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Friday, April 29, 2011

First Look: Brand New 85g Ivory Quo Vadis Habanas



Link to the vid and my YouTube channel.

It's been nearly six months since it was announced that Quo Vadis Habanas would be changing from 90g white paper to 85g ivory paper. It caused quite a stir over on Quo Vadis blog! I think everyone's biggest concern was that the quality of the paper would suffer with the switch, and I'm going to just say outright that the paper quality is very much up to par with the old 90g paper. It's ever so slightly thinner, but I don't think you will notice the 5g difference.


The paper is off-white, very similar in color to the paper in the Rhodia Webnotebook, if you're familiar with them. The most drastic change that I wasn't quite expecting was the ruling change. The large Habana in the old 90g version used to have 8mm ruling, which is pretty wide (the small 64g Habana had 5mm ruling). All of the new 85g Habanas, large and small, have 5.5mm ruling. It's quite a drastic change from 8mm to 5.5mm, which I suspect will be a welcome change for most of you.

One cool thing is that the lines themselves are made up of small gray dots, so the overall appearance of the line is much more subtle. Compare the 90g white paper with 8mm lines to the new 5.5mm 'dot' lines:


What is most important to me in any journal is the paper quality. If the paper won't hold up well to fountain pens, then I don't care if it's the perfect size, shape, color, ruling, whatever else....it just has to hold up to the ink. And this paper does, just like the 90g did. I did a comparison between the old and new with a whole slew of ink and pen combos that I had on hand, and I didn't see any noticeable difference between the two.


No bleedthrough on the back, even using wet-writing pens like the Namiki Falcon, Platinum Music Pen, and broad nib Edison Hudson.


The Habanas are available in 4 colors: black, anis green, red, and raspberry, in both lined and blank versions, large (6.25"x9.25") and small (4"x6.25").


My impression of the new Habana paper is positive. I'm still mourning the loss of the white paper versions, as I personally had a preference for both white paper and larger rulings, but I will survive. I'm finding that I'm coming around to the new version. I do like the more subtle line, and the color of the paper is pleasant to the eye. I have to wonder if perhaps there is a place in the writing world for both a white paper Habana and an ivory Habana....but that is a discussion for another day. Today, I welcome the new Habanas. They are respectable journals that I think will stake their claim in the fountain pen world.

***Since the original posting, the sleeves on the Habanas have changed, which I blogged about here. Here's a pic comparing the old ones to the new ones:



In case you were wondering where to get them, we have them over at Goulet Pens, available now. They should be available at retailers across the world soon.

20 comments:

  1. Thanks very much for this Brian. The new Habana looks like it's going to be quite nice after all. I like the ruling especially. I used to have a couple of journals made by Kikki.K with the same dot ruling and they were very pleasant to use. The paper colour will take some getting used to and I'll miss the bright white paper and the blue covers but I definitely think I will grow to love these new Habanas. Perhaps not in the same way, but hopefully just as much as the old.

    Also, I got a real kick out of the "granny panties" line. ^.^

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  2. Great! New Habanas are maybe the best notebooks available. I find ivory much more pleasant than “sunshine” white. Think now Webnotebook will suffer…

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  3. bored_and_agitatedApril 29, 2011 at 4:57 AM

    I'm a micro gel pen user, so I'm pumped for the thinner ruling; my .3mm pens will love the tiny space. I can imagine the small amount of ink my pens put down wouldn't bleed through at all, so that's one thing I don't have to worry about. And the ivory pages? An improvement, I think.

    Anyway, does it still have the same cover as the old Habana's? That is, the one that's slightly thinner than the Webnotebook's, and that could lay flat better? Because if that's the case, then that may be cool(?); the flatter opening is awesome, but the flimsy-er cover means I can't write on my knee as easy. And it's bigger, but that's not as big an issue, since I'm already carrying around the Rhodia planner, and it is much larger than the Webnotebook.

    So much to consider about something that most people would take for granted.

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  4. Thanks for the quick overview. I like the lighter dotted lines and the fact that the 85g paper performs just as well as the 90g. However, that is about the only thing I like about the new Habana. For me, what made the Habana special was the white paper and the wider ruling compared to most other notebooks. I use mostly broad nibs and the much narrower ruling will not work for me. I am not thrilled about the lines not going all the way to the edge of the paper either. I really do not see how the new Habana paper is significantly different from the Webnotebook. So, it seems like Webnotebook and Habana will be competing with each other instead of offering complementary formats. Oh well - good thing I stocked up on the old Habanas.

