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Aurora Optima Demonstrator


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#1 jandrese

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 02:15

This is a review of the limited edition Aurora Optima demonstrator (red-tipped version) fountain pen with italic nib. Total production is 1396 pens and this pen is marked #0450 on the cap. There was a lot of buildup regarding this pen starting in late July or early August. While shopping at my local pen store, without much luck I might add, I was told to expect the Aurora Optima and Pelikan M800 demonstrators sometime in late August. It was suggested that I save my money for one of these two pens.

A few weeks passed and while surfing the web for pen porn I ran across the Aurora demonstrator. The picture was not the best but the pen looked attractive so I emailed for the price. The automated response was something of a shock even though I had expected it to be expensive. At the time I thought it was too much to pay and nearly forgot about it.

Another few weeks later I was again surfing the Internet for pens when I happened upon the demonstrator again on another website. This one had better photos and a verbal description as well as a more attractive price. On a whim I called my old pen store to see if they had the pen. They did, and they praised its qualities. In addition, I was extended a deep discount on the pen that priced it below any Internet retailer that I had yet seen. Thus, my pen lust was given an outlet. I wanted an italic nib because I had previously heard good things about Aurora italics and because I thought that a special pen had better have an interesting nib. The pen store did not have one with an italic so they had the distributor ship one to me at no initial cost; if I did not like the pen all I had to do was ship it back!

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Within a week I had received the pen. It arrived in the largest, strongest box I’ve ever seen for a pen. The metalized wood packaging would have protected delicate electronics let alone a fountain pen. Clearly, Aurora thinks highly of this pen. Contained in the box were a more-or-less standard literature/instructions pamphlet and a personalized bottle of ink, which I did not open since I have gobs of ink already.

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Suffice it to say, the pen is stunning to behold. Totally transparent except for the red auroloide ends, the inner workings of the pen are clearly visible. I dipped the nib into some Sailor red-brown ink and tested it for about five minutes before I placed the phone call to pay for the pen. It was almost immediately obvious that I had to have this pen! True to what I had heard about Aurora italics the nib is very nice. It has large line width variation between vertical (wide) and horizontal (thin) strokes and it smooth when used at the intended angle. Even when tilted beyond the normal working range the nib does not badly catch or snag, which is remarkable for an italic nib.

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Aurora nibs can be on the scratchy side of smooth. Although a good writer, my Talentum nib is a little scratchy and so was an Asian limited edition nib that I almost bought. The italic nib on the demonstrator is almost completely scratch free although not butter smooth. Some might call the Aurora scratch feedback. The ebonite feed provides ample and consistent ink flow that never hesitates at startup even after sitting around. The piston reservoir holds a lot of ink, which is good because the italic nib can really lay down a bunch of ink.

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Medium-large in size the pen balances best when posted. The fit and finish is outstanding and the large cap band is a nice touch that should keep the clear plastic from ever cracking. The pen feels solid and positively reeks of quality. Like my other Aurora pens the Optima is a very good writer. Combined with this are fantastic good looks and limited edition exclusivity and cachet. Some may prefer the totally clear model but the red really pops, possibly drawing more attention. Either one would make an excellent addition to anyone’s pen collection and is good enough to be an only pen. High praise.



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#2 Jersey Diabolo

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 05:11

Nice review, jandrese, and some good photography. I own two Optimas. One has an italic nib – and it is just as you say.

I had a chance to examine the demonstrators in person this past weekend with my pen dealer. These pens are winners thumbup.gif I liked the red capped one best too.

Love those Auroras.

Enjoy!

Edited by Jersey Diabolo, 17 October 2008 - 05:15.


#3 ssmui

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 09:55

Nice pictures ! Thanks.

It looks like this pen has a captive piston filler system, instead of a true piston fill. Can you verify ?

#4 jandrese

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 12:54

True piston filler.




QUOTE (ssmui @ Oct 17 2008, 04:55 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Nice pictures ! Thanks.

It looks like this pen has a captive piston filler system, instead of a true piston fill. Can you verify ?



