I like this Pilot Prera.

It’s no secret I like the Pilot Pens. Their stuff just kinda hits with me. I use a lot of Pilots, they’re probably the best represented brand in my kinda sprawling quiver.

An often overlooked and consistently underrated Pilot is the Prera. It’s not an elegant gold nibbed pen that will have the other C-suite execs talking jealously behind your back. It’s got a steel Super Quality nib and the associated feed, which makes it eligible for nib swaps with a whole mess of pilots, from the Metro to the Plumix to the Kakuno, and so forth.

I’m just going to come out and say the Prera is the Honda Civic of fountain pens. It’s dependable, well-engineered and satisfying enough to use; it’s perfect for an everyday driver. It’s got a lot of things going for it. Let’s talk about it.

Before we go too far, let’s address the issue with this pen. The US market Preras are all demonstrator-style with candy colored accents and they’re priced at over $50 Those are not the Preras I’m about. For that money I’d probably push people toward a TWSBI 5X0 with a piston in it and a wider selection of nibs.

My go-to Prera is brown, comes from Japan (via JetPens,) and costs about $30. I like this pen in this color at this price, so much I’ve bought it twice (the first one wandered off somehow.)

2 things about this lil guy make me especially happy. If you take a look at the clip, you’ll see it runs all the way up the cap and ends right at the finial, which is a flat chrome disc. When you pocket the pen, nothing is visible above the clip. I like that, it’s a sleek look.

The second big winning feature of the Prera is the engineering of the slip cap. It snaps on gently, and the feel of the cap slide/snapping into place reminds me of closing the dor on a luxury car. It’s reassuring and firm, with just a hint of *snik* when it’s closed.

The size of the Prera is a bit deceiving. It’s another one of those small closed, usable open, perfect posted pens Overall it’s quite lightweight, with a pleasant and not overbearing backweightedness when it’s posted.

Finally, the Prera is maybe the perfect shirt collar pen. Light and compact as it is, it can ride along all day clipped to the collar of my T shirt. I can click it out of the cap to make a quick note or nab the cap and post it if the spirit moves. The only pens that come close are thin-walled aluminum pull-cap pens like the Lamy Al Star or a knockoff thereof

And speaking of knockoffs, there is a Wing Sung Prera knockoff out there, and it’s not terrible. It’s longer overall than the real deal: longer cap, longer clip, longer section, longer barrel. The capping-uncapping action is pretty good, but not near as good as the original.

This is why I recommend a Japanese import Prera in a solid color. If your only choice is the demo/fruity colored Prera for over $50, the knockoff becomes a bit more attractive.

When Irecommend this pen, you can rest assured that it’s one I’ve bought more than once, and I use it quite a lot. I’d rate it high for anyone who doesn’t use exclusively big heavy pens.

I like:

  • The design
  • The solid colors
  • The snickkety cap action
  • The all-the-way-up clip

I don’t care for:

  • The US color availability
  • The domestic price

Special out of the box: the cap action sure is

Bang for the buck: Better if you get it imported

Looks like: a nice lil pen

Writes Like: lots of other Pilots I have loved


  1. Linda Coble on March 1, 2019 at 10:49 pm

    I think that you are a very smart man. If only you could answer all final jeopardy questions correctly!

    • Tim Hofmann on March 2, 2019 at 7:55 am

      thanks Mom. nobody’s perfect!

  2. A. L. on October 7, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    My Prera, a solid blue colored model, is my absolute favorite pen. It was a birthday present from my wife, for one, but the size and weight is perfect for me, and I think I hit a jackpot on the nib because it’s the best writing nib I’ve ever used. I agree with you that the demonstrator models don’t look nearly as good as the opaque, and with the brilliance of the cap.

Whaddya think?