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Aurora 88 (Modern)


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#1 tamburlaine

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 17:11

Aurora 88 (Modern) 800/C

Black resin cap and body, chrome trim, piston-filler with 14ct gold nib (plated chrome-colour)

Background

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.
Excellent!

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.

Patrick

EDITED out some weird Apple-Mac induced symbols.

Edited by patrick1314, 26 November 2007 - 17:45.

Publifhed According to the True Originall Copies

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#2 BobR

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 18:02

Thanks for your review. I share your enthusiasm for the Aurora 88, which I was lucky to snag from an FPN member with a wonderful cursive italic grind. It's everything you say--quality and competence. And I love the way the piston works--a few smooth turns and a huge load of ink appears. Your comment that the resin seems to be warmer and a higher quality than the Sailor is a good observation. Enjoy your new toy!

#3 Nikolaos

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 18:27

Great review Patrick!

I have the exact same modern aurora and totally agree with your points! I also have the vintage 88 which is also a wonderful pen

Thanks for the review
Nikolaos

#4 RyanL27

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 18:34

QUOTE(BobR @ Nov 26 2007, 12:02 PM) View Post
Thanks for your review. I share your enthusiasm for the Aurora 88, which I was lucky to snag from an FPN member with a wonderful cursive italic grind. It's everything you say--quality and competence. And I love the way the piston works--a few smooth turns and a huge load of ink appears. Your comment that the resin seems to be warmer and a higher quality than the Sailor is a good observation. Enjoy your new toy!



Yeah, I'm still waiting to get that one back, Bob. Not a smart move on my part headsmack.gif

Only kidding - I glad you enjoy it. smile.gif
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#5 Ronin

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 19:03

Great review Patrick. I've been looking for a Aurora Optima or 88 for quite awhile but have been put off by the UK prices. So,if anyone has one in the UK please let me know!

Ronin


#6 errantmarginalia

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 19:04

Thanks for the review, Patrick. I think Auroras are criminally underrated, particularly by all of the smoothophiles out there who run away screaming at the mention of tooth or feedback. The craftsmanship is world-class, the piston mechanism is as smooth as could be, and the nibs offer such a lovely tactile experience. Sadly, people who discount Aurora based solely on the reputation of their nibs as toothy are really missing out on a great writing experience, IM(H)O. Best
David

#7 greencobra

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 19:39

Nice review and I'm glad you're happy with it. I have an 88 also, but the small one. Not quite the same but for a scaled down version, pretty close. Of course it's a C/C fill. And I like mine a lot but ashamed to say it doesn't get too much use. I'll have to change that.
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#8 PinarelloOnly

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 20:00


Welcome to Club 88 !!!!

#9 Shelley

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Posted 27 November 2007 - 23:16

27 days and counting till I get to unwrap my Optima...
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

#10 tamburlaine

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Posted 28 November 2007 - 22:41

Thanks everyone - Aurora really does know how to make a good pen.

Nikolaos, I briefly had a vintage Aurora 88, one of the earlier ones with hard rubber piston knob etc. Bought it restored from an Italian seller on eBay. Unfortunately something had gone wring with the section as ink kept pouring out of it's front after filling. The seller, who is a pure gentleman by the way, offered either repair or refund and I chose the latter. I was worried that it might start leaking again (as I intended to use the thing not just look at it). I originally had hoped to do a comparison review, but I must say that the vintage 88 is an excellent pen from my brief handling.

parrhesia, the feedback on the nib is indeed wonderful. My vintage Lamy 27n EF has that same feel to it - wonderful! People just don't know what they are missing...

Shelley, thanks for reminding me that Christmas is that close (damn, damn, damn), but that must be annoying knowing there is an Optima within reach - so near yet so far!

Patrick smile.gif

Edited by patrick1314, 28 November 2007 - 22:42.

Publifhed According to the True Originall Copies

#11 RyanL27

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 00:18

I forgot to mention in my first post that this is a great review, Patrick.

Aurora are some of my favorite pens. In fact, I've never really been able to choose between the Optima and the m800 for my all-time favorite pen. I've had 88s and Optima, and they're equally impressive. I'd be very interested to try an EF nib - I've only used Mediums and wider.

I actually just received a blue Auroloide Optima with a factory cursive italic nib - what a great pen. The cursive italic is more stub-like, but is buttery smooth. It's a different experience than the typical Aurora feel, which I also thoroughly enjoy.

It'll be worth the wait, Shelley. What color/nib did you get?
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#12 FrankB

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 08:03

This is a very good review, Patrick.

I have an Aurora 88 that I like for most of the reasons you cited. I find its length to be a good size for carrying, yet it posts to a comfortable length for me to write with. The diamter is good, too. I got mine with a M italic nib, and it writes wonderfully.

Edited by FrankB, 29 November 2007 - 08:04.


#13 CharlieB

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 11:58

Got photos of the pen?
CharlieB

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#14 tamburlaine

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 12:07

QUOTE(CharlieB @ Nov 29 2007, 11:58 AM) View Post
Got photos of the pen?


I was going to post the review, then get some photos taken when my brother next has his Nikon out. But, after looking an PinarelloOnly's photos, I decided I wouldn't bother and would simply link to his. (They are really, really good...)

http://www.fountainp...showtopic=23218
Publifhed According to the True Originall Copies

#15 LDF

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 02:33

Excellent choice of pen. I totally agree with your review.
The OS 88 is one of the best modern FPs imo.
Happy writing bunny01.gif bunny01.gif bunny01.gif







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