However, looking around a local stationary store/newsagent here in Thouars, I noticed a few diary refills that looked as if they would fit the Filofax ring system. So I noted down the details and when I got home I started looking around on the internet and also emailed Laurie to see what she knew about these alternatives.
In the store where:
- Quo Vadis
Laurie tells me Exatime and Quo Vadis is part of the same group of companies, a bit like Letts Diaries being the main company that Filofax is in.
You will find details of Exatime here with their 'recharges et accessories' also. I thought this was quite a comprehensive range of organisers and refills.
Finally Quo Vadis themselves, I was even more interested to see what they had on offer especially after such good reviews of their Tri Note by Laurie, who tells me that the range of organisers aren't available in the US? The UK side of Quo Vadis source from France and the US, and the European part of the business from the French parent company I believe.
So today I purchased a couple of Quo Vadis refills, one is pocket size and the other A5 size. Well almost... the pocket is in fact 2 mm narrower and 4 mm taller, but effectively the same size and importantly the ring positions are the same as a Filofax Pocket.
The A5 is also the same size within a mm or two but I was wrong about the hole spacing. The three holes are the correct spacing but the two groups of three are a different spacing between them... more in a moment a picture will explain it better... I need to go back to the shop with my personal slimline to check to see if the hole spacing is different on that size as well or not..
So the pocket refill I bought is their Timer 14 horizontal which is a week on two pages starting on Monday or to be correct Lundi and this is what it looks like (click on the picture to see it full size):
Yes it is in French, not a problem for me! And in some ways very handy because it has all the local bank holidays or Fete Nationales which are of course different to UK ones. It came in cream paper which is very smooth, not tried it with fountain pen yet, but it is ok with ballpoint and pencil. The refills run from September 2010 through to December 2011 so I have already transferred across to this one for the remainder of the year. The corners are perforated so you might be able to do away with a 'Today' marker.
Being a week on two pages compared to my previous refill being a week per page has obviously meant that there were more pages to accommodate in my Filofax pocket, but I was able to thin down some of the spare pages and pages I wasn't using out of my organiser and everything is back as it was. Already I'm loving the extra space that a week on two pages gives.
At the back of the refill is a year on two pages year planner for 2012 and other French information pages.
The A5 I went for is the Timer 21 "Planing" and this is what it looks like:
As you can see it's again a week on two pages, but with a smaller entry for Sunday, remembering not a lot happens in France on Sundays (shops are all shut!).
The right hand page has spaces for tasks spilt in to telephone calls, letters, Emails, To-Do with a Notes section for each day and each day has timed appointment slots from 7am through to 9pm There are also small monthly calendars at the top of the right hand page. There is a week number tab that moves down the edge of the right hand page.
Again the refill runs from September 2010 through to December 2011, but before I can use it I have to re-punch the pages. Here is why:
On the left is an upside down Filofax page, on the right a Quo Vadis page, if you look closely you can see the holes are half a hole spacing different! Fail! But with an A5 Filofax punch it's easily corrected:
Here's the fly sheet that I've punched and labelled which holes are which! It should be ok.
Again the refill comes with lots of useful 'French' information, like holidays, phone numbers etc. Also the same high quality as the pocket version, but in white with blue lettering.
The stockist in Thouars also stocked quite a selection of other additional pages from the Quo Vadis range too. It's nice to look at things in person and not have to pay postage.
Now I'm not expecting you to all be rushing out to buy these, but if you live in France like I do there are certain advantages to having a local product. I suspect the French Filofax refills also contain the French holidays, but there are limited in formats available.
The French refills are available on the UK site if you dig around a bit!
I went back to the stationary store today with a Personal size Filofax Organiser, my Slimline infact... and looked at the Quo Vadis Timer 17 planners.
They are the same 170 mm high, but they are 5 mm wider at 100 mm, but importantly the punched holes are exactly the same spacing as the ones for Filofax, so both Pocket and Personal size are compatible with QV inserts... I don't think the extra 5 mm would cause too much of a problem.
I think the lady thought she had another sale, but I disappointed her! More research as what format I'm going to use in my Personal size first...although their Agenda format looks interesting: