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!

Cheers!
Brian

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