There are two different videos I made here about Leuchtturm1917, the first above covering an overview of the brand with an explanation of the different sizes and formats (which have changed over the years since this video was made in 2012!), and the second later down below where I get deeper into a paper review.
Leuchtturm1917 is a brand of journals that we've been asked about a lot in recent months, so we had to look into them for ourselves. When it comes to paper shopping, we're always a little skeptical of any new paper we hear about, as most companies just don't make products that hold up to fountain pen ink. Well, after trying Leuchtturm for ourselves, we were impressed, especially given the price.
The paper isn't absolutely premium for fountain pen use, with the right (or should I say wrong) pen and ink combinations, you certainly can push it past its limits to evoke feathering and bleeding. But this paper's threshold of pain is pretty high, higher than anything I've used in this price range before, and their notebooks have a lot of really cool details that make the brand as a whole something really unique.
Here is a bit of their history, as quoted from the Leuchtturm1917 site:
Founded in 1917, Leuchtturm can look back on over 90 years of experience in the production of high-quality stationery. The company was re-established in Hamburg from 1948. From the 1960s, Leuchtturm's international expansion continued apace, culminating in the company becoming the world's leading supplier of postage stamp and coin albums. Axel and Max Stürken took over management at the end of the 1990s as the fourth generation to head the traditional Hanseatic family-run company.
Experience and consistency are important requirements for quality. Quality gives ideas a solid foundation on which they can develop. We are convinced that small details can make a big difference.
Some items, such as the springback binder, are still made in the same way as they were back in the days when the company was first set up. Since then, many items have been added to our range. All LEUCHTTURM1917 items unite the belief that success stems from quality and well thought-out detailed solutions. Today, LEUCHTTURM1917 stands for premium quality in more than 50 countries.
The most exciting thing about Leuchtturm1917 is the format, the details, and the value. These notebooks cost significantly less than other notebooks like them, and the build and paper quality is impressive for what you're paying. They come stacked full of paper, have numbered pages with a table of contents to organize the book, back pockets, and even come with stickers to label the binding so you can quickly glance at your journals on a shelf. They have done a lot of cool stuff with these.
The paper itself is (in my view) better than Moleskine, not quite as ideal for fountain pen ink as Rhodia/Clairefontaine, so there will need to be some consideration given about which pen and ink (mainly the ink) used on this paper. I tested several inks but there's no way I can test anywhere near the 700 inks we have, so I'd love to hear from anyone with Leuchtturm1917 experience which inks work best.
Here's my video comparing two versions of Leuchtturm1917 paper to Rhodia and Moleskine:
It's been pretty evident that Leuchtturm1917 has catered to more of the pencil/ballpoint/rollerball crowd that Moleskine serves, than the fountain pen community, but they are very interested to learn more about fountain pens and what we crazy ink lovers want in our notebooks.
Part of what got me so excited about working with Leuchtturm1917 is that they are so open to feedback and excited to learn about our community, so I can definitely see them taking a lot of our feedback to heart. This seems like a company that is very user-oriented, and that's something that I can get behind.
The most popular format is the Hardcover notebook, available in A5, Pocket, and an oversized Master size, in a huge range of colors. Every year, a new collection of colors is added, and others eventually cycle out.
You can find rulings such as dot grid, lined, graph, and blank. The A5 and Pocket sizes have 80gsm paper, and the Master notebook features a thicker 100gsm paper weight.
One of the unique notebook formats is the Some Lines a Day: 5 Year Memory Notebook -- it has a page per day, with space to write a few sentences/notes for five years on that day. Great for journaling about children, mental/physical health progress, work notes, or anything else you wish to write about over time. The year is blank so you can start anytime. You can read more about it in our detailed video blog post here.
There's also an official Bullet Journal version with additional features and 120gsm paper weight, and annual dated planners with a weekly planner on the left side and a lined page on the right side for notes. We have another video blog post that goes waaaaay into depth into the details and differences among all these various notebooks if you want to check that out.
Finally, Leuchtturm1917 offers color-matched Pen Loops if you wish to add one to your notebook. The loop is made of elastic, and it just adheres to the inside cover of the notebook. You can add one in the same notebook color, or mix & match!
This is a brand that we've been really excited to carry, and I think it will find a nice cozy place in the fountain pen world. We're offering a significant part of the Leuchtturm1917 line of notebooks at GouletPens.com.