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Aurora 80th Anniversary


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#1 MYU

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 06:05

When I saw the Aurora 80th Anniversary limited edition, I was immediately struck by the beautiful silver guilloche pattern hand applied to the entire cap and body. It is suggestive of Victorian era sterling silver table ornaments and artwork. With an MSRP of $1900, I figured I'd never own the pen--only being able to admire it from a distance. Then something happened... as with some limited edition pens, the Aurora 80th ended up falling significantly below the published MSRP from several sources. Fortunately, last year I managed to obtain one--my dream came true!

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  1. First Impressions (9/10) – This pen arrives in a double sleeved black satin lined presentation box with ink bottle nestled deep in the satin and the pen secured by a thick black elastic cord. The Aurora product brochure and warranty is discreetly tucked into a pocket inside the lid. When raising the lid, you can't help but feel you're unveiling something very special.

    …
  2. Appearance & Design (8.5/10) – The 80th Anniversary edition is a moderately large pen made mostly of silver, but also has some resin parts (section and cap top collar). The resin is a deep burgundy color and of high quality (deep coloration, flawless finish). Aside from the resin, everything else is either silver or white gold.


    The body and cap are covered with hand worked guilloche, in a wonderful pattern suggestive of ocean waves. The lower and upper cap bands break the guilloche pattern in a Victorian heart-like curved lines.




    The cap also has a very striking clip extending from the top band and reaches down towards the lower band with a gentle curve, terminating in a large water drop of sterling silver (also, notice the '80' inscribed at the top of the clip). Stunning. Because the pen is widest at the cap and gradually tapers toward the blind cap, the cap posts to the barrel fairly secure without feeling like the friction will cause barrel wear, although one would probably not post this pen--it's rather long with the cap posted and is a very usable size not posted. The only drawback to all of this silver is that it tarnishes. One will need to clean the pen periodically with anti-tarnish, maybe once every other month.

    …
  3. Weight & Dimensions (9/10) – It's very nicely weighted, not feeling too heavy and not too light--I think it is wonderfully proportionate to the size and visual impression. Overall, the pen is about 6" long capped and about 3/4" wide at the thickest point.

    …
  4. Nib & Performance (8.5/10) – According to Aurora, there are a wide range of nib sizes available for the pen--F, M, B, BB, stub, 1.1mm oblique italic, etc. Aurora followed the Pelikan/Esterbrook approach and made it a screw-in nib/feed assembly that is easily user interchanged. This particular pen came with an M nib that dip testing revealed to be true to a Western medium. It's above average in size, plated in 18k white gold with discreet ornamentation. The nib is quite firm with not much suggestion of spring to it. But it is very smooth.

    …
  5. Filling System (9.5/10) - Aurora knows piston filler mechanisms and spared no expense on this one. It's a super smooth moving piston with a blind cap screw that moves with just the right amount of friction. My only complaint is that the blind cap extends out when turning--for this price, the mechanism should have a belaying gear to keep the blind cap flush to the body when turning to move the piston up. Test loading it with water showed a full compliment of fluid with only the tiniest of an air bubble. I did not check the fluid capacity, but it looks comparable to a Lamy 2000. Last but not least, this pen is equipped with a thin ink window that is discreet enough to blend into the pen design theme but still show quite clearly how much fluid is in the pen.

    …
  6. Cost & Value (8.5/10) – The original MSRP was a bit much for this pen and conversely the discounted prices are lower than what the pen delivers on. Lately, I've seen several on-line websites selling it for $900 and $850. Just recently someone sold one of these on the FPN marketplace for $750, a price surely worth it. I really think this is one of the most elegantly designed pens Aurora has made to date, even better than the 85th and 88th anniversary models.
    …
  7. Conclusion (Final score [52]: 8.8) - You may have noticed that I didn't provide a writing sample and when mentioned filling the pen, I used water. I never actually put this pen to use. Why? Well, I have to admit that this was the most expensive pen purchase I've made to date. It LOOKS expensive, too. I felt like I over extended myself and could only look at the pen, marveling its beauty, but not feel bold enough to use it. In my mind, it is an exquisite sculpture of sterling silver guilloche--meant to be gazed at but not used. And as my interest in pens progressed, I was already moving towards more modern looking pens made by Japanese pen companies. This pen contrasts significantly to that. And as a result... it is now owned by another member on FPN. After taking photos before mailing off the pen, I realized it was a shame not to write up a review... and so here it is. Maybe I shouldn't have done it, because... well, I do miss this pen already! embarrassed_smile.gif …

Edited by MYU, 30 March 2009 - 04:12.

