Body Material: Auroloide/antique celluloid, resin
Nib material: 14kt gold, rhodium-plated
Cap: Screw on
Posts: Yes, friction
Length (capped): 127.2 mm/5.00"
Length (uncapped nib-end): 122.5 mm/4.82"
Length (posted):152.9 mm/6.02"
Barrel Diameter: 11.8 - 13.8 mm/0.46" - 0.54"
Section Diameter: 10.5 - 11.8 mm/0.41" - 0.46"
Weight (all): 20 g
Weight (cap): 6 g
Weight (body): 14 g
Fill type: Piston with hidden ink reservoir
Price: $445.50 USD
Where to buy: Anderson Pens
This Aurora Optima was presented in an Aurora-branded box with a large, black clamshell box inside. The clamshell box has a leathery feeling to it, and the Aurora logo is on the top. The inside of the box is a cream colored leather-like material. There is a lot of Aurora branding on this so far.
Pennino oro massiccio
Solid gold nib
The pen came with an Aurora booklet, which includes company details - history, pen, information, instructions for best use, filling, etc. This booklet has a lot of useful information that can be beneficial to new users in particular, so if you are unsure, give it a look.
There was a lot of packaging for such a small pen. It's classy but I don't find it particularly unique, and it's a lot of packaging to save. I have weird box standards, and I dislike keeping packaging, so your miles may vary.
I haven't used many Aurora pens, but it's not because I have not been attracted to them. The main thing holding me back was that I didn't really want another fine/medium nib that is often the standard Aurora fare in pen stores around here.
NIB & PERFORMANCE
I mentioned the nibs when I first started: Aurora nibs tend to be hard and offer a fair amount of feedback. Not at all a negative writing experience (I mean, it's not like they don't work), but you have to like the way it feels. I have used the whole nib range, and this italic here is definitely one of my preferred Aurora nibs.
This is a rhodium-plated solid 14kt gold nib, coupled with an ebonite feed. The nib has a single slit, a round breather hole, and is engraved with some symmetrical flourishes, 14K, 585, and Aurora. There does not appear to be a nib size indicated on the nib itself, but the feeds are usually marked. The italic is a special order, and is totally worth it.
I wish I could have gotten this nib on the Aurora Mar Adriatico - I would have been inclined to keep it. The writing experience with this nib is positive and enjoyable. I love using it for writing letters as the wetness brings out the shading in my inks, and the line variation adds character and flair to my writing. I also love to practice calligraphy with it - it's a luxurious way to master those alphabets!
Aurora piston-fillers have a hidden ink reservoir in the piston seal. There's a small chamber that holds a little extra ink, which can be accessed by turning the knob all the way down to the feed. This will push the ink through. The downside to this is it makes cleaning the pen a bit tricky, as you have to make sure you have expelled that ink.
The clip is pretty snug, but can be lifted for use. The ball holds the pen pretty securely, so the clip can be used to hold your pen on papers, in a pocket, and in a pouch. The size of the pen makes it easy to tote around because it fits in the average pen case.
The section is long and I suspect it would be fairly comfortable for most hands. The threads are really smooth and there are no sharp ridges. The material of the section is smooth as well, so I do find it feels a little slippery after awhile. Fortunately, the ridge at the front ensures my fingers stay off the nib. When it feels slippery, I just give it a quick wipe down. It's not a big deal - it's not so slippery that the pen is hard to hold.
PROS & CONS
The Optima has a nice design with a pretty cap and barrel. The chrome trim is cool, but provides a nice accent to the deep reds. The pen is on the smaller side (reminds me of a Sailor Pro Gear), and I can use it comfortably. If you have large hands, it may be worth trying it out first, but it can be posted. This pen is not heavy, so if you like heavy pens in hand, you won't feel it here. The italic nib is great; it performs well and is easy to use for daily writing and truly luxurious calligraphy practice. No hand fatigue! I love the nib, but I prefer the Aurora 88 for the streamline shape.
What do you think? Solid gold nib, solid box, ebonite feed, piston-filler, large range of nibs available, nibs can be removed/changed... not bad.
If you are interested in an Optima, Anderson Pens carries a large selection!
This is a sponsored post, but there are no affiliate links in this review. I was compensated monetarily for my time, but I have been as honest as possible in this review about this pen.