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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rhodia Webnotebooks: Versions 1.0, 2.0, 3.0?????

In the last couple of years since the Rhodia Webnotebook was introduced, it's been through quite a few changes. These changes haven't resulted in 'official' name differences or changes in SKU's, but they have been coined by the online writing community as 'verison x.0'. I'm going to tell you exactly how to tell the difference between the three versions and what makes them different from each other.

Version 1.0
This was the first (duh) version introduced some 2.5ish years ago. It's what got the Webnotebook as a known quantity in the US, but the paper was a bit lacking for the fountain pen community.

The most distinguishing factor of this version is its paper was 80g, which in and of itself is not the problem, it's that it bled through the back of the sheet. The paper was not made by Clairefontaine. Other than that, the journal was great. But paper is what matters first and foremost for fountain pen users. The people spoke, and Exaclair (the sole US distributor of Rhodia products) changed the paper in the US versions of the Webnotebook to create version 2.0. All journals outside the US remained as version 1.0.

Version 2.0
Everything stayed the same (cover, ribbon marker, back pocket, etc) except version 2.0 had smoother, much more ink resistant paper with 90g thickness. This paper is made by Clairefontaine in France:
You can't tell the difference between the two versions just looking at the front of the 1.0 and 2.0:
But you can if you flip them over and look at the back. The left one is the 80g V1.0, and the right one is the 90g V2.0:
The paper color was darker from 1.0 to 2.0:
Both have the Rhodia logos, but the 2.0 is a much more 'ivory' color:
The paper performance is significantly different too. V2.0 paper is smoother and resists ink better, making lines sharp and the color pop:
And look at the difference in the bleedthrough on the back:
The thicker paper didn't make a real significant difference in the overall thickness of the journal (1.0 left, 2.0 right):
But it did affect the binding. The binding was much stiffer on the V2.0, which caused a 'hump' to form near the binding when the journal was open. This was a step backwards from the 1.0 (top) to the 2.0 (bottom):
People also weren't crazy about the Rhodia logos on each page. The people again spoke, and Exaclair again listened. Changes were made, and thus came the latest version, the 3.0!!

Version 3.0
This is the newest and latest version. The logo was removed from the pages, and the binding was improved. Also, this version was moved from being a US-only journal to being distributed worldwide. So though we have three US versions, the rest of the world has only seen two (version 1.0 and 3.0). They are now all made in France.
The paper in the 3.0 is exactly the same as the 2.0, with the exception of the removal of the logo:
Ink performance and paper color are identical to the 2.0:
And the binding on the 3.0 is great, allowing the journal to lay very flat. Here's the 2.0 (top) and 3.0 (bottom):
The version 3.0 is now a fantastic journal, and is available in both ruled and blank (new, only available in 3.0 version), in two sizes with a choice of orange or black covers.

How to tell what version you have:

It's easy, just look at the back. Chances are you don't have a version 1.0 anywhere in sight. They haven't been made in probably two years, but if you happen to see a Webnotebook with 80g paper, that's the 1.0.

More likely, you are going to find yourself questioning if the Webbie you have (or want to buy) is a 2.0 or 3.0. There are two easy, yet subtle ways to tell the difference if you know what you're looking for. Obviously you can tell if you open the notebook and see a logo or not on the page, but let's assume it's wrapped and you can't open it without buying it. Here's how to tell:

1) Look at the back of the label, and see the text written about the paper specifications that's located just above the barcode. Since the 3.0s are made in France, there's a lot of French text on it. On left is 2.0, on the right is 3.0:
2) Look at the bottom of the journal, and you'll see that on the 2.0 (top) the paper wraps all around the journal, and on the 3.0 (bottom) the paper tucks into the journal behind the front cover:

I hope this helps to clarify a little bit what all of the 'version' talk means for the Webnotebooks. At GouletPens.com we do distinguish our version 2.0 and 3.0 Webnotebooks so you will know which ones you're buying without having to ask, but you'll likely have to ask other retail outlets unless they have proactively sought out to distinguish the different versions. At least now you know what you need to ask!