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#2 Brian

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 06:55

A fine review. Thank you. I've never noticed this pen before as it seems to have escaped under the radar. The details are indeed rich and at $1900 certainly among good company. The MB Alexandre the Great and JP Morgan (retailing at around $2,300), among other MB POAs, come to mind.

#3 QM2

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 09:40

Thanks for this review! As you know, I bought the Aurora 80th recently as well. It is not a pen I ever thought I would have, given the MSRP. But when a retailer advertised it on FPN for $700 new, I went for it.

I have tried to comment on this pen before, but find it very difficult as it honestly leaves me speechless. I don't want to jump to this conclusion too quickly given some of the other beautiful pens I have, but I think the Aurora 80th may be my favourite. This is because, aside from being stunning to look at, I also find it so functional and comfortable, that I can hardly put it down. It is not at all a heavy pen, because the silver is a sleeve (It cannot be a solid sterling pen due to the piston mechanism). The piston works so smoothly, that it puts other pistons to shame. The ink window is an impressive achievement to incorporate into silver overlay! It is there and very useful, yet subtle and does detract from the design. The bordeaux resin section is incredibly pleasant to the touch and the perfect width for my grip. And the nib not only works perfectly out of the box, but puts down a true fine line that actually suits my handwriting -- no need for a nibmeister, I almost can't believe it! I think that Aurora really outdid itself with this creation.

If, as you said, you were not using this pen, then I think selling it to another member who will use it was not a mistake. My enjoyment of the Aurora 80th is derived not from its looks alone, but from the "gestalt" of its beauty and usability. I write with it, and feel that I am writing with beauty itself. If the pen is in a box and you are in awe of it, you are not experiencing its full potential. Perhaps somewhere down the line you would consider buying a used version, so that you get your pen back and are not afraid to write with it. Once you experience it with ink, I think you will not want to put it back in the box!

Edited by QM2, 06 December 2008 - 10:25.


#4 goodguy

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 16:16

Oh you should have kept it and use it on special ocasion.
Thank you for the review,I think for a nib with more character you should try a F nib next time.
Respect to all

#5 Nikolaos

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 17:30

Great review Gary,

This is a wonderful pen and definitely worth the money you spent on it.

Enjoy it! It is beautiful

Nikolaos

#6 MYU

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 17:44

Thanks for the comments. smile.gif I know it's hard to imagine not using this pen, especially for those owning multiple pens worth several thousand dollars. For the uninitiated, a fountain pen costing over $100 seems like an absurd amount. But then you dive into the realm and begin to appreciate the value, gradually. The most expensive single pen in my stable right now is worth about $350 and I've only begun getting acclimated to using it without feeling hesitant. When the 80th Anniversary pen opportunity came around I figured I was ready for the "leap of faith"... but I just couldn't adapt myself to using it at this point. Maybe if I had gotten the nib changed out to a stub (which was my original intent), I would've felt more compelled to write with it.

Anyway, QM2's idea is more palatable for me... in a year or two perhaps I'll pick up a used one without box and feel more inspired to use it. smile.gif

[MYU's Pen Review Corner]   |   "The Common Ground" -- Jeffrey Small


#7 omasfan

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 17:54

Loved the review! thumbup.gif Hmmm... that's exactly the point: when you own a very expensive pen you are afraid to use it. I think it was a good decision to pass it on to someone else. If a pen wants to stay in my collection it is either do or die! If I cannot marshal the energy/courage to write with it at least once in a while, I will sell the pen before long. Seems like you've done the same.

As much as I love the craftsmanship on this pen (it is gorgeous), I would probably never buy one as it would be too heavy and too flashy for me to use. I bought two S. T. Duponts once, one midnight blue and one Vertigo II. Both are heavy. I ended up keeping only the Vertigo II as it possesses a gripping section executed in Chinese lacquer. The midnight blue had a gorgeous but slippery and uncomfortably cold metal section whereas the Vertigo II's section feels comfortable when writing. That was the only reason that helped the pen stay in my collection. I loved, loved the midnight blue color, but the pen was not comfortable enough.

