17 July 2013

Review - Gillio Amica

It is not often that I am lost for words. But when I received an email a few days ago from Gillio Firenze in Belgium it was one of those rare moments. I reread the email, I wasn't dreaming. Gillio would like Philofaxy to review one of their planners... the decision to say yes didn't take more than a blink of an eye!

Up until today, I had only seen photographs and watched videos of these organisers that several of our readers were talking about. Last week I received confirmation that 'the package' had been despatched.

The sense of anticipation grew as I followed the tracking information on 'the package' from Belgium in to Northern France, to the outskirts of Paris and then Niort where it then was declared 'Out for delivery’ Then it arrived.....

I was even patient enough to grab the camera before I got the scissors out to open the box carefully.




Nicely packed I think you will agree, but one