The Aurora Optima was a pen that I always wanted, my first Italian pen (for some reason I’m going around the world with my pen purchases). Having purchased enough black resin pens, I wanted to branch out into something more colourful and after much consideration, settled upon the Aurora Burgundy Auroloide with the rhodium trim with a fine nib.
In the end, I chose to purchase from John Mottishaw - www.nibs.com - and this is my first pen from him. He offers to tune and test your pens complimentary to your liking. I asked for moderate flow, smooth writer with light to moderate pressure, whilst maintaining the Aurora nib’s personality (that little bit of tooth or feedback).
It took one week for the pen to be ordered in and another two to be delivered via USPS Express International to Australia. I picked up the parcel and opened it as soon as I got to my office.
The pen came in an impressively sized cardbox box, inside was red wrapping paper and then a Faux leather box. Underneath the pen was the instruction manual.
Apologies for the quality of the iPhone photos as that was all I had with me at work.
Specifications are from www.nibs.com
The pen is a moderately sized pen but with enough girth to give it a pleasantly substantial feel in the hand.
It weighs 21.5 grams, measuring 6.125 inches posted, 5 inches capped and with a barrel length of 4 inches. Ink capacity is 1.8mL which is reasonable for a piston filler.
The Optima has the typical stubbed pen design, but in a gorgeous burgundy auroloide. I still haven’t worked out what auroloide is (www.nibs.com and others suggest cellulose acetate) but from reading the forums and its feel in the hand, I do suspect it may be resin. It does not feel the same as my Pelikan M600 barrel (cellulose acetate) and it’s similarity to other Aurora LE’s that are different colours but are made of similar materials, yet called ‘resin’ make me suspect ‘auroloide’ is simply a tradename.
The pen cap unscrews with only one turn. The pen does post and is better balanced for it, but you do have to push the cap on firmly for it to be secure.
14k with a fine nib width. Ebonite feed.
True to his word, John tuned it for moderate flow. It writes slightly wetter than what I remember from testing stock Aurora Optima’s in Melbourne. About as wet as my MB146 (EF).
Aurora nibs do write slightly finer than Western pens and the Aurora fine is narrower than my Pelikan M600 EF and probably on par with my Pilot Decimo VP fine.
And what a lovely nib it is. A little stiff. Smooth, free flowing yet controlled yet with enought tactile feedback on my work office paper to bring an immediate smile to my face. There is just a hint of ‘tooth’ that is a different feel (bit like a squeaky sensation) on some strokes but nothing I cannot live with. I’ll be honest that my MB 146 (18k nib) is very marginally better, but these are both top tier pen nibs. I much prefer it over my Pelikan M600 which is simply too wet and too smooth. Others may love this, but not me.
Filling System (9)
Smooth with only gentle resistance, feels just like my Pelikan Piston. Lovely.
I inked it right away with J’Herbin Black (what I had in my briefcase) as my shipment of Poissiere de Lune is yet to arrive.
The Aurora Optima has a ‘hidden resovoir’ which basically means it holds a bit more ink in the piston end. When you run out of ink, you unscrew the piston all the way and that forces the piston end to release additional ink into the feed allowing an extra page.
Doesn’t bother me (I always have ink in a Visconti travel inkwell) but means cleaning this pen out later is going to be irritating when I want to change colours.
Oh well... I don’t think the feature deserves to be marked down though
Cost and Value (7)
It’s an expensive plastic pen. $30US cheaper than my MontBlanc 146 in platinum trim (shop price, not RRP)
But for a top tier, flagship Aurora with a hand ground nib and personality, worth it. For me. It’s on par with my favourite Sailor, MB146 writers.
I love it.
The aurora has a beautiful sheen and colour to it and is the perfect size for my shirt pocket.
I’ll be using it as a daily writer at work, starting today! I used it all afternoon
Edited by tanalasta, 06 April 2010 - 11:12.