We hear a lot of comments about 'Vintage' Filofax organisers and how their design can't be equalled... ok may be that is going too far, but you get the idea. So I thought in one of my [many] idol moments, let's compare say a Malden and my 'old' Winchester in terms of design qualities and see how they compare.
So a recap for those that don't know the history of my old black Winchester personal organiser. I bought it in late 1986, so it is over 25 years old now. Yes it is showing some sign of use in that period, it has not been sat on a shelf or left in a box. It was in daily use for the first 6-7 years of its life and then occasional use from then on, but it went into retirement for a few years. Some of the inserts I have date back to the late 80's so that will prove the longevity of paper if stored correctly.
It was brought back in to full use in 2005 when my new employer at the time did not allow personal electronic devices in the office due to security issues (enough said on that one!) So no mobile phones, PDA's (Psion, Palm, iPaqs... iPhones etc). So a paper solution seemed appropriate.
In 2006 I then bought my A5 Finsbury which was easier to print off calendars and other information sheets I needed access to. This lead me creating some of my own inserts, I put these on DiY Planner, then I discovered by chance Philofaxy in early 2008, in June 2009 I became a full time contributor to Philofaxy and the rest as they say is history!
My particular Winchester has 7/8" rings 23mm in metric terms, they came in bigger sizes too. I think the design is classic in terms of its simplicity nothing too fancy it just does the job it is intended to do.
So here are the two 'brothers' or is it 'Father and Son' along side each other. As you can see the Malden has a much broader clasp, the one on the Winchester is a little flimsy in this area and if the leather hasn't been cared for and allowed to dry out too much they can crack or worse become detached completely.
As you might also notice the plastic cap is missing on my Winchester press-stud, one of the other failings of this design I guess. I must get around to putting a dab of enamel paint on it.
The Malden is fractionally bigger than the Winchester in height and width.
The rear of the covers show a similar method of securing the clasp to the cover, although the Malden appears to be stitched to a large pad which is then in turn stitched to the cover. I suppose this method might be easier to repair in say 20 years time...
The Malden also has a stitched beading around the outer edge of the cover, where as the Winchester is just stitched around the whole of the outer edge close to the edge of the adjoining leather. As a comparison the Chameleon uses this same method of construction as the Winchester.
Many of you will be familiar with the internal layout and construction of the Malden, so I won't go in to too much detail in this post. As you can see it has a multitude of card pockets. It also has a full height zip pocket. The zipper it self can add unwanted bulk/lumpiness to the front cover. In the back cover there is a notepad slot and a full height pocket as well. And yes as you can see it lays flat. This particular Malden I have owned for nearly 12 months.
Moving now to the Winchester.
No zips, only leather flaps which also serve as additional protection for the ring mechanism. There is an id card slot. No credit card slots as such, but this was designed and sold in an era before credit cards were in extensive use! Just a single leather pen loop as well.
Under the front cover flap is access to the ID card window slot and another pocket as well as a full height pocket. The table is a 1960's G-Plan nest of tables!
In the back cover there is a gusseted pocket which is a nice feature, I've put my reading glasses in to the pocket to show it expanded without my hand in the photo...
This final photo shows how flexible the two organisers are when empty. The Malden appears to use thicker leather hence it is more 'rounded' appearance around the ring mechanism compared to the Winchester which is quite angular I suppose.
If I was redesigning the Malden I would include the leather flaps to cover the full height pocket openings and do away with the zip pocket, mainly due to the long term life of a zipper. May be I would also add a gusseted pocket like on the Winchester. And my final wish would be for a larger ring version of the Malden with say 30 mm rings. But I would also suggest a compact version as well for the slimmer Filofax users too.
What my Malden will look like in 25 years time... is anyone's guess. It is in daily use these days, it gets occasional rest when I swap in to the Cuban Zip which I like because of the bigger rings.
If you have any questions about the Winchester pop them in to the comments and I will do my best to answer them, but I wouldn't call myself a Winchester expert as such.