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  5. I feel the same way, I really liked the blue cover (I have one of them as a journal that I started for my son the day he was born). But, life goes on. I have to keep telling myself 'it's just a journal', haha! I am coming around to the new ones, and I thing many others will too. Even though they're different, they're nice in their own right.

    Haha, yeah, it just kind of came out when I said it, and I debated about editing that out. But I figured if you watched that long into the video, a good chuckle wouldn't hurt ;)

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  6. I think this may actually have been part of the plan. Even though Rhodia and Quo Vadis are both in the same family with Clairefontaine, I think there is a little competition going on with each other. The Habanas are made in the US, and list for $4 less than the Webbies. I think Quo Vadis was fighting to keep jobs in the US, so they went with the off-white paper, which is expected to be more universally appealing than the white paper versions.

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  7. Yeah, the 5.5mm ruling vs. 8mm ruling should be a huge improvement for you!

    The covers are the same as the old ones. One thing to try if you're writing on your lap, fold the front cover back onto the back cover. The binding is so flexible you can do this relatively easily, and it should be plenty sturdy for you.

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  8. I hear exactly where you're coming from, as I'm a die-hard fan of the old version. What I plan to do is write on every other line with my broad and italic nibs. Then I'll effectively have a luxurious 11mm ruling! ;) You're right, they are very close to the Webbies. What can I say? It is what it is.

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  9. I love the idea of keeping a journal for your child. I have one for my son, in which I write letters to him each year on his birthday. I plan to give it to him when he turns 21.

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  10. For me the new Habana still has the essential characteristics I want: fountain-pen friendly paper, 6x9 size (my favorite), ability to lay flat when open, and flexible covers. Beyond these, the color of the paper and the ruling are secondary, although I have to say I found the old 8mm ruling a little too wide, and I'm beginning to prefer the ivory color paper (based on my experience with the Webbie I have). I've got some old Habanas, and I'm going to get some new ones, and I think I'll be happy with both.

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  11. I hate to see the blue covers go, but other than that I think I'll like the changes. My only complaint about the previous Habana is that the ruling is wider than I like, so the narrower ruling is good news for me, and I also like that it's more subtle. :) I can't decide if I'll really miss the white paper or not. I liked it, but I'm okay with ivory, too.

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  12. I feel kind of the same way, I love the form factor of the Habana, and as long as the paper quality hasn't changed, then I can adapt with everything else.

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  13. I hear a lot more people missing the white paper than missing the 8mm ruling. I personally liked a wider ruling, but I think most people prefer narrower.

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  14. I hadn't ordered Habanas before due to line width & cost. After seeing this video I will definately place them on a future order! I love the smaller, dot style line & ruling width. To each their own as they say!
    P.S. Love the 'granny panty' reference but ....really....don't men's old underwear look the same??? hahaha

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  15. Just bought a new habana (small size) and received it a few days ago. Question: is it in fact 85g paper? Because the label band on mine said 90g...

    I don't really care either way; it's a great little pocket notebook! I love the ivory color and the narrow line ruling.

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  16. Yes, it is in fact 85g paper, not the 90g paper that it says on the label. The labels appear to be repurposed from the old versions of the Habanas, at least for the time being. I'm sure they're working on getting new labels made, but until then, it'll just confuse everyone! With all certainty, the new paper is 85g.

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  17. Hey Brian,

    Great video! I want to try one of these notebooks out now. :) I personally prefer off-white paper.

    A question for you: Was that notebook you were holding up (the old one) the same one you had out for testing at the DC Pen Show?

    Regards,
    777 - Tyler Dahl

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  18. Yes, the 'old' Habana I have in this video was the Habana I had at the DC show in 2010. That was just the standard Habana at the time, before there was word it would be replaced by this newer version.

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  19. AHA! I knew I recognized my handwriting! How cool is that! :)

    Regards,
    777

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  20. I have an old 90 Gram Habana and I just got a new small Habana at 80 or 85 (whatever).  I'm sorry, but I'm getting bleed through with a Lamy fine nib using Noodler's Bernanke blue and black (which are extremely fast drying inks). 

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