The Aurora Optima Auroloide Blue Fountain Pen is reminiscent of a 1920’s Parker Duofold: marbled finish, stout stance and bulbous pen clip. But does it perform?
Pros and Cons Overall
My Short Video
Aurora Optima Design
The cap band is one wide band of metal. There’s a chasing pattern of lengthwise, closely-spaced ridges that run in the middle third of the cap band, encircled by two Greek key patterns engraved on either side of it, with the keys painted black.
The metal chasing has the words AURORA and ITALY in smooth relief within the ridges. The ridges are also functional, allowing for a little more grip when twisting off the cap.
Don’t let the photo below fool you, this is a WIDE nib, 7mm wide to be exact, I should’ve put something in the frame to give perspective. That’s exactly what makes it eye-catching and it performs extremely well (more on that later.) If you look at another one of the photos on this page where the cap is posted, you can see the nib is almost as wide as the body of the pen. STOUT!
Aurora Optima Fountain Pen Specs
The Aurora Optima is:
- 125mm Capped
- 150mm Posted
- 121mm Uncapped
- 12mm Wide
- 9mm Wide at Grip Point
- 14mm Outside Diameter of Cap Band
- .8 ounces Total Weight
- .3 ounces Cap Weight
- Solid 14K Gold Nib
- Piston Filler with transparent ink window & hidden reservoir for extra ink
Aurora Optima Fountain Pen Performance
The Aurora Optima performs exactly as you’d expect a fountain pen with a 14K solid gold to perform, FANTASTICALLY!
Oh, how I love the slight flex the solid gold nib gives, and love to stare at the engraving they did on the nib itself, it’s just gorgeous.
This pen is a bit of a wet writer. It lays down a lot of ink as you can see in the writing sample, but it is consistent and buttery smooth. The ink just runs out of it in a controlled manner, never skipping or hard starting. It flows so flawlessly out of that beautiful nib, you can feel the craftsmanship that went into this pen.
Given it’s an Aurora fountain pen, I was expecting a bit of tooth in the nib because everyone you talk to that owns an Aurora discusses their toothy nibs, (more on this in my review of the Aurora Ipsilon). Many people expect that feel from all Auroras, but I’m the first to tell you it doesn’t exist in this Optima.
I tested the medium nib and this fountain pen lays down a thick line. It’s funny, in the writing sample you can see how much finer of a line the fine produces than the medium nib in the Aurora line. I prefer the fine nib myself, but that’s just me.
Because it’s a wet writer, you can see some character in the ink, upstrokes and downstrokes. Not a lot of line variation because it’s not a super flexy nib, but definite character in the ink delivery due to the wetness.
Aurora Optima Fountain Pen Writing Sample
The Optima writing sample is in green, the Ipsilon is in blue
Aurora Optima on Different Types of Paper
The Aurora Optima performs best on heavyweight paper, but smooth. I tried it on handmade paper from Nepal, made by local artisans using old world papermaking practices (read super-fiberous, grainy pages) and the Optima bled and spat ink. It didn’t like grainy paper. Most pens don’t.
“‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
– Alfred Lord Tennyson
(Oh I will Miss This Pen!)
It absolutely shined on smooth journal paper, notebook paper, and normal 24lb printer paper. I can’t express how smooth this nib is, it rivals a Sailor 1911L, but that’s a tough call between the two. This has to be one of my favorite fountain pens aesthetically and it performs extremely well on most paper.
In fact, I ordered two more inks just to have them on hand because all I could think was how much I wanted to try another color of ink, other than green, in this beautiful specimen. My new fountain pen ink bottles will arrive shortly after I return this pen to its rightful owner, sadly. But what an experience…
Aurora Optima Maintenance and Cleaning
The Aurora Optima fountain pen is a piston-filler with no cartridges or converters to worry about. You simply twist the knob on the back of the pen with the nib submerged in an ink bottle to suck ink up into the body of the pen. You can see the ink in the transparent ink window so you know when to refill it.
To clean it, you can just dunk it in some clear water and twist the know clockwise and counterclockwise as far as it will go over and over to flush it out. In order to dry the nib before reloading a new color of ink, I like togently hold a clean paper towel over the vent hole and tines while it sucks out the remaining water from the section and feed after purging everything I could out using the piston knob.
I can’t speak to cleaning out the hidden reservoir because I dip tested this pen. I just submerged the nib into ink and let the section fill up but didn’t pull ink into the body of the pen. I can see the hidden reservoir of ink being a bonus if you reloaded the same shade of ink, and being a pain if you change ink colors often because you’d need to flush it out every time you changed colors. I flush my pens before refilling even if I’m not changing color though.
The Aurora Optima isn’t hard on your hand. It is easy to write with thanks to the tapered grip section that narrows this stout pen down to a manageable 9mm for writing. It’s very well balanced, not at all top heavy, even when posted.
The design of the Optima is superior to most large fountain pens because of it’s well balanced feel. Most large pens aren’t made for posting because the cap carries most of the weight and wears out your hand during long writing sessions, but not this pen. It delivers. You can write and write and it doesn’t fatigue your hand.
Why is there a quill pen set above them? Just because it’s fun, who doesn’t want to look at one?
Overall Value – Who Is The Aurora Optima Best For?
Take a look at this pen above. Do you think it stands out against all of the other pens in the photos?
If you’re deeply attracted to the pen as I was, you will LOVE the performance of this pen.
The only drawback (aside from the screw-off cap, I prefer pull-off) is the price; this is not a cheap fountain pen. The MSRP of this fountain pen at the time of this writing is roughly $499 US so it’s not for you if you’re just dabbling in fountain pens, this is for a serious collector, or for a serious gift!
This pen is perfect for someone wanting a fountain pen to use as a daily writer or as a special occasion pen to keep in a collection. It will write and write so you don’t need to worry, this beauty performs!
At this price point, you’re jumping into fine writing instruments in style, this is a status symbol of a pen.
This fountain pen is one to be cherished and handed down to someone you love, it’s worth the price just for that.
Price: Get a price on the Aurora Optima at Amazon.