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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
12 comments / Add your comment below
I have several Preras and they are definitely my favorites. They are lightweight and don’t tire my hand out when I’m writing long letters. They write smoothly every time and I rarely have trouble getting them going, even if they’ve been sitting unused for a while. I bought mine from Jetpens because of the price, and I hope they will come out with some new colors. I also like the fact that the nibs are interchangeable with the Plumix and Metros, and other Pilot pens, I’m sure, but those are the only ones I have. I do love a fine nib, but I prefer the medium in the Pilot pens. I just wish they would sell the nibs individually – I like to swap out the italic nib on the Plumix now and then for a different line width.
Ana’s original review of the lime green pilot metropolitan was the reason I got into fountain pens! Despite having several “higher end” pens my little blue Prera is still almost always inked.
When I got back into FPs a few years ago, the Prera was my “gateway” pen. At that time it was $50 at JetPens. I later learned that it’s very easy to find on Amazon for around $25, so I have almost every color there is. It is a wonderful pen!! BTW, there are two colors not mentioned for the solid color ones: Slate Blue and White, that are available. Thanks for your review!
Thanks for picking up the ones I missed! I was just going from what I could find on the web. Clearly I missed a few.
While I definitely agree the Prera is overpriced (it should probably cost no more than $30), you didn’t mention one of the best parts of the pen: the snap cap. It’s easily one of the best out there.
Thanks for your honesty over the price of this pen. I have limited money to spend on items like this and I appreciate finding the lowest price. And I like my Pilot Metropolitan too.
I have a Prera in opaque ivory and it’s lovely, except that the medium nib is just too fine for me in the long haul, and that’s the broadest nib they had.
I bought a couple of Preras recently to use as dedicated pens for potentially staining inks like Noodler’s Baystate Blue and Kung te Cheng. These unpretentious steel nibs write as smoothly as the gold ones on my expensive Pilots and Namikis, and without any need for adjustment. I felt at home right away. I agree that JetPens has the price about right. Thanks for a nice review.
I shopped around and found those stark ranges of prices when I bought my Prera demonstrator. I found one for $33 or so with the M calligraphy nib.
I was very pleasantly surprised with how well the pen wrote. It has the line variation I love. I got the light blue accents. It’s a nice looking pen, but as others noted a price in the low $30s is where this pen should be.
I’ve noticed that the pen retailers who usually sell towards the upper market (e.g. white collar, executive crowd) tend to up mark their prices $10-30 more per item. It’s their right to do so but it’s a bit perplexing as to how much stock they’re moving if other reputable US pen stores sell them for significantly less 「(°ヘ°)
The $70 price is Pilot USA’s list price for the Prera. I’m pretty sure that JetPens brings pens over from Japan, where they are lower-priced (and more options are available – that’s why they now have the Custom Heritage 912 with the Posting Nib) than what Pilot USA offers for the US Market. This is what many industries call “grey market”. It’s legal, but it doesn’t mean that the US distributor is happy about it. It also means that you’re out of luck with warranty issues…
I have two Preras – a Fine (one of my early pen acquisitions) and a Calligraphy Medium. Honestly, they may be my least favorite Pilots. They’re not bad, but my others are just so much better…