Review: Waterman Edson Sapphire Blue

Waterman Edson on stand

This review pulls a pen from the archives, although not anywhere near a vintage pen and one that is still available. The Waterman Edson in Sapphire Blue was an early addition to my accumulation back on 2003. It’s my most blatantly ostentatious fountain pen. It hasn’t been used in over a year so it’s time to pull it out and see if it’s a keeper. I remember it as a great writer that would sometimes stain my finger, probably leaking ink from the breather hole.
In researching the pen for this article I noticed that the price has increased considerably, even considering inflation. Today the list price is over $1,000 and retails new for about $800. It may be a spoiler, but this isn’t a pen I’d consider paying that much for. It may have a unique standing in my accumulation as a pen I could sell and recoup my entire purchase price as used pens have sold for more than I paid for the pen new in 2003.

Why I Got It

Back in those days I thought it looked cool and picked it to be my first “executive” pen. I already preferred fine nibs so that’s what I got.
My tastes in pens have changed. Today, all that gold would keep me away. If that didn’t keep me away the current price would. But when I got the pen 11 years ago I used it a lot and liked it.

What I Got

Waterman Edson pieces

A Waterman Edson in Sapphire Blue with a fine 18 kt gold inlaid nib. If I remember correctly a couple boxes of blue Waterman cartridges were included. The box was unique which added to the allure of the pen. The box was lost in the busted water pipe flood of 2013 so no pictures of it.
The included converter is a translucent blue that matches the pen. It’s a nice touch even if it isn’t visible when the pen is in use.
According to Waterman the pen body is made of “precious resin” while the cap is gold plated. The blue body is silky smooth and very shiny. It gives the illusion of depth and translucence when I look at it. I like it a lot. As for the cap – it’s gold, very gold. “Waterman Paris” is engraved into the cap band. The gold looks like it has some texture to it but it’s also smooth. It’s got a matte finish and over the years the gold cap has some accumulated scuff marks. The blue resin has held up well and has only collected fingerprints.
As I mentioned, Waterman says the pen is mad with “precious resin” aka plastic. Other sites have said the pen is metal and lacquer. I’ll buy that the cap is metal and there’s a lot of metal in the pen (such as the section threads) but the blue body doesn’t seem like a lacquer to me.
The cap is a slip on cap with three gold posts that stick out to lock the cap in place.

The Numbers

  • Length Capped:  5.9730″  (151.71 mm)
  • Length Uncapped:  5.1850″  (131.69 mm)
  • Length Posted:  6.25″  (158.75 mm)
  • Section Length:  0.7550″  (19.18 mm) [Measured from cap lock to the gold ring where it’s closest.]
  • Section Diameter (at gold band near nib):  0.4405″  (11.19 mm)
  • Section Diameter (below cap locks):  0.5045″  (12.81 mm)
  • Cap Diameter:  0.5950″  (15.11 mm)
  • Barrel Diameter:  0.5780″  (14.68 mm)
  • Weight:  1.6 oz  (46 g)
  • Weight (body only):  0.9 oz  (26 g)

Writing With the Pen

Waterman Edson nib

When I first got the pen I used the enclosed Waterman cartridges. They’re proprietary as is the converter. As I mentioned, I did have ink staining issues with the pen. This despite Waterman’s promise that the pen is leak free to 6,500 feet. It might be that I didn’t clean the ink out of the breather hole after filling. I haven’t had the problem since inking the pen for this review.
There’s no flex to the nib. I can get a little spring to the nib if I press hard, but this doesn’t seem healthy for the nib. With normal writing the nib is very firm, which is what I like. A light touch is all that’s needed for a smooth ink flow. There’s no hard starts or skipping with this pen.
It’s a big pen with some heft to it. I don’t post my pens so that keeps the weight down when I’m writing. I find this to be a very comfortable pen to write with and one of the best nibs in my accumulation. I begin to get fatigued after writing with the pen for about 45 minutes which is usually more than enough time between breaks for me.
The pen does post, although in my opinion this makes the pen a little top heavy but those of you who regularly post their pens may not notice.

