Hand Over That Pen, please!
Katherine: When I first discovered the Prera (thanks, Internet) I wasn’t thrilled at the idea of spending twice as much as a Metro on a pen with the same nib. So instead I borrowed Pam’s. I found that the Prera is a small, light pen that’s a solid performer… I figured I’d buy one used at some point, since I now actively try to avoid buying pens just because they’re “cheap”. But, when I saw the limited edition Oeste Kingfisher (pictured above), I had to have it. After almost a month of hunting on Rakuten then three weeks of waiting, I have it! I think it’s a unique looking pen without being “weird” or flashy. It’s clean and classic, but not easily mistaken for any other pen.
Pam: The Pilot Prera comes in a variety of colors ranging from neon green to a deep brown. There are even demonstrator versions that have a splash of color on the cap and the end of the pen body. All the colors come with a complimentary silver/chrome trim. I bought the white one and still regret not buying a grey one as well. Katherine’s limited edition Prera is
The Pilot Prera is a great pocket pen. It’s about the length of the Pelikan M200, or a Franklin-Christoph model 45, or a Sailor Progear Slim. Like all the other pens that I adore, it’s the simple, minimalist, and dare I say, cute aesthetics that had me interested in this pen when I first got interested in fountain pens.
Franz: I was fortunate enough to handle and write with both Pam’s and Katherine’s Pilot Prera. Aside from the color and nib, they are pretty much the same. The Prera is a nice little pen that could be regarded as a beginner-intermediate pen in terms of price and performance. It does come with its proprietary converter and a cartridge. I’m just not sure if it’s a good idea to fill it as an eye-dropper due to the metal ring on the bottom of the barrel. It would be cool though.
Katherine: It’s a light and small pen — a great size for me to clip into notebooks or put in a pocket. Thankfully, despite it’s size, it’s solidly built — I don’t worry about breaking the pen as I throw it into a purse or backpack. Additionally it’s lot’s of fun to use since the cap has a very satisfying SNAP to it. The first time Pam suggested I try her Prera’s snap cap I thought she was crazy, but she’s right — it’s a very satisfying snap (that goes with a very satisfying pen!). I tend to use this pen unposted because I’m lazy, but can use it perfectly well posted.
Pam: If I was a more talented writer, I would wax poetry to the “perfection” that is the Prera for my pixie-esque hands. (Now maybe a good time to warn you of the possibility to excessive alliteration for the remainder of the post.)
I can comfortably use the pen posted or unposted, although I prefer to use it posted. I really enjoy the added, and still balanced, weight of the cap. The cap posts securely as you can feel the cap “suction” the end of the barrel. Unposted, the pen is so light that I wouldn’t even really notice the pen. One of my favorite parts of the using the Prera is actually capping the pen. It’s a REALLY satisfying click and very smooth.
Franz: As I said above, I got to play with both pens and the weight and dimensions are the same. The Prera may be in the featherweight class of pens but the feel was quite nice. Holding the pen unposted was a bit uncomfortable but once the pen’s cap is posted, it’s a nice size pen to handle.
The white inner cap somewhat distracts my view of the demonstrator but I think you just accept it for what it is.
This has already been repeated but I’m gonna say it anyway. Capping the Prera was a pretty cool thing to do. I like it as much as capping the Lamy 2000.
The Business End
Katherine: It’s a smooth writer that’s a touch dry. I have one with a Medium nib and while I would have preferred a Fine, the Medium is very usable and still much narrower medium than many German nibs. I’m very happy with it, and it’s the kind of nib that doesn’t make me think about it a lot, perhaps almost boring, but great for a daily driver.
Pam: If I could wax poetry to the “perfect” Prera’s specs and hand feel, I would compose and sing songs about the nib. The nib is engraved with “Super Quality” and I would believe it. The nib writes true to size for a Japanese fine. It writes wonderfully, smoothly and maybe a little dry, which is great for cheap paper.
Franz: Writing with both nibs gave me almost the same smooth with a little bit of feedback experience. This is not a generalization, but my Pilot nib experience so far has been quite satisfying as they very well out of the box. And I’ve owned a couple Pilot 78G pens, Metropolitans, Vanishing Points, a Plumix, and a Stargazer.
As a preference, the medium nib was more to my liking because of the wider line and wetter ink flow.
Write It Up
(20-minute writing experience)
Katherine: The Prera is a tiny bit narrower and smaller than my “perfect” pen for long writing experiences. (Maybe I should just remember to cap it…). But I have no issues or discomfort at all after using this pen to draw or journal for an extended period. A very versatile size!
