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Piccadilly Notebook


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#1 tlaine

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Posted 05 March 2009 - 18:32



These Journals are supposedly available at Borders Book Stores, but the two that I went to didn't have them. Apparently the books fly off the shelves pretty fast. Considering that these are about 1/3rd the price of a Moleskine but look almost exactly the same. They are located in the "Bargain" books section in the bookstore, which I was told is between the double doors at the store entrances. Stock may vary at each individual store, maybe it would be prudent to call ahead and see if they have some available.

  • Sizes:
    Large 7.25″ x 9.75″ 240 pages
    Medium 5″ x 8.25″ 240 pages
    Small 3.5″ x 5.5″ 192 pages
  • They come in Ruled, Plain, Squared (Graph) paper.
  • Expandable pocket, Elastic closure, Satin bookmark


Since I couldn't find mine in a store, I gave in and purchased them directly from the Piccadilly website. They also have a discount if you buy in quantities of 10, 25 and 50 at a time. I had no trouble using their website to purchase my notebooks. But I had placed my order on Feb. 16th and I had to send them an email on the 27th to ask if my order had been shipped, to which they replied with a tracking number that had just been entered into the system that day. I received my notebooks on March 4th. I figure my order had just slipped through notice until I had questioned about it. I am happy to get them. =)



Obviously since they look so much like a Moleskine it's natural for me to try and compare the two. The notebook with the green label is the Piccadilly, and the other without a label is the Moleskine (sketchbook version). They look almost exactly alike sitting side by side. But there are subtle differences when you feel them in your hands. The texture of the black cover looks the same, although feeling it with my hands it feels as if the Piccadilly notebook may have a little bit thinner of a skin and the inside cardboard of the cover might be a little softer. The reason I say this is because the elastic of the notebook has left a very defined imprint on the notebook cover. I didn't think to get a picture of this. Even with the little differences the notebook still looks great and feels great in the hand.



A few of the main differences of the two notebooks to me is the ribbon, the elastic band, and the pocket. Both notebooks have all of those and they all look quite similar. Except, the Piccadilly notebook ribbon is satin and to me it feels to be better quality. On the other hand, the elastic on the Piccadilly is a lot thinner, it feels as if it will stretch out even more easily than a moleskine would and I really do not like that. The expandable pocket seems to be a little bit less sturdy feeling than the Moleskine pocket.

They both have rounded corners. The moleskine notebook edges are almost flush with the paper edges, and the Piccadilly overlaps just a very little bit. I actually like that because it seems it would protect the page edges from wearing better.

Here is a picture comparing the imprints on the back sides of the notebooks.



I purchased Large and Medium plain notebooks, and a Medium Ruled notebook. I like the Large size notebook and as far as I know Moleskine does not have one available in that size. I do prefer the medium size for ease of carrying around.



Size comparison between the medium (moleskine size) and large.



First I'm going to talk about the Plain Notebook (unruled). When I wrote with various fountain pens and a couple of non fountain pens I really liked it. The paper is smooth, but not too smooth. There was very, very little feathering or spread, in the pictures you might be able to see it. It was very minimal. The bleed through in this notebook and the page I tested was non-existant. I saw no dots of ink coming through at all although the paper is thin enough to see through to the other side of the page. Overall, I really like this paper and this notebook! I feel bad now that I didn't try to use watercolor or my Pitt artist pens in either of the notebooks to see the results.



Here's a 100% crop of the scan I took of the writing (front and back side of the paper)



I also decided to take a picture of the way the light shines through the paper to compare with the ruled version of this notebook.



Now here are images from the Piccadilly Ruled Notebook. I haven't really gone to any length to test the paper, but I did want to see how it compared to the plain notebook. At first I thought maybe the paper was a little bit thinner and the texture a little bit different. But looking at the pictures comparing the two, they do seem fairly consistent. But there was little bleed through pin pricks of ink showing on the opposite side of the paper. The Pelikan M200 is the wettest nib I have and it lays down quite a bit of ink. The VP Decimo is a fairly wet writer as well and there was no bleed through with it.



And the way the light shines through the paper. I had to adjust the contrast a little on the two shots like this to make the pattern stand out more.





I am really impressed with these notebooks! I wanted to see how they stood up myself after reading all of the great things that people have been saying about them. I just wish it wasn't so out of the way and hard for me to find them in the bookstore. I doubt I'll ever buy another overpriced Moleskine again with these notebooks available (maybe, with the exception of the Moleskine sketch/watercolor books unless they ever come out with their own version of those). They are the right value and the paper is great for writing with fountain pens, or non fountain pens.

