This week we’re going to take a look at S.T. Dupont Royal Blue ink. I purchased this ink at Mora Stylos while I was in Paris a few years back. I really wanted to get some sort of souvenir, but couldn’t afford a new pen, so I figured a bottle of French ink would work just as well. The bottle itself is quite beautiful and makes a great souvenir. While I was initially somewhat disappointed in this ink, I have since come to appreciate it and enjoy using it on a regular basis.
S.T. Dupont Royal Blue
To start, let’s take a look at the ink itself. It’s a blue ink, but not what I think of when I imagine “royal blue”. I’d say this is more of an “old pair of jeans blue”. It has a rich color when it first goes down onto the paper, but as it dries it fades and loses intensity, ending up looking like a blue ink someone used 50 years ago. In wet nibs it does look darker and even shows a bit of sheen, but overall it is not an intense ink. Due to the amount of ink applied to the paper, the color in the main image is much darker than you can expect from normal writing.
When exposed to water, this ink doesn’t separate out into any interesting chromatography. It also isn’t very waterproof, so avoid using it for archival purposes.
Dry times are surprisingly on the slightly longer side of things. With wetter nibs, you’ll be waiting a bit longer than you may like for it to dry. I always assume that with lighter-colored inks the dry times will be faster. This isn’t the case. Also, because the ink does have a bit of sheen, I experienced a bit of smearing once the ink was dry.
I mentioned that I was initially disappointed in this ink. At the time that I bought it, I was very into sheening inks. The shop didn’t have a sample swatch of this ink, so I bought it based on the color name alone. I expected a dark, rich blue ink and instead discovered it had a washed-out blue color. I know that you can’t win them all when it comes to ink, so I took it in stride. Still, every once in a while I’d ink up a pen with it to give it another go. Eventually, I started to like the color. Now that I’m using more inks that don’t have heavy sheen, I really appreciate this ink. It is sometimes nice to have a blue that isn’t super saturated.
The Pens I Used
Each week I choose five different pens to fill with the ink I’m testing. My goal is to get a variety of nib sizes and styles, as well as a mix of modern and vintage pens. Here are the pens I chose this week and some writing samples from each:
Lamy Safari – F nib
This is pretty much the most boring combination of the week. The fine nib doesn’t do much to make this ink look good. Even though I said I don’t mind the washed out look of this ink, this is a little too much for me. I think in a wetter fine nib I’d like this ink a lot better.
Jinhao 100 – M nib
This looks a lot better to me than the fine nib. It shades a bit better and has darker sections that are more appealing to me. I’d consider this to be an average-wetness nib and is about my limit for this ink.
Pelikan M200 – M nib
This is a fairly wet M nib and, for me, is perfect for using with this ink. While the ink still looks washed out, it has a more bold, intense color. It also starts to show some sheening along the edges of the letters. I really like the way that this looks, although it does start to have a bit of smearing danger. For me, it’s worth it.
Waterman’s Lady Patricia (vintage) – M flex nib
This vintage flex nib is fairly wet and definitely brings out the color of this ink, even more so than the Pelikan. In addition to a bit more saturation, this nib also gives this ink a bit more sheen.
Hinze Americana – B Titanium nib
This broad nib is very wet. I really didn’t like it with this ink. I felt like I didn’t have control over how much ink was going down on the paper and how my letters looked. This is more due to the nib than the ink, but I have used this nib with other inks before and didn’t really feel the same way when writing with it. Maybe this ink is wetter than it feels, as it didn’t feel like a wet ink with other nibs.
On cheap copy paper, this ink did very well. I didn’t see any feathering and there were only a few tiny spots of bleedthrough. On fountain-pen-friendly paper, it did great. No feathering or bleeding. I feel like this is probably a safe ink to use on almost any paper you have.
Cleaning The Ink Out Of Pens
I found this ink to be fairly easy to clean out of my pens. It is not a heavily-saturated ink, so it doesn’t tend to stick around like some inks do. If you want a blue ink that won’t take forever to get out of a pen, this wouldn’t be a bad option for you.
S.T. Dupont Royal Blue is an interesting ink. The name might lead you to believe that it is going to be a rich blue, but what actually comes out on paper is a washed-out blue that isn’t very exciting. This probably won’t appeal to most people, but there are going to be some people out there who like it. I like the color and think that the pops of sheen make it even more interesting. The bottle is also beautiful and adds authority to the ink. It would look great sitting on a desk. Still, when it comes down to it I probably wouldn’t buy it again. It’s an expensive ink and the color isn’t that unique. With that being said, I’m not sad to have it and enjoy using it and the memories of Paris that come along with it.
I’m really enjoying the format of these ink reviews. Keep them coming!
Glad to hear it, Peter. Thanks for reading!
I think you are right! That blue (at least on my screen) looks very much like the old Sheaffer ink cartridges they sold when I was in high school in the 60’s. You know…. every year, I would try (once again) to use one for my schoolwork. But lordy, those pens were terrible. The nibs were so draggy and slow … But maybe it was just my writing style. Did you ever write with one of those ubiquitous cheap pens?
I have used one of the Sheaffer cartridge pens from the 60s before. They are definitely not the best nibs around.