|Colours:||Dark Brown, Saddle, Black, Burgundy, Buckskin, Ocean, Stone, Charcoal, Angled, Backside|
|For:||Leather colour range, robust and rustic feel, leather closure strap|
|Against:||Lack of extra features|
Our review product is the Switchback leather notebook – Machine Sewn with line paper, and please note that this Rustico website also has a wide range of other leather journal styles.
Our Rustico purchasing experience was easy and straightforward. We enjoyed their easy to navigate website and ordering platform, and were pleasantly surprised with their online chat feature.
The Rustico company take great pride in their American history and leather artisanship. They’re a big close-knit team of 19, and being able to see portraits and personality snapshots on their ‘Our Story’ page really gave a welcoming feel to the brand.
The Rustico leather notebook arrived speedily, and we received prompt email notifications throughout the delivery stage. The product didn’t have any special boxes or satchels like the BASICS Notebook or Franklin-Christoph Leather Notebook, but it was shrink wrapped to guard against moisture. At first glance this is a sturdy notebook which wouldn’t damage easily in transit.
Inside the package was a small ‘Spring Catalogue’ showing the range of Rustico leather products, along with lifestyle photos and product numbers. There was also a card on ‘How to use your Journal’, instructing how to set the journal up, number the pages, and begin writing. Once we opened the notebook, there was a contact card which had been hand-signed by the leather artisan who crafted the product. The three things surely gift the buyer a sense of belonging amongst the Rustico family.
We were most impressed with the selection of 8 leather colours (listed above) available. This is definitely a thick and sturdy product, with an overall larger and heavier feel than similar sized journal notebooks we’ve reviewed. This has a true leather smell, with pleasant metallic hints – similar to the traditional smell of the HOLTZ Leather Journal. The grey ‘stone’ coloured tanning is faultless, and this is true top-grain cow hide, as the Rustico website suggests. We did note the leather had a strange finish on the underside, which almost looked like a white fabric, and gave a feeling of cleanliness.
This is the first slide-through leather buckle we’ve encountered, and it’s safe to say it tackles the job without fail. This style of closure ensures a flat left page writing surface when the notebook is open.
When it comes to workmanship and stitching, this is a sturdily constructed product. There was some loose machine stitching on one of the corners, but this doesn’t disturb the overall feel of the product, nor its ability to get the job done. We generally enjoyed the two-tone brown stitching on the stone coloured leather.
We enjoyed the option at online check-out to turn this into a personalised leather journal, and we also noted the slots for notebook refills, which will appease heavy writers. Other than this, there are no further features.
We didn’t find any hand-sewn paper held together with Irish wax linen thread, like we read on the website, but we think this is reserved for other Rustico models, of which there are plenty. We did receive a thick 192-page inner notebook with our favourite cream colour paper. With 1cm rulings, the lines are spaced further apart than the 7mm standard we’ve observed.
Our Rustico Leather Notebook joined us for a week of travels and daily use. As mentioned above, it is heavier than other A5 sized products we reviewed, but this wasn’t a deal breaker.
The leather clasp worked effortlessly and didn’t lose any grip after 100+ closes.
After a week of bashing and crashing around with this product, the leather did not easily mark at all, nor did the stone colouring fade, proving to be very robust.
We enjoyed using the cream coloured paper, but the larger 1cm ruled lines took some getting used it. Isn’t it funny how that extra 3mm over the standard 7mm ruled lines can make a difference. Of course, having larger writing will benefit older users, the type who need to squint whilst reading a restaurant menu.
This is a true leather notebook, and even with its simple featureless offering, lacking a document sleeve or pen holder, we found it rather useable on a daily basis.
We truly think this Rustico Leather Notebook will last a lifetime. The slots for A5 notebook refills will come in handy for replacements, whilst the outer leather sleeve will age naturally. Despite its heavier weight, this product is perfect for rugged use and daily travels. It represents good value at $51.00 USD. From the wide array of colours available, if you find one you like, then this product should join your collection. You won’t be disappointed.
Wildcard Suggestion: Take a look at the Rustico Red Wool Switchback Notebook (Pictured)
It’s available directly from: http://www.rustico.com