Thursday, August 6, 2015

Review: Aurora Mar Adriatico Fountain Pen @couronneducomte

I had no intention of buying this pen... yeah. It was a crazy, crazy splurge. Did I mention crazy?
Review Aurora Mar Adriatico Fountain Pen @couronneducomte (1)
ABOUT
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Body Material: Resin
Trim: Sterling Silver
Length (capped): 130.1 mm/5.12''
Length (uncapped nib-end): 124.7 mm/4.91''
Length (posted): 154.4 mm/6.07''
Barrel Diameter: 10.9 - 13.8mm/0.42'' - 0.54''
Section Diameter: 10.5 - 12.4 mm/0.41'' - 0.48''
Nib material: 18kt Gold
Weight (all): 44 g
Weight (cap): 14 g
Weight (body): 30 g
Fill type: Piston-filler
Price: € 1.080,00
Where to buy: La Couronne du Comte (Code: Gourmet10 for 10% off!)
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PACKAGING
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This pen has some interesting packaging. It arrived in an Aurora-branded cardboard box, and in that: a large, solid, black metal box (aluminum?). Inside, the pen was nestled in a tan bed, along with the usual pen info booklets, tucked into a pocket on the lid. My favorite part? Aside from the pen, of course... a bottle of Aurora Black ink (check out my review!)! I love getting a bottle of ink with a pen. I'd take that over fancy packaging any day.
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APPEARANCE
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Sigh. Yet another pen I was hoping I wouldn't like. It was so beautiful, sitting in its display at La Couronne du Comte. I had no intention of buying anything. The light made the material look like it was glowing. This pen is beautiful! This is part of the Mari d'Italia series that was introduced by Aurora in 2010.
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The pen is a relatively small pen (Optima-ish) when I compare it to other Italian pens I have around (Visconti Opera Master, Omas Paragon). It has a round body, tapering a little towards each end. The back end is flat and blunt. The top of the cap, though it also tapers, is more rounded. The finial has the Aurora logo engraved in it. The clip is attached internally and I really like the shape. It starts wide, and narrows into a round drop at the end. I like it because the round, curvy shape matches the pen well. It's also a little different from the usual clip style.
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The sterling silver trim on the Mar Adriatico is light-hearted and cute. The cap ring, center band, and piston-turning knob band are adorned with Ventian gondolas, a mask, umbrellas and chairs (think of the beaches around the Adriatic Sea), anchors, and life jackets. The silver is hallmarked, and the center band is also marked with Aurora/Made in Italy/No. 447 (of 480 pens). Cute trim, definitely beachy.
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The section is also silver. It is round, tapering towards the nib, ending in a lip. The threads are at the back of the section. There is a clear ink window under the cap, on the barrel. I love this, even though the flecked resin is translucent and I can still see my ink through it to some extent.

Speaking of that resin - the cap and barrel stand out, especially against the bright, shiny silver trim. The resin is marked and flecked, in various, beautiful blue shades, complemented by green veins. Some flecks shimmer, and in the right light, the entire pen glows. I can only imagine Aurora had the Adriatico Sea in mind, with the sun reflecting off the water, when this was designed.

I can't complain. I think this is a stunning pen.
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NIB & PERFORMANCE

The 18kt gold medium nib is rhodium-plated, to match the rest of the trim. The size of the nib suits the pen well. It has a single slit and a breather hole. It is engraved with 18K, 750, Aurora, and some flourishes. I think it's a pretty simple nib, but it looks great.
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This nib is really firm. It writes a solid, consistent line, with good ink flow. It offers some feedback that I do not find unpleasant. It does not yield at all as I write, but will give only a very little with pressure. It's not anywhere near a soft nib, not even a yielding nib. It's just a stiff, firm nib. It doesn't skip or hard start, and it's never dried out. In many ways, it's great. But it's so hard. It's a little deceiving because the tines are seductively long and thin. If firm nibs are your thing, you'll have no issues. It's not that this nib does not perform; it does perform and it performs really well. Just don't expect something soft! If that's okay with you, you'll be okay with this. I use it frequently because I like how precise it is. I also love how it never hard starts or skips. That's fantastic.
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IN HAND

The clip is pretty snug, but can be used with one hand. The drop at the end makes it easier to slide the pen on to pages, into pockets, or into pouches. Good clip. I really like it. The metal section is very comfortable in terms of its shape, so long as you don't hate metal sections. I like the rounded shape a lot - it feels like it fills my grip, and I absolutely love how the silver warms as I use it. I love that about silver sections. The threads are quite smooth and didn't bother me at all.

I found the piston mechanism to be very smooth, with a very decent capacity.
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Unposted, the pen is a comfortable length, diameter, and weight. I like the weight of this pen more than the Optima series. The cap posts by friction, and is secure, sitting far enough down that the pen doesn't feel too long when posted. I didn't find it too heavy overall, but I did notice the weight shifted towards the back (of course, there's a lot of silver on the cap). I found it usable either way for short sessions, but prefer it unposted for longer writing sessions.
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PROS & CONS
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OVERALL
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I am a bit surprised by how much I love this pen, which just goes to show I should be more adventurous. I absolutely love how it looks: I think it's a beauty. I think it's very comfortable, and it works really well for me. I wouldn't have minded a nib that was a little softer, but since I have it inked constantly, I guess it's working out pretty well regardless. It's so reliable that it's hard to complain. The painful part is the price. Really painful.

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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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