Showing posts with label Waterman ink. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Waterman ink. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Waterman Florida Blue ink review

I don't often review full ink bottles anymore, but when I do, it's mostly because Jetpens were so kind to send me one. Today's review is for Waterman Florida Blue, an ink that is somewhat extinct, which is probably another reason why there's no giveaway this time. Jetpens told me that the only thing that has actually changed is the name, box and bottle graphics, while the ink formula remains the same. The new version is, thus, Waterman Serenity Blue. Now between you and me, I think I prefer the old graphics to the new.

Waterman Blue ink bottle

Before I start the review, let me just plug my Twitter feed shamelessly, yet again: @Peninkcillin. I can assure you that I don't tweet incessantly and when I do it's pen/ink related.

If you haven't seen this post, and you are interested in future ink reviews, I highly recommend you take a look: Ink sample survey. Voting has already been successful but if you haven't expressed your opinion on what ink you would like to see reviewed next, it's not too late.

Moving on to the subject my review, I loaded it up in my Kaweco Sport Classic fountain pen, with a simple eyedropper conversion. I've been using it daily for the past 2-3 weeks, at work.

Bottle and pricing
While this ink doesn't go by Florida Blue anymore, the new version, Serenity Blue, costs $8.64 for a 50 ml / 1.7 oz bottle, or $0.17 per milliliter. Very affordable.

Color and saturation
Waterman Florida Blue is fairly highly saturated though not to the extreme. I have compared it side-by-side with 3 other blue inks which I have tested in the past, which are similar: J Herbin 1670 Anniversary Bleu Ocean, Diamine Majestic Blue, and Private Reserve Electric DC Blue.

Waterman Blue 4-ink comparo

It is a neutrally bright ink, leaning towards the cheerful side, with slight hints of violet.

Ironically, Florida Blue seems to be most similar to my last review, J Herbin 1670 Bleu Ocean. Out of the two, based only on color, I would pick Florida Blue. However, of all four I would pick Diamine Majestic Blue.

Shading
It's stablemate, Havana Brown, had some great shading, so I wasn't surprised to see that Florida Blue also shades, though not as intense.

Feathering
I didn't see any.

Bleedthrough
It doesn't bleed as much as you would think but there is some ghosting on cheap photocopy paper. All within parameters.

Flow, lubrication, and smoothness
I am very happy with Florida Blue's flow and smoothness. The pen starts up wet every time and it writes very smoothly. It's certainly not the wettest or smoothest ink I've encountered but it's up there with some of the best.

Drying time
As with many other inks, drying times vary depending on the quality of the paper. It dries fast on cheap paper and much slower on high-quality, glossy paper.

Smearing when dry
None.

Water resistance
Water resistance certainly isn't in the books for Waterman Florida Blue. 1 minute exposure under running water wiped out most of it.

Conclusion
While this isn't the best Waterman ink, or even the best blue ink I've tested, I would definitely consider Florida Blue (or rather Serenity Blue) if I were looking for a classic, safe blue ink. It is middle of the pack but the wet flow and smoothness, as well as the price, make it stand out.

Waterman Blue ink bottle

Here are the two samples on photocopy and Rhodia 80g, respectively.

Waterman Blue on photocopy

Waterman Blue on Rhodia

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Waterman Purple ink review

For my second Waterman ink, after Waterman Havana Brown, I tested their Purple ink, which is now called Tender Purple. Tender, perhaps, because that's the shade of a particularly nasty bruise? Maybe. I bought a sample of this ink and tested it for two weeks (that's about how long a typical 2ml sample lasts me) in my trusty Pilot Varsity. To be honest, I was expecting more of this ink. I am slightly disappointed for some of the reasons detailed below.

Bottle
Waterman bottles hold 50ml (1.7oz) and cost $10 or $0.20 per milliliter. Well, it seems that along with the re-branding, Waterman also increased the price of their inks from what used to be $0.17 / ml. Either that or retailers are selling it for more.

Color and saturation
Waterman Purple's color can be best described as "pansy". It's not very saturated and depending on the paper, it can even look dull sometimes. It just doesn't have the punch I was expecting. On copy paper it tends to look better because more of it gets absorbed into the paper but not so much on Rhodia.

Shading
To tell the truth, I was hoping for some excellent shading like Havana has. Unfortunately, Waterman Purple seems to belong to a different family because there isn't much shading to speak of. There is some, but it's very faint, influenced perhaps by the blandness of the ink. From the samples you can see that the q-tip swabs do show some nice shading but unfortunately we don't normally write with q-tips. In a normal fountain pen I'm afraid you won't see much of that shading.

Feathering
None that I could discern.

Bleedthrough
There isn't much bleedthrough and certainly not on more expensive paper like the Rhodia 80g. On copy paper there's some slight ghosting depending on how hard you press with the nib.

Flow and lubrication
Waterman Purple felt a little bit dry. Not much, but it just didn't glide across the paper like Havana.

