I always think of the Leuchtturm 1917 notebook as the fountain-pen friendly option for those who like the Moleskine aesthetic but hate Moleskine paper. I have nothing against Moleskines per se, but I've found the paper so inconsistent that I even had one where I couldn't write on both sides of the page with a ballpoint pen, the show-through was so bad.
But paper quality issues aside, I admire Moleskine's simple, functional design, with the elastic closure, ribbon bookmark, back pocket, and relatively durable faux-black-leather cover. Enter the Leuchtturm 1917 from Hamburg, Germany. This particular notebook that I've been using started life as a bullet journal, but I've since moved on from that system and I'm now using it as miscellaneous ideas/drafts/research notebook.
Overall, I've been very pleased with this notebook. I'm currently about a quarter of the way through it. This version has well-spaced dot-grid paper, which handles fountain pen ink better than a Baron Fig, but probably not quite as well as a Rhodia Webnotebook or a Quo Vadis Habana. I did a pretty thorough test yesterday, and the only two pen-ink combinations that I used that had bleed or show-through (albeit minimal) were Sailor Bung Box Espresso Brown in my medium TWSBI Eco, and the Schmidt Capless .6mm Rollerball refill in my Baron Fig Squire. Neither rendered the other side of the page unusable by any stretch.
My favorite features are the 249 numbered pages and the built-in "table of contents," which make the Leuchtturm 1917 an easy notebook to index and an excellent option for those who work on multiple projects simultaneously and don't like to carry multiple notebooks.
Bottom line: this notebook probably won't turn any heads, but as I mentioned, it's very functional and will stand up well to heavy daily use. The version that I've reviewed here is the "classic black" A5, but Leuchtturm offers other colors and patterns as well. Check out the various colors they offer here (though I have no idea how many of these options make it to the U.S.).
The Leuchtturm 1917 A5 Notebooks compare favorably to the Rhodia Webnotebook and the Quo Vadis Habana, both of which are also excellent and can be highly recommended because they feature Clairefontaine paper. All of these notebooks are pricier than a Moleskine, but you are paying for quality, and plus, I haven't yet found Moleskine hardcover notebooks with dot grid paper as an option!
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