Cleaning The Pen

The takes awhile to clean, especially if it isn’t written dry. There’s a lot of ink in that feed so it takes a long time to flush out all traces. It’s not difficult, just tedious. While I haven’t actually timed them all, I’d bet it takes longer to flush this pen than any other cartridge/converter I have. There’s a metal collar that the cartridge/converter slides into which makes it difficult to get a seal with a bulb syringe, at least the ones I have. So I ended up cutting the top of a cartridge off to make it easier to force water through with more pressure.

Inks Used

Lots of Waterman, even after the original cartridges. I used the pen more heavily early on and not so much in recent years so those inks are a lost memory. I already mentioned the ink stains on the fingers but I can’t relate them to specific inks although most of the ink used was Waterman Florida Blue, so it’s a good chance I had the issue with that ink. It’s been a long time since I used cartridges in the pen and the stains may have been with bottled ink.
For this review I used my favorite Rohrer & Klingner Blau-Schwarz and the ink loves this pen. But that’s not unusual for this ink. There’s a reason it’s my favorite.

Wrapping Up

If I wanted a Waterman Edson today I’d be looking at the used market as I’d have a tough time justifying the current price for a new one, especially with so many other options. The one I have is bought and paid for yet I still have a hard time deciding if it’s a keeper. When it’s on the shelf I look at all that gold and pass it over for inking. But I have to admit, while the gold keeps me from inking it up, when I do ink it up I forget all about it once I start writing. “Yuk, all that gold” changes to “This is a classy pen”.
As for the gold. Either you like it our you don’t. Or like me, you used to like it but not as much these days. Aesthetics aside, there’s no denying the Waterman Edson is a very nice pen.

Additional Reading

Reviewed on FPN

9 thoughts on “Review: Waterman Edson Sapphire Blue

  1. I love the looks of this pen, and Waterman pens in general are incredible writers, but the astronomic price tag has kept me away from it as well. The nib/breather hole situation looks very similar to the Carene. I used to have a Carene that was a super writer but leaked something terrible around the nib. My fingers were always blue, to the point where the pen became unusable to me. Have you figured out a solution to this issue? You mentioned clearing the breather hole.

    • Hi Joe C, I’m not sure if it’s a solution or coincidence but that last couple of times after filling the converter I dripped out six drops, I usually just do 2 or 3. I also used different I inks – Iroshizuku and Rohrer & Klingner while it used to be Waterman most of the time. I do pay more attention to making sure excess ink is cleaned away but did that in the past too.
      I would have a hard time justifying the cost today. When I searched eBay doing the review I thought people were trying to gouge because of all the gold (plating). Then I saw Waterman’s price.
      Thanks for reading

  2. Great review! The Edson has always been a curiosity to me. I love the beautiful inlayed nib but the rest of the pen isn’t really my style. How would you rate the build quality of the Edson compared to the likes of S.T. Dupont, Caran d’Ache, and Graf von Faber-Castell?

    • The build quality is excellent. I don’t have Dupont or GvFC pens so can’t compare. Its held up well with normal use except for the slight scratches in the gold. The threads are clean and smooth and the clip hasn’t loosened at all. The slip cap still attaches with a solid click. I got Caran D’Ache Ivanhoe at the same time and the quality compares. Back then the pens were about the same price.
      Thanks for reading

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  4. I love my Edson pen. I have used it daily since I had it around 1994. I have a broad nib and its a joy to write with.

    • Hi Clare,
      It is a great pen. You’ve had yours longer than me so good to know it will last a good long time.
      Thanks for reading,

  5. I’ve had my Blue Edson for almost 20 years and used it as a daily writer. A while back, the barrel came loose. I set it aside with the plan to glue it back together. Unfortunately, our house cleaner threw the barrel away. I sent it to Waterman to get a quote for a replacement barrel. They came back with $460 as the cost. I almost fell out of my chair. This is basically half the cost of a new pen for just the probably cheapest part of the pen. I still love the pen, but don’t ever damage the precious resin barrel. I am searching the internet to see if anyone has a damaged Edson with a good barrel.

    • I too have an Edison Sapphire Blue about 35 years old. The lacquer on the barrel is now crazed from daily usage. Trying to find a replacement barrel, so far without success. Have a rollerball version of same pen which I have never used much. Did you have any luck in finding replacement barrel?

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