Imagine you could send your Parker 51 away to college. Imagine that the school of choice was located in northern Italy. Your 51 would learn Italian, ride a Vespa, embrace soccer, develop a fondness for fashion and be exposed to cutting edge design.
Your pen would return refined, more elegant and oddly sexy. Your pen would return… an Aurora 88!
Now don’t get your tines bent out of shape. I don’t mean to besmirch your precious 51. A near and dear to me 51 has been a member of my own crew for over two decades.
But there’s no avoiding the fact that the (vintage) Aurora 88 is superior to the Parker 51. And why would this not be the case? There’s no doubt in my mind that the 88′s designer, Capitano Marcello Nizzoli, was charged with the single objective of creating a pen that could compete with the 51. He excelled in his assignment.
Aesthetically, the lines and details of the Aurora are simply more pleasing to the eye. The cap of the 88 is only slightly longer than that of the 51, but as the 88 is not burdened by a prone-to-discoloration jewel, the streamlined appearance gives an illusion of more length. The ring separating the turning knob from the pen body adds subtle yet important visual appeal. And there’s an ink window! Who doesn’t love an ink window?
Functionally, the Aurora trumps the Parker by virtue of a piston filling mechanism. There’s a reason that even modern converters use a piston – the system works and works well. Additionally, the 88′s nib features less hood and more flex. The more exposed nib provides for easier inspection and cleaning while the flex allows for creativity on all points of sail. It’s a fun pen!
Certainly I’ll never force my 51 to walk the plank. It enjoys permanent station. Still, I know that I will favor the 88 when assigning daily duties. In fact, I’m looking to fill a few more quarter berths with these fine Italians.