Ink & Pen Notes: Aurora Optima Nero Perla (M) with Akkerman Dutch Masters 09 Steenrood van Vermeer

Aurora Optima Nero Perla with Akkerman Steenrood Vermeer BottleInk names seem to be getting longer these days, especially when the english translation is included in it. The P.W. Akkerman Dutch Masters line is relatively new and they come in oversized 120ml bottles. So they’re an investment of both ink and money. I picked the Akkerman Dutch Masters 09 Steenrood “Red Stone” Vermeer to give the line a try. I’ve been on a terra cotta streak lately and this ink fits the profile.

I’ve been enjoying new inks in my medium nib pens, a slightly wider than usual nib for me, but one that can show off an inks properties. I picked the Aurora Optima Nero Perla to inaugurate this ink. I love the nice warm brown color of the ink, but the performance has been disappointing. I didn’t flush the ink from the pen and wrote it dry in a month despite having several other good pen choices. So I guess the pluses out-weighed the minuses.

Ink starvation was a frequent problem. Unless the pen spent the night nib down I would have to put if nib down for several minutes before the ink would reach the nib. For the first couple of weeks the pen was fine all day after it spent a couple minutes nib down. But then it became worse. After using the pen awhile it would eventually begin to write a progressively drier line until I had to prime the feed. The first time this happened I instinctively (and carelessly) thought the pen was empty and worked the piston to release the reserve reservoir. There was still plenty of ink so I created a bit of a mess. Luckily the nib was pointed up and my hands were below so they caught the ink. I guess that’s another reason it went dry in a month.

This is only the third ink for the Aurora Optima Perla, but it’s the first with any sort of a problem. The other two inks were Aurora’s own Black ink and Akkerman #12 Magenta from their regular ink line.

I really enjoy using the Aurora Optima so it will be back with another ink soon enough. With about 118 ml of Akkerman Dutch Masters #09 Steenrood Vermeer left I certainly better use it so I’ll be trying it in another fountain pen. Hopefully it just didn’t get along with the Aurora and will take to a different pen.

My apologies but no writing sample. The photo was terrible and I didn’t notice until I was finishing up this post. I’ll try to retake it and update this post, although the review link below has a good sample.

Additional Reading

Pen Review: The Aurora Optima Nero Perla — The Gentleman Stationer

Akkerman Hollandse Meesters #9 Steenrood Van Vermeer (Red) – Ink Reviews – The Fountain Pen Network

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Ink & Pen Notes: Aurora Optima Nero Perla (M) with P.W. Akkerman #12 Mauritshuis Magenta

Aurora Optima Nero Perla (M) with Akkerman #12 bottleI inked my Aurora Optima with this purple(ish) ink the same day I inked the Homo Sapien with another purple ink. While the Homo Sapien/Montblanc Lavender Purple was a disappointment, the Mauritshuis Magenta was a delight. The wider medium nib of the Optima does a good job of showing off the pinkish-purple color of the ink. It pops off the page. I haven’t been overly impressed with the P.W. Akkerman inks that I’ve used, until now. This ink will probably be in more pens than any other Akkerman ink I’ve used.

I love the color of this ink and the performance was great. Well, except for the dry time which was a little slower than I prefer. The line stays true to the nib size. There’s a little line variation, which is nice. I really like the pinkish look to the ink.

The Aurora Optima was inked for nearly two months which is a little longer than expected, since I like the ink so much. That’s due to the large capacity of the piston fill Aurora plus the medium nib. I prefer thin nibs, so while the Aurora’s nib is great, it is a medium. As I mentioned the ink is a little slow to dry. So between the slow dry time and wide(ish) nib I never picked this pen for notes which tends to be most of my fountain pen usage.

Cleaning wasn’t a problem. I expected the purple dyes in this pen to complicate cleaning but I was wrong. I don’t like taking fountain pens apart just for cleaning and it wasn’t necessary in this case. The pen was cleaned by working the piston for about 10 minutes, then spending the evening nib down in a tissue to wick away a little remaining ink.

In my This Just In post for this pen I wrote that I considered the reserve reservoir an unnecessary complication, calling it a negative. The Aurora got its revenge and proved me wrong. I had started a checklist with the pen and it was over two pages long when the pen went dry. Now, I was home and I could easily refill the pen. Instead I released the reserve ink and barely missed a beat in my work. It was enough to get me through the rest of my work. I’ve been put in my place.

The Aurora Optima Nero Perla is already back in the rotation with a new ink. The P.W. Akkerman #12 Mauritshuis Magenta will be back in the rotation, but I’ll probably stick to medium or the occasional broad nib.

Aurora Optima Nero Perla (M) with Akkerman #12 writing sample

Ink & Pen Notes: Aurora Optima Nero Perla (M) with Aurora Black

Aurora Optima Auroloide Perla with Aurora Black writing sampleThe Aurora Optima Nero Perla was inked up soon after it arrived on November 7th. Aurora Black seemed appropriate as its inaugural ink. It’s the only Aurora ink that I have (there are only two and the other is blue) and it’s been awhile since I used it. In addition, the color of the ink and pen compliment each other nicely.

I used the pen regularly and it lasted a month and a day, going dry on December 8th. (It’s taken me awhile to write up these notes.)

Aurora Black is a nice dark, saturated black color. It has a wetter flow than many other inks that I use, but the line remains true to the nib size and the ink is well behaved. There’s no noticeable feathering, although I only used very good paper with this combination.

