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Big, Black, Italian, and ... C/C fillers?


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#1 ParkerBeta

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Posted 22 June 2009 - 01:04

While Aurora and Omas are probably the two best-known Italian pen manufacturers, it is rather surprising that they don't have models that compete directly with one another. While Aurora has always had a mix of cartridge/converter and piston filled pens, Omas seems to have migrated from nearly all piston-fillers to nearly all exclusively cartridge-fillers (no converters!), except for the biggest Paragons. The Bologna is that rarity in the Omas lineup, a cartridge/converter filler. Omas has recently redesigned the Bologna to be in multi-colored celluloid with that bane of my existence, a slick metal section, but the previous-generation all-black "cotton resin" Bologna (FPN review here) has a matching resin section, and is the one reviewed here. It is a near-perfect rival for the Aurora Talentum (FPN review here) in everything including price, listing for $315 where the Talentum lists for $325. Take a look at the dimensions, courtesy the handy comparison engine at nibs.com:

Model Talentum Bologna
Material Resin Resin
Weight (gr.) 30 29.2
Closed Length (inch) 5.366 5.386
Posted Length (inch) 6.31 6.47
Barrel Length (inch) 4.338 4.135
Barrel Width (inch) 0.551 0.507
Section Diameter (inch) 0.405 0.411

As you can see, in weight and all dimensions, the two pens are very close to each other.

full_length.JPG
top:Bologna; bottom:Talentum

The Talentum's resin is glossy, while the Bologna's "cotton resin" has a matte finish. The Aurora site only says that the Talentum has "chrome trim" (presumably rhodium?), and the Bologna's trim is Palladium. Of course, both pens are also available with gold trim (at a slight increase in list price, around $25-30 for each pen).

nib_close_up.JPG
top:Bologna; bottom:Talentum

Both nibs are 14kt, but the Talentum's nib is single-tone and rhodium-plated, whereas the Bologna's nib is a gorgeous two-tone (not that you can see it in my photo -- sorry!). Both nibs are decorated, but the Bologna's decorations are more elaborate, and put it in a class of its own for pens in this price range.
caps.JPG
left:Bologna; right:Talentum

The Bologna's cap is made of rather thick material, seemingly thicker than average, with the nice "Greek Key" motif. The Talentum's cap is of average thickness. The Talentum's cap actually posts well, while the Bologna's cap doesn't.

barrels.JPG
left:Bologna; right:Talentum

The situation is reversed with the barrels: the Talentum's barrel is made of a thicker material than that of the Bologna.
My Bologna's section has a somewhat poor finish in the threading where it screws into the barrel, almost as if this part required polishing but was overlooked.

The list prices of the Talentum and Bologna are very close. The cotton resin all-black Bologna, however, has been recently discontinued, and only a few online stores continue to offer it. It can be found for about $225 online. On the other hand, the Talentum retails for about $260 at the major online stores, but I've seen new ones going on the FPN marketplace for only $160 or so, so it is surely more widely available, and, depending on the deal you get, could even be cheaper.

Finally, the most important test: a writing sample. I filled both converters with Visconti Brown, then wrote on a Levenger journal marked "Made in Italy" so that both pens would feel at home (Italian pen, ink, and paper). Both nibs are marked 'M,' but the Talentum's nib writes wider than the Bologna's. Both nibs are also very smooth, but, unexpectedly, I found the Bologna's nib to offer more "feedback" than the Talentum's, whereas I'd expected just the opposite, given the traditional feel of Aurora nibs. The Bologna's nib is also a tiny bit more "flexible" (though still firmly in the category of modern "firm" nibs, if you know what I mean) than that of the Talentum.

To summarize: both pens are excellent daily writers and you won't go wrong with either. If you want to swap nibs with your 88 or Optima, or just try out other Aurora nibs, then the Talentum is an obvious choice, offering excellent construction at a significant discount over the 88 or Optima. On the other hand, the Bologna's nib is magnificent, better than the Aurora nib in appearance and performance, though it doesn't appear to screw out easily like on the Auroras, and this nib seems not to be shared with the Milord or Paragon either. (I've only recently begun to acquire Omas pens, so please excuse my ignorance -- any information will be welcome about nib compatibility with other Omas lines.)

Edited by ParkerBeta, 22 June 2009 - 01:47.

S.T. Dupont Defi with (steel) F nib
Montegrappa Nero Uno Linea M nib
Visconti Sterling Silver Skeleton M nib
Visconti Homo Sapiens Bronze Age EF nib

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#2 Barry Gabay

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 01:55

Very nice review! Thank you for posting it. I own and use both models. Have always thought of the Bologna as quite long and the Talentum as compact, as is the Tibaldi Iride or Transparente. Your size comparison has given a new perspective. Thanks again.

#3 alvarez57

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 04:46

Thank you! biggrin.gif
I have Omas but not the Bologna and I have a Talentum (ground to crisp italic).I like better the Omas nib, but since the Talentum is italic, it writes beautifully. I like both brands.

sonia alvarez

 

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#4 carlc

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 12:41

Just come across this review.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the comparison pictures and the detailed measurements!
"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch" Orson Welles


#5 Ed Ronax

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 13:01

Excellent review, thanks.
And how can this be, because he is the Kwisatz Haderach.







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