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Aurora 88 Nikargenta and Ipsilon


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#1 adair

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 11:24

Recently, I was able to purchase two Aurora pens at an absurdly low price. I wouldn't have bought them otherwise, not least because so many reviews on this site describe Aurora nibs as scratchy. I am a faithful Pelikan user, so smoothness is of great importance to me. The Auroras attracted me with their very elegant designs. One is an Ipsilon with black barrel and chrome cap. The other is an 88 Nikargenta, black barrel with lustrous chrome cap. Both are medium nibs.

It was with considerable trepidation that I inked (with Aurora black) and tested the Ipsilon. I expected extreme dryness and scratchiness. Instead, I was surprised by the wonderful, wet flow and a nib quality that is hard to describe---very smooth yet tactile, with a touch of feedback and even audible interaction with the paper, yet by no means scratchiness. It is almost a feeling of sculpting gently into the paper, or as if one were using a silverpoint stylus and inscribing lines into soft chalk. This steel Ipsilon nib is unlike any nib that I have ever tried before. The cap posts with a special inner plastic lining that clicks neatly onto the end the of barrel without any danger of scuffing or scratching. This is a stunning pen, substantial enough in weight without being heavy.

I was relieved. But there was still the 88 Nikargenta to try. Perhaps I had only been lucky...

Right out of the box,after filling with Aurora black, the 88 wrote like a dream. This nib is ultra-smooth, reminiscent of a Lamy 2000, without the subtle feedback of the Ipsilon. The medium is on the broad side, also like a Lamy 2000. I would have preferred the true medium of the Ipsilon, as with the 88 open letters like o and e get filled in with the saturated ink. But I cannot say anything against the generous flow of ink and ease of writing. The torpedo shape and heft of the pen are extremely comfortable, slightly thicker, it seems to me, than an MB or the Sailor 1911. (But I have no measurement tools!) The feel is of an extremely solid, well-constructed instrument. As a Pelikan fan, I love this pen's excellent piston filling system. All pens should use pistons; it is to me the ideal, trouble-free way of taking in ink. If I can get used to the broad nature of this medium (and frankly, my beloved Pelikans often tend to have rather thick mediums), this will become one of my most frequently used pens. The Ipsilon seems like an ideal daily-use pen as well, and it has the added advantage of being moderately priced, even at MSRP. For a good deal on the 88, you will have to shop around a little more.

So, my collection will witness a marriage of Italia and Germania...I am quite pleased with and impressed by these two Aurora pens. I will certainly take a risk on other Auroras (when I can afford them) though I will always have that apprehension based on the numerous negative experiences that many of you have reported. With these two Auroras, I may just have been fortunate. Based on them, however, I have to say: I love Aurora!

I will update if I encounter any changes or problems with further use.

Edited by adair, 18 October 2007 - 14:47.


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#2 John Cullen

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 11:41

Glad you like your pens. If your medium 88 nib is on the broad, wet and smooth side, then you got an unusually good one. j

#3 tamburlaine

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 11:45

Great to hear you are enjoying your Auroras. What a coincidence that there is a new review of the 88 just a couple of days after I ordered one! I still am a little apprehensive about the nib scratchiness issue, but I think a lot of it may be exaggerated (you are far more likely to hear condemnation than praise I suppose) but from the reviews and information I have read, Aurora seems to be a very good manufacturer and under-represented on FPN! I can't wait for mine. I ordered it with an XF nib, which are supposed to be very good.

I too am a bit of a Pelikan fan, owning an M405 - the nib is very smooth but a tad too 'soft' for me if you understand my meaning, but my main problem is that I think they feel a bit 'plasticy'. I am glad I didn't pay full retail and got a very good bargain but after gaining a little more experience and knowledge of FPs I wish I had gone vintage.

Enjoy your Auroras!
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#4 PinarelloOnly

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 12:24

QUOTE(John Cullen @ Oct 18 2007, 11:41 AM) View Post
Glad you like your pens. If your medium 88 nib is on the broad, wet and smooth side, then you got an unusually good one. j


Why is that so unusual, med. Aurora nibs are usually always smooth right out of the box. I have helped two people on FPN
with their not so smooth nibs and it wasn't until they used Aurora ink or Noodlers American Eel, that they found out what
their Aurora pens can really do. Sure, some have had problems and that's to bad what people post on here but it is not the
norm.

People praise Pelikan on FPN but I think Pelikan owners have more problems with nib performance than Aurora.


adair,

I would not characterize it as a broad nib, maybe with it's generous ink flow on cheap paper (most copier bonds) it would
seem like a broad nib but your 88 will shine its true performance on Rhodia or other acid free bonds which is what most
fine writing instruments are made for. If you are using high quality paper, Aurora mediums are true medium nibs and
should be characterized closer to a Sailor or Namiki medium.

