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.

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.

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.

None that I could discern.

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

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

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


  1. You might like Montblanc Violet or Pelikan Violet, two purples I have used for years and found satisfying. Just like their fountain pens, Montblanc make high quality ink, and the Pelikan Violet is one of those that the mixers got just right.

  2. Thanks! I'll put those on my list.

  3. Christine Witt (Brush Dance)May 18, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    It almost looks like it's more of a blue-purple than a true-purple. I've been using Pelikan Edelstein in Avanturine this week - loving it.

  4. Well, it's very hard for me to photograph inks accurately, especially purple ones. Besides, with the color corrections and difference in monitor settings it's almost a given that you will see something different than what I see.

    Personally I don't see any blue in it, but eyes are also different so maybe you are right. One thing's certain, the color isn't very saturated.

  5. Try Noodler's Purple Martin (if you haven't already). It's still my favorite purple ink

  6. I haven't tried it yet but thanks for the tip!

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  8. Thank you for the review. I am looking for a purple that is satisfying.

  9. Next on my list... ; ) thanks a lot!

  10. Thank you this is great.

  11. Diamine Imperial Purple is great I think. Deep and saturated colour, good flow in different pens.