Thursday, April 13, 2017

Review: Aurora 88 Matte Black Fountain Pen @KenroPens @AndersonPens

Taking a look at the Aurora 88 Matte Black fountain pen today! Thanks to Aurora, Anderson Pens, and Kenro Industries for making this review possible!
Review Aurora 88 Matte Black Fountain Pen @KenroPens @AndersonPens 17
Review Aurora 88 Matte Black Fountain Pen @KenroPens @AndersonPens 19

ABOUT

Body material: Resin
Trim: Rose Gold
Cap: Screw on
Posts: Yes, friction
Nib material: 14 kt gold, rose gold plated
Filling system: Piston-filler
Length (capped): 135.9 mm/5.35"
Length (uncapped): 129.2 mm/5.08"
Length (posted): 155.0 mm/6.10"
Diameter (barrel): 12.2 - 13.9 mm/0.48" - 0.54"
Diameter (section): 10.5 - 11.8 mm/0.41" - 0.46"
Weight (all): 22 g
Weight (cap): 6 g
Weight (body): 16 g
Price: $495.00 USD
Where to buy: Anderson Pens
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PACKAGING

The Aurora 88 is presented in a large black clamshell box with an Aurora-branded outer cardboard box. The side of the outer box has the nib and pen details. The clamshell box has a leathery feeling to it and has the Aurora logo on top. The inside is a cream colored leather-like material. The removable bed holds the pen in place. There is a small plaque on the bed that says:
Pennino oro massiccio
14 kt
Solid gold nib
There is an Aurora booklet under the bed with company details/history, pen information, instructions for best use, filling ink, etc. If you are new to fountain pens, this is worth reading through. There's a lot of box for this pen.
Review Aurora 88 Matte Black Fountain Pen @KenroPens @AndersonPens 1
Review Aurora 88 Matte Black Fountain Pen @KenroPens @AndersonPens 4

APPEARANCE

This is a good looking pen that ticks all the right boxes for me. It is a regular sized pen with a cigar shape - a round body with smoothly rounded off ends. The finial is a black satin dome but it is unmarked. The clip is attached by a metal ring around the top of the cap. I love the shape of the clip! It's smooth, curvy, and ends in a teardrop. 
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There is a centerband located at the end of the cap. It is engraved with "Aurora" and has two thin black rings in it. It's a simple but attractive center band. There is also a thin metal band at the end of the piston-turning knob. The section is fairly long, tapering slightly towards the nib and ending in a flared ridge. There are resin threads at the back of the section, and a clear, double walled ink window. The ink window is not visible when the pen is capped, and the cap band connects smoothly with the barrel. 

The cap, section, and barrel are all black satin resin - black with a matte finish, that is. The clip, centerband, and all other trim is a polished rose gold. I love the warmth of the rose gold against the matte black resin. The pen appears well finished and well made. I observed an evenly-spaced, very small gap between the finial and cap ring but that's about it. Minor detail because it looks like it was intentional.

NIB & PERFORMANCE

This nib is a solid 14 kt gold nib with rose gold plating, and an ebonite feed. The nib has a single slit, a round breather hole, and is engraved with some flourishes, 14 K, 585, and Aurora. The stub nib has a wide tip with some deliciously ground tipping. The nib is medium wet - it has a consistent ink flow that is not too dry or too wet. With no pressure, the nib is mostly on the firm side but I can feel just a bit of softness to it. With regular writing (without pressure), the nib does not skip or hard start. With a little pressure, the feed can't really keep up as it's just not wet enough to handle the additional ink demand. Overall, all performance indicates a good nib, just on the dry side for heavy ink demands. At a normal writing speed and during long writing sessions, the nib and feed keep up. Fast writing is a little difficult because of the shape of the tipping - the nib must be properly aligned with the page. Reverse writing is not possible.
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The stub is a little wider than the Aurora Optima italic, and a little more dry. The line variation from the shape of the nib is very pleasant - wide downstrokes that show off inks well, and narrow cross strokes. I find this stub nib is best for adding some character to my handwriting. I also use it to practice calligraphy, particularly Foundational and Uncial. I love the way the stub nib gives nice, round but clean letters with some great ink shading. 
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Top to bottom: Aurora Optima (italic nib), Aurora 88 (stub nib)
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Top to bottom: Aurora Optima (italic nib), Aurora 88 (stub nib)
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Top to bottom: Aurora Optima (italic nib), Aurora 88 (stub nib)
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Top to bottom: Aurora Optima (italic nib), Aurora 88 (stub nib)
To me, nibs like this are way more exciting than a fine, medium, broad, but that's because I really enjoy line variation and I love the absurdly luxurious calligraphy practice. Don't judge. We are all weird. 

IN HAND

Have I mentioned I love this clip? It's a snug clip that can be lifted. The tear drop ball at the end is angled underneath so it can be slid on and off papers, pockets, and pouches. It's tight enough to hold the pen in place as well.

The piston-filling mechanism has an interesting design - a hollow piston that houses some extra ink. It's great if you run out of ink but requires some attention when you're cleaning.
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The shape of the section is comfortable and long enough to accommodate most grips. The threads are super smooth so will not bite your fingers. The flared ridge at the nib is somehow unnaturally hard and hurts my fingertips if I end up gripping it. The section is not slippery, even with longer writing sessions. 
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Unposted, the pen has a comfortable length and is on the light side. It feels well balanced. I think if you have larger hands, you'll have to post it to give it more length. The cap can be posted snugly by friction and it gives the pen a bit more weight and length, which feels right and more comfortable for me. I love that it isn't a super heavy metal body. It's lighter, and doesn't tire out my hand. 
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Review Aurora 88 Matte Black Fountain Pen @KenroPens @AndersonPens 14

PROS & CONS

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OVERALL

Another beauty from Aurora. I'm a rose gold person - I know it's all in and trendy right now, but for me, it works. I love the black and rose gold theme and the shape of the pen is elegant and the trim is warm. I prefer the rounded ends of the 88 than the flat ends of the Optima. 

The stub is a great nib if you want something different. You could still use this as a daily writer because it's not so wide that it's silly. Great line variation, solid nib performance. The pen is on the light side, though. If you're unsure about the stub, there are other nib options. Stubs are my jam.




I received this item free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion.

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