Pam: I prefer the Prera over the Metropolitan for one simple, albeit, major reason: no step! The “iron fist” grip that I typically use on all my F and EF pens falls right around the section and right at the step (where the barrel and section meet) of the Metropolitan, which can lead to discomfort. The Prera eliminates that issue altogether! It’s a subtle and smooth transition from section to body on the Prera, making it one of the most comfortable pens for me to use for prolonged periods of time.
Franz: I wrote with this pen posted and it was comfortable initially. After about ten minutes, my hand got a bit fatigued. I think this was due to the thin diameter of the section/barrel combined with its very lightweight. It probably wouldn’t be my journal pen in the near future but it was good to try it out.
Katherine: This pen is a great EDC! Not too expensive that I’d be very sad if I lost it, but still a fun pen that makes me enjoy writing. I’ve used this pen for a couple weeks with my A5-sized work notebook, and it secures the Hobonichi-style cover loops well, and is always ready to go quickly. My one caveat with this pen as an EDC instrument is that it seems to leak into the cap more than other pens do when I fly with it. Not generally an issue, but worth noting. (Interestingly the other pen that leads my “leaks on flights” category is the Metro, which probably has a very similar, if not the same feed)
Pam: It’s a white pen that is consistently in my white coat. The clip isn’t the strongest, but enough to be clipped in my Hobonichi Weeks PVC cover on cover pen loop. It’s also a good size for the Midori leather pen loop. I had tried to clip the pen with my hobonichi, but with all the jostling in my backpack, I had to dig for the pen by the time I got home.
Franz: Yes. The Pilot Prera is actually a nice pen to use on the daily. The snap cap, clip, and nib makes it a winner for me. I used the Prera at work for two days (once with Pam’s and the other with Katherine’s) and I found that it was a pen I reached for in my shirt pocket for the majority of both days. It may not be my go-to journal pen but it’s actually a very nice quick notes and signature work pen.
Final Grip-ping Impressions
Katherine: The Prera is a solid pen, and I enjoy owning and using mine. However, it’s not a pen that brings me great joy to own or the pen I pull out when I just want to “play” with pens and ink. I’d recommend it for anyone looking for a solid pen for daily use or a beginner with a larger budget.
Pam: I love the Pilot Prera but I can’t really say why. It’s a mysterious alchemy that the pen just possesses and it just “ticks all the boxes” from size, slip cap, portability, aesthetics and great writing experience.
The Pilot Prera is often overlooked as a great “beginner pen.” Maybe this is due to a higher price point, approximately $25-35, in comparison to the Pilot Metropolitan, Lamy Safari and more recently the TWSBI Eco. However, for me, the Pilot Prera is more comfortable than the Pilot Metropolitan and the Lamy Safari due to the smooth section and a better length for me than the TWSBI Eco.
Lastly, the nib on the Pilot Prera is worth every penny. It’s a true Japanese fine nib and writes wonderfully. Even better, the nibs for the Pilot Penmanship, Plumix, Kakuno and Metropolitan are all interchangeable with the Pilot Prera. This isn’t just a great beginner pen, it’s a pen feels like an upgrade to other beginner pens.
Franz: Using the two pens finally made me appreciate the Pilot Prera for what it had to offer. I’ve been aware of the Prera for a couple years now but never really paid attention. I would encourage a person with a small to medium hand size to get the Prera. It is quite an inexpensive pen for beginners or intermediate users. As for people with large hands, try it out first and see if it’s comfortable.
Between the two pens, I liked Katherine’s more (sorry Pam). Mainly because the nib in it was a medium and it won me over. Secondly, Katherine’s was the Oeste Kingfisher Blue and well, it’s blue! ‘Coz #ilovebluepens!
Thanks for reading our thoughts on the Pilot Prera and our blog!
My concern about buying from Rakuten is that I may accidentally purchase a fake!
Hmm.. Agree with Frank about the discomfort due to the thinner section and barrel diameter… I prefer wider sections and heft in fountain pens … I finallygave my Preras to my daughters who found them just fine.. So all’s well again…
That Kingfisher blue Prera is my grail pen! If you ever want to sell it, please contact me!
Hi! I am so happy to have found your website.
I have a small (but growing) pen collection. So far, the Prera has been hands down my favorite pen. I have a lovely VP and an Edison pen that are very nice for journaling. But as a EDC, I haven’t found anything close to the Prera. Since we seem to have very similar tastes, Pam, can you recommend some $50 – $150 pens I should try?
Hi Claire! I still love the Prera but I find that a “upgraded” Prera is the Sailor Progear Slim. The shape is similar, there are many colors to choose from, and the nib is unbeatable. I prefer the EF nib for the 14k nib on the Slim model. It is slightly over budget at the $156 mark brand new. For such a investment, I recommend trying out the pen out first. If you like, feel free to send me an email or Facebook message and I will be happy to send you a Sailor to borrow first hand. I am curious to know what you think of it!