#8 RedRob

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 18:16

Thanks for this review MYU and for sheding some light on this overlooked pen. I have to agree it is beautiful. That silverwork is on par with that on Andreas Lambrou CP fountain pens. I wonder if Aurora subcontracted the silverwrk to Murelli like CP or if they did it in house. Such high quality silverwork combined with that friese around the clip washer reminds me of the nice continental overlays of the 20s.

Thanks.

PS I feel sorry you had to sell the pen. Beware the creeping up the price ladder. The whole industry is geared towards that.

Edited by RedRob, 06 December 2008 - 18:18.


#9 QM2

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 18:16

QUOTE (omasfan @ Dec 6 2008, 06:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
As much as I love the craftsmanship on this pen (it is gorgeous), I would probably never buy one as it would be too heavy and too flashy for me to use. I bought two S. T. Duponts once, one midnight blue and one Vertigo II. Both are heavy. I ended up keeping only the Vertigo II as it possesses a gripping section executed in Chinese lacquer. The midnight blue had a gorgeous but slippery and uncomfortably cold metal section whereas the Vertigo II's section feels comfortable when writing. That was the only reason that helped the pen stay in my collection. I loved, loved the midnight blue color, but the pen was not comfortable enough.


Hi Omasfan,

The pen is definitely not heavy (See my first response to MYU above). The silver is an overlay, and I would describe the weight as "light to medium". It is an extremely comfortable and well balanced pen; I cannot put mine down!

As for flashy, well I guess that is subjective. I do not find engraved silver flashy, but I find bright colors very flashy, so most of my pens are black, cream, gray or silver. Others have the opposite definition of flashy, and will buy pens in marbled acrylics and richly coloured celluloids, but not silver filigree : )

Edited by QM2, 08 December 2008 - 18:19.


#10 wspohn

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 00:29

I also own one of these - paid less than $500 for it brand new a couple of years ago, so couldn't resist.

You might be interested to know that the nice pattern on the silver barrel was appropriated from the one used on the Classic Pens CP3 Odyssey.

Aurora also used it (but why?) on another model and then covered it with enamel so you could hardly see it. Oh well.

Too bad you didn't fire...er, ink it up. I like the Aurora nibs and this one is no exception. I have an F and it is a smooth writer. The design is right on the border of what I find to be my limit for fussy elaboration (like quite a few Italian pens), but falls on this side of the line, so after consideration I concluded it was a pen I could own and enjoy.
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#11 stevlight

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 01:08

WOW don't usaully go for the bling pens but that is one nice pen!!!
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#12 sumgaikid

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 01:36

Wonderful review,Gary! Too bad you don't have the pen anymore..........wish I did..........

John
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#13 MYU

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 02:34

Yeah, I only test dipped it because I wanted to keep the nib in mint condition for a trouble-free swap at Aurora, which... I never got around to. I did take it out of the box from time to time to admire, so I did get some enjoyment out of it. smile.gif

But as you can see, fountain pens tend to last many, many years. No doubt my life will circle back with an opportunity to buy another Aurora 80th, and if the price is right it shall be mine again. biggrin.gif

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#14 rokurinpapa

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 17:05

Dear MYU,

I decided to buy Aurora 80th some day when I read your review. At last I bought it and have received it today.Nib size is F.But very smooth. I am now very happy. Thank you for your review.

rokurinpapa

#15 montrepassion

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Posted 19 September 2009 - 21:20

Speechless
As long as it is authentic it has style

#16 MikeF

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 03:45

Lose your fear, ink it and use it!
I got this one, and I admit it's just a bit flashy, but it's also lovely, and it turned out to be probably my best writer. The long nib is wonderful. Mine's a medium, I guess.
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Edited by MikeF, 20 September 2009 - 03:52.


#17 rokurinpapa

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 10:36

Lose your fear, ink it and use it!
I got this one, and I admit it's just a bit flashy, but it's also lovely, and it turned out to be probably my best writer. The long nib is wonderful. Mine's a medium, I guess.
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I did not know your beautiful pen. Is this another Aurora 80th? gold?

rokurinpapa

#18 MikeF

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Posted 20 September 2009 - 13:08

That's an Aurora 88, it's not a special edition. I suppose it's gold plated... Bought it in a shop nearby, and if I remember, costed around 450€ (630USD), so solid gold it is not.
Still, it's delightful to write with. Falls nicely in the hand, weights very nicely, and the nib is very smooth and very well fed.






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