No pics?

#5 Dillo

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 12:39

Hi,

All of my Aurora pens work the way you just described above. smile.gif

Dillon

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.

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#6 adair

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 14:43

How silly of me---not to test on Rhodia or Clairefontaine, which are the notepads I most often use anyway! Yes, I had tested on cheaper paper and there was a bit excessive thickening of line. But on Rhodia--oh, my goodness! The line is back to a rather normal medium (still a tad on the broader side, but the individual letters do not lose their articulation). Above all, what smoothness! It is a luxurious, sensual feeling to write with the Aurora 88 on Rhodia paper. The smoothness is intensified no doubt by the flowing quality of Aurora ink. This is an extraordinary fountain pen. I hope that it remains this way and that I do not experience any problems down the road.

I neglected to mention in my earlier review that the cap of the 88 does not have the inner lining of the Ipsilon, so I will not post it.

Sorry, I do not have a digital camera. I will try to borrow one and take some photographs.

#7 Shelley

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 20:21

Hmm I practice patience but after this review...I have wanted an Aurora ever sive seeing scotty's photos and read reviews, it was a tough choice bewtween an 88 (piston fill) or the Talentum (C/C but love the ends), when I got offered a wonderful deal on the Optima. It is as we write/read flying to me and I cannot wait-although in truth I have to wait until xmas to use it but just the knowledge that it has arrived safe and sound...Oh did I mention that it also has a nibmeisters modified nib?
Lamy 2000-Lamy Vista-Visconti Van Gogh Maxi Tortoise Demonstrator-Pilot Vanishing Point Black Carbonesque-1947 Parker 51 Vacumatic Cedar Blue Double Jewel-Aurora Optima Black Chrome Cursive Italic-Waterman Hemisphere Metallic Blue-Sheaffer Targa-Conway Stewart CS475

#8 Bill Smith

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 20:39

Congratulations on getting the Aurora 88 and Ipsilon. I too am a big Pelikan fan and I love my Aurora 88 with sterling silver cap.
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#9 John Cullen

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 12:16

HI All

Well, I do not know if more people have had trouble with Pelikan than with Aurora, but over the years there have always been comments about Aurora nibs being a little toothy and a little dry. Many people like nibs that have a little tooth to them and appreciate that an Aurora medium is not a big wet and sloppy writer; others find they want to have the tooth smoothed down. I think Aurora makes nice pens, but on numerous occasions I have had to have them smoothed. I have only had 16 Aurora pens over the years, and I know that is not a large enough sample to make any serious statement about quality, but my experiences fit with those of others.

The funny thing is, one of the smoothest Fine nibs I ever had was an Aurora. Howsever, if your idea of a smooth nib is a greasy glassy Edson or Carene you might end up wanting a little nib work.

Edited by John Cullen, 19 October 2007 - 12:17.


#10 adair

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 12:39

I have never had the slightest problem with a Pelikan, and I have several of them. My Pelikans do not have particularly interesting nibs, but I love them for being reliable, no-nonsense tools. It is possible that I have just been lucky with my two lovely Auroras. The 88 is so wonderful that I am paranoid about losing, misplacing or dropping it, as I suspect that another 88 may not have this exceptionally smooth nib. Everything about this pen takes the sheer act of writing to a new level of pleasure. And yet, I want to use it as a daily writer. A pen like this is meant to be used as much as possible! If it keeps performing as it does now (and I am wary, because my Lamy 2000 started out like this before the leaking began...) this will indeed be the perfect pen for me. I really think that I may not have to buy another pen again...

#11 KCat

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 23:00

Now you have me wanting that 88 even more. I too have steered clear of them because of their reputation for "toothy" nibs. I do like some feedback depending on my mood of the moment.

Of course, if I had to spend full price on an 88, I'd just as soon have it checked out by a nibmeister anyway. Congrats on your purchase. I almost purchased an Ipsilon many moons ago but ended up with a Lamy Safari instead. At the time the Safari was actually priced about the same. blink.gif

Now I really must not read any reviews after this. I've been relatively craving-free for a while now. I want to keep it that way.

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#12 adair

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 00:58

QUOTE(KCat @ Oct 19 2007, 11:00 PM) View Post
Now you have me wanting that 88 even more. I too have steered clear of them because of their reputation for "toothy" nibs. I do like some feedback depending on my mood of the moment.

Of course, if I had to spend full price on an 88, I'd just as soon have it checked out by a nibmeister anyway. Congrats on your purchase. I almost purchased an Ipsilon many moons ago but ended up with a Lamy Safari instead. At the time the Safari was actually priced about the same. blink.gif

Now I really must not read any reviews after this. I've been relatively craving-free for a while now. I want to keep it that way.