Drying time
Drying times were very good. On Rhodia it took 10-15 seconds to dry but on photocopy paper the ink was smudge-free in 5-10 seconds. That's not unexpected considering the average saturation and slight dryness.

Smearing when dry
None.

Water resistance
This is not a water resistant ink. Holding the sample for a minute under running water washed most of the ink off.

Conclusion
I was expecting more of Waterman Purple. I hoped for some interesting shading and more saturation. I also hoped for better flow. Unfortunately this ink left me unsatisfied. I am sure there are better purple inks out there and if you like a more vibrant color I can always recommend Noodler's North African Violet which is really beautiful but has the disadvantage of being tough to clean, not to mention that it can stain a pen real bad. I will keep looking for the perfect purple ink but in the meantime have a look at the two samples, on copy and Rhodia 80g paper, respectively.

Waterman Purple photocopy

Waterman Purple Rhodia 80g

Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 ink of the year

Have you read my 2011 fountain pen of the year article? In that case, a matching, 2011 ink of the year article was to be expected.

The situation is more complicated with inks because there are so many good ones out there and I have reviewed more inks than pens so you might think it's harder to pick a favorite ink. However, I have made up my mind and it wasn't too hard. Now, please remember that these are purely my personal preferences. Yours will vary (guaranteed).

Without further ado, the winner, and 2011 ink of the year, is... Waterman Havana Brown.

Waterman Havana Brown

This is the only Waterman ink I have tried so far but it was love at second sight. I didn't like it immediately but it grew on me quickly. I love how it flows in my TWSBI Diamond 530 and it has some enchanting shading. It tends a bit toward red rather than black but that gives it character and flavor.

Just look at it on Rhodia 80g paper. I this instance I used it in the Kaweco Sport Classic. I used broad nibs in both the Kaweco and TWSBI but it's a shame to use anything less with this ink.

Waterman Havana Brown Rhodia 80g

Waterman Havana is very well behaved, with no bleedthrough, feathering or smearing after it dries. It also dries fairly quickly.

The only thing that would have made this the perfect ink is the lack of water resistance. Yes, I have a thing for waterproof inks but not everyone feels the same. I would have loved to use it for my personal diary but I made a pledge to only use a water- or bulletproof ink in it so I can't use it there.

For me, Waterman Havana Brown has been the most fun-to-use ink in 2011. It you haven't tried it yet, you owe it to yourself to grab a sample. As for me, I hope to test other Waterman inks in 2012.


There's a second ink that I would like to mention. Once again, I bought a full bottle of it and the bottle itself played no small part in convincing me to spend extra on it, as opposed to buying a much cheaper sample. The ink in question is J Herbin 1670 Anniversary Rouge Hematite.

J Herbin 1670 Anniversary ink bottle

The bottle is a small piece of art and since this ink was supposed to be a limited edition, I thought I would snag one before it disappeared from the market. Despite this, J Herbin 1670 is still being produced, a year later.

Never mind all that. This red ink is exquisite. It has the most amazing shading ever! Imagine dark crimson with shades of gold.

J Herbin 1670 Anniversary ink sample

Sadly, I can't use this ink too often. I'm not an artist but sometimes I like to try my hand at some calligraphy with a flex pen or a Pilot Parallel. For those pens, this ink will work wonders because the line variation will allow the shading to reveal itself.

J Herbin Rouge Hematite is expensive. But it could be worth it to you. Even if not, the beautiful bottle will look amazing on your shelf and it's a great conversation piece.


That's about it for 2011. I have had fun with several interesting inks but for 2012 I have many more inks to test, especially since I won't be buying new fountain pens (hopefully). Here's to the future! What was your favorite ink in 2011?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Waterman Havana Brown ink review

Havana Brown is the first ink under the Waterman brand that I have tested. Though the brand name might suggest otherwise, apparently Waterman is a French company. Also, on the bottle and box there is no mention of "Havana Brown" per se, just Encre Havane and Havana Ink.

I was so intrigued by this ink (for whatever reason) that I bought a full bottle, based only on what I read in a couple of reviews. I needed a more "playful" brown than my Noodler's Polar Brown and this seemed to fit the bill. In retrospect, I don't regret buying an entire bottle at all. This ink really is a lot of fun. Read on to hear why, but before you do, please bear in mind that what I stated in my writing sample is no longer 100% true. Since then, I've had the chance to play some more with this ink, in a couple more pens, and I have become more acquainted with its characteristics.

Bottle
Waterman has a fairly limited range of bottled inks, about 6-7 of them. I paid $8.64 for my 50ml/1.7oz bottle which gives a price per milliliter of $0.17. Not bad at all. Certainly comparable to Noodler's or Diamine.

Waterman Havana Brown


Color and saturation
Havana Brown is fairly saturated and to me that's a good thing. I like bold, saturated inks. The color is very interesting. Here I will reference Noodler's Polar Brown again because it's the only other brown ink that I have tested which comes close to this one. Well, I have also tested Noodler's Burma Road Brown but that one is an entirely different beast.

