Pen Review: The Pilot Prera

The Pilot Prera is yet another entrant in the under $75 (street price $56) demonstrator pen class. Unlike other demonstrator pens, these are offered in clear only, and the colored portion of the pen is restricted to the top of the cap and the end of the barrel. Pilot offers this pen in seven different “colors”, so there’s something for everyone.

Colors in the Prera family are Black, Dark Blue, Light Blue, Green, Orange, Pink, and Red. If you don’t like any of those colors, well, there’s really very little color to begin with, so just pick one! Our test subjects were orange and with a Fine nib and dark blue with a Medium nib.

The Pilot Prera Family

The Pilot Prera Family

The Prera is a smaller pen, 4-3/4″ capped, 5-5/16″ posted and with a barrel length of 4-1/4″. The barrel diameter is about 7/16″. The size means I have to use it posted for it to work well for me. Capped it’s about as long as my iPhone 5 and very similar in size to the TWSBI Mini, although posted is a bit shorter.

The Prera has a friction fit cap, and for some reason, I can never remember this. I always want to unscrew it before taking it off. I guess the reason for this is the reasonable close similarity between this and the Monteverde Artista Crystal, which has a threaded cap. That and most of the pens I use have a threaded cap probably means I have a normal response to trying to twist a cap off. Anyway, the cap does snap on and off with a satisfying click. The clip basically extends over the top of the cap, much like Esterbrook V Clip and Dollar Pens did, and the clip is tight but has some springiness to it. The Pilot name and Prera are screened on to simulate a cap band. This is similar to the screening on the Platinum Preppy. The design is something of a dotted design with a wider band in the middle for the Prera name. Interesting, but not my first choice. My biggest beef with the pen is purely aesthetic. Pilot chose to put a white inner cap on this pen. Why? I think it looks a little off, but I guess it goes with the white lettering on the cap band.

The cap posts well on the barrel end. There’s no chance this is going to come off. In fact there is a metal ring on the end of the barrel which the cap rests on when posted. There is a similar metal ring on the end of the section for the cap to close with. Since it is a friction fit cap, there is little in the way for those concerned with sharp threads. The gradient between the barrel and the section where the metal ring sits for the cap is very small. It is barely noticable.

The Pilot Prera

The Pilot Prera

The inside of the barrel has a subtle faceting to it. It took me a while to notice this, but I kept seeing light reflected a little differently off the barrel before I noticed the facets. Nice touch. The pen is a cartridge convertor filler and comes with a convertor and a couple cartridges.

While I’m not particularly a fan of Fine nibs, it’s nice to have a change of pace every once in a while. Like similar Asian made nibs, this one really seems like an Extra Fine to me. The nib is very simple, it states Pilot Super Quality Japan. It is a smooth fine with a little edge to it. Maybe that’s the nature of the Fine (or extra fine) nib. The Medium is, as one would expect based on the previous statement, more like a Fine. Since there is no Broad nib option (but there is a Calligraphy Nib option available with the Black and dark blue color, which is just short of a 1.1 mm Italic), this is it for me. It is also a smooth writer, perhaps even more so than the F, just because it has a wider surface area. Maybe It’s my ham-fistedness, but the Fine nib is a little delicate for me. Lisa, however, likes it a lot. I don’t mind a Fine nib once in a while, but an Extra Fine just doesn’t do it for me. Keep this in mind when selecting nib sizes. We test out a lot of pens here at Anderson Pens, so my pen sat for close to a week without being used. I took the cap off this morning to start my morning list and it fired up right away with no hesitation. That’s a good sign.

The Pilot Prera Nib

The Pilot Prera Nib

Build quality seems pretty good. It is a Pilot after all and they are known for high quality pens. I do see a little ink transfer from the base of the nib and section to the bottom of the inner cap, but this could have been due to throwing the pen around before and after the last pen show and into my briefcase. I’m sure it will clean out nicely. The convertor has a metal agitator inside of it to keep the ink flowing. I have seen small plastic balls inside convertors before, but nothing this large. It does not take up too much space, but at first I wasn’t sure what this thing was sliding around inside my convertor! It does make a little rattle noise if I shake the pen, but who shakes their pen?

All in all, the Prera is a good little pen and I’m sure will no doubt be a work horse for some. For my larger hands, I may be more apt to go for the TWSBI mini when looking to take a smaller pen, as the posted length is just a bit longer and a bit heavier. For smaller hands, this could be perfect, and with the Pilot build quality and performance, isn’t likely to let you down. I may keep this one in my briefcase for a backup pen, in the event I forget my pen case (which happens all too often!). This way I’ll know I have one really good pen which will write right off the bat.

Come see us at a pen show and take a Prera for a test drive!


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  • TJ Zidaroff

    Have the Prera in “blue” with a medium nib. A great little pen. It works. Period. It needed no tune up when taken from the box. All in all a great pen.

  • stu elman

    I have the red with M nib. It’s a good writer, and my first fountain pen. As you mentioned, the agitator does make a sound. I wasn’t sure if this was normal, if te pen was broken, or a host of other problems. After seeing the plunger going up and down on the ink, I settled that it is there to keep the ink flowing. It’s really nice to see how the pen works via the clear plastic. It’s a gentle pen.

  • Raphael Foshay

    Very nice to see the Prera get some attention. Thanks for your excellent review. I have two Prera’s in the solid (non-demonstrator) version, a M and a F. Although I’ve used fountain pens off and on all my life, I’ve only recently become a keen user and modest accumulator (in addition to 5 Pilots, I have Lamy, Sailor, Pelikan, Franklin-Christoph, Noodler, and [soon] TWSBI) . For me, the Prera is a pen with “soul.” It works for me at every level: design, function, size, ergonomics, build quality for the price. I realize that such pen evaluations are, in varying degrees, personal, especially when you stray from the “good” or even “excellent” into the “soulful” kind of response, so I’m not saying that everyone or even most will find the pleasure I do in this small pen. But I don’t think anyone would argue about the excellent design, quality, and functionality of the Prera, even if it is not a pen that “fits” for them. For $60, the Prera hits way above it’s weight.

  • Amol Nagarkar

    Can any ink eg.the monteverde black be used in the pilot prera?

    • Brian & Lisa

      Absolutely! As long as it is ink specifically for fountain pens you will be all right. Keep in mind you’ll have to use the converter as color choices for cartridges are limited to Pilot proprietary sized carts.

  • Nicole

    I am not new to Anderson Pens as it seems I drop in at least once a week now-a-days. Always a hello Nicole. (Obviously there too often). Cutting to the chase. I believe it was about December when I stopped in and Was intrigued by the Prera. I loved the green (F). Took it back to work and went to town. I work for an attorney so I tend to do an extraordinary amount of research and would much rather forget the computer and use longhand. The pages can always PDF to the file if needed. Instantly in love with this pen. I have small, not smallish but small hands. I always spot the amazing interesting colors of the Fountain Pens in store but look at the tool and my hand and that’s it. No love at first sight. I love that I can write virtually microscopic and recently found that for me the Mont Blanc inks fit me very well in this pen. The “wet” is just right. I have no need to blot. Have to say I enjoy using this pen to the point where one was not enough. (Added the Orange) I normally carry my Prera(s) as well as a Montegrappa Parola (yellow)(F) and a vintage Parker gem (m). I really like when writing to differentiate with color. I am sure that two Prera pens is not enough. Maybe Brian will just have to choose the next color for me. Hint hint.