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Aurora 88


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#1 PinarelloOnly

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 19:17

After much contemplation I have decided to write a short review of this pen and a
further review which will really be more pics down the road because I love reviews
with lots of pics rather than words!

To be fair and un-biased I am submitting a review of my 88 with the nib problem that
came with this pen. It wouldn’t be fair to have the pen fixed then submit a more
favorable review with out the dilemma involved.

First off Airlineintl.com: Poor! I ordered a large 88 Ottantotto with a chrome cap. I
got a full black resin 88 with chrome trim which is better known as the Nikargenta
trim 88 Aurora model# 800C. At least they got the large size version and fine nib
correct. I called and talked to the person I ordered the pen from and she not only
said yes “I remember you ordered a chrome cap 88” she later after talking to her
boss came back and said that maybe there was some miss communication and that
“I” changed my mind in the order. Please just shoot me! If I could of reached
through the phone from CT to TX I would of! On their behalf they said they would
refund all money including shipping but not after she tried to weasel out of it by
putting some of the blame on me to make herself feel better!!!! Well, at just over
$200 even though I didn’t get the pen I wanted and come to find out, they do not
have a chrome cap Ottantotto anyway, I have decided to keep the pen since trying
to buy this pen at under $210 is hard to do from a vendor who actually has one in
stock with the nib you want on it. Lets just say on looks alone I love this pen,
chrome cap version or not. I still did well. I won’t tell you to not buy from
Airlineintl.com but I won’t be buying from them anymore. For now I'll keep the pen, it's still beautiful.

Nib: Poor! BUT! I know Kenro will do good about it, at least I have dealt with them
before and they have earned my respect so, I will let them fix it and give them that
chance. The second I tried to write with it, letting the pen “sit” for 15 minutes after
sucking up it’s first batch of Aurora ink, I knew something was wrong when I tried to
print a capital “A” and on the down stroke there was nothing! Once it started I have
to say the fine nib was pretty smooth but a few down strokes here and there as I
wrote a few sentences the pen kept on skipping around town. This is after a total
flush and inspection of the feed. So I took some pics and off it goes out for repair!


I have to say the pen is very light filled with ink and yet built like a tank. Piston
action is smooth and you can feel the tight tolerance of the pen. I’ll take this pen
over my M605 any day in build quality alone. The Pelikan has nothing on the Aurora
when it comes the piston action, it makes my M605 feel like a toy.

To be continued……












2 pens slightly SMALLER than the 88. M605 and Van Gogh Midi.










2 pens slightly LARGER than the 88. Talentum and Van Gogh Maxi












Scott.

Edited by PinarelloOnly, 10 February 2007 - 14:05.


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#2 Mike S.

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 20:39

I have an Aurora 88 just like yours and once I got the nib adjusted properly, I really like the way it writes. I agree with you that the build quality and performance of the piston filling mechanism is first rate. I bought mine from Pam at www.oscarbraunpens.com, who is always a pleasure to deal with.

Last week, I bought my second Aurora -- an Optima with a medium nib -- and it was terrible. The flow was terrible, it was extra scratchy (Aurora nibs are always scratchy, but this one was worse than that). My dealer exchanged the nib unit for another medium, and it was just as bad. I ended up returning the pen in favor of a Delta Dolce Vita.

A couple of weeks ago, mafoofan posted this topic on the Writing Instruments board:

Topic 22884

It may be that the current production of Aurora nibs is defective. It's a shame, because the pens are beautiful and well-made. The problem is, without a decent nib, a pen is worthless to me.

By the way, I have enjoyed reading your reviews, especially the photos. Keep them coming!

Mike

Edited by Mike S., 13 January 2007 - 20:40.


