Ink Review: Waterman Tender Purple

Review by Laura Cameron

When I purchased my first Esterbrook at the LA Pen Show, my friend Jessica at the Vintage Pen Shop recommended that I use an established, reliable ink in my new vintage pen.  She strongly recommended Waterman inks, and let me fill my pen up from her bottle of Inspired Blue at the table.

One of the reasons to select an ink like Waterman is that it has excellent performance across a wide variety of pens. While there is nothing that says you can’t use whatever ink you want in whatever pen you want, many people choose to stick with tried and true inks for pens that are older, more difficult to clean or might clog easily.

When I came home and perused my choices, I selected a bottle of Waterman Tender Purple (50ml for $12.00) to add to my collection.

Waterman Tender Purple

The amazing thing about Waterman Tender Purple is that it is an ink that has been around for a while, and it has an incredible sheen that has become so desired these days.

Waterman Tender Purple

Tender Purple is a violet, blue leaning purple that in heavy applications has a bright green sheen.

Waterman Tender Purple

You can’t see the sheen unless you apply the ink fairly heavily; otherwise it writes in a beautiful dark purple. I tested it in my Esterbrook as well as my Pilot Metro Pop (F nib).

Waterman Tender Purple

As it turns out, despite my recent explorations into purples, I don’t have very many purples that look like Tender Purple. I tend to purchase more red purples. So when I went through my ink samples I could only come up with a few that were similar in tone to Tender Purple.

Waterman Tender Purple

As you can see, Faber Castell Cobalt Blue is definitely blue, not violet. J. Herbin Violet Pensee gets closer, albeit much lighter than Tender Purple. I also recently got to try a sample of Robert Oster Viola which is a lovely purple, although again moving towards redder tones.

Waterman Tender Purple

Overall I’m loving this ink and will happily use it in my Esterbrook indefinitely!


Laura is a tech editor, podcaster, knitter, spinner and recent pen addict. You can learn more about her knitting and tea adventures on her website, The Corner of Knit & Tea and can find her on Instagram as Fluffykira.


DISCLAIMER: The items included in this review were provided free of charge by Pen Chalet for the purpose of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Great review! This has been my daily ink for as long as I can remember. I had NO IDEA it had sheen — all I ever do it straight up write with it so I guess it doesn’t put enough ink down to see the sheen! 🙂

    I’ve been looking for another similar colored ink that has more water resistance; I’ve been thinking about Noodler’s North African Violet, but haven’t seen a swab of it next to this Waterman.

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