My first visit with a major pen company was Waterman in Nantes, France. I was shown the entire process from design, manufacturing and shipping. At the time, Waterman was one of the few pen companies that produced their own fountain pen ink. They purchased a base ink product, and then blended in the colour dye to create their famous line of inks.
I do not know if today they still make their own inks. Just about everyone purchases their inks from a handful of ink producers. The pen company provides specific technical specifications for the ink.
One of the very good characteristics of the Waterman ink bottles is the squared sides. This allows you to lean the bottle on its side, and have it sit securely on the desk while you fill your pen. Your nib can be submerged beneath what every ink is left in the bottle.
This is what many consider the most basic blue ink you can use. Pen users refer to this ink as a no-problem ink as it works so well in just about any pen. Typically if someone is checking to see how a pen works, they will use Waterman Serenity Blue. It is an ink that just works in about every type of pen. For a while the blue was too weak, but that last release of the ink really seemed to up the game a bit. I have not found shading of the ink when writing with it. Some samples of the ink made with a swab will show some range of colour depth. You will not see that in your writing.
The ink dries in about 20 or so seconds, and it dries as a good flat finish on the paper. No stickiness with this ink.
It is a very good basic blue. Would it make it into my "if I only had one bottle" decision? I think I would go with Mysterious Blue (blue/black) has it has a little more deeper tones.
I have always liked Waterman's Green. Now many many years ago the green had a very distinctive blue/green look. Also in those days, Waterman inks had a distinctive smell. If you watch the 2006 movie, A Good Year. There are scenes where the character Max Skinner remembers his uncle Henry writing with a fountain pen loaded with Waterman Green ink. It had a look.
The ink today is not quite that colour. In my early days with Waterman inks the green was a blend of green blue tones. Now, it is more of a solid green colour. Good performance.
Waterman as renamed it black, Intensive Black. It may be the goal, but the ink is not as intense as other blacks on the market. But it is a good black and a well performing ink.
Blue-black inks tend to be popular. While the big hunt is always the search for the perfect blue, many writers enjoy the extra colour depth of a good blue-black ink.
Over the many years of using Waterman inks there were periods of inconsistency of colour. When I look at the travel journal over the past 25+ year, Waterman Blue Black used to the ink I took on my trip. Compact bottle that I could fit in my writing case, The colour ranged significantly. But that has not been the case for the past number of years, especially after Waterman re-branded the inks and Blue-Black transformed into Mysterious Blue.
As I use Mysterious Blue I find it to have a beautiful tone of colour. The ink look good on the page with solid writing characteristics. If I could only bring one bottle of ink with me, as I did on my original travels, this ink would be a top contender for that impossible decision.
Good flow, works great in just about any pen yoiu may have. The ink has a reasonable dry time. Dries to a good flat finish (no stickiness or glossy shine to the finish). There is enough colour depth to the ink that even with a Stub or Broad nib, the line of ink on the sheet of paper has a good strong presence.
Purple is one of those on and off colours for me. When the purple itch hits me, I certainly enjoy writing with purple ink. I have looked back at some of my travel journals, and depsite the age, some thirty years or more old, Waterman purple has nicely stood the test of time.
When I am uI like having a good ink in purple, and this is certainly one of them. There is enough purple in the colour tone to represent the colour, but it is not too bright so that a page of writing is hard to take. The ink is very well performing, like the overall line of inks, purple has good flow and a reasonable dry time. No issues with feathering and not a ink that tends to bleed through the paper.
Good colour, good performance and of course the ink comes in the iconic Waterman multi-sided bottle that makes filling a pen all the easier.