I was so honored to receive an Aurora Optima Fine Flex LE as a gift in New York from the fine folks at Fountain Pen Hospital. It is a beautiful candy apple red which looks lovely with my favorite make-up from Bésame (no, I am not getting kickbacks for endorsing them. I just really like their products).
I did not include any images of the packaging for the Optima Flex as it is the same as the regular Optima (Turns out, I didn’t include the packaging in that review either. It’s a big box).
Over the course of 2018, Aurora released a wide array of colors of the Flex LE pens which made the limited edition-ness of this pen a bit less limited feeling. Rather than staggering the release of each color over several years, they came out one month after another which meant that the colors towards the end of the release cycle ended up being less coveted as many people decided whether of not they liked (or didn’t like) Aurora’s flex nib. The red model was one of the very last to be released and it is one of the colors that would probably have been the most popular if Aurora had chosen to release the pens all at once.
I love the combination of red and silver tone rhodium hardware. It’s classic and elegant.
The nib is 14K gold and rhodium-plated to aesthetically match the rest of the pen.
When I was writing with the pen, I had some issues with hard starting that I finally decided to take to a professional I waited to post this review until I could put this pen into Dan Smith of The Nibsmith’s hands. He looked at it and did some very light smoothing and recommended that I try a wetter ink to avoid the hard starts. I switched the KWZ that I got in Toronto on the same trip to DeAtramentis, some of the wettest ink I could think of, and hoped that would help. If I don’t try to push the nib for flex writing, it seems to write quite well but if I try to really flex it, it starts to hard start and railroad. It also requires a great deal of pressure to get it to flex and I actually write with a fairly light hand.
I might have the nib ground down a bit finer and just treat it as an extra fine fountain pen.
Honestly, I like to think of this pen as more of a soft fine rather than a flex nib. I think it would make me feel a lot less frustrated. It’s a beautiful pen with a beautiful nib but it is not a flexible nib in the way that I think of flexible nibs.
- Paper: Rhodia Uni-Blank No. 18 with 6mm guide sheet
- Pens: Aurora Optima Flex LE in Red ($575)
- Ink: DeAtramentis Deepwater Obsession Black-Red ($14 for 35ml bottle) and KWZ Maple Red (a limited edition color for the Toronto Pen Show 2018)
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