But I don't think I'd use them as an art journal except with just a pencil and maybe a basic pen, until I can test them out with watercolors and more pigmented artist pens. (I will edit this entry when I get a chance to play around with watercolors)


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#2 Treecat

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Posted 05 March 2009 - 19:26

Thanks for the very thorough review, especially the writing samples and writing/light samples. I agree that the elastic is rather weak, but that doesn't bother me. For the price, these are a much better value than Moleskines. smile.gif

I bought a small Picadilly at Borders last Fall and haven't found them in the local Borders since then. I did find two small and two medium books (ruled) at a Borders Express near Orlando last week. Those were all of the ruled books that they had. I talked to the clerk at the store and told her how popular the books are. She took the ISN numbers from both sizes and made a computer entry to order more for her store. That's good customer service! The four ruled notebooks I bought were part of an order the store received in January.

The small notebook is great for notes and reminders. I'll probably try the medium books for journals when I use the last Apica A610 I have. I just hope I won't have to drive 500 miles the next time I need to restock. biggrin.gif

#3 dannyboy

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Posted 05 March 2009 - 20:05

Thanks for your superb review! I'll check the Borders near us to see if they are available. I do like the style of the Moleskine Journals but I hate the paper they use. So this Piccadilly may be just the right journal. Many, many thanks for alerting me to these!

#4 Margana

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Posted 05 March 2009 - 20:49

What a great review! How do you like the paper color and line spacing compared to a Moleskine?
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#5 inkypete

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Posted 05 March 2009 - 20:57

Great review, thanks.

The good news for us Aussies is that they will be available here late April or early May as an Australian agent has been appointed. I am in touch wiith them and will let my fellow little vegemites know when they hit our shores. Keep in mind the agent is a book wholesaler so they may appear in stores we wouldn't usually look in for this type of product.
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#6 tlaine

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Posted 05 March 2009 - 21:00

QUOTE (Margana @ Mar 5 2009, 02:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
What a great review! How do you like the paper color and line spacing compared to a Moleskine?



As far as I can tell they look the same to me. But I don't have the comparable moleskines with me at the moment, just the sketchbook version with the thicker card stock paper. smile.gif But I like the paper and the color of the Piccadillys. The line spacing is the same in the ruled notebooks I think.
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#7 Splicer

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Posted 05 March 2009 - 21:23

QUOTE (tlaine @ Mar 5 2009, 01:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The line spacing is the same in the ruled notebooks I think.


I can confirm that. The paper color is the same and the line spacing is the same. The rules themselves are a bit darker than the Moleskine's rules.

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#8 TheNibsmith

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 11:45

Thanks for the review. I just bought two of these last night, both large, one ruled and one plain. I looked at the Moleskins and there was no way I was paying $16 for one when I got both of the Piccadilly notebooks for $12. I haven't written in mine yet but if I like them I may go back and get the medium sizes. But, I have a Clairefontaine cloth bound that I really like for my medium carry around notebook. That'll be my most important comparison.

#9 KMAC444

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 14:05

I, too, have just recently acquired the ruled Piccadilly notebook in both the 3.5" X 5.5" and the 5" X 8.25" size. And, I too, had to order them from the web site because I couldn't find them at any of the three Boarders that I visited.

Over all yours was a very good review of this product - much better than I could have done. However, I would like relate an impression that I had when writing in the small notebook. I don't know quite how to express this but the paper felt "slow,” it was as if I was pushing through some very mushy resistance. It was a distracting annoyance that was drawing my attention and not allowing me concentrate on what I was writing. Another thing that occurred when I was writing on the back side of the first page, my pen actually stabbed through the paper twice as I was writing toward the middle. Another small point is that in the small notebook there is no header line. As with the Moleskine, the first line is smaller than the others but with such a dark rule, that line is lost. With the Moleskine, on the other hand the first line is small than the Piccadilly first line and combined with a very light line coloring, the first two lines therefore make an effective header.

I like most everything about the Piccadilly note book but I don’t think it is the one for me due to the distracting “slowness” of the paper.

Ken


#10 pmsalty

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 16:11

Very nice review! I too have a staple of Picadilly's great value for the money spent! No issues with them.
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#11 Shamouti

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Posted 07 March 2009 - 18:03

...And you didn't use a Pelikan M620 Piccadilly Circus FP? Wouldn't they go together?

huh.gif ???

