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I have at least a dozen of 400BTN, one 400TN, an unknown number of chrome ones and a few of black lacquered and brushed chrome bullets. The basic chrome ones are really not worth buying. The chrome goes off in no time just because you are touching the pen! I have never seen a chrome finish of such a low quality. Really. TNs and BTNs are cool. Even the matte lacquer quite holds. Anyway, I would still give a try to the 400CZN.
My red one has been thru the ringer, getting dropped, slept on, carried on a pocket with a USB power bank, tossed around, etc. It's got a couple minor dings that are hard to notice but the basic finish hold up really really well.
Maybe silver chrome is worse? Or is mine laquered? Mine is as red as the day I got it. Recently ordered the raw brass one for a different look but it hasn't arrived. The CZN looks REALLY nice IMO, much more interesting looking than the Ti-Ns (rainbow aside).
The standard chrome is a complete POS. I had about twenty of them. The chrome plating is so bad that if smears off just as you flip the pen between fingers or from standard use. You can feel as the material transferred from the pen to your fingers. I always had the need to wash my hands right after more serious use. I also bought the more expensive AG-7. The chrome finish has broken and formed a serious slit before I had a chance to even use the pen. I think I still have this pen in my car so I would be able to take photos. I have had two pieces of the Millenium II model. Very hard writers (read below). I gave them out. A complete waste of money and one of the worst buys in my life.
Please note, that my experience with buying these pens is about 12 years old and I do not know if they haven't improved the finish or refill performance since then.
The "old" mate black lacquer finish, titanium plated and titanium nitride versions are cool and I still use them almost daily. From the later two, I probably prefer the titanium plated version. These two or three versions are the only Fisher Space Pens I really love and would buy again anytime. I have never owned the "modern" shiny and colorful lacquered versions as they were introduced lately.
I have also had issues with these over-hyped pressurized refills. The quality was very inconsistent. Some refills performed acceptably well in terms of "easy and nice flow and writing", some were dry, stiff and unacceptably hard to write with. Also be aware of the not so common colors. The colors other than blue and black were the worst performers. Worst of all were silver/grey and UV. Not a big surprise here. I always ended up stuffing a much better refill in the pen and thus sacrificing the extra properties. For example, I like to cut down a slightly used Pilot Acroball refill. I will use one of my stocked original Fisher refills when I go on my first space trip but probably not until that day. Do they really write in a harsh conditions, upside down, under water or even oil? Yes, they really do to some extent.
Interesting, mine isn't nearly as old, just looked it up and the red one is only about 2 years old...
Still, the lacquer finish must be pretty solid cause the plain hard anodized Olight flashlight I sometimes carry in my pocket (it's clipped to the car keys so if I'm not in my car it's not on me) looks like it's been to war and back... Whereas the red Space Pen that's always always in the same pocket looks pristine.
Kinda wondering why they don't lacquer tiny flashlights the same way now... :P
Will definitely avoid chrome based on your comments, might set up a price alert for the CZN but it looks like it rarely budges, at least on Amazon. It's only dropped under $38 twice in like 4 years (once to $35 recently and once to $32 in 2014). Shoot it's been closer to a $40+ avg thru last year until it started jumping up and down recently.
Any sort of drop discount on that one one would be pretty sweet. From what I've read the kind of PVD coatings used on the nitride versions is just about as tough a finish as you can get (used on watches etc).
Thank you for your info on the quality of the lacquer ones. I have never had one in hands. Btw, because of the low quality of the chrome finish, it is really easy to get the plating off completely making it a pure brass pen ... and some people love it. :) I do not but I tried once and got rid of the chrome plating in no time. :)