Ha-ha! That's my revenge for all the paper and pens that YOUR reviews have made me buy (and all of them worth every penny, I must admit!).

Seriously, though: you need not rush into this pen. Firstly, I may just have been fortunate to get one with a perfect nib. Secondly, mine is a medium, and I believe that you prefer fine and extra fine---that could be a completely different animal! Give yourself until the holidays. And if you do decide to acquire one, try John Mottishaw. He doesn't actually carry the 88 but can order one for you at about 20% discount. And you know that his nibs will always be tested for smoothness.
The Ipsilon is very good, but the 88 is sublime. What you save by not buying the Ipsilon you can put towards the 88. This 88 is my ceiling for fountain pen prices. I won't even consider anything beyond this, and as it has performed so well, I won't have to!

Did you end up liking the Lamy Safari? I bought a couple in Germany (they were as cheap as school pens) and was not overly impressed. One of them was quite scratchy. Lamy fountain pens have been disappointing to me for various reasons, though their mechanical pencils, on the other hand, have proved excellent.


Take care, KCat. I look forward to your excellent posts.


#13 KCat

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 21:20

QUOTE(adair @ Oct 19 2007, 07:58 PM) View Post
Ha-ha! That's my revenge for all the paper and pens that YOUR reviews have made me buy (and all of them worth every penny, I must admit!).


Oh sure, blame me. But have you tried Diamine inks yet?

QUOTE
Seriously, though: you need not rush into this pen. Firstly, I may just have been fortunate to get one with a perfect nib. Secondly, mine is a medium, and I believe that you prefer fine and extra fine---that could be a completely different animal!


True. I prefer an XF in most European models. I would only feel comfortable with it being checked out by someone like John.

I liked the Safari on the whole. It was fairly comfortable and the nib was smooth. It was a dry writer and at the time I didn't fully appreciate the utility of a dry-writing nib. I passed it down to my daughter. She loves it because it's a fairly fat fine nib and she likes drier nibs. She is right handed but "hooks" her hand. Something I've never understood (OT: we know she favored her left hand in preschool and was discouraged from using it.) The "hook hand" can be problematic even for a right-hander.

I bought a Vista MP about 6 months ago. I like MPs in general and I really like this one. The Safari/Vista grip works well for me in the pencil format. Better than it did in the FP format. So I'm very pleased with that.

I have looked at the 2000 many times. One day I like the styling, the next I don't. Can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it just looks too fat for my hand? After reading the stories of Leaking Lamys, it's definitely not on my must-have list. I know that's not "common" but it does give me paws, I mean, pause. Probably one of those pens that I will buy someday just because so many people like them. You know, if everyone else is doing it... rolleyes.gif

Edited by KCat, 20 October 2007 - 21:20.

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#14 adair

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Posted 21 October 2007 - 01:31



Oh sure, blame me. But have you tried Diamine inks yet?[/quote]



No, no...KCat, have mercy...As a matter of fact, I haven't tried Diamine inks yet...What, pray tell, are they? Oh, forget it. Just give me the web address where I should place my order...


I have looked at the 2000 many times. One day I like the styling, the next I don't. Can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it just looks too fat for my hand? After reading the stories of Leaking Lamys, it's definitely not on my must-have list. [/quote]

The Lamy 2000 is beautiful because of its simplicity. It shares this in common with the Aurora 88, but is even more paired down. It is very Bauhaus in that regard. At first, you might mistake it for a Flair marker---that is how unostentatious it is, and I like that very much. The material, so-called "Makrolon" (or something like that) is very pleasant to hold, rather like raw, unpolished ebonite. Unfortunately, it does not live up to Bauhaus levels of craft and manufacture. I have two Lamy 2000's and they both leak. A pity: the nibs are a dream, comparable to the Aurora 88 in smoothness. I once thought the Lamy 2000 might just be the ultimate, perfect pen. Too bad. KCat, if you want, you can have one of mine---I won't ever use it again, especially not now with my amazing Aurora 88. You just have to be willing to spend $7.50 to have the leaky section repaired by Lamy USA somewhere in Connecticut.

#15 Tanglewood

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 23:59

What a wonderful, literate review. Artfully and specifically descriptive. I own two Auroras: the LE Asia (which is stunningly beautiful and curiously absent in the discussion on this forum) and the Fuoco, minima. The often described "scratchiness" of the Aurora nib is misleading. Your description, on the other hand, is perfectly accurate. Very fun to read. Thanks!

QUOTE(adair @ Oct 18 2007, 05:24 AM) View Post
Recently, I was able to purchase two Aurora pens at an absurdly low price. I wouldn't have bought them otherwise, not least because so many reviews on this site describe Aurora nibs as scratchy. I am a faithful Pelikan user, so smoothness is of great importance to me. The Auroras attracted me with their very elegant designs. One is an Ipsilon with black barrel and chrome cap. The other is an 88 Nikargenta, black barrel with lustrous chrome cap. Both are medium nibs.

