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Review: Two Modern Aurora 88 (Large) with Chrome and Gold Plated Caps


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#1 jigesh

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 20:37

Two Modern Aurora 88 (Large) with Chrome and Gold Plated Caps, Medium and Fine nibs


Background:

I have no clue why Aurora 88 hadn’t come under my radar until early December of last year. And I don’t know what exactly triggered my attention to it. Nevertheless, I am happy that I tried something outside of my typical comfort zone (Montblancs, Watermans, Pelikans and Sailors). I ruled out Optima because of price and a bit shorter barrel length (which is important to me because I don’t post caps). Besides, I was unfamiliar of Aurora products, so better to get started with something proven, with successful history. And if I liked what I tried, I can always try other models in future when opportunity and fund availability would coincide. So, I decided on modern, large, Aurora 88 model. I generally prefer gold trim. No, it is not flashy to me. However, for the sake of my mood swings, I try to keep a closer balance between gold and silver/chrome finishes in my very modest collection so far.

I had good experience with Pam Braun on other brands (sailors, for example). So I knocked her door again for Aurora. I first got an 88 with chrome cap in medium nib. Then I thought of trying out an EF nib, so ordered a golden cap 88 with EF nib. Somehow, EF nib was in short supply and a couple of weeks wait was required. Being an impulsive buyer, I asked for an F nib instead. I am glad I got an F nib because I got the exact line-width I thought I would get from an EF.

There are more than enough reviews and post on Aurora 88. So this is going to add very little to what has already been said. The only things that I think might be new will be (i) comparison of M and F nibs in the same review/post and (ii) the review segment of 88 with gold cap.

Appearance and first impression:

For the sake of brevity, let’s rename “Aurora 88 Ottantotto Chrome Cap Black Resin Large Fountain Pen (Model 806)” to “Chromie” and “Aurora 88 Ottantotto Gold Plated Cap Black Resin Large Fountain Pen (Model 801)” to “Goldie.” Chromie and Goldie appear to me as alter ego of each other, so I imagine them as complementary (yin and yang) twins. There must be some kind of disorder in psychiatry for grown ups to have imaginary friends.

To me, this is the design where the aesthetic and utilitarian aspects merge and embody into one single entity. It has a smooth piston mechanism that holds a lot of ink, a nice ink window between two gold plated or chrome rings. The ebonite feeder bears a faint impression (easily seen under direct light) of the letter to denote the type of nib (F, M, etc.). The barrel length and weight are perfect for my hands. The cap and clip resemble to a bust manikin of a bald, shirtless person wearing a classy necktie. The pattern on the caps can cause Moire effect under direct light or flash-photography.

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Goldie and Chromie fighting for focus/attention - classic sibling rivalry:

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Physical Dimensions:

Based on my non-precise measurements, the whole pen capped is 5.4 inches (around 14 cms) long. The un-capped pen, that is, barrel plus the nib section, is 5.3 inches (around 13.2 cms) long. Total weight, with ink, is 0.9 oz (25.5 gms). The cap weighs 0.4 oz (11.34 gms) and the barrel including the nib section weighs 0.5 oz (14.16gms).

Comparative Dimensions:

To give relative idea of its size, below are a few pictures with other pens nearby.

Bottom to top: Sailor 1911 Large, Goldie, and Montblanc 146.

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Left to right: Stipula Etruria, Pelikan M805, Montblanc 146, Sailor 1911 Large, Chromie, and Nakaya Neo Standard Kuro-Tamenuri.

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Comparing un-capped pens:

Left to right: Montblanc 146, Goldie, and Sailor 1911 Large.

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Nib and Writing Performance:

Here comes a surprise (to me). To say that the nib is pleasure to write with is a serious understatement. It’s a delightful and unique feeling compared to modern Waterman, Pelikan, Montblanc and Sailor nibs that I have been mainly accustomed to using. The nib is rigid, doesn’t have any flex and has negligible springiness. There’s ample discussion on the FPN about feedback and tooth on Aurora nibs. I tend to agree with what “ethernautrix” said here.

None of my Aurora nibs (F and M) is scratchy. Interestingly, I get more tactile feedback with my M nib than F.

Those who hate stiff nibs to begin with, may not try Aurora. I love nibs that are stiff (Waterman Carene, Aurora) or have flex of varying degree (vintage Waterman).

The nibs are beautifully ornate.

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Oh no! No, not again! Fighting for focus....

