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Lady in Red: Aurora Optima
Posted 28 January 2006 - 03:47
My wife, in her exceptional generosity and indisputable taste, decided to celebrate my 30th birthday with a gorgeous Italian fountain pen.
This is a pen I've been thinking about for a long time.
Last spring, we took a trip to Bittner's in Carmel in advance of our first wedding anniversary. We dipped a lot of pens, and the two clear winners for beauty and handling were the Aurora Optima and Visconti Van Gogh. Very different pens, each beautiful and temping in its own way. My wife chose to give me the mesmerizing blue Visconti for my anniversary gift, and it's held pride of place on my desk and in my heart since.
But the Aurora was still out there, waiting, singing its own unique song...
And here it is, home at last!
Appearance: Stunning! The marbled burgundy looks like celluloid, with deep iridescent reflections as it turns in the light. The white metal trim is cool and crisp, with a glittering cap band featuring AURORA and a bit of greek key. There's a vintage-style imprint in the barrel, and a classy black section, without trim ring, holds an white gold nib with a bit of an acquiline hook to it.
Handling: Perfect! It's a light pen, short when capped, but a touch thicker than my M800. I almost always prefer long pens, but somehow the Optima feels exactly right posted. Balance is just right. It's an exemplar of light pen handling.
Nib and Writing: Sporty! Mine has a medium nib, which offers moderate but consistent toothy feedback. Flow is moderate, so I'm sticking with smooth and wet inks like Waterman Blue/Black. A great writing experience, but quite different from a glassy Pelikan or springy Visconti.
For a brief writing sample, see this ink thread:
Filling System: Extensive! Smooth piston filler, large clear ink-view window, and Aurora's unique "reservoir" make this a winner for large daily volumes of writing. As advertised, extending the piston when you run out of ink releases another few pages of ink. What's not so much fun is flushing it out between different inks; the reservoir likes to hold on to ink or water and dilute the next fill. I've decided, for now, to keep most of my pens paired consistently with one ink, and use a few of the C/C fillers (which are easier to flush) for experimentation.
Verdict: Superlative! Did I mention my wife's great taste? She doesn't see what I see in vintage American pens, but we're in jubilant agreement about modern Italian beauty.
Posted 28 January 2006 - 05:19
As for flushing out the pen, you can speed things up considerably by unscrewing the nib and flushing out the nib and the barrel separately. (Actually, instead of unscrewing the nib, a surer way to do it is to hold the nib, firmly but gently, in one hand and use the other hand to unscrew the barrel.)
Enjoy your Optima!
Posted 28 January 2006 - 14:18
Just using the pen, by the way, will slowly increase ink flow.
Congratulations on a really beautiful and classy pen!
Posted 28 January 2006 - 14:24
My medium italic was a bit stingy on ink flow but it was all fixed by Mr. Binder at the Toronto pen show last year.
Enjoy the fantastic gift and happy belated!
Posted 28 January 2006 - 14:38
The Optima is one of my favorites, because it fits my hand so well, the construction is excellent, the design is clean, and I love the feel of their nibs.
Mine have worked flawlessly out of the box.
I've heard their US customer service is excellent too, but have never needed it.
Excellent choice of pen and brand. Enjoy,
Posted 28 January 2006 - 14:48
Hmmmm, maybe hanging out at this 'site isn't good for wallets?
Congratulations on the wonderful addition and happy belated birthday.
~ Oscar Wilde, 1888
Posted 28 January 2006 - 19:42
You have a gorgeous Italian Pen.Thanks for your review!!!
the pen is in my avatar is LAMY Studio Palladium 14K
Posted 29 January 2006 - 03:37
Looks like you had a good birthday AND a good Christmas, getting two red pens!
Just saw your pics of your red Bexley, too. Thanks for the nice review.
I agree with Viceguy...You may find cleaning easier if you remove the nib. I find that my Pelikan barrels clean quickly and easily with the nib out.
Posted 30 January 2006 - 02:26
Posted 30 January 2006 - 11:34
Great review and what a great pen it is. I got mine in the green colour about a month ago and use it pretty much daily. Aurora makes excellent pens and to top it off my Aurora 88 in black arrived on Saturday, and has been with me ever since. Another fantastic pen both to look at and to write with.