If you think of the color "brown" as a mixture of red and black, Polar Brown comes out as more earthy, with a lot more black in it. It is thicker and darker. Havana Brown, on the other hand, shows more red and even tends a bit towards burgundy, thus being lighter in contrast.

Shading
I wrote my first test with my Kaweco Sport Classic with a broad nib but I was a bit misled when I mentioned that there's only a little bit of shading in Havana Brown. Subsequently I have tested this ink some more in my TWSBI Diamond 530 to which I fitted a broad nib, as well as my new mystery pen which is in fact a Jinhao X750, also with a broad nib. It turns out that Waterman Havana Brown only got better the more I used it. The first time I used it in my Kaweco it flowed a bit dry but that was the pen's fault because the ink hadn't saturated the feed completely and it needed some time to get going. I found that the nib needs to flow wet in order for the beautiful shading to make an appearance.

Truth be told, I haven't tried it with a medium or fine nib but I think it would be a shame not to use this ink in a broader nib. The shading is really nice, with a burgundy base and darker brown shadows. If you look at the large q-tip swabs I did on Rhodia paper, you'll see what I mean.

Feathering
There has been no feathering so far, even on the cheap photocopy paper I tested. The dip pen did produce some but that's understandable considering the amount of ink which oversaturates that low-quality paper.

Bleedthrough
The situation regarding bleedthrough is just as clear-cut: none whatsoever with a regular fountain pen, even with a broad nib. Once again, the dip pen breaks through the flimsy barrier of cheap paper but that's only to be expected. You ain't gonna use a dip pen in day-to-day writing anyway.

Flow and lubrication
It's hard to judge an ink's ability to flow, objectively. It depends on many factors, such as fountain pen used, nib size, filling system and so on. What amazed me is how well this ink flowed in my TWSBI Diamond 530.

Here's the premise. I used Polar Brown in the TWSBI since I first got it, but after I switched from an EF to a B nib, there were flow issues. Perhaps Polar Brown is actually dry flowing with a broad nib. Or maybe the nib itself has some issues. Either way, I decided to switch to Havana Brown, just for fun. What a difference it made! This ink flows incredibly well in the TWSBI. Now I can enjoy that bold nib to its full potential.

I have also used it a little in the new Jinhao X750 where it flowed well and gave a nice, wet line. My impression so far is that Waterman Havana Brown is far from dry, and in fact likes to flow really well even in pens with broad nibs.

Lubrication is even harder to define. I have tried this ink in a cartridge, a piston and a converter. There were no issues. 'Nuff said.

Drying time
For such a well-flowing ink, Waterman Havana Brown dries surprisingly quick, even on the more expensive Rhodia 80g paper. Just make sure you don't rub it before it dries completely.

Smearing when dry
None!

Water resistance
I prefer my inks to be water resistant or, even better, bulletproof. Unfortunately, Waterman Havana Brown is neither, but then again, it isn't intended to be. It is, in fact, quite averse to water, as you can see from my testing sample. Within 10 seconds under running water this ink has almost completely washed off. That makes me a little bit sad because I would have loved to use this ink for more permanent writings. But hey, I guess you can't have it all. To be on the safe side, don't leave your notebooks penned with Havana Brown out in the rain - or don't spill any liquids on them.

As a side-effect, notice the traces of red left behind from the washed-off ink.

Conclusion
Waterman Havana Brown is one of those inks that grows on you with use. I found it both playful and serious. The nice shading gives it reddish as well as dark brown hues but it can still hold its own in a business setting (in my humble opinion) thanks to its dark tones. It likes to flow well in a fountain pen and it won't show through the paper, nor will it feather. While drying time is short, it does suffer from that one little flaw which is a complete lack of water resistance. If you don't need a water resistant ink and you like its other features, I highly recommend Waterman Havana Brown.

Following are two samples written on photopy paper and Rhodia 80g.

Waterman Havana Brown photocopier paper


Waterman Havana Brown Rhodia 80g

Friday, May 13, 2011

3rd Jetpens haul

For my 3rd Jetpens order I limited myself to the bare minimum in order to qualify for free shipping. What you see pictured here is not the full order because I also bought a couple of liquid ink pens for my wife but those are not the subject of this blog so I left them out from the photo.

3rd Jetpens haul

The two main items that I'm rather excited about are: a bottle of Waterman Havana Brown ink and a Kaweco Sport Classic clear demonstrator fountain pen with B (bold) nib.

I had heard good things about this particular ink and I wanted to get a whole bottle for myself. As for the Kaweco pen, the bold nibs had been out of stock for some time and I kept looking out for them and when they became available I placed my order.

I can already say that I'm impressed with this inexpensive fountain pen but an in-depth review is forthcoming so stay tuned for that.

One final word: I think that Jetpens' minimum $25 per order for free shipping is kick ass!