The Pilot Prera is a bit of a budget fountain pen celebrity and I finally broke down and bought one. Its a Japanese steel nib pen with a cartridge filling system though there’s a cartridge converter available for it as well. Don’t tease, I had to have the lime green one.
The Japanese nib sizes are finer than the American and European sizing so I got a F, not the EF. I wanted a pen that would be finer than the other fountain pens I have but not a needle.
Straight out of the box, I found the Prera very smooth on the papers I tried. It’s a very fine writer but still smooth and easy to use. It seems a little dry right now but I’m not sure if its because its so fine or if its the ink cartridge that shipped with the pen. It makes it a good pen for lightweight papers like Moleskines and your average office copy paper.
I thought it might help to compare it to other pens that might be more familiar like a Uni Jetstream, a Kaweco Classic EF, the Pilot 78g and a Lamy Al-Star (same nibs as a Safari or Studio).
Compared to a Jetstream, the Prera is a bit thicker line and it is a bit “stickier” on paper. The Prera is definitely pricier but I thought it would help to compare the fountain pen to a common disposable pen.
The 78g is very comparable to the Prera and considerably its much cheaper. If you can find a 78g, its a good alternative as it seems to be a very similar nib. However, the 78g has a squeeze filler only while the Prera has a cartridge option or cartridge converter (this might not be entirely accurate, I’ve been researching the 78g but I’ve found conflicting information as to whether the squeeze-filler can be replaced with a cartridge or standard converter. Does anyone have experience switching out the 78g filler?). In the past I’ve had a little bit of an issue with the 78g leaking a bit so I’m hoping that the Prera is less prone to the mess.
Against the Kaweco, its a tie in terms of line quality though the Prera is a bit heavier and larger. I know that the added weight and length would be a plus for some people. I think the Kawecos are perfect pocket/EDC pens and the Prera is just slightly bigger.
Against the Lamy, its no contest. I find the Lamy scratchy and dry even after several years of use. For a left-handed overwriter, the Lamy prescribed grip is awkward and uncomfortable. Even with its wider nib, the Lamy is not as nice a writer as the Prera with only a couple days use.
Here are pens for size comparison: Kaweco Classic (Guilloch 1930 version), Pilot Prera, Pilot 78g, Lamy Studio, Lamy Al-Star, Sailor Candy.
When actually put on the scale, the Pilot Prera is just three grams heavier than the 78g, Kaweco Sport Classic and the Sailor Candy but its considerably lighter than the Lamys. (All pens were weighed with cartridge/ink filled and included.)
After several days of use, I am liking the Prera’s snap cap for easy-on, easy-off capping in meetings and throughout my average workday. The Prera does not seem to suffer from dry-starts during the day the way my Kawecos sometimes do. And overall, the larger body and silver details make this look like a nice fountain pen. While I love the stealthy fountain pen look of the Kaweco, the Prera looks and feels more like a traditional fountain pen.
I’ll follow-up this review in a couple weeks with more details after I’ve put a few more miles and a couple of different inks through the Prera.
Did I forget to mention anything?
Pilot Prera is available through JetPens for $49.50.
(This pen was tested on the Miquelrius medium flexible 300 grid paper book purchased from B+N.)