Happy Chinese New Year! I know most of you already have 2013 diaries and journals, but I discovered a leather journal recently that can give the Midori Traveler’s Notebook a run for its money. The thing that confused me about is that it’s called a Pelle Leather Journal, by Victoria’s Journals, but it’s not the Pelle Leather Journal you know of in the US, that directly competes against Midori. From this point for purposes of clarity I’ll be referring to it as the VJ.
Regardless of branding, the important thing to me was that the VJ is made of real leather. I found them in Bestsellers (a National Bookstore branch at the Podium in Ortigas Center), each in their own black box. I got one in brown.
Each journal fits three 9 x 14cm (roughly 3.5″ x 5.5″) notebooks: a to-do planner, a lined notebook and a blank notebook. There are Venzi flexi 2 notebooks (also made by Victoria’s Journals, available at National Bookstore) that can be used as refills in case you can’t find notebooks to fit. As for me, I make my own refills, because that means I can choose the paper quality – must be fountain pen ink-friendly!
And this paper is friendly, as long as you don’t use a B nib that’s an overly wet writer. There’s not much bleedthrough or showthrough at all. Imagine that! I haven’t been buying notebooks in a long time because I don’t like spending money and then finding out the paper only takes ballpoint ink.
Here it is, with my Waterman’s Ideal No. 3 set. And below, a comparison shot with my passport-sized Midori:
The feel of the Midori leather is a bit more luxurious. It takes distressing well. The Victoria’s Journal journal is a little stiffer. I like the leather clasp that holds the covers together, it doesn’t dent the cover as much as the plain elastic does. Also, the inside elastic fastenings don’t require much fiddling with.
I posted this on the Fountain Pen Network-Philippines Facebook page, and sort of caused a shopping frenzy. Why? Because compared to the Midori (about USD55) this VJ journal costs only P590 (about USD15)! My friends and I found out that there are three colors: Black, Brown and Maroon. If you want your own and it hasn’t been sold out yet, the magic stock number is 103722 at National Bookstore. Call them and reserve the item, before visiting.
The Midori is made in Thailand. The VJ box is marked “Styled in Italy. Made in PRC.” So yes, it’s made in China, even though they very cleverly try not to point that fact out. At least every part of it looks well made for the price.
To my friends in the US, the Victoria’s Journal site only sells to the trade, I believe. You’ll have to look for the item in your stationery store (although the site indicates they sell this item in the US). The Pelle Journal that’s competing against the Midori (see links above) is a quality product and you can’t go wrong with either brand.
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I have a Midori and a Pelle and I am very happy with both. No more Victoria’s Journal in the National Bookstores I visited. Will try calling and mention the stock number.
Happy to report that I have one reserved at NBS Cubao.
I really like mine. Now on to the search for other possible refill notebooks to fit…