Even though it's been months now that the 3.0s have been made, there is still a stock of 2.0s out there that need to 'clear out' before everything is exclusively 3.0s. Until then, be vigilant!

17 comments:

  1. Hello,

    Why are they called webnotebooks,always wondered.

    regards

    chris

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  2. Really helpful to have all this info in one place. When I make it through my little Clairefontaine Roadbook I'm thinking a Webbie is the one for me. The ONLY thing I miss from Moleskine is the off-white paper. For letter writing I like the nice bright white of Triomphe or Rhodia pads but for my EDC pocket notebook I think I prefer off-white. Weird.

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  3. This entry from Rhodia Drive explains the origin of the term, "Webnotebook."
    http://tinyurl.com/2wazea7

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nice! I gotta order some lined ones. Thanks for the info!

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  5. I think I will always prefer a nice Quo Vadis Habana, but that might change if they ever make the dotWebbie some people are pushing for. I'm intrigued by the dot format in something like a Webnotebook.

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  6. I love the webbie. There is only one problem with it. It is slightly too large to fit in my Moleskine Folio. I have become dependent on the Moleskine Folio for carrying around pens and my notebook. It is great because I can switch it back and forth between my shoulder bags and always know that I have pens and a notebook handy. Rickshaw Bags(http://www.rickshawbags.com/folio/planner-folio.html)also makes a folio that is slightly larger, and may fit the Webbie. When I am online shopping for Christmas presents for others, I may buy a new folio for me.
    Jim O(aka Inkyhands)

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  7. Nice! I gotta order some lined ones. Thanks for the info!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Really helpful to have all this info in one place. When I make it through my little Clairefontaine Roadbook I'm thinking a Webbie is the one for me. The ONLY thing I miss from Moleskine is the off-white paper. For letter writing I like the nice bright white of Triomphe or Rhodia pads but for my EDC pocket notebook I think I prefer off-white. Weird.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think I will always prefer a nice Quo Vadis Habana, but that might change if they ever make the dotWebbie some people are pushing for. I'm intrigued by the dot format in something like a Webnotebook.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I can't believe people complained about the Rhodia logo on every page. I liked that and wish they wouldn't have removed it.

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  11. I didn't mind it, but I could see how some would have, especially on the blank version. I think the blank version is what started it, and they just carried over the lack of logo on the lined version. I bet if you ask around you can still find some retailers that have the versions with the logos (we haven't for a while though).

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  12. Just got a 3.0 webbie, and it's a great improvement over the 2.0, one of which I bought a year ago. I loved the paper (and the logo didn't really bother me), but the book didn't lie flat, and the cover was stiff and bulky. The new version has solved these problems: the book does open flat, and the cover is a little thinner and a little more flexible, though not as much as the Habana. I'm waiting nervously to see what the new Habanas will be like.

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  13. I'm eager to see the new Habanas as well! They'll surely be compared closer to the Webbies now that they're going to have off-white paper.

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  14. Now that I've gotten my hands on a couple of the remaining current Habanas (thank you Brian and Rachel), I have to say it is my dream journal. The size is perfect for me, in fact it reminds me of the 6 x 9 spiral notebooks I used to buy at the NYU college bookstore when I was a freshman a few (well, many) decades ago. They had green paper (I think it was called Eye-Ease), they were narrow ruled, and they were fountain pen friendly, as I believe all notebooks were back then, and I think my weapon of choice was a standard collegiate Esterbrook.

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  15. Great explanation of the three versions.  I'll have to catch up as I only have used the first two versions.  

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  16.  Thanks! Version 3.0 is definitely an improvement over the other two. I haven't seen the 2.0 version in months, most if not all retailers should have the latest versions by now.

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