It was with considerable trepidation that I inked (with Aurora black) and tested the Ipsilon. I expected extreme dryness and scratchiness. Instead, I was surprised by the wonderful, wet flow and a nib quality that is hard to describe---very smooth yet tactile, with a touch of feedback and even audible interaction with the paper, yet by no means scratchiness. It is almost a feeling of sculpting gently into the paper, or as if one were using a silverpoint stylus and inscribing lines into soft chalk. This steel Ipsilon nib is unlike any nib that I have ever tried before. The cap posts with a special inner plastic lining that clicks neatly onto the end the of barrel without any danger of scuffing or scratching. This is a stunning pen, substantial enough in weight without being heavy.

I was relieved. But there was still the 88 Nikargenta to try. Perhaps I had only been lucky...

Right out of the box,after filling with Aurora black, the 88 wrote like a dream. This nib is ultra-smooth, reminiscent of a Lamy 2000, without the subtle feedback of the Ipsilon. The medium is on the broad side, also like a Lamy 2000. I would have preferred the true medium of the Ipsilon, as with the 88 open letters like o and e get filled in with the saturated ink. But I cannot say anything against the generous flow of ink and ease of writing. The torpedo shape and heft of the pen are extremely comfortable, slightly thicker, it seems to me, than an MB or the Sailor 1911. (But I have no measurement tools!) The feel is of an extremely solid, well-constructed instrument. As a Pelikan fan, I love this pen's excellent piston filling system. All pens should use pistons; it is to me the ideal, trouble-free way of taking in ink. If I can get used to the broad nature of this medium (and frankly, my beloved Pelikans often tend to have rather thick mediums), this will become one of my most frequently used pens. The Ipsilon seems like an ideal daily-use pen as well, and it has the added advantage of being moderately priced, even at MSRP. For a good deal on the 88, you will have to shop around a little more.

So, my collection will witness a marriage of Italia and Germania...I am quite pleased with and impressed by these two Aurora pens. I will certainly take a risk on other Auroras (when I can afford them) though I will always have that apprehension based on the numerous negative experiences that many of you have reported. With these two Auroras, I may just have been fortunate. Based on them, however, I have to say: I love Aurora!

I will update if I encounter any changes or problems with further use.



#16 Robert Hughes

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Posted 11 March 2008 - 01:40

I've been using my new Ipsilon de Luxe for the past few weeks and am completely satisfied with the pen. Its fine point 14k nib glides effortlessly on the paper, the feed provides a continuous flow under all the conditions I've tried, it plays well with Noodler's Legal Lapis on most papers (including Rhodia, Clairfontaine, Alvin and Moleskine) and makes me want to keep writing. With this pen I'm a happy, comfortable penman.
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#17 Empacherguy

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 21:13

OK OK OK ! Enough already ;) It's bad enough that I've recently been re-inspired to pick up my pens after the end of the semester, but really!!! The Aurora 88 has been on my "must have list" for eons, but I keep shying away. Drat. But as it turned out, my second and third pens were both Auroras: a red Talentum in medium and an Ipsilon Deluxe with italic.

The Talentum rocks! That's all I can say. It is almost always my go-to pen when I'm at home jotting things in the journal. It is always filled (these days) with Aurora Black - a complete match if ever there were one! I have tried other inks in it, but not a one can compare to this combination. It's funny though: the nib never once struck me as "scratchy." It was only after-the-fact reading of reviews on here that I heard of that reputation. Instead, I find the nib to be completely perfect for me - though just a tiny bit on the broad side. I'm finding more and more that I prefer something more in the medium-fine range. The Talentum is pretty much in keeping with all my other medium nibs, so I've no comments to the contrary there. Rumor has it, though, that the nibs on Talentum and 88 are inter-changeable, so perhaps that's my "out." Whatever the case, I love the connected-to-the-paper feel it has. None of my other pens can equal it; you feel like you're really writing stuff!

But herein lies my problem. With the Talentum being so awesome for me, I have had a very difficult time allowing myself the luxury of getting my 88. Highly annoying, even though the 88 was always my first choice. Some day... except now it's acquisition is in direct $$ competition with my equally-charged need for a Nakaya and/or Pilot 823 and/or Platinum Blue Celluloid. So thanks, you all, for complicating my life.

The Ipsilon? Hmmm Fantastic pen, except I was too enthralled with the italic nib initially to realize that it was destined to sit in my drawer. Way too sharp and difficult to use for general writing - especially given my quick hand. So I bought a stub from John Mottishaw for my Pilot VP (since stolen!!) and the rest is history.

So I guess I need to stay away from any catalog, website or other suggestive pen-shopping place....

Scott






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