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New Italian in my Stable

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4 replies to this topic

#1 Shelley



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Posted 27 December 2007 - 23:19

Well I have long been fan from afar of the Aurora brand, I still think that one of the best looking pens out their is their Talentum FP, and if it was a piston filler I would own it!

I like the fact that they do everything themselves, nib, feed, body, cap, and ink-actually the ink is made under license, but they are keeping the supplier a closely guarded secret and have only two colours (black and blue) and it seems to be unique in its amazing lubricating capacity and exceptional depth of colour.

But enough of that.
Aurora started making pens back in 1919 in Italy-the history is out there, easy to find, needless to say they have been making pens for along time and are rather good at it, they have a very wide range of pens with many different finishes available.
As I wanted a piston filler I was toying between the Optima and the 88, I liked the length of the 88 but preferred the top and bottom of the Optima (which is why I wanted a Piston fill Talentum).

Anyway whilst toying with options I was contacted by another member who knew where there was an Optima for sale and thought I might be interested, many photos and writing examples and discussion followed and an agreement was hammered out.

This pen had been owned by one person, who on-sold it, it then went to a nib meister for a cursive italic grind, but the owner was not totally happy, it went back to the original owner for inspection, back to the second owner and then it made its way to me. My wife paid for most of it and as such it went under the xmas tree until 25/12/07.
Come xmas I got to unwrap it, the original owner had also decided to pass on to me a bottle of J.Herbin cacao du brasil, a very nice and unexpected bonus.
The pen was immaculately packaged and it came in an Aurora cardboard sleeve, which in turn contained a faux velvet wrapped metal box, which contained a factory booklet and the Optima itself.

The pen is a piece of beauty-glossy black plastic (aurolite), surrounded by silvery chrome, a clear ink window, a greek key around the cap with AURORA dead centre in that.
The body is cigar shaped with raised italian script on its side stating the company name and that it is made in Italy, and the clip is a gentle curve that surrounds the cap in a little circle and then flows down to a little blob to slip into a shirt pocket, one and a quarter turns and it becomes ready for action, lift off the cap and you expose the 14 c gold nib with the Aurora engraving and then covered in chrome, on mine, due to the nib work, you can see the gold underneath, a nice little touch, I feel.

Now the pen capped is quite short, a hair under 5 inches or abut 12.6 cm, posted however (and the pen is designed to be posted) and then its a hair over 6 inches or 15.3 cm and damn near perfect, the width of the pen is quite substantial, wider than my van gogh maxi, probably about the width of a Pelikan 800.
The weight is light, no scales but, it would not be a bother to write all day with this little beauty, and posted the balance is perfect, the cap threads are recessed so that there is no chance of marring the barrel, a nice little touch that confirms my posted belief.

The finish on this pen is amazing, I was used to the German quality of my previous favorite pen, my beloved little Lamy 2000, but compared to my Aurora the superb German engineered piston filler feels, well rough, this piece of italian is just so smooth its unbelievable, it was like when I switched from Shimano on my road bike to Campagnolo, the Italians just build things with passion, maybe I should trade in the BMW for an Alpha Romeo...

The nib as I was saying, has been modified, its a nice large nib and a good deep feed, and this has been ground to a nice cursive italic, originally a M, its certainly not a large M, more of a large F, if you get my meaning, with just enough variation to make my normally messy handwriting a touch nicer than normal, oh and loaded with my new Private Reserve Sherwood Green the result is simply stunning! People talk about Aurora tooth, but I can not detect any, maybe a tough of "noise" but no drag or pulling, more just reassurance that the pen is doing its job on the paper.
So all in all this is an amazing pen as I hope the photos will relate.

For those who like numbers:
Presentation 8.5/10 (if it came with ink, like my Visconti, then it would be 9/10 and it was real velvet or a wooden box then 10/10).
Finish 9.5/10 - the only thing that prevents me from giving it a 10 here is that the clip is not quite as nice as it could be and is done from pressed metal rather than a mold.
Nib 9.5/10 I prefer duotone nibs-thats all.
Filling system 10/10 -the smoothest piston filler that I have encountered.
Size/weight 9.5/10 posted its perfect, but if you did not like posting it may be a tad too short.
Overall:47/50, or 94/100, thats good enough for me!

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

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#2 omasfan



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Posted 28 December 2007 - 00:14

Lovely pen! I have been looking for an Aurora Mare for a while (same like Optima but in a light blue marbled resin). The Optima is a must-have for anybody who likes Italians and pistons.

#3 Deirdre


    Stipula Ventidue Ti Nib Adoption Agency

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 00:26

QUOTE(omasfan @ Dec 27 2007, 04:14 PM) View Post
Lovely pen! I have been looking for an Aurora Mare for a while (same like Optima but in a light blue marbled resin). The Optima is a must-have for anybody who likes Italians and pistons.

The Mare is a beautiful, beautiful pen.
"Heck we fed a thousand dollar pen to a chicken because we could." -- FarmBoy, about Pen Posse

#4 lterry


    Italian Celluloid

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 01:15

I have the Mare and the 85th Anniversary models and plan to add the green marble Optima in 2008. However, about trading in the BMW for an Alfa Romeo, I wouldn't go that far :-), although I must say they make great looking police cars.

"Giving power and money to politicians is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys."
P.J. O'Rourke

#5 tcheuchter


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Posted 28 December 2007 - 09:37

Been looking into getting another one Aurora Optima. Had not considered basic black until now. thumbup.gif

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