#3 handlebar

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 20:44

Thanks for the reviews.I have always admired the Aurora lineup.But with such nib issues as stated above,i will not be buying one anytime soon.Rather place my brass coins toward a Stipula or Omas


JD

#4 mafoofan

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 23:05

This recent spat of bad nibs/feeds from Aurora is disconcerting. Part of Aurora's appeal to me is the fact that they make their own nibs. It doesn't seem like that is much of an advantage anymore. I'd rather a bland but working nib from Bock than a unique but useless nib from Aurora.

#5 Dillo

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Posted 13 January 2007 - 23:31

Hi,

This is interesting since a I have seen a fair number of very recent pens that just came out of the factory and they wrote very well, not scratchy or really toothy. Things might be different since my stockist is in Italy rather than the US. I can't seem to find the Auroras I want here. sad.gif

Dillon

Edited by Dillo, 13 January 2007 - 23:31.

Stolen: Aurora Optima Demonstrator Red ends Medium nib. Serial number 1216 and Aurora 98 Cartridge/Converter Black bark finish (Archivi Storici) with gold cap. Reward if found. Please contact me if you have seen these pens.

Please send vial orders and other messages to fpninkvials funny-round-mark-thing gmail strange-mark-thing com. My shop is open once again if you need help with your pen.

Dillon


#6 RLTodd

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 04:10

QUOTE(PinarelloOnly @ Jan 13 2007, 11:17 AM)
First off Airlineintl.com:  Poor! I ordered a large 88 Ottantotto with a chrome cap.  I
got a full black resin 88 with chrome trim which is better known as the Nikargenta
trim 88 Aurora model# 800C. At least they got the large size version and fine nib
correct.  I called and talked to the person I ordered the pen from and she not only
said yes “I remember you ordered a chrome cap 88” she later after talking to her
boss came back and said that maybe there was some miss communication and that
“I” changed my mind in the order. Please just shoot me! If I could of reached
through the phone from CT to TX I would of! On their behalf they said they would
refund all money including shipping but not after she tried to weasel out of it by
putting some of the blame on me to make herself feel better!!!!  Well, at just over
$200 even though I didn’t get the pen I wanted and come to find out, they do not
have a chrome cap Ottantotto anyway,


Yep, I'm 61 and I remember storys like that about almost all of the New York & Brooklyn camera vendors since I was in High School. It is just the type of people they are.

Altmans Luggage unilaterally substitued a medium nib of a fine nib order quite recently.

The only thing I've found over the decades is, only buy from people who have good reputations. Some times you have to pay more, but at least you get what you want and keep an honest merchant in business.

Edited by RLTodd, 15 January 2007 - 05:12.

YMMV

#7 saintsimon

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 06:11

Maybe these nib problems are the result of the staff lay-off, which Aurora had to make some time ago (I think in 2005)? unsure.gif

My 1996 Optima Sole is a perfect pen.

Edited by saintsimon, 14 January 2007 - 06:11.


#8 JRodriguez

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 18:15

Sorry to hear of the difficulties you've had. The 88 here reviewed was the first Aurora I purchased and I found the fine nib to be more like an x-fine and so sent it off for a medium. The 88 is the pen I use most in my collection and I wouldn't trade it for anything, but had I been stuck with the original fine nib, I would not be able to say the same. In any case, I hope it comes back to you writing wonderfully. And those are some fantastic pictures you took!

#9 PinarelloOnly

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 20:10

QUOTE(JRodriguez @ Jan 14 2007, 06:15 PM)
Sorry to hear of the difficulties you've had. The 88 here reviewed was the first Aurora I purchased and I found the fine nib to be more like an x-fine and so sent it off for a medium. The 88 is the pen I use most in my collection and I wouldn't trade it for anything, but had I been stuck with the original fine nib, I would not be able to say the same. In any case, I hope it comes back to you writing wonderfully. And those are some fantastic pictures you took!

Thanks JRodriguez,

Glad you like the pics. I think I am going to take them from now on in natural light.
The shutter stays open around 10 sec. at ISO 1600 on my wife's Nikon D50 so, tripod
set up is a pain but worth it.

