It's the summer of the "Stealth Pen", or at least it is for me. I've been thinking for years that pens with black-plated trim - sometimes referred to as "stealth pens" or "blacked out" models - were a fad or trend that would quickly pass. Well, that was back in 2012 or so when I first got back into the hobby and picked up a matte black Pilot Vanishing Point. Fast forward to six years later, where I just received my fourth black-plated Sailor and am very much enjoying this recent release from Aurora, the Talentum "Full Black" or "Black Ops" model. Though I've only had the pen for a couple weeks, I wanted to expedite this review / first impressions post since I've heard availability is somewhat scarce and people might have to act quickly in order to secure a pen.
What I Like About the Aurora Talentum "Black Ops"
- Looks. Though I'm obviously biased towards the "all-black" look, the Talentum Black Ops is a beautiful pen. Among all the various models Aurora offers, the Talentum never really caught my eye until now. Unposted, the shape and size remind me somewhat of a Nakaya Neo-Standard. Posted, it's longer, but still a touch shorter than a Lamy AL-Star or Safari.
- The Nib. The black 14k nib is gorgeous. I understand that part of the reason this pen took so long to actually hit the market is because Aurora took their time getting the plating right. They did a great job. Some black-plated nibs can be a little skippy, or even squeak when you write, but this one is a firm, smooth writer with just a hint of the tooth that Aurora is known for. This particular nib is a fine, though the ebonite feed makes it a bit wet, so some might characterize this nib as more of a F-M (Fine-Medium).
- Postability. Unlike the Nakaya, the cap on the Talentum posts, and sits fairly deeply on the barrel. Although the Talentum is a larger pen, posting doesn't make it unwieldy for me. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that this Aurora uses a cartridge-converter filling system, and is therefore lighter-weight.
Is There Anything I Don't Particularly Like?
Me personally? No. Depending on your preferences, however, others may find the Talentum too long, especially posted. While it's definitely on the longer end of what I can comfortably use, the pen's light weight and good balance prevent the length from being an issue. I'm glad this is a cartridge-converter pen because the weight of a piston filling system seems like it would have been too much. (It also serves to keep the cost down.)
Takeaways and Where to Buy
If you're a fan of pens with ruthenium trim, consider ordering one of these now. The Talentum "Full Black" or "Black Ops" is currently available for purchase at sponsor Pen Chalet, priced at $360 before any applicable coupon code or promotion. In addition to the pen featured here, there is also a "Full Metal" version with a ruthenium-plated metal cap, which is more expensive at $460. While expensive, the price point for the resin-cap version comes in well below the Sailor Pro Gear Imperial Black or 1911 Black Luster, and it's unusual to find a pen with these specs - especially the ebonite feed - at this price point. As I mentioned up top, please keep in mind that these are my initial impressions, as I've only had the pen for a couple weeks. If anything changes, I will of course update this post or publish a revised review based on any issues that may arise during longer-term use.
Disclaimer: I have an affiliate relationship with Pen Chalet, which generates store credit that I can use to purchase pens such as this one for review. I was not paid or compensated for the content of this review, and all opinions here are my own.