Ink Showcase: Waterman Mysterious Blue
If I had to name a brand of ink that flies under the radar among the fountain pen community, it would be Waterman. Though their inks offer a variety of pleasing hues at affordable prices, I'm constantly left wondering, "Where's the love for Waterman?" Perhaps this blue can shed some light on that mystery.
Packaging & Bottle
Waterman inks come in a simple paper box featuring a pattern of waves. The bottles themselves have an angular design with attractive chiseled facets on the corners. It's a unique look that's distinctive and instantly recognizable as Waterman's.
The bottle has a simple black plastic cap with grooves that allow the cap to be easily screwed and unscrewed. The opening on the bottle is wide enough to fit even the largest of pens, and filling from this bottle never poses a challenge. The label is vaguely color-matched to the ink and clearly designates the name of the ink in English and French, along with the 50ml volume.
Color & Inspiration
Mysterious Blue is an eye-catching hue, but I'm not sure it's all that "mysterious." It's not as saturated as some other blues that I've tested in this range, which results in some nice shading when using less absorbent paper. The shading is less apparent in broader nibs or nibs that have been tuned to lay down a significant amount of ink.
I did not witness any noticeable sheen, though from time to time my eye does seem to pick up subtle red undertones in Mysterious Blue. Those undertones only tend to be present when the ink is put down in volume, such as on a swab. In normal writing, I never really see any hints of red.
As with most dark blues, Mysterious Blue is quite office-friendly. It generally goes unnoticed when I use it at work, so if being understated is important to you, Mysterious Blue may be worth checking out.
Throughout my testing, this ink has performed admirably. When used with quality paper, Mysterious Blue does not feather at all, and it even performs well on the cheap copy paper at my office. Feathering was only noticeable when using broader nibs on low-quality paper, which is to be expected.
Bleeding has not been an issue, and show-through is generally limited to copy paper. Neither were apparent when using various paper from Rhodia, Baron Fig, Leuchtturm, or other high-quality paper brands.
Dry times are on the longer side. On absorbent paper using a fine nib, Mysterious Blue dries in approximately 20 seconds. Broader nibs or heavier ink flow can delay drying even longer, though, needing at least 30 seconds to get dry.
Waterman inks tend to clean out easily from my pens, and Mysterious Blue has been no exception. Over the past week I have used Mysterious Blue in 5 different pens of varying materials, and each time it rinsed out without issue. There was no noticeable staining or any concerns worth mentioning.
Mysterious Blue behaves well inside the pen as well. I've not experience any abnormalities with drying out, hard starting, skipping, or railroading. In fact, in some of my pens that seem to dry out faster than usual, Mysterious Blue "stays wet," and flows consistently even when those pens go unused for a few days.
As of the time of this writing, Amazon sells 50ml bottles of Mysterious Blue for slightly over $9. At $.18/ml, that's quite an affordable rate, even better than what one would find with popular inexpensive inks like Noodler's and Monteverde. Given Mysterious Blue's admirable performance and accessible price, I have no problem recommending it if you're looking for a reliable, office-friendly dark blue with good shading.