#5 Immoteus

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 21:00

Thanks for the review! I have my eyes set on the colorless Optima Demo. Do you have pictures of the presentation box?
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#6 diplomat

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 21:10

Well, you made my day. I can go bed now. Thank you for the good pics and an excellent review of a pen I can only dream about!

Cheers,

Andre

#7 Pinmin

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 23:56

QUOTE (jandrese @ Oct 17 2008, 01:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
True piston filler.




QUOTE (ssmui @ Oct 17 2008, 04:55 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Nice pictures ! Thanks.

It looks like this pen has a captive piston filler system, instead of a true piston fill. Can you verify ?


Aurora’s pistons are true, 1930’s style-Pelikanesque pistons.

#8 dparker999

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 18:16

I've had my eye on this pen also. Some have complained of the high price but it looks like a real winner. I also have an Omas Demonstrator that I love. Thanks for the info. Are you able to post a picture of the box?

#9 jandrese

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Posted 25 October 2008 - 22:41

QUOTE (dparker999 @ Oct 19 2008, 01:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've had my eye on this pen also. Some have complained of the high price but it looks like a real winner. I also have an Omas Demonstrator that I love. Thanks for the info. Are you able to post a picture of the box?


Here is photo of packaging.

IMG_1437.jpg


#10 nickyd

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Posted 27 October 2008 - 00:04

QUOTE (jandrese @ Oct 25 2008, 10:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (dparker999 @ Oct 19 2008, 01:16 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I've had my eye on this pen also. Some have complained of the high price but it looks like a real winner. I also have an Omas Demonstrator that I love. Thanks for the info. Are you able to post a picture of the box?


Here is photo of packaging.

IMG_1437.jpg



That's some box!

#11 Pen2009

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 11:46

I am toying with an idea of getting the Aurora Optima Demonstrator (red with a fine nib, as my Europa pen has a medium nib). Is a 25% discount off the standard retail price a good deal?

To the OP, are you using it on the daily basis? It is such a nice and clear (apparently) pen that I might hesitate filling the pen with ink.
My collection: 149 EF/F/B/OBB, Collodi B/Twain F/Mann F, 146 M, Silver Barley F, M1000/M800 B'o'B/M800 Tortoise/Sahara/415 BT/215/205 Blue Demo, Optima Demo Red M/88 EF & Italic/Europa, Emotica, 2K/Safaris/Al-Stars/Vista, Edson DB/Carene BS, Pilot 845/823/742/743/Silvern/M90/Makies, Sailor Profit Realo M/KOP Makies/Profit Makies/Profit 21 Naginata MF&M/KOP/KOP Mosaiques/Sterling Silvers,Platinum #3776 Celluloids/Izumos/Wood pens/Sterling Silvers,YoL Grand Victorian, and more (I lost counting)

#12 jandrese

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 14:16

25% off is pretty good.

Well, I don't use it every day, i have too many pens for that! But, I'm using it right now. I've filled it with Sailor Red-Brown a couple of times, and now with Aurora Blue. It has not stained yet. I don't worry about it, and take it with me wherever I'm going. It is a solid, nice writing pen that just happens to be highly attractive and rather expensive.

If you like it, go for it. It is an easy pen to be happy with. Too bad it came out at the same time as the Pelikan 800 demonstrator, and at such a high price. I'm told the Pelikan demonstrator has really outsold the Aurora. The Pelikan looks good, but the Aurora is, to me, much more desirable. Then again, I already have some 800's and I did not have an Aurora piston filler. The only thing "wrong" with the Aurora is the ink capacity. My pen is fitted with an italic nib and it puts down a lot of ink! Compared to all converters, and some piston fillers though, it holds a lot ink, and with a different nib fills would last longer.




QUOTE (Pen2009 @ May 31 2009, 06:46 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I am toying with an idea of getting the Aurora Optima Demonstrator (red with a fine nib, as my Europa pen has a medium nib). Is a 25% discount off the standard retail price a good deal?

