|Size:||A5 (A4 & A6 also available)|
|Colours:||Black, Brown, Maroon|
|Cost:||$109.50 USD (Outer sleeve + Notebook)|
|For:||Materials and build quality, personality, sugar cane paper.|
|Against:||Celtic design cues not for everyone.|
This is a super cool leather notebook. It oozes quality and personality, in its own refined yet quirky way. Put it this way – if it was a movie star, it would be Johnny Depp.
First and foremost, Fanklin Christoph is a home grown American company that specialises in fine writing instruments. Their diverse range includes fountain, roller ball, ball point pens and mechanical pencils. These come in both classical and bright contemporary designs, and are made from fine materials like sterling silver with gold nibs. It was only a matter of time until Franklin Christoph extended their offering to leather notebooks as well.
After ordering the product online, it arrived being well packaged for protected travel. It came wrapped in a soft brown satin sleeve, a hint of the quality Franklin Christoph delivers. The leather notebook lends itself to a slight ‘Braveheart feel’ with their celtic knot and four diamonds emblem debossed onto the front.
The light brown stitching contrasts with the black leather to add character, and the workmanship is of a very high level. The black leather is coloured with traditional vegetable oils, and has a matte finish to it without any character marks or scratches we’ve seen in other full grain leather products. We believe the outermost leather surface has been worked back to deliver this consistent look and feel.
This leather notebook cover includes a pen holder, page marker, leather document sleeve (back outer), and solid button clasp.
The internal notebook is of solid build quality and is also designed to be used without the leather cover. This is different to other products we reviewed, which definitely required the outer leather cover. It has bevelled edges which are a unique design element. According to Franklin Christoph, the maroon border stitching of the internal notebook represents the lined pages inside, while the grid, dotted and blank page notebook variants are represented by their own colour of external stitching. What a unique idea!
Company founder Scott Franklin actually has their paper made from sugarcane, creating an excellent writing surface that’s also made from a sustainable crop by-product. To clarify, the paper is made from the pulp left behind once the juice has been extracted from the cane. “We tinkered with the formula to balance the four goals we identified as priorities in fountain pen paper” said Scott. “That is a surface that’s smooth but not slick, absorbent, resistant to bleed-through and resistant to feathering.”
Although the interior notebook is A5 size, the outer leather cover is much wider to accompany the pen holding feature (pictured). We’ve never seen this layout before, with a wrap around cover and button closure. This is practical and welcome, but does add to the products overall weight. This is also in addition to the weight added by the rear external document sleeve. The Franklin-Christoph leather notebook isn’t as easy to carry around with you on a day to day basis, but we feel it commands a permanent place in your space of creativity or productivity.
The interior A5 notebook has an uber-premium look and feel which is similar to a synthetic leather, which keeps the cost down at $14.50 USD per unit. This internal notebook was a pleasure to use, and we found ourselves using it without the leather cover on more than one occasion. This was the most solid interior notebook offered, which has to be purchased separately. Please note that Fanklin-Christoph also have a lighter interior notepad available with less pages and a card stock cover. This option would make the overall leather cover + interior notebook lighter to carry around on a daily basis.
As well as being a design element, the beveled edges stop the page corners from bending. This was an unexpected feature, and lined up perfectly with the beveled edge of the leather notebook cover.
The leather outer doesn’t have that distinct ‘leather smell’ that we noticed with our other products (incl. both vegetable and chemical tanning), which might be missed by true enthusiasts, but there was a pleasant smell that if anything was slightly like rubber.
One advantage of this button clasp feature is that it sits flush against the leather and doesn’t protrude 6-10mm like the pin clasp on other leather notebooks. This is less likely to scratch your laptop whilst being carried or writing table when in use. When open, it allows the front cover of the notebook to sit flush against the table underneath and provides a flat writing surface, something we didn’t get from many other products with the protruding pin clasp.
The pen holder had a similar design to that of the ARTEX Leather Journal, using a leather bracelet with black elastic underneath. This is the most effective way to secure both narrow writing instruments through to thicker pens, and worked perfectly. Nothing is more frustrating than a narrow pen holder!
The sugar cane paper is a first for us here at Top 10 Leather Journals, and it’s an absolute pleasure to write on. The 90gsm paper weight was ideal, and the 192 page count was similar to other premium notebooks. The brilliant white colour does catch more glare compared with ivory coloured papers if you like to work outside, but some people prefer this vibrant white paper. You can invest in some sunglasses if the glare from outdoor writing ever becomes an issue 😉
"If this notebook was a movie star, it would be Johnny Depp"
The Franklin-Christoph Leather Notebook has presence and draws attention wherever it’s taken. This is headlined by its bold embossing, perfect stitching, and high quality materials. The internal notebook is of a very high quality, and as mentioned in the 1 Week Review we also enjoyed using it without the leather cover. Frankly, if you like the design elements of this leather journal, you should buy it. You won’t be disappointed!