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Aurora 88 And Fujiyama Voyager

Rose Nibs

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Comparative Review of the Fujiyama Voyager and Aurora 88 (modern version)


These two pens are of similar size, 137 mm and 136 mm in length respectively and 13mm and 13.5 mm at the widest part of the barrel. Uncapped the Aurora is longer, 130 mm to 124mm. They look similar: conservative cigar shapes with plated furniture – clip, cap band and slim band at the bottom of the barrel. Both are dark and glossy, the Aurora in black resin with the nikargenta furniture while the Fujiyama has dark grey marble-ised enamel over a metal cap and barrel. Superficially they might both be high-end pens. The Fujiyama has none of the bling or excess often associated with Chinese pens that are designed to impress (despite the Japanese name I think the pen is Chinese in origin).


Pick them up and you notice the first big difference. The Fujiyama is much heavier, 37 gms as opposed to 22 gms. That’s the metal.


Remove the caps and there’s the second difference. The Aurora unscrews in one and a quarter turns, tight and true. The Fujiyama has a slip cap with play in it. It clips on a metal band on the end of the section. I decided to paint a layer of shellac on the band and that did reduce the play but it also changed the colour of the gold plating.


Both pens have big, bold open nibs with deep collector fins in the feeds they sit on. The Aurora has its original 14 carat fine nib while the Fujiyama has a plated steel nib, marked with the ubiquitous Iridium Point Germany. They are equally attractive, large nibs that mean business.

The Aurora is a piston filler and its piston is deservedly regarded as one of the best. It is very smooth and positive to operate and the ink view window tells you when it’s time to go to the bottle and experience that wonderful piston in operation again. The Fujiyama takes a standard converter; it works.


Both pens are pleasant to use. The weight of the Fujiyama gives it conviction. It is well-balanced unposted and understandably top-heavy when posted. I don’t post it. The enamel is smooth to the touch. The nib is unmarked but writes a fine line with steady, reliable ink flow. I like to use it but it doesn’t bowl me over. Maybe I am aware when I use it that it isn’t a high end pen.


I was warned about scratchy Aurora nibs but this nib suits me very well. It is marked F but is closer to a European XF and it is fairly dry. I have many pens that write as well and a handful that have better nibs, all vintage pens. But the writing experience isn’t just the nib. Posted or unposted the 88 is comfortable and balanced in the hand, and the glossy resin is delicious to touch, coming close to the feel of vintage celluloid.


The Aurora 88 is a better pen than the Fujiyama Voyager but is it worth ten times as much? The main reason I have for preferring the 88 is that the cap screws on properly while the Fujiyama slip cap isn’t firm. The 88 is marginally superior in appearance. The ink view window, the piston and the feel of the resin barrel are all in its favour, but the actual writing experience is not vastly better. Not ten times better.


My Aurora 88 is the only high end modern pen I have and I am glad to have it. It has cured me of standing outside the pen shop ogling Conway Stewart , Visconti and Caran D’Ache pens in the window displays. It is a very good pen and feels like it will last. The Fujiyama was an ebay purchase which cost very little and I will use it when I want a change from my other daily writers. Maybe one day I will misplace it and mourn its loss briefly. It is also a good pen but I know it is a cheap pen without history. Objectively, the cheap pen is better value by far, but sometimes I’m not very objective.










Edited by Rose Nibs
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Thanks for sharing your experiences. 10 times better? That's a lot of ground to cover. The basic steps for anything are often fast and cheap. The finishing steps are often time consuming and expensive. Add in dash of expensive adverts then I think you make up the price difference between these pens.

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I think the Aurora 88 has a lot more good in it though. The feed is made of ebonite, which is hard to find in pens today. Most pens today have plastic feeds. In addition, the way the pen is designed is really quite excellent. One thing about the piston-filler in the 88 is that it has almost zero play. It starts moving the moment you turn the knob. It is also extremely smooth in operation. There is also nothing in the feed path of the ink except plastic, hard rubber, and gold. There isn't much there to corrode. In addition, the fit and finish is very well done on the Aurora. It's quite a good pen. I'd pay for the quality. I also think it mill last a bit longer as a pen.



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The point of this comparison is to show that relatively cheap pens can approach expensive ones in the quality of the writing experience. When I look at the pens that I enjoy using, they tend to be mid-range, better than the cheapest pens made of inferior materials and poorly designed, but not as good as luxury pens where decoration can be extravagant. It is like bicycles. There are cheap mass-produced steel ones which are no pleasure to ride, there are mid-range ones which have all the features required for enjoyable cycling, and then there are the ultra-lightweight expensive ones using exotic materials which may provide a marginally better experience at vastly greater cost.

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  • 9 years later...

I know this is an old topic, but I'm adding additional information about this pen, since I've recently acquired one and went searching for its origin.  The pen was distributed by Haverhills, which was a mail-order company.  Based on a 1990s ad for sale I saw on E-Bay for a similar Fujiyama pen from Haverhills (which is how I found the site for the Voyager pen), this pen was in fact made in Japan as a copy of "supposedly" more expensive European pens (although both the ad for the similar pen and the web page for this specific pen fail to mention which European pens they're copying).  I could not access the website by normal means, however it's still available through the Wayback Machine: https://web.archive.org/web/20061107144222/http://haverhills.com/cgi-bin/store.cgi?&shop=city&cart=76103334x20780&session=45507ac6512c1acd&L=eng&P=1001

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On 10/22/2012 at 5:29 AM, Dillo said:

I think the Aurora 88 has a lot more good in it though.


The modern Aurora 88 is, in my humble opinion (150 pens opinion), one of the very best modern pens.


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