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.
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.
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!!
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):
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!