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The fine nib writes like a western extra fine and like Asian fine in my view. It lays down nice, consistent line with just enough wetness. Lovely feedback. The medium nib writes like a western fine/medium-fine and Asian medium. It lays down nice, wet line with consistent stroke-width. Excellent feedback.

Here are writing samples on Rhodia orange pad.

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Conclusion:

Overall, these are beautiful pens, can be daily writers. I happily recommend without any reservations. At current retail of $500-$600 range and street prices less than that, it’s a decent option. Those who are considering Montblanc 146, should also give this pen a try. Those who are too concerned about tooth/feedback related posts (nibs are handmade I am told, and do have variations), should begin with M nib in Aurora. Those who are using Sailors, should dare into something quite different in nib experience, like Aurora 88. I am glad I did. Better late than never.

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#2 trent

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 21:23

Thanks for a great and accurate review. The 88 is an exceptional pen. I have never found a better one. It is at the very top of my list. I'd be interested to know if anyone has both an 88 and any of the lovely pens from Edison and how they might compare.

#3 Scriptorium Pens

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 21:38

Very nicely done. Thanks for all the useful info.

Renée

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#4 jigesh

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 03:15

Thank you. Glad to know you found it informative.

#5 Silvermink

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 03:24

The 88 is a great pen. I've got one of the standard black-capped piston fillers in gold trim with an M nib.
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#6 langere

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 03:36

Goldie and Chromie, eh? I love it!!! :roflmho:

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#7 Ed Ronax

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 11:20

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


#8 jigesh

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 13:24

Thank you, all for you kind words. That inspires me of writing more reviews (beware!)....

#9 luo

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 05:20

this is really a good review about aurora that im not familiar with, thanks for your careful work. the pen seems quite expensive actually. while the nib suits me well. a mb cannot always be fluent when writting on smooth surface as its has a bit too smooth nib. a comparatively thin and hard nib always perform better on smooth surface. also the pen itself is good looking, and as you have said, the cap is a little strange to suit the black barrel. i ll consider buying this pen because of your review, thx…

Edited by luo, 14 February 2010 - 05:25.

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#10 jigesh

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 14:00

Hi luo,

First, thank you for your appreciation.

Regarding pen, if you buy it used, you can get much cheaper than retail. If you are not as impulsive and sick buyer as I am, you would be better off waiting for a good deal on a used pen; but do keep this pen under your radar. If you want it new, you can ask Pam Braun (google) and Bryant here on FPN, and you may be pleasantly surprised regarding price compared to MSRP. You may also get lucky on e-bay together with bing.com cashback if you are familiar with it.

When capped, the pen looks a little bit smaller than Sailor large 1911. However, when comparing barrels plus nib sections, surprisingly, Aurora 88 is longer than Sailor 1911 large. The line-width and feedback are very consistent no matter how much or how little you write and I like that consistency aspect a lot.

I don't find cap strange. I like it. It adds nice weight to the otherwise light pen. If you don't prefer this cap, there are other options, which are a bit cheaper, available for the same pen.

It's likely that because of my recent ownership of these pens, I am a bit biased in recommending it. I still think that if you don't hate stiff nibs, you are more likely to love Aurora 88 than not.

Good luck.

Jigesh

#11 lowks

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 14:07

I absolutely agree with the review. I have a similar silver cap Aurora 88 with a factory OM nib which I bought from Peter Jachan. It's in the top 2 of the best pens I have.

#12 PenFisher

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 15:10

Great review and photos .... especially the comparison shots to show relative size. Well done and much appreciated. Bravo Posted Image



#13 luo

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 17:00

Hi luo,

First, thank you for your appreciation.

Regarding pen, if you buy it used, you can get much cheaper than retail. If you are not as impulsive and sick buyer as I am, you would be better off waiting for a good deal on a used pen; but do keep this pen under your radar. If you want it new, you can ask Pam Braun (google) and Bryant here on FPN, and you may be pleasantly surprised regarding price compared to MSRP. You may also get lucky on e-bay together with bing.com cashback if you are familiar with it.

When capped, the pen looks a little bit smaller than Sailor large 1911. However, when comparing barrels plus nib sections, surprisingly, Aurora 88 is longer than Sailor 1911 large. The line-width and feedback are very consistent no matter how much or how little you write and I like that consistency aspect a lot.

I don't find cap strange. I like it. It adds nice weight to the otherwise light pen. If you don't prefer this cap, there are other options, which are a bit cheaper, available for the same pen.

It's likely that because of my recent ownership of these pens, I am a bit biased in recommending it. I still think that if you don't hate stiff nibs, you are more likely to love Aurora 88 than not.

