Starting off with some background information. The Original marks the return of manufacturing of Filofax personal organisers to UK for the first time since about 1991 (Unless someone knows a different date?). In recent years a lot of the organisers have been manufactured in either China or more recently India. I think The Original is a positive sign for the future of the design and manufacturing of Filofax personal organisers in the UK.
The Original, is a very simple and straight forward design, available in both Personal and A5 size, it has been released in 8 different colours and 3 different finishes. I do not know of another model that Filofax have released in such a large number of colours at the introduction of a new model?
The colours range from black, brown, green, yellow, to fluro pink and fluro orange, and patent purple and patent fuchsia.
The first change I noticed with this model is that it comes in just a clear plastic sleeve. It does mean that the products can be displayed in stores and people can see the colours and handle them without marking the leather in anyway.
The construction of the Original is made out of one piece of 2mm thick leather for the cover, even on the A5 this is a single piece, compare that to say a Malden or other A5's and the cover is in two parts. The inside of the Original also features another two pieces of 2 mm thick leather to form the front and back pockets. A fourth piece of leather is used to form the strap; this is directly attached to the back cover.
Although thick leather is used in the construction of this organiser, which you might think would make it stiff and it would have problems with 'laying flat'. The A5 Original lays flat straight away and the strap of the clasp also doesn't get in the way either once it has been released from the press-stud on the cover.
The 25 mm rings on the A5 model (23mm on the Personal) are fixed directly to the leather cover, there are not stiffeners or 'cardboard' used on this model at all. In fact the only plastic used on the organiser is the acrylic cover on the press-stud button. All of the fastenings are visible not hidden from view.
There are no internal textiles used to form the pockets; the inside of the leather has been shaved to create a reasonably smooth surface, but you can still see the detailed natural grain of the leather, making every one different and individual. The pleasant aroma of the leather has been very evident with the organiser open on my desk next to me whilst writing this review.
Opening up the organiser you will first see two simple card slots, because of the thickness of the leather the cards are certainly held quite firmly and not having a structured pocket behind the slot certainly doesn't seem an issue at all. There is also a full height vertical pocket shared with the card slots. As you can see in the photo below the inside front cover is nicely embossed with the model name and size and the material... Ebay sellers please note!
Sewn to the front cover is a 'multifunctional elastic holder' this is divided up in to three sections. At the outer edge is a more conventional pen loop, then working inwards, a wider section, which is big enough to accommodate most smart phones, and then on the inner end of the holder there is another pen section, but not as a loop.
Using this 'elastic holder' to its full capacity will limit the number of pages the organiser can hold because of the additional thickness these items add to the internal contents. However, I was just about able to get the press-stud to close with two pens and my iPod Touch in the holder and with 18 months worth of diary pages and all the additional fill pages that came with the Original.
In the back cover Filofax provides a jotter pad, similar if not the same as the ones we have seen in the Flex by Filofax, there are top and bottom slots to hold this in place in the leather back inside cover. Like the front there is a full height vertical pocket for storage purposes.
The fill in the A5 is a little different to ones I've previously seen, judging by the 2013 copyright dates the designs are new or tweaked versions of previous ones:
- Clear flysheet with a signature 'Made in UK' - The Original cover sheet
- Week on two pages July - December 2013 - Horizontal format.
- Week on two pages January - December 2014 - Vertical column format
- To Do sheets with circular check boxes
- Lined paper in white, green, blue and pink pastel colours.
- Graph paper,
- Plain white paper
- Contacts pages in white, but no A-Z index dividers are included
- 6 numbered section dividers in blue and green pastel shades
- Side opening zip envelope
- Frosted ruler
- Jotter Pad with white paper.
I also did some photos to compare it to a Malden A5.The Malden is of course designed with 30 mm rings hence the slightly wider size in the photo below.
The Original comes in Personal size for £60 and A5 for £80
You can also see Laurie's review of the patent purple personal model over on Plannerisms today and take a look at Laurie's video too.
If you have any questions then please add them in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them all.
Once again thank you to Filofax UK and the Ideas Network for the review sample.
In answer to Helen's question about the outer pen loop. It's not perfect, you would potentially have issues where the tabs are and the pen when closed, but as you will see from the photos below the pen does sit outside of the pages.