Aurora is one of few still operating Italian fountain pens makers. Omas is gone, Stipula has some ongoing problems, it seems only Visconti manages well. On the other hand I haven’t seen their financial reports. As for Aurora I keep on asking myself how on earth they manage to function? They employ a lot of people and have big factory and it seems their fountain pens aren’t really popular.
Aurora produces fountain pens that are very diverse stylistically – just look at Aurora Talentum, Idea, Ipsilon and 88 – they look like pens produced by different companies. Their economy models (Idea, Ipsilon, Style) enable clients to enter the brand’s world before moving upscale by purchasing expensive and prestigious models. The thing is I’ve never liked design of Aurora’s cheaper pens. On the other hand I always enjoyed the looks of their expensive pens but, well, they are REALLY expensive so I wasn’t in a hurry to buy them and even if money was there timing never seemed right.
I wanted to try them first but even though I regularly participate (few times a year) in fountain pen afficionados meetings in Poland there was never a lot of Auroras to try. It seems their not popular in my country. Which is surprising as I find Aurora 88 or Optima designs much more interesting than these of german tanks (Montblanc, Pelikans).
One of pens I received from VodnikVolsovecek in huge package of pens to try was interesting Aurora model – The Aurora 85th Anniversary Limited Edition that celebrates 85 years of company’s history.
The fountain pen comes in a red-marbled aureloide resin with solid silver trim. The ring of the cap has the serial number engraved and features floral motifs, a symbol of early Aurora designs. The clip is inscribed with 85°. A finely-engraved nib made from rhodium-treate solid gold looks stunning (at least to my eyes). The model is based on Optima line but there are some differences – it bears silver trim and has silver section. Optima pens are too light for me. This one is definitely heavier and while I usually prefer longer pens, this one fits comfortably in my hand. It has nice weight to it.
There’s quite a lot of silver furniture on this pen and, to be honest, there’s just too much of adornments and embelishments to my taste. I would prefer silver elements to be plain. The engraving is too ornate for me.
What I enjoy most is silver section – it’s quite long, metal and very comfortable. It’s not slippery and should warm nicely during the use. Oh, and there’ll be cool patina on it with time. Acrylic ink window between red barrel and silver section looks appealing, especially when you feel the pen with red ink 🙂
The ink used in writing sample is Nagasawa-kobe Ijinkan Red.
This pen was available with nice variety of nibs: EF, F, M, B, stub, oblique and italic. This nib is simply stunning. It’s big and nicely shaped. Also it writes like a dream. While I usually prefer smooth nibs (think Omas or Sheaffer dreamtouch) I must admit I love the way this nib performs. It has some tooth and gives feedback but it’s siomply great.
It’s worth noting that when it comes to nibs, Aurora doesn’t but them from Bock or other companies. Aurora is one of the few pen manufacturers that manufactures its own nibs rather than outsourcing the work. That’s why their nibs may have a slightly different shape than what we mostly see in other pens.
This nib is quite rigid and springy. Medium line is juicy and the ink flow is very satisfying for me. To put it plainly – it’s very wet nib. Not a gusher, mind you, but it’s generous.It does allow to get some line variation but I wouldn’t advise to force it. It would be a shame to damage such a beautiful nib.
This nib gives some feedback – it’s not scratchy, it’s just you feel paper underneath it.
It’s a piston-filler. The end cap serves as the turning knob. The cap is adorned at the end with an ornately engraved sterling silver cap and trimmed with a wide engraved sterling silver band. A large ink view window at the top of the barrel is finely executed. The piston mechanism works smoothly and makes impression of very durable one.
The 85th Anniversary is a mid-size pen, it’s shorter than most of the extra large limited edition pens made today. It measures 131mm when capped, 124mm uncapped and 155mm posted (although I wouldn’t advise to post it). The maximum diameter of the barrel is 16mm. It weighs 41.5g and this weight feels perfect in my hand. with full of ink and
heavy a little for me. I feel that it fits my hands totally well when posted.
As this was a limited edition pen (only 19 pens were made), it won’t be a big surprise when I tell you it’s an expensive pen. It was and still is expensive and the price is close to 1000 $. A lot. If I had this kind of money for a pen I would probably get Conid Monarch. I like this pen and if only engraving on silver furniture wasn’t so ornate I would start looking for one.
I think that Aurora 85th anniversary fountain pen is great, well – engineered pen that performs flawlessly. On the other hand I prefer simpler designs – red Aureloide body and silver accent look well together but,in my opinion, there’s just too much adornments on silver elements. I would prefer them to be plain. It remains distinctive, but slightly too gaudy to my taste.