Aurora Talentum

Usual bias alert: I collect Aurora pens. That Aurora logo means I’m emotionally invested at baseline, but I always challenge myself to be objective when writing about Aurora Pens.

I don’t usually get into matte black pens, but this one caught my eye.

The Talentum is the “entry level” pen in Aurora’s upper tier. It uses the same nib unit as their more expensive pens but in a less expensive cartridge/converter format. Actually, it’s not uncommon for users who want an extra Aurora nib unit to just buy a Talentum as the pen is not that much more than a spare nib ($396 vs. $316 street price.)

talentum_nib

That said, the Talentum isn’t just a cartridge/converter 88 or Optima. It’s a cool pen in its own right.

First off, the pen is a great size and shape. It’s well balanced towards the nib, and long enough to use very comfortably unposted. It posts extremely well, but becomes a bit back-heavy. I prefer to use this pen unposted, but the option to post the cap is always welcome.

talentum_finial
The metal finial shifts the pen’s balance rearward when posted.

I like the matte resin body; it has a subtle, grippy texture and is comfortable to use for long writing sessions. The matte finish on the trim is not durable at all, however. The finish on the ring on the end of the grip section has flaked-off entirely, and in other places it’s simply scratched off under normal use. The metal underneath has a shiny ruthenium or polished hematite appearance, though, so it’s not terrible–on the contrary, I love the way this pen is aging. I do know that some people would really hate that though, so it’s important to point-out, and it sort of cheapens the feel of the pen a bit. Nit picky? Maybe.

talentum_trim
Note the areas where the finish has worn revealing the shiny metal underneath.

Here is a proper nit-pick: I don’t like the way the inside of the cap is finished where the metal finial is connected to the end of the cap. I think Aurora could have done a better job–polished it better or covered it with a plastic inner cap or something. It doesn’t impact the writing or performance of this pen in any way. One can only see this if one is looking inside of the cap with a bright flashlight. But I noticed it, and I cannot un-notice it. There’s no way I can photograph this in a way that makes sense, but it bugs me. Maybe it is a minor qualm, but this is not a cheap pen and I have very little tolerance for tomfoolery and corner-cutting in pens this expensive.

The star of this show is the nib, however. The nib is unique with its matte finish. I’ve had no issues with the nib’s finish unlike the trim rings, and I was not able to find any examples on the internet of the nib’s finish being defective, so that’s good. This nib is an extra fine; it is rigid and precise and the ebonite feed provides a very generous ink flow. This is how I like my extra fine nibs. Mine was purchased from nibs.com and John Mottishaw tuned it a bit, so this isn’t exactly how it came out of the factory. Keep in mind that tuning and grinding a nib with any finish other than gold–not just this matte finish–will reveal the raw gold color underneath. This is how I know he ground this nib a bit before sending it. I don’t mind because this pen is a sweet writer, and it’s not like he ground a bunch of the finish off. I am just pointing it out. Nibs.com will, of course, not tune your pen, if requested.

talentum_reverse_nib
Note the yellow gold underneath the finish where the nib was worked on. This happens with any plated nib that gets worked on.
talentum_sample3

I love the Talentum model. It is a superb choice for users who prefer its looks or prefer cartridge/converter pens. I would, however, recommend the gold or rhodium trim pens for users concerned with the matte pen’s durability.

Pros:

  • Sweet looking pen.
  • Writes really well. Aurora’s pens typically do, in my experience, but tuning by a nibmeister like John Mottishaw always helps.
  • Full sized and comfortable. Lovely balance. This pen is meant to write.

Cons:

  • The finish isn’t durable.
  • I recognize that most of the cost of this pen is in the nib, but this pen is still pricey for what it is.

Specs:

  • Cap:
    • Screw cap, push to post.
    • 1.25 turns to remove.
    • Available in matching resin or metal caps.
  • Nib:
    • 14k Large Aurora proprietary nib unit with ebonite feed, shown in extra fine.
    • Available in yellow gold, rhodium plated, or matte black finish.
    • Nib units screw-out and are interchangeable with like Aurora pens.
    • Commonly available nib grades are extra fine, fine, medium, and broad. Specialty nib grades include BB, Factory Stub, Factory Italic, and oblique nibs (OM, OB, OBB,) along with the Goccia EF, F, and M nibs. Not all retailers carry specialty nibs, so potential users will have to search for them (and pay extra).
    • I know for certain that Oblique Fine and reverse obliques (OFR, OMR, OBR, and OBBR) were available at one time, but I’ve only seen them on vintage pens from “nib testing” sets. Writers interested in those may be able to special-order them, however.
    • The nib grade’s availability depends on the trim. I seriously doubt one can get the more exotic nibs in the matte black finish.
  • Body:
    • Resin body. Available in matte black (shown), black, and burgundy. There is/was a yellow Talentum as well.
  • Filling system:
    • Aurora proprietary cartridge/converter.
    • Converter capacity is 0.8mL.
    • Aurora cartridge capacity is around 1.2mL.
    • Aurora’s system is patterned after Parker’s, so those probably work. I haven’t tested them.
  • Length:
    • Capped: 137mm
    • Uncapped: 133mm
    • Posted: 162mm
  • Weight:
    • Total: 29g
    • Pen: 18g
    • Cap: 11g
  • Section diameter:
    • 10.5-12mm

Alternatives:

  • Aurora’s own 88 and Optima are good choices. The 88 is closer in size, the Optima is closer in shape.
  • Aurora Tu is also a cheaper choice from Aurora.
  • Pelikan m800.
  • Parker Duofold Centennial.
  • Sailor Pro Gear (especially the Imperial Black finish, if one is after the all black look.)
  • Conklin Duragraph or Jinhao Centennial are similar in size and shape, on the less expensive side of things.
talentum_compare_1
Top to bottom: Aurora Optima, Aurora Talentum, Aurora 88, Lamy Safari.
talentum_compare_2
talentum_compare_3
talentum_sample1
talentum_sample2

Published by

MatB

I am a fountain pen enthusiast.

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