Black resin cap and body, chrome trim, piston-filler with 14ct gold nib (plated chrome-colour)
Originally, my plan was to buy this some time in the future as I had imagined it way over my budget. So the pen I originally sought for was the Sailor 1911 large size, and was just going to import it from America at around two thirds of the UK retail price. But as luck would have it, just before sending away for one I decided to see what the best price I could get an Aurora 88 800/C for was within Britain. And it just so happens I managed to find it for a price moderately more expensive than the US 1911 I was buying, and cheaper than the UK retail price of the Sailor. I was overjoyed, as I had imagined the Auroras to be way out of budget!
I was somewhat hesitant about ordering the 1911, as I already own a Sapporo, which is fantastic but did I really need another Sailor? Especially, all that money and no piston fill. I was informed by my dealer that UK distributor of Aurora (GBAPens) had one XF nib left, so I snapped it up! So, I got my Aurora for about 55% of the UK price, and actually cheaper than most American dealers(!!!).
I have not regretted my choice between the two. And in fact means I now do not require a Sailor 1911 and the Aurora 88 has slaked my thirst for moderately expensive modern pens (unless large amounts of disposable money come my way).
First Impressions - 9/10
The postie knocked on the door and announced the words I had been longing for "Special Delivery!"
Grunting out some inaudible small-talk and signing for it (with a ball-point of all things!) I skipped off in the manner of a cross-dressing lumberjack to be alone with my parcel.
The Aurora box conveys a very good impression to start with, being very heavy with a 'clothy' material covering it and 'AURORA' imprinted tastefully on top. I deduct one point because when I opened it, the first thing I noticed between myself and the pen was a converter tucked under the ribbon ("I thought it was a piston filler!"). I of course nearly had a heart-attack and had to prise the telephone out of my hand and stop my thumb from dialling the emergency services' number, until I remembered my dealer included a free Pilot converter for my Prera. Phew! The pen is elegant with lovely glossy black resin (plastic) and tastefully conservative - or conservatively tasteful - chrome ornamentation.
Appearance & Finish - 10/10
I wanted a pen, much like my original choice of Sailor 1911 rhodium trim, that was conservative in styling with black and silver colour scheme. The Aurora fulfils every requirement, and has the advantage of being derived from an original, Italian design unlike the Sailor's loose reproduction of Montblanc design. Also the doubleplusgood advantage of having a lovely piston filler. The black resin has a beautiful gloss to it without the slightly plasticy look of Sailor resin, and a rather warm feel when using it. The resin does not attract as much dirt as the Sailor and Pelikan resin and feels altogether of a higher quality whilst maintaining lightness.
I love the chrome plated cap-band with 'Aurora' in a lovely cursive font inscribed around it. Beautiful. The clip is also a (probably) unique design feature to Aurora, and just looks Italian for some reason.
I would like to refer readers to PinarelloOnly's skilfully taken photos of the Aurora 88,while I debate whether or not to take my own - http://www.fountainp...showtopic=23218
I fortunately had a far smoother buying and using experience than he.
Design/ Size/Weight - 10/10
The design is based, loosely on the vintage 88. No design feature particularly stands out, except perhaps the clip which is aesthetically pleasing and functional and also the 'hidden reservoir' - a feature I've not consciously used and is probably somewhat 'gimmicky' and played upon as a selling point. But the piston filler is, to say the least, perfect. The ink window has a chrome band above and below it making a really pleasing appearance, unlike say a Pelikan whose transparent ink chamber is simply flushed with and blended into the barrel (on the black models, at least).
It is light in the hand, but not a 'cheap' lightness if you know what I mean. The feel of this pen ineffably screams quality, I think the size and shape has a lot to do with it. It is 'just right' - I can't really say more other than the feel of a pen is very idiosyncratic. I believe it is similar in overall dimensions to the Pelikan 88 and Sailor 1911.
Nib Design & Performance - 10/10
This is the best part of the pen. I shan't say much other than it is an amazing nib. Wet, slightly narrower than EF (a shade wider than my Sailor Sapporo EF), smooth yet posses the typical Aurora tactile feedback. Not all like this (nay, some detest it) and prefer the super smooth nib, but this lends so much character to the nib and act of writing, redolent of a nice vintage nib with feedback.
Aesthetically the nib is very pleasing, especially due to that fact that the nib (which is tastefully decorated and mono-tone) somehow reminds me of the vintage Conway Stewart Duro #58 nib, which I think is the most beautiful nib in the world!
Filling Mechanism - 10/10
Just a standard piston filler that rivals Pelikan for quality and capacity, have already treated the ink-window above and the ink reservoir. The piston is purported to hold 1.8ml of ink, the same as most of the Pelikan Souveran line.
However I should say, that one slight drawback to the piston on the Aurora is that it doesn't have much 'free-play'. The Lamy 2000 piston spins just a bit before actuating the piston, the Aurora one works immediately and could possible cause a little mess if turned accidentally. I shan't deduct points, as it makes up for it elsewhere.
Cost/Value - 10/10
I never really imagined I would spend over £100 on a pen, but I did, and I don't regret it for a second (plus I don't spend hundreds of pounds on cigs and booze or worse per year like my peers, so bleh!). At the price I got it, I am very pleased and presents more value than the Sailor 1911 due to its filling mechanism and very nice nib. If you compare Pelikans at their full UK price (which is ridiculous in my opinion anyway) I think the Aurora 88 blows them out of the water for value. The M400 is nearly the same price and is a small pen. The Aurora 88 (again, at the price I got it) is an M800 sized pen for say 60-70% of the Pel's full UK price.
Overall/Conclusion - 10/10
That's it. Just great! I doubt I'll need to buy another modern pen now, and will concentrate on nice vintage pens (if I feel the urge, of course).
Aurora is seriously under-represented on FPN, so buy more, okay? Good, good.
EDITED out some weird Apple-Mac induced symbols.
Edited by patrick1314, 26 November 2007 - 17:45.