I agree that Aurora makes narrower writing nibs especially compared to pens with
Schmidt and Bock nibs. BUT I love them like that. I am one who is a big fan of the XF
and Fine Aurora nibs.

I have no worries on this pen and like some swearing them off because of what they
read on this forum, I know that it is not an option for me with Aurora. I do believe
that they are aware of any bad performing pens out there through feedback with
dealers and the authorized service center in NJ. I really wouldn't tell any one not to
buy a Talentum, Optima or 88.

Scott.

#10 jjb_13

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 00:25

Scott

Just an aside: Love your taste in bicycles.
I'm a DeRosa, Look guy myself but the Pinarellos I've seen have all been gorgeous

John
"Ink isn't dead...It just smells funny"

#11 PinarelloOnly

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Posted 23 January 2007 - 21:17

Pen came back from Kenro in Mineola, NY this past Sat. Sent back to me UPS
ground with a total of a 4 day turn around time. Nothing is fixed. Writes dry a few
sentences then starts skipping. It is a little better than before but not up to par the
way it should be. Swapping feeds with my Talentum my 88 wrote a little better.

E-mailed Kenro over the weekend and they replied yesterday that they replaced
the nib and feed. They said send it back to them again. Very discouraging to say
the least.

This time I took my spark plug gap tool and slowly dragged the .002" "blade"
loosely through the channel with bits of feed sticking to the tool. This is a joke! Pen
writes a lot better now but with flow wet and dry. The feed also, is not holding ink
over a long period of time and so it becomes a hard starter. I think this is
outrageous. I will probably send it back again but I am not holding my breath.

Scott.

Edited by PinarelloOnly, 07 February 2007 - 04:23.


#12 Lemon328i

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 16:17

That's too bad Scott, this must be a relatively new problem. I got an Aurora 88 exactly like yours about 4 years ago with a cursive italic nib from Jim at Bertram's Inkwell and it is perfect with all but Noodler's black for some reason. I hope they are able to fix yours properly!

-Calvin

#13 Nimrud

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Posted 24 January 2007 - 16:32

Hmm... it looks like if I want another Aurora, I better go snap up the old stock at my friendly B&M store...

#14 PinarelloOnly

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 02:57

****Update****

Timeline:

Approximately 3 weeks ago, received pen from Airlineintl.com on a Fri. Didn’t
perform out of the box, sent to Kenro in Mineola, NY the following Tues. (Jan.15th).

Received pen following Sat. Jan. 20th with a new nib and feed. Did not write. Hard
starting with skipping when started. Back to Kenro.

Last Friday (Feb.2nd), Called Kenro. “What’s the deal?” Haven’t looked at it, we’ll
look at it first thing Monday (Feb. 5th.). Was told very busy with Aurora and Omas
repairs, only one tech.

Received email that Monday afternoon, “…there will be a full pen replacement.”
Problem was determined to be with the piston system after trying different nibs and
feeds. I replied back to their email asking if it was a common problem….received no
answer.

Received new 88 the next day from Kenro (Feb.6).



For now, I think Aurora has QC issues and it’s something in denial. I am no expert in
this assumption but when you get into this price range for a FP that performs so
poorly out of the box, it should be something that is unheard of but somehow I do
not think it is. I have a feeling it’s more common than just me, which is too bad. Any
emails to Italy are fast forwarded to Kenro here in the U.S. for answers and it is not
because there is a language problem.

Kenro is another issue now. They are obviously in over their heads. If you have a
new Aurora into them for repair you HAVE to call them or you’ll wait in line behind
the old lady that sent in her pen for not writing after she left the cap off it all night.
Believe it or not they will get your pen back to you in a week or so but you have to
call and push them.

Right now I would only buy an Optima or 88 at a pen show or from an authorized
vendor, filling it with ink immediately and writing a full paragraph with it. If it lightens
up or skips…..get your money back right there! You do not want to go through with
what I just did.

