Saying Goodbye: Waterman Edson

Waterman Edson on stand

I sold off three of my Waterman fountain pens last week, including my Waterman Edson which I reviewed here. The Edson was my first “executive” pen, and one of my first expensive fountain pens, along with the Caran d’Ache Ivanhoe that I got about the same time. It’s very gold and very blue. I did use the pen a lot when I first got it, and I considered it worth the price. By the time I started keeping track of my pen & ink usage, 10 years later, my usage was nearly non-existent. I used it once in 2014 and once again in 2018.

The Edson wrote as well as it did when new, but my aesthetics tastes had turned against both gold and blue. Plus, I now had many more options to choose from. The pen is a nice size, and I can use it for long writing sessions without any fatigue. Usability was not a factor in my decision to sell.

The non-aesthetic negatives were relatively minor. The Edson was tedious to clean. It took forever to flush all traces of ink out of the feed. I also had to take extra care when filling the pen with bottled ink. The ink would stain my fingers from the breather hole unless I dripped out a couple drops after the fill, and wiped the breather hole clean of ink. Early on I used cartridges, and this wasn’t a problem.

I kept passing over the pen because I no longer loved the look, so that was the main reason I decided to sell. There’s too much gold. I never really like blue, although the sapphire barrel on this pen has a nice depth to it. Back in 2003, I’m not sure I even knew other colors were available, although only the sapphire and a more expensive limited edition model was being made in 2003.

While I don’t keep track, I think the Waterman Edson is the first pen I bought new, used it, and then sold it for more than I paid (ignoring inflation).

The Waterman Edson is a fountain pen that I enjoyed and used when I got it, but then my tastes changed, and I moved on.

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

Review: Waterman Liaison Cobra

I want to start inking up some long neglected pens from my accumulation so I picked the Waterman Liaison Cobra as the pen to get things going. I acquired the pen in 2004 in a Levenger closeout sale. At least that’s what my notes say, it’s not like I remember buying the pen 9 years ago.

[Updated Feb 16, 2013 to add writing sample to gallery]

Why I Bought It

I don’t remember the exact reasons. I suspect I thought it was a cool pen and I really liked the Waterman Edson I already had.

Where I Bought It & What I Bought

I bought it at Levenger from their outlet listings. The pen has an 18ht gold fine nib. The pen dimensions are:

  • Capped Length: 5.67″ (144.04 mm)
  • Uncapped Length: 5.08″ (129.12 mm)
  • Posted Length: 6.47″ (164.33 mm)
  • Diameter at Cap Band: 0.539″ (13.69 mm)
  • Diameter of Barrel: 0.4925″ (12.50 mm)

First Impressions

The first impression, back in 2004, must not have been very good. The pen sat forgotten and unused for a very long time. I don’t remember the last time I used it. I also don’t remember any bad things about it. So the first impression was that it was a forgettable pen.

This is second impression, based on pulling the pen out of storage and its much better.

The pen is a bit heavier than most of my pens. The pen barrel seems to be made of metal. If not the whole barrel then a significant part of the pen is metal. The pattern is etched into the material, rather than just printed on. The weight and the etched material give the pen a rather unique feel when writing whichI find comfortable to write with.

Filling System

The pen is a standard Waterman cartridge/convertor but has a unique method of holding the cartridge or convertor in the pen. Twist a blind cap on the top of the pen and the nib & feed unit unscrews so it can drop out of the pen. See the photos for details.

How I Use It

I filled the pen with Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-ryuko (Forest Green) expecting to use it primarily for notations. But the pen was so comfortable to write with that I began to use it for longer writing sessions. These sessions where 30 minutes to an hour.

I also used it for notations and note taking. The pull off cap can be loosely attached for extended pauses while still keeping the pen ready to use. Even when closed completely, the push on cap is easy to remove.

I don’t post my pens and find the Liaison to be large enough for writing without posting the cap.

Waterman Liaison Cobra photo

The Review

The pen comes in a nice blue Waterman box. It’s nice and more than just cardboard, but just a box. The box also contained a box of Waterman cartridges, a convertor, an instruction manual and a slip of paper with the serial number. Also included was a black cloth cover for the pen which I thought was a nice touch, even though I never use it.

The Design

Waterman Liaison photo

The Waterman Liaison Cobra has a one piece barrel. Twisting a blind cap unscrews the nib/feed unit which then pulls out of the barrel.

The design is etched into the material, rather than just printed onto it providing a nice tactile feel when writing with the pen. The barrel is long enough to be used without posting the cap.

The push on cap fits securely. It can also be loosly attached during pauses when writing. The cap can be posted, although doing so doesn’t seem ideal. Either the cap would be loosely posted, and potentially come off, or it would have to be pushed down so friction keeps it in place. I’d be afraid it would mare the material over time. Plus it makes the pen even heavier. But keep in mind that these comments come from someone who doesn’t post pens.

Writing With The Pen

The ink flow with Waterman and Pilot Iroshizuku inks is great. It’s one of my wetter fine nibs, but it isn’t a gusher. This time around I’ve only used Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-ryoku (Forest Green) ink.

The 18 kt gold nib is smooth. I’ve seen others complaining about the nib but I haven’t experienced any scratchiness or other issues.

Most of my writing was on Doane pads on which the pens wrote easily without any resistence. Dragging the pen across the paper at a 45 degree angle under just its own weight resulted in a nice solid line across the paper. Better (Rhodia) and worse (generic copy paper) experienced similar results.

Cleaning The Pen

While not difficult to clean, it takes a little longer than expected. There’s a lot of ink left in the feed when the pen runs dry so it takes a few more flushes than other pens would.

Odds & Ends

Waterman Logo

The pen doesn’t seem to have a very good reputation. Most of the comments I found were negative although generic in nature. I did find a couple positive comments. Overall, not a lot of information about the Waterman Liaison Cobra. The only specific complaints were about the nib, and mine wrote fine out of the box.

The pen is no longer manufactured although I do see some being offered as new but at prices that seem targeted to collectors, not users.

Inks Used

I only used Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-ryoku (Forest Green) this time around. The pen and ink get along well together, putting down a nice, relatively thin line. The nib is one of my wetter fine nibs. It’s not a gusher, but there’s certainly no flow issues. Although I haven’t used this ink in any other pens, so I don’t have anything to compare it with.

I don’t recall any problems with other inks in the past although it has been awhile.

Wrapping Up

I’m not sure why this pen went unused for several years. It’s a good writer and a pleasure to use. It doesn’t really stand out in a bunch of pens so I just forgot about it and it never caught my eye.

While I wouldn’t pay current prices for the Waterman Liaison Cobra I’m glad I pulled it from storage and inked it up. It’s a good writer that I find comfortable to write with.

The pictures were taken while the pen was inked with Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-ryoku (Forest Green) inkl. That’s what’s on the nib and why the clear convertor looks green in the photos.

Click on any photo for the full size version.