
Value: The pen sells online for $88 USD with free worldwide shipping.
Overall: I think the material and design of the pen are wonderful. It is a good weight and size, even unposted. The only drawback is the clip which can be factored out if you carry the pen in the included case. I think the cost is a bit high even factoring the free shipping, if this was priced around $50-$60 I think it would be a great value. That said, if you want to have an attention grabbing pen that is perfect for daily carry and this is in your spending limit, it might be perfect for your collection.
Name: Constellations88 Crux Beta Crucis
Design: Resin pocket pen
Length: 110mm (4.33 in)
Posted: 140mm (5.5 in)
Diameter: 9.75mm (.38 in)
Weight: 16g (.56 oz)
Nib: #5 Schmidt Medium Stainless Steel
Filling System: Standard International Cartridge
Pros: Portable, beautiful material, great nib and inkflow
Cons: Price is a bit high and the clip moves
In the same price range:
Twsbi Vac Mini
Kaweco AL Sport