Aurora Optima Fountain Pen Review

This is all my fault.

Aurora was not a brand that had been on my radar since my fountain pen obsession started several years ago. Slowly, over the past year, I started seeing them pop up in my friends feeds. This one in particular.

Now that’s a Brad-looking pen if I’ve ever seen one. Still, I didn’t know much about the brand, but they were officially on my radar.

This all came to a head around the time of the 2016 DC Pen Show. Aurora had recently instituted a sweeping 30% MSRP price drop across their product lineup, and I was able to get my hands on them to try out. That bit of double trouble was all I needed to come home with my first Aurora: The Optima Red Demonstrator. And for less than $500.

We all have different things that make a pen perfect for us. The combination of weight, feel, nib, and style make this pen perfect for me. It’s not too heavy, and not too light. There is a density and balance in the barrel when I’m writing. The nib is firm and fine and well-tuned. The style fits my aesthetic perfectly.

This set me down a path of Optima love. I use this pen all of the time, and talk about it too much. My friends at Kenro of course enjoy this immensely, so they sent me and the staff nearly one of everything to check out. So now it’s my turn to fawn over a pen and a brand that has been reviewed many times over by Jeff and Susan.

Despite already owning my own Optima, I wanted to test out a loaner in a different nib size, so I chose the Burgundy Auroloide with Chrome Trim with a medium 14k nib. My expectations going in were that this pen would equally as great as my personal Optima, and it absolutely was.

The primary difference was the nib. The medium nib is much wider and wetter than my extra fine. This is obviously expected. It is too wet for my daily use, but I’m admittedly an outlier in nib preference. The medium nib is super smooth and really lays down the ink.

All of the Optima are piston fillers, and has some of the most solid mechanics I have used. The piston feels strong, yet easy to turn, and it draws in a full barrel of ink. I’ve found it easy to clean too, with just a few flushes of water through the barrel to get it ready for the next fill.

I also love the flange at the end of the grip section. I have a traditional writing grip, and where I hold the pen rests comfortably right where the raised section is most comfortable. The Optima feels tailor-made to my hand.

Another great feature that Aurora offers is easily swappable nibs for the Optima lineup. The nib and beautiful red ebonite feed screw out for easy cleaning and replacing. This also helps with cleaning too.

Overall, this is one of my favorite pens I own. The feel in my hand is unlike any other pen I own, and the nib is a joy. For the price - around $450-$500 depending on materials - I prefer it over the Pelikan M600/M800 lineup, which is its primary competition in this bracket.

Fountain pen show season is about to kick off again in January and if you make it out to a show definitely give an Aurora pen a test drive. I think you will be impressed.

My thanks to Kenro Industries for loaning me this pen for purposes of this review.

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Posted on December 12, 2016 and filed under Aurora, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.