Sunday, June 26, 2016

My Problem Pilot Prera

by Tony Thomas

I bought a Pilot Prera demonstrator fountain pen three months ago.

I've always liked Pilot pens and I thought it was time to try one of their mid-priced offerings. The pen itself is great and sports an italic nib. It is a great writer and it's up to the quality that I have come to expect from Pilot--except for one small thing. Ink tends to collect in the cap and finds its way into the space between the opaque cap liner and the cap.

Brian Goulet of The Goulet Pen Co. documented this flaw and found an ingenious way to remove the cap liner using a common tool. You can watch the video here:

I tried his method and discovered that, on my pen, the cap liner was attached very securely and would not budge. I contacted Jet Pens (the dealer I bought it from) and they suggested I contact Pilot directly since it was a warranty issue.

I e-mailed Pilot customer service and the rep I dealt with (Holly) was very nice. She told me to send the pen back to them and they would repair it under warranty. The whole process took about three weeks from the time I mailed it to the time I received it back. From what I was told, they replaced the cap.

Fast forward a few months. It happened again. More ink under the cap. Not nearly as bad as the first time, but it still detracts from the pen’s appearance. And, again, the cap liner was tight and would not budge. I contacted Holly at Pilot again and told her that is definitely a design flaw and is something that Pilot needs to address. She forwarded my e-mail to her repair department.

I received this response:

“This is not a defect. If ink is getting under the cap then most likely there is too much ink pushed out from the converter and is on the nib neck when he puts the cap on or possibly he is not cleaning off the nib neck after filling the converter and before putting the cap on. Unless the nib is leaking so bad that it fills the cap and ink goes past the sleeve there really is no reason why ink would get under the sleeve. He should make sure there is no ink on the nib neck and that he is not over filling it before he puts the cap on.”

What? Pilot is blaming me for what is clearly a documented design flaw?

Needless to say, I am not happy with their response. I did receive an apology from Holly for what I consider an insulting response. She told me that I could send the pen in again for repair, but I already paid for postage to send it back once and I don’t want to do it again.

The moral of this story is to steer clear of the Pilot Prera demonstrator. Warranty repair isn’t the solution to this issue. The pen design needs to be be revisited. Caveat emptor!

Update: Received this message from Pilot USA via Twitter on 6/28: "We want to apologize for your negative experience. We've recently heard from other users of the Prera as well, and the issue with the leaking caps has been referred to our parent company in Japan. We wanted to let you know that we have addressed the problem and hope to have updates and design changes soon."

Ink under the cap liner again at the bottom


  1. Interesting - I actually have two Prera and have not had that issue in the couple of years that I have had them. And one of them has, pretty much, been inked up non-stop (the last 6 months or so with J Herbin Emerald of Chivor). I have heard similar complaints about almost every demonstrator pen with a cap liner at some point though. Is the ink getting in when you are cleaning? Is it loose in a bag/pocket and moving around where the nib points down at times? Just curious when you are seeing the ink leak into the liner. That said, my biggest issue with the Pilot Prera is the cost. It is way too expensive for what is just a Pilot Metro nib in a clear plastic body. I would not have bought the ones I have if they were not half-price at the time. At that price I think they are worth it. At full price, not so much.

  2. Another issue with all three of my Preras (both demonstrator and non models) I wish Pilot would address is that when I pull the cap off quickly, I sometimes get a fine spray of ink. For the longest time I couldn't figure out where all the tiny dots of red ink on my desk and carpet were coming from, then one day I actually saw it coming from the nib when I pulled the cap off. Otherwise I love the Preras.

  3. Pilot also told me it was my fault and the cap wasn't defective when I sent it back. They would repair it but it was more than what I paid for the pen. I really just need s new cap. Anyone know where I can get a cap ? Thanks