My Seven Seas Writer and Crossfield notebooks saw most of the usage and they have Tomeo River Paper. The ink is a little slow drying for my tastes, especially on this paper and in a medium nib. I use the Writer for Journalling and similar writing so this wasn’t a problem since I could give the page time to dry. The Crossfield gets used for notes, where I pay less attention to such things, but managed to avoid smudging the ink.

A Write Notepads wire bound notebook also got some use. This is probably the least fountain pen friendly paper that I use on a regular basis. The ink soaked into the paper and dried relatively quickly although there was considerable show-through and even some minor bleed-through if I made multiple passes over one spot. I use this book for note taking and rarely use anything other than a fine or extra fine for this very reason, so this wasn’t unexpected. While I did use the Optima for some note taking the fact is I rarely use a medium nib for note taking so this really isn’t going to be a frequent task for this pen.

The Aurora Optima looks small but it is extremely comfortable in my hand. The long section certainly helps as does the girth of the pen. There’s just enough weight to give the pen a solid feel.

The pen has a reserve reservoir that holds some extra ink for when the main reservoir is empty. Since there’s a ink window this seemed more of a gimmick rather than a feature. I may have been a little harsh. The Aurora black ink clung to the window making it look full as the pen went dry. Holding the pen up to the light still showed solid black in the window. I lowered to plunger to scrap the ink off the window and to release the ink reserver. I got an additional A5 page (approximately) after this. Lowering the plunger was a bit scary but there wasn’t enough ink left to force any out of the nib.

I thought the pen was extremely easy to clean. While the nib unit can easily be unscrewed for cleaning I don’t like doing this for routine cleaning and just worked the plunger a few times. After letting the pen sit nib down overnight I noticed additional Aurora Black ink through the window and gave it another quick cleaning.

I’ve already refilled the Aurora Optima, just not with Aurora Black.

This Just In: Aurora Optima Nero Perla

Aurora Optima Nero Perla on eagle standThe Aurora Optima Nero Perla was one of two fountain pen purchases I made on fountain pen day. Aurora fountain pens have come and gone from my want list but never climbed to the top. The Optima went back on after the recent price reductions. In a moment of weakness I finally bought one.

My interest in Aurora pens was fed by two things. The material they use often caught my attention, like many Italian pens. Plus, they make their own nibs. Those nibs have a reputation of being a bit toothy, which I may like as I don’t particularly like a perfectly smooth nib.

I picked the Nero Perla model. The barrel is white, black and grey. Mostly shades of grey. The cap finial, gripping section, and piston nob are all black resin that have a high quality feel. The trim is rhodium plated. The silver colored nib is 14K gold that is engraved with scroll work, “14K” and “585” for the gold content along with the Aurora name. I would find the engraving on the wide cap/center band a little much, except it matches the color of the pen so it fits in nicely.

The color isn’t as flashy of their others but it works for me. While flashy colors may catch my eye I find I get tired of them after awhile while I never get tired of the more subdued colors.

Aurora uses a material they call Auroloide for this pen. It’s a cellulose acetate which doesn’t have the problems of vintage cellulose nitrate, but has more color depth than modern acrylics. I really love the color depth provided by cellulose and that depth is evident in this pen. It’s also slightly translucent.

It’s a piston filler which includes a second reservoir as a reserve. I never really understood the attraction of a second reservoir and for me it’s a bit of a negative. The theory is I’ll have a reserve supply of ink so when I unexpectedly run out I can be relieved to realize there’s some hidden ink. But there is an ink window to avoid surprises and the “surprise” ink seems to be more of a mind-hack than an actual benefit. I always wonder if the complexity and space of that second reservoir actually reduces the total ink in the pen. Plus, I expect that second reservoir to make this pen harder (or at least more tedious) to clean, especially if I forget and start cleaning before emptying that second reservoir. I’ll probably stick to one ink in this pen to limit the tedium. I haven’t used the pen enough to need that second reservoir so I may be in for a pleasant surprise.

The pen is relatively short but very comfortable to write with. The section is longer than I expected which helps make the pen more comfortable. The pen is light but has enough girth to be comfortable in my hand. Sometimes light pens cause me to tighten my grip but that doesn’t happen with the Optima. I don’t typically post my pens but I find this pen comfortable whether posted or unposted and I’ve used it both ways. My longest single writing session with the Optima was about 20 minutes and there wasn’t any hit of fatigue in my hand. Writing with the pen felt natural so I didn’t have to consciously remember to loosen my grip.

Aurora Optima Auroloide Perla nib closeup front viewI picked a medium nib for this pen and I find the it to be very smooth. After reading about Aurora nibs I expected much more feedback. I don’t like nibs that are so smooth they feel like they are gliding above the paper. The Aurora medium is as smooth as any other nib I like to use. Maybe it’s because I prefer thinner nibs which by their nature provide more feedback, but I would not call this nib toothy or consider it as a candidate for smoothing.

I picked Aurora Black as the first ink for this pen. It seemed appropriate. The performance and flow have been problem free. The feed is ebonite and from what I’ve read it is heat set for each pen. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but the performance certainly suggests that it is.

I’ve been using the pen as a pocket carry since my Vanishing Point went dry. A medium nib is not my first choice as a note taker, but this medium has been acceptable for all the situations it’s been in. It’s less forgiving of unfriendly paper than thinner nibs but that’s expected. It’s main attraction as a shirt pocket carry is it’s light weight, small(ish) size and secure clip.

The Aurora Optima Nero Perla is a great looking pen and a nice writer. I wouldn’t have purchased it prior to the price drop and even at the current price I’d consider it a fair value, not a great value. The pen is solidly built and a great writer, but I do really enjoy the color and material, which makes it worth the price premium.