To the OP, are you using it on the daily basis? It is such a nice and clear (apparently) pen that I might hesitate filling the pen with ink.



#13 Ondina

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Posted 31 May 2009 - 19:04

This pen, specially with that nib, is a dream. Shame is way of of my budget. Gorgeous!

#14 Pen2009

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 11:17

How does it (Aurora Demonstrator with an F nib) compare with the Pilot 823 demonstrator (F nib)? Pilot is substantially cheaper than Aurora. I am trying to justify spending $600 for an Aurora Optima Demonstrator when I can get a Pelikan 800 Demonstrator ($360) or a Pilot 823 demonstrator (JPY 23,400 which is about $250)



Is an italic nib one of the standard nib options from the factory? A few web retailers only give me an option of F, M, or B. No italic option.

Edited by Pen2009, 04 July 2009 - 12:13.

My collection: 149 EF/F/B/OBB, Collodi B/Twain F/Mann F, 146 M, Silver Barley F, M1000/M800 B'o'B/M800 Tortoise/Sahara/415 BT/215/205 Blue Demo, Optima Demo Red M/88 EF & Italic/Europa, Emotica, 2K/Safaris/Al-Stars/Vista, Edson DB/Carene BS, Pilot 845/823/742/743/Silvern/M90/Makies, Sailor Profit Realo M/KOP Makies/Profit Makies/Profit 21 Naginata MF&M/KOP/KOP Mosaiques/Sterling Silvers,Platinum #3776 Celluloids/Izumos/Wood pens/Sterling Silvers,YoL Grand Victorian, and more (I lost counting)

#15 youstruckgold

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 12:02

Great review, I'd love to see a sample of the writing you get with the nib? notworthy1.gif
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#16 Pen2009

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 16:24

I decided to go for this with a F nib. I already have an Aurora Europa with an M nib. An M is too wet for my writing style. So, an F should be a good match for me.
My collection: 149 EF/F/B/OBB, Collodi B/Twain F/Mann F, 146 M, Silver Barley F, M1000/M800 B'o'B/M800 Tortoise/Sahara/415 BT/215/205 Blue Demo, Optima Demo Red M/88 EF & Italic/Europa, Emotica, 2K/Safaris/Al-Stars/Vista, Edson DB/Carene BS, Pilot 845/823/742/743/Silvern/M90/Makies, Sailor Profit Realo M/KOP Makies/Profit Makies/Profit 21 Naginata MF&M/KOP/KOP Mosaiques/Sterling Silvers,Platinum #3776 Celluloids/Izumos/Wood pens/Sterling Silvers,YoL Grand Victorian, and more (I lost counting)

#17 inkyfingr

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 12:47

+1 on the writing sample. Show us your lefty overwriter chicken scratch! happyberet.gif

#18 jandrese

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 18:08

Ok, the chicken scratcher will work on scribbling something!


QUOTE (inkyfingr @ Jul 6 2009, 07:47 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
+1 on the writing sample. Show us your lefty overwriter chicken scratch! happyberet.gif



#19 jandrese

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 18:03

Here ya'll are. Paper is crappy HP office paper. Ink is 14 year old Parker Penman ebony writing ink. I dipped the nib only so there is copious ink flow, especially at the start. As you can see line width variation is large and you can easily write cursive.





QUOTE (jandrese @ Jul 6 2009, 01:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ok, the chicken scratcher will work on scribbling something!


QUOTE (inkyfingr @ Jul 6 2009, 07:47 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
+1 on the writing sample. Show us your lefty overwriter chicken scratch! happyberet.gif




#20 simp

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Posted 27 December 2009 - 18:15

Nice pictures ! Thanks.

It looks like this pen has a captive piston filler system, instead of a true piston fill. Can you verify ?

Sorry for late, I saw this only today.
In this thread (it's from an italian forum, but images should be good anyway) there are some photos posted by roberto (roberto v also here) of an "original" Aurora Optima from '30s.

Regards
Simone
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