Fountain Pen Review: Pilot Prera

Review by Laura Cameron

In my quest to review more entry level fountain pens, I decided that next up on the review docket should be the Pilot Prera ($56 via Pen Chalet).

The Pilot Prera is a clear demonstrator pen that comes with a variety of color accents.  I selected Pink, but models are available in Red, Light Blue, Dark Blue, Black, Light Green and Orange.  The Prera is also available in solid color bodies of White, Vivid Pink, Lime, Royal Blue, Soft Blue and Yellow.

The body of the Prera is clear acrylic, with white detailing including the Prera logo.  As I mentioned, the finial and end cap on the pen are available in transparent colored acrylic, and the remaining details (clips, rings) are chrome.
Pilot Prera

The Prera comes with a converter, as well as a few cartridges.  It also has a steel nib in Fine or Medium.  I selected Fine.

Pilot Prera

The Prera is a lightweight pen, coming in at a weight of 14g.

The Prera has a snap cap and the cap is postable. It is also rather short – a maximum of 5.3″ with the cap posted, and 4.9″ from body to nib tip.

In comparison to other pens, it is probably closest in size to the Sailor Pro-Gear Slim, and a decent amount shorter than Pilot’s other entry level model, the Pilot Metropolitan Pop.

Pilot Prera
Left to right: Pilot Prera, Sailor Pro-Gear Slim Cosmos, Pilot Metropolitan Pop, TWSBI Eco

Pilot Prera

Overall, I enjoyed testing the Prera. It wrote smoothly from the first fill. The nib was quite fine; it’s a Japanese nib so it is definitely finer than a Western fine nib. The pen was lightweight and the size is such that I think it would be a great every day carry pen. I do have to say that in terms of feel in my hand, I think I have a slight preference for the Pilot Metropolitan Pop, both because it is slightly longer and because the aluminum body is slightly weightier. I don’t usually post my pens, but I found the Prera too short and slightly awkward to use without posting the cap.

My biggest quandary in my review of the Pilot Prera is the price.  The Pilot Prera pictured was generously sent to the Desk by Pen Chalet for the purposes of a review.  Pen Chalet lists the retail price of the Prera as $70, and the sale price as $56.  So I was entirely flummoxed when I googled the Pilot Prera and found it for sale at JetPens for $38.  I make it a habit to support a variety of retailers, particularly those who support The Well-Appointed Desk, and I usually don’t quibble over a few dollars, but the difference between $70 and $38 is pretty stark, and frankly even the difference between $56 and $38 would buy me an additional Pilot Metropolitan Pop.  I bring up these prices because I have to say that for $38 I think the Prera is a neat little pen that I would encourage people to try. But that I’m not sure I would be as encouraging at $56 or $70 given that I personally like the performance of my Pilot Metropolitan Pop just as much, and I  like the feel better.

Pilot Prera

Laura is a tech editor, podcaster, knitter, spinner and recent pen addict. You can learn more about her knitting and tea adventures on her website, The Corner of Knit & Tea and can find her on Instagram as Fluffykira.

DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by Pen Chalet for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Ink Review: Waterman Tender Purple

Review by Laura Cameron

When I purchased my first Esterbrook at the LA Pen Show, my friend Jessica at the Vintage Pen Shop recommended that I use an established, reliable ink in my new vintage pen.  She strongly recommended Waterman inks, and let me fill my pen up from her bottle of Inspired Blue at the table.

One of the reasons to select an ink like Waterman is that it has excellent performance across a wide variety of pens. While there is nothing that says you can’t use whatever ink you want in whatever pen you want, many people choose to stick with tried and true inks for pens that are older, more difficult to clean or might clog easily.

When I came home and perused my choices, I selected a bottle of Waterman Tender Purple (50ml for $12.00) to add to my collection.

Waterman Tender Purple

The amazing thing about Waterman Tender Purple is that it is an ink that has been around for a while, and it has an incredible sheen that has become so desired these days.

Waterman Tender Purple

Tender Purple is a violet, blue leaning purple that in heavy applications has a bright green sheen.

Waterman Tender Purple

You can’t see the sheen unless you apply the ink fairly heavily; otherwise it writes in a beautiful dark purple. I tested it in my Esterbrook as well as my Pilot Metro Pop (F nib).

Waterman Tender Purple

As it turns out, despite my recent explorations into purples, I don’t have very many purples that look like Tender Purple. I tend to purchase more red purples. So when I went through my ink samples I could only come up with a few that were similar in tone to Tender Purple.

Waterman Tender Purple

As you can see, Faber Castell Cobalt Blue is definitely blue, not violet. J. Herbin Violet Pensee gets closer, albeit much lighter than Tender Purple. I also recently got to try a sample of Robert Oster Viola which is a lovely purple, although again moving towards redder tones.