It is possible that my 88 slipped through the cracks and I received a lemon. It is
possible that the pen went through the ringer at Airlineinlt.com before I got it and it’s
also possible that Aurora has QC issues now. Time will tell. Although, I still want
that Optima down the road, I do cringe now at the thought.


History:

Aurora created the 88 in 1947 in which the same classic lines of the pen still stand today.

The Aurora 88 can be found on display at the Innovations Exhibit in the National
Museum of Science and Technology, Milan.

The 88 was created with the help of industrial designer Marcello Nizzoli (1887-1969)
who was also an artist. Some of his typewriter and sewing machine designs are on
display at MoMA.


Pros:

Street price.

Very comfortable for pages and pages of writing.

Very light and balanced filled with ink and cap posted.

Very well built with a smooth tight tolerance feel overall. Piston action is top notch.

<F> nib is smooth.*

Nib selection: <XF> <F> <M> <B> 0.9mm italic & stub.

In house made nib writes like a Fine should. No Bock nibs here.

Nib very easily swaps out with Talentum and Optima.




Cons:

Replacement nibs are $$$ from the few vendors that sell them.

Kenro service slacking lately.




*- Very little to no toothy feedback from nib, which was more of a characteristic of
my Aurora <XF> nib that I love. I found using Aurora or Waterman inks with their
lube properties produces even more smoothness with these nibs. Equal in
smoothness to my wife’s Van Gogh Midi <F>.


Final words:

Love the pen.



Pen is exactly between a Midi and Maxi Van Gogh in size as you can see here.
However, filled with ink at 22 grams the 88 is lighter than the Maxi by 15 grams and
lighter than the Midi by 8 grams which does not seem like a lot but my wife noticed it
immediately when she picked up the 88 to try it out.


Midi / 88 / Maxi
















Edited by PinarelloOnly, 10 February 2007 - 02:45.


#15 BobR

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 03:57

I take it that your replacement 88 is performing properly? Hopefully after all you've been through you'll get to enjoy it. The piston filler is actually a real highlight with this pen, as many of us have noted.

Great pics, BTW.

Edited by BobR, 07 February 2007 - 03:57.


#16 PinarelloOnly

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 04:20

QUOTE(BobR @ Feb 7 2007, 03:57 AM)
I take it that your replacement 88 is performing properly? Hopefully after all you've been through you'll get to enjoy it. The piston filler is actually a real highlight with this pen, as many of us have noted.

Great pics, BTW.

Thanks Bob,

Yes, my new 88 is working flawless and I will post a writing sample tomorrow.

Scott.

#17 rroossinck

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 04:27

Top notch review and pictures, Scott.

Sorry to hear that Kenro's stumbling. I'm sure that picking up the Omas line hasn't been totally bump-free, and from what I know of the company, they're pretty small. One tech may be all there is for right now, unfortunately.

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#18 JRodriguez

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 07:01

Glad to hear that Kenro finally set things right. I know how disappointing it can be when one spends that much money on a pen only to have it not write ...

#19 rroossinck

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 11:59

You know, as I look (drool) over those pictures, I can't decide which one I want more...the Talentum or the 88?

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#20 PinarelloOnly

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Posted 07 February 2007 - 16:34

QUOTE(rroossinck @ Feb 7 2007, 11:59 AM)
You know, as I look (drool) over those pictures, I can't decide which one I want more...the Talentum or the 88?

Hey rroossinck,

Thanks, I would get the 88 first since it's little more expensive out of the two and
so nice to use it will give you so much more time to save up for the Talentum that
maybe you wouldn't want the Talentum anymore. biggrin.gif

Both are very nice to own however. drool.gif



QUOTE(JRodriguez Posted on Feb 7 2007 @ 07:01 AM)
Glad to hear that Kenro finally set things right. I know how disappointing it can be when one spends that much money on a pen only to have it not write ...


.....and they were very nice about the whole deal. They understood that it wasn't
money well spent until you can actually use the pen. wink.gif






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