“In every hobby, there seems to be a quest for the quintessential experience. It is no different for fountain pen users, often debating about their ‘grail pen’- the pen that will fulfil all their needs and desires.”
Rani found this “quintessential experience” in the Aurora Optima.
After seeing both his collection and the passion he has for the Aurora brand, I knew Rani would make the perfect subject for an instalment of ‘Pens Of The People’. As you will see, Rani has an expansive collection of Aurora’s and an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of the brand.
Getting into the fountain pen hobby
As with many collectors, Rani was introduced to the humble fountain pen whilst attending school in France.
“Back then, it was just another item on the school supplies list.”
Whilst they initially appeared mundane, as Rani grew older, his appreciation for pens increased. This interest expanded beyond a superficial enjoyment but went deeper into the construction of the pens themselves.
“What particularly fascinates me are the mechanics behind design details we take for granted. I think about the details such as why is a nib slit of a particular length, or why different feed designs?”
Finding perfection in the Aurora Optima
As Rani acknowledges, it is rare that people find a fountain pen that fits their needs and desires so well, that they don’t collect any other pens.
“I must be part of a minority who found perfect contentment in the Aurora Optima.”
“The utmost ergonomic design, the perfect balance of its lightweight body, the superbly refined nibs with exquisite feedback and the strikingly rich and deep celluloid used for the materials have propelled Aurora’s users to heights they can hardly experience with other pens.”
The adoration Rani has for the Aurora Optima has led to an expansive collection…
My thriving family of Aurora’s
After falling head over heals for the Optima, Rani grew his collection to include every Optima model released.
“I used to own two copies of each Optima model. This was excessive, so I substantially reduced my collection to 16 Aurora pens nowadays.”
In a collection of similar pens, I was curious as to which particular models were his favourites.
“I find them all remarkably beautiful. Some of my favourites are; the 75th Anniversary and its translucent cherry red finish; the Emerald with the deep green auroloid; and the Demonstrator with Red accents, allowing you to appreciate the inner workings of the pen.”
Rani also very excited for a new Optima, which is yet to be released… we can’t give too much away so stay tuned for an announcement from Aurora…
A surge in popularity
We have seen an increased brand awareness and therefore increased popularity of Aurora’s in the last couple of year. This is a topic that Brad Dowdy addressed in his interview with Aurora’s export manager, however, I was curious to hear Rani’s take.
“This is absolutely true and I think the surge in popularity is mainly due to three factors:
1. Kenro, the US distributor, has done an excellent job convincing Aurora to revise its pricing to appeal to a broader audience. Aurora listened and changed its market positioning by reducing the price of the Optima from $795 to $495 in the US. It was a pivotal move.
2. Social media, and Instagram in particular, has increased the visibility of many brands. @aurorapens and @kenro_official promoted Aurora’s new offerings very well.
3. Unlike most pen makers, Aurora is extremely open about its manufacturing process. Aurora generously opens the doors of the factory to the public several times a week. Seeing firsthand the experience, level of perfectionism and passion put into the production of each pen, has undeniably spurred users to purchase Aurora pens.”
Rani’s relationship with Aurora
Any company would be doing well to have a customer and supporter such as Rani. Thanks to social media, Aurora has been able to reach out to Rani to discuss his passion and the brand.
“I have only made “public” my passion for Aurora since May 5th, but I was recently contacted by Kenro. I was, of course, flattered and grateful for the future possible collaboration.”
“I also exchanged many messages with Aurora’s nibmeister who is incredibly generous of his time. He was so kind as to accelerate an order I had placed and put me in touch with many other Aurora personnel and collectors.”
“I am currently in touch with the factory regarding a “custom order”. We are not certain yet that it will be feasible, but if it is, I will be happy to share the result with you!”
A coveted model for any Aurora collector
Given Rani’s experience with the brand, I wanted to hear any insight he has about models we should look out for, or advice for finding your next pen. Rani told me about a much coveted Aurora model to look out for, not dissimilar to the new 88 flex pens!
“In the late 80s, Aurora launched a nib with an “extra-long tip”. They were fitted on the Aurora 88. These tines were screaming ‘flex me’, and so people did! Aurora quickly became overwhelmed with repair orders for sprung nibs.”
“Of course, these nibs were never intended to be used as flexible nibs. Soon after, Aurora, unfortunately discontinued the production, and released the modern nibs (still currently on all Aurora models), with much shorter tines and less bounce.”
“These nibs were so expressive and pleasurable that I would advise anyone interested in Aurora to hunt for these older 88 models on auction sites.”
We would like to thank Rani for sharing both his collection and insight with us. If you would like to see more of his expansive collection, follow his Instagram @senza_aurora!