Waterman Tender Purple

Overall I’m loving this ink and will happily use it in my Esterbrook indefinitely!

Laura is a tech editor, podcaster, knitter, spinner and recent pen addict. You can learn more about her knitting and tea adventures on her website, The Corner of Knit & Tea and can find her on Instagram as Fluffykira.

DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by Pen Chalet for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Link Love: Cases and Places

Link Love: Cases and Places

This week, in Other Interesting Things, we have Cases and Places! Its pen show recaps and pen and notebook cases.




Notebooks & Paper:

Other Interesting Things:

Ink Review: Colorverse Andromeda & Red Shift

Ink Review: Colorverse Andromeda & Red Shift

I admit it. I made you wait for this review. I couldn’t help myself. I was saving these for the end of the the Series One and Two colors (that I currently own — but I’m headed to Little Rock and will be attempting to replenish my stock. I made Lisa promise not to sell me any more ink from LA to LR because I needed to “dry out” for a bit).

So onwards to Colorverse Andromeda #16 and Red Shift #19 ($36 for 2 bottles, 65ml and 15ml of same color ink per package). These are more of the red/magenta/pink inks but in Series Two: Astrophysics line. The previous inks reviewed were from Series One: Spaceward (plus Andromeda — I am getting seriously spacey with my reviews!)

So, here are all the swatches together.  The Colorverse ink colors range from reddish brown to a deep purple. The colors earlier in the range have more shading and the ones later in the range seem to feature more sheen. Red Shift does not, however have much sheen but is a lovely cool red magenta. Andromeda is the sheen queen with a clear golden sheen.

I loaded both Andromeda and Red Shift in color coordinated Jinhao Shark Pens and took them for test drives. They have been in the pens for going on two weeks now for testing purposes and have been performing very well. They have been tossed around on a daily basis in a zip pencil case so they have been upright, upside down and all-around. Occasionally, there have been some hard starting issues but that may have been a result of being upside down for a day or so more than anything or not having the caps screwed down tightly. Overall though, the ink flow has been excellent.

I have been testing all the Colorverse inks in a variety of these shark pens on a range of papers in this same method to get a good sense of daily, long use abuse. So far, the only issues I’ve had is with dry times on some papers with Quasar and Black Hole. They were very specific cases though.

In swatch comparisons, Andromeda falls in between Kobe #41 Sumakikuyu Rose which is a bit lighter but has similar sheen and Colorverse #4 Einstein Ring which is a little darker but does not have any sheen.

Colorverse #19 Red Shift has more inks that are similar to it. Pelikan Edelstein Turmaline is probably the closest and it has some sheen too but it was a color of the year for 2012 so its a bit harder to come by now. Caran d’Ache Divine Pink is a bit lighter but is similarly priced for less volume so you might as well buy the Colorverse ink if that’s what you want. Lights on Ceres #5 is a little more pinky.

Overall, if I haven’t made it abundantly clear by accidentally reviewing it twice, you need to buy Andromeda if you like magenta/purple/pink ink. I do like Red Shift too. So there. My inkpinions have been made as clear as possible.


DISCLAIMER: These items were sent to me by Vanness Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Ask The Desk: Uni Signo Prussian Blue Ink Match, Dry Converters & Rose Gold Ink

Ask The Desk: Uni Signo Prussian Blue Ink Match, Dry Converters & Rose Gold Ink

Jessica asks:

I’m usually a blue-black ink girl, but ever since purchasing a Uni-ball Signo DX in the new color Prussian Blue, I am in love with this bright navy blue color. I’d like to buy some fountain pen ink samples in this color and I’m wondering if you know any inks that are the exact shade of this gel pen. Diamine Prussian Blue bears the same name, but is by no means a color match – too grey. Do you have any suggestions for fountain pen ink color dupes to Uni-ball Signo’s Prussian Blue color? I have no preferences as to price or brand.

Thanks to some help from Elaine over at JetPens, I pulled together a few of my best ink matches for the Uni Signo Prussian Blue gel ink which I reviewed a couple months ago. It’s not exactly a blue black color and it certainly doesn’t match any Prussian Blue inks that I could find.

I did find a few inks that were fairly close matches. Some colors were close hue matches but had a bit more shading or sheen and certainly the width of the nib will influence how close a match it will be to the Uni Signo Prussian Blue.