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#12 oldnavy1988

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 15:21

I have several Picadillys in sizes small and and large. Very FP friendly (at least with F & VF nibs). Durable, I carry mine in a backpack all day everyday and reasonable in cost. Some companies even make leather and other fancy covers that will fit over them. Sometimes you can find them in Boarders in their clearance aisle (not by the moleskins) or I just order from their website, usually 3-4 at a time.
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#13 ExcaliburZ

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Posted 03 April 2009 - 22:01

From the pictures it looks like there is a lot of show through and you would be unable to write on the backside of the paper.
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#14 pmsalty

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Posted 04 April 2009 - 02:20

I had gotten mine from Boarder's in January, I just visited several Boarder's near me and none of them had any Picadilly's but they all had Moleskine racks. Go figure!
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#15 tlaine

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Posted 14 April 2009 - 19:04

QUOTE (ExcaliburZ @ Apr 3 2009, 05:01 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
From the pictures it looks like there is a lot of show through and you would be unable to write on the backside of the paper.



Just now saw this.

Yes there is some show-through, but it dosent bother me at all, the main thing I'm happy about is that there is no bleed-through even with my wettest fountain pen smile.gif I've written several pages, front and back sides and it works great for me. Yes the paper is kind of thin, but it's a lot better than moleskine paper IMO. smile.gif My small clairfontaine exacompta journal had show-through, although I'm not comparing them side by side right now, I'd have to say that it was almost the same amount of show through.
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#16 Titivillus

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 02:10

Just stopped at the local Border's and got a bunch of these notebooks as they were on the clearance rack for $3.99 small and 4.99 larger size.

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#17 cmenice

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 12:13

QUOTE ((bleep) @ May 9 2009, 10:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just stopped at the local Border's and got a bunch of these notebooks as they were on the clearance rack for $3.99 small and 4.99 larger size.

K


I bought one on Friday to try. It's even worse than Moleskine for feathering, but I do use fairly wet writers. Even a Fine nibbed Bexley with Aurora black feathered. I'm glad I didn't buy the whole stack like I was going to. I can post a photo if anyone is interested.

#18 dizzypen

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 13:37

QUOTE (cmenice @ May 10 2009, 12:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE ((bleep) @ May 9 2009, 10:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just stopped at the local Border's and got a bunch of these notebooks as they were on the clearance rack for $3.99 small and 4.99 larger size.

K


I bought one on Friday to try. It's even worse than Moleskine for feathering, but I do use fairly wet writers. Even a Fine nibbed Bexley with Aurora black feathered. I'm glad I didn't buy the whole stack like I was going to. I can post a photo if anyone is interested.


please do!
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#19 Titivillus

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Posted 10 May 2009 - 13:50

QUOTE (dizzypen @ May 10 2009, 08:37 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (cmenice @ May 10 2009, 12:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE ((bleep) @ May 9 2009, 10:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just stopped at the local Border's and got a bunch of these notebooks as they were on the clearance rack for $3.99 small and 4.99 larger size.

K


I bought one on Friday to try. It's even worse than Moleskine for feathering, but I do use fairly wet writers. Even a Fine nibbed Bexley with Aurora black feathered. I'm glad I didn't buy the whole stack like I was going to. I can post a photo if anyone is interested.


please do!


Tried one with 3 three inks and a gel pen, didn't see all that much.....I think like moleskine it depends on what you are using and you tolerances.

K

Edited by Titivillus, 10 May 2009 - 14:41.


#20 lefty928

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 14:50

QUOTE (cmenice @ May 10 2009, 08:13 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE ((bleep) @ May 9 2009, 10:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Just stopped at the local Border's and got a bunch of these notebooks as they were on the clearance rack for $3.99 small and 4.99 larger size.

K


I bought one on Friday to try. It's even worse than Moleskine for feathering, but I do use fairly wet writers. Even a Fine nibbed Bexley with Aurora black feathered. I'm glad I didn't buy the whole stack like I was going to. I can post a photo if anyone is interested.

Just broke out a Picadilly pocket-sized notebook purchased late last year ($3.99 regular price at Borders, go figure) and it feathers, even with my fine points; the Moleskine large notebook I'm using for another purpose doesn't. The paper is also rougher than that used in the extra-large one purchased at the same time. Sigh. As (bleep) has said, doesn't mean there's not a use for it, and it's not surprising the quality of the paper varies as much as with most other notebook brands, especially at that price point. But no using that Borders coupon to purchase a second one (the pocket-sized ones only have suddenly sprouted on the nearest Borders' bargain rack again) this weekend.

Edited by lefty928, 15 May 2009 - 14:52.

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