Good luck.

Jigesh

haha, thx for your careful reply and all the ways you have recommended to buy a cheaper one, but i am from a non-english speaking country, so its quite difficult for me to buy pens as you have said, but dont worry, i can have my own way, haha :) , this is also why i have made some misunderstanding on the cap thing you have mentioned:) i ll find the pen in my country and try it, only trying it myself can help me know it more accurately. everyone has a different feeling, at that time, perhaps i will have a better talk with you, haha. you have given me, a rookie, so much information which can largely help me know about the less familiar brand for me and i am looking forward to reading more of your works. thank you:P

Edited by luo, 14 February 2010 - 17:06.

hunting for job ==!

#14 luo

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 17:01

Hi luo,

First, thank you for your appreciation.

Regarding pen, if you buy it used, you can get much cheaper than retail. If you are not as impulsive and sick buyer as I am, you would be better off waiting for a good deal on a used pen; but do keep this pen under your radar. If you want it new, you can ask Pam Braun (google) and Bryant here on FPN, and you may be pleasantly surprised regarding price compared to MSRP. You may also get lucky on e-bay together with bing.com cashback if you are familiar with it.

When capped, the pen looks a little bit smaller than Sailor large 1911. However, when comparing barrels plus nib sections, surprisingly, Aurora 88 is longer than Sailor 1911 large. The line-width and feedback are very consistent no matter how much or how little you write and I like that consistency aspect a lot.

I don't find cap strange. I like it. It adds nice weight to the otherwise light pen. If you don't prefer this cap, there are other options, which are a bit cheaper, available for the same pen.

It's likely that because of my recent ownership of these pens, I am a bit biased in recommending it. I still think that if you don't hate stiff nibs, you are more likely to love Aurora 88 than not.

Good luck.

Jigesh

haha, thx for your careful reply and all the ways you have recommended to buy a cheaper one, but i am from a non-english speaking country, so its quite difficult for me to buy pens as you have said, but dont worry, i can have my own way, haha :) , this is also why i have made some misunderstanding on the cap thing you have mentioned:) i ll find the pen in my country and try it, only trying it myself can help me know it more accurately. everyone has a different feeling, at that time, perhaps i will have a better talk with you, haha. you have given me, a rookie, so much information which can largely help me know about the less familiar brand for me and i am looking forward to reading more of your works. thank you:P

Edited by luo, 14 February 2010 - 17:03.

hunting for job ==!

#15 trent

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 17:10

Montgomery Pens and also Penwa have very decent prices on Auroras. I do recommend the chrome/gold cap over the plastic ones, as the plastic can develop micro-cracks.
Whatever you do, acquire one of these pens. Of all the pens that I have tried, Aurora 88's provide the most exquisite writing experience available today.

#16 jigesh

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 17:10

......but i am from a non-english speaking country....this is also why i have made some misunderstanding on the cap thing you have mentioned:)



English is not my mother-tongue as well though is my only spoken/written/main/primary language now. Your English is excellent. Part of the confusion on caps is also my fault. Had I used a couple of smilies next to the statement "The cap and clip resemble to a bust manikin of a bald, shirtless person wearing a classy necktie," the tacit comic intent would have been more overt. Somehow, smilies intimidate me!

#17 jigesh

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 17:14

...I do recommend the chrome/gold cap over the plastic ones, as the plastic can develop micro-cracks....


Micro-cracks and wearing off of threads in the plastic/resin caps is not widely spread or very common, although reported several times here (mainly for aurolide Auroras/Optimas) on the FPN. This was also one of the reasons/precautions behind my choice of models.

Edited by jigesh, 14 February 2010 - 18:37.


#18 HenryLouis

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 18:24

I think bryant has the best prices on auroras... I got my talentum from him.

I really like aurora nibs. I should try an M one day... But the italic is just wonderful!
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#19 jigesh

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 18:34

I think bryant has the best prices on auroras... I got my talentum from him.

I really like aurora nibs. I should try an M one day... But the italic is just wonderful!


I saw your excellent review as well. Nice nib; I think it's sharp italic, right? Aurora italic nibs are a bit on broader side compared to my taste. Yes, Bryant is unbeatable on service and often on pricing. My Visconti Wall St LE with palladium nib is from him.

#20 PinarelloOnly

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 20:10

I love the chrome cap 88 and I would like to buy one but I am biting the bullet on an Optima
next month because I have put off getting one for so long.

I am glad to finally see photos of these 88's in the review section because they really are such beautiful pens. :notworthy1:

Good work. :thumbup:






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