The Pilot Prera kinda makes me wish I had smaller hands

I knew from the moment I opened the box that the Pilot Prera was way too small for me. This is not a big pen. It’s not heavy either. It’s all plastic, and with the included Pilot Black cartridge inserted, there’s not even the extra couple of grams of a converter to help add a bit of substance.


This is a dainty pen.

So, for me it’s not the most comfortable pen. Posting definitely helped, but even so I knew straight away that this would be donated to the smaller-handed people in my family.


The Prera is utterly dwarfed by the Visconti Wall St. Which also happens to be 20x as expensive.

I think it’s a brilliant pen anyway, for three reasons.

It looks great, especially for a budget pen

This slate-grey colour is what attracted me to the Prera in the first place. It’s sober and mature, but stands out against my typical black pens. Despite being a cheap pen, the grey finish here is lustrous and has some depth, and the grey has an interesting stormy blue undertone.


The grey and silver colour scheme I think looks lovely.

The bright silver clip and bands provide a bit of contrast, and the end result is a pen that looks much more expensive than it is. Compare it to the Rotring Newton I reviewed recently and the level of finish — in terms of things like casting lines — is much better.

It writes flawlessly

I’ve been pretty lucky with the pens I’ve bought and reviewed over the years, but I’ve still had my fair share of hard-starting, scratchy, baby-bottomed, dry or sweet-spotted nibs that drove me crazy. Some of those indeed were Pilot nibs.


The unassuming steel nib is in proportion with the rest of the pen.

But the nib on the Prera has none of those faults, as small and simple as it looks. From the first touch to the paper it writes immediately, at any angle, even reversed. It’s smooth, wet enough, and the line width (a Pilot medium, so a western fine) is great for all kinds of writing. There’s not much in the way of personality, but I think of it as a Goldilocks nib — just right.

In case you don’t trust my judgement, here’s a second opinion. I gave the Prera to my long-suffering partner to use, and within seconds of starting writing she remarked on how nice it was. So there you go.


The Prera’s nib is a great performer.


An unusual flat feed doesn’t seem to hurt how the Prera writes.

It’s very easy to use

This is a pen that you pop cartridges in and forget about: it’s a workhorse. It has a slip cap that is completely fuss-free; in fact it has a very positive action and won’t come apart accidentally, yet isn’t stiff. The clip is firm and snag-free. The cap posts deeply and securely. In fact, aside from the diminutive size, the Prera’s only usability issue is the step down from barrel to section, which is a little sharp and can irritate.


This little step can be irritating.

At about 20 quid from Japan, the Prera is inexpensive, and I think a cut above some of the other budget pens that you’re already familiar with. For instance, it feels much more expensive than the Kaweco Perkeo. And if you’re frustrated that many cheap pens (such as the Safari) often seem at least partly aimed at kids who like bright colours, the dignified colour scheme of this Prera will be a relief. It’ll be at home on an office desk and punch above its weight on Instagram.

But only if you have small hands.

For me, the Prera (and the lovely Fermo) have got my hunting for another 823.


A good all-rounder for people with tiny hands.

7 thoughts on “The Pilot Prera kinda makes me wish I had smaller hands

  1. Completely agree. These nibs – whether they’re in a Metropolitan, 78G or even rebranded in a Wing-Sung – are some of the best steel nibs out there. The fines in particular, I think are spectacular, and I much prefer them to the equivalent dry and scratchy 74, 91 or 92s. And putting them in the Prera body just takes them to the next level.


  2. Thanks for the review. The Prera has interested me for a while, but I’ve never managed to figure out why Pilot doesn’t sell it in the UK. I’m pretty sure it used to be quite widely available, but no longer…


  3. I own several Pilot Prera fountain pens and quite enjoy them. I have the clear variety with the colored tips. I love demonstrators and bright, pretty colors! After reading your article, I now appreciate my very small hands. I used to bemoan them because wonderful pens like the Pilot 823 are uncomfortably large for me to write with for any length of time. Your article has helped me appreciate and enjoy having small hands. I love mini fountain pens like the Kaweco Liliput; I own several of those, and have no problem writing with them (posted, of course) comfortably, and for quite a long period of time. A sizable portion of my collection is focused on mini fountain pens. Sometimes it pays to have smaller hands! Thank you for reminding me of that.


  4. Pingback: Time for a new buyer’s guide? Part one: pens under £50 | UK fountain pens

  5. The Wing Sung 3003 is a clone of the Prera, but a full size pen. It takes Pilot’s standard steel nibs, so you can strip one from a Kakuno (assuming you don’t like the Kakuno’s grip) or Pluminix, etc. You should also possibly change the converter – mine had an over-enthusiastic agitator that would create ink sploshes, plus the flow was dry. Now I run it with syringe-filled Pilot cartridges and a Pilot F nib and it writes as well as my vintage Triumph Snorkel or Balance. The moulding quality and resin feel up to Pilot standards too – even the cap action is the same as the Prera’s rather distinctive one. I did have one 3003 with a messed-up finial. But they’re $5, so…

    Anyway, the resulting hybrid pen is as good as any modern pen I’ve tried.

    (The 3003 may well be a licensed Prera clone: the Chinese seem to have done some sort of deal with Pilot to buy technology and nib making machinery…)


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