So in order of how close a match I think the colors are, here are my recommendations:

  1. Pen BBS #41
  2. Bookbinders Snake Ink Blue Racer
  3. Colorverse #12 Crystal Planet (a little bit lighter with a reddish sheen)
  4. Noodlers Ottoman Azure (darker but no sheen)
  5. Sailor Jentle Souten (close color match, red sheen)
  6. Robert Oster Blue Sea (sheen, slightly blacker)
  7. Noodler’s Bad Blue Heron (darker)

Rosemary writes:

I had to clean several fountain pen converters for a set of Jinhao Fountains pens.
After cleaning them, I saw that water had gotten behind the rubber gasket of the convert and WILL NOT COME OUT! I tried a cotton bud, but it wouldn’t fit. I tried shaking the converter as hard as I could hoping to sling the water out to no avail. I tried sitting them up on their open ends on paper toweling hoping to coax the water out for several days and nothing.
Nothing worked!
These converters have no heart! They were immune to a woman’s tears, pleading and her getting down on her knees and begging!
Should I just give up and buy another dozen converters? Or do you have some magical fix up your sleeves?
Thank you for reading and not snickering too hard at my inability to clean converters.

Since the water is above the gasket, it won’t actually infiltrate your ink and dilute it if you refill your converter as is, it won’t effect the new color. Only the aesthetic of your converter. So, unless you have a demonstrator pen and you can see the converter when the pen is in action you can take the “out of sight, out of mind” tactic I employ if I get water above the gasket. However, if this really bothers you, I have a solution.

Thanks to the folks over at Vanness Pens, I found out that you can disassemble the whole converter if you really want to get serious about having a clean and dry converter.

The metal cap can be twisted off which will allow access to the back section of the converter.

Voila! Now all the parts and pieces can be cleaned and dried and then reassembled. No more water behind the gasket. Your converter will now be perfectly clean and free of unsightly condensation.

The last question came in from an undisclosed location. I was asked to find an ink color that was similar to rose gold. Now, there are many tones of rose gold — some more gold, some more pink so this presented an unusual challenge. So, here’s my best guess:

I chose DeAtramentis Pearlescent Whisky Brown Bronze ($14 for 35ml) and Whisky Brown Copper ($14 for 35ml) as the closest matches to Rose Gold.

Do you have a better suggestion?

Ink Review: Colorverse Sea of Tranquility

Ink Review: Colorverse Sea of Tranquility

Colorverse Sea of Tranquility #10 (65ml and 15 ml included for $36) is the only green ink available in the Colorverse universe thus far so it gets its own review. It is a bright kelly green color and not at all what I would have initially thought of when I heard the words “sea of tranquility.” Even when I Google it, the images that come up are either photos of the moon which are decidedly not green or more earthly ocean images which lean more blue and teal.

(For more info on packaging and details about the Colorverse brand, check out my Colorverse overview post.)

So, names aside, the Sea of Trnaquility is a bright crisp green with lots of shading and no evidence of sheen.

I ended up doing two swatches since I stuck the Pantone chip on my first one and updated my swatching techniques by adding a finer, monoweight writing on the second (you may have noticed that on some of the previous posts).

In writing samples, Sea of Tranquility is definitely vivid and the shading helps keep the color bright and lively. It seems oddly appropriate to review this color this week. It’s very shamrock-ery and touch-o-the-Irish. I’m not sure that’s what Colorverse was going for when they created this color but its certainly making me want to dance a jig and drink a Guiness, maybe have a nice meat pie.

I initally assumed, as I always do, that I would have at least half a dozen greens that would exactly the same shade of green as Sea of Tranquility and I’d feel like a giant dolt for buying 80ml more but, alas, it turns out that the other bright green inks in my stash are not quite the same shade. Phew! Most of them — Private Reserve Spearmint and Avacado , Papier Plume Ivy 108, Pelikan Edelstein Aventurine and Kaweco Palm Green are all just a bit darker — some a little blacker, some bluer. Some inks were lighter or more yellow-green like Diamine Meadow.

So while I found the name of Sea of Tranquility to be a bit of a misnomer, the color itself is surprisingly refreshing. Maybe it should have been called Little Green Men?


DISCLAIMER: These items were sent to me by Vanness Pens for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

Just days away: Arkansas Pen Show!

Just days away: Arkansas Pen Show!

Just a quick reminder that The Well-Appointed Desk will be at the Arkansas Pen Show this weekend. Just to whet your appetite The Desk will once again have a table with the steadfast and true Skylab Letterpress and will be selling a variety of goods including:

  • Col-o-ring Ink Testing Books
  • Typewriters
  • Letterpress printed paper goods (fountain pen tested!)
  • Vintage office supplies
  • Vintage pencils
  • Oh, and I’ll be introducing an exciting new product (as Steve Jobs used to say, “There’s just one more thing…..”)

Credit cards and cash will be accepted!

Don’t forget to visit Vanness Pen Shop while you’re in Little Rock. They are hosting an Open House Friday Night, March 16th from 6pm until they kick us out after the Pen Show. Lisa, Mike and the gang are wonderful hosts and the shop is amazing! Brad, Matt and I will be there as well to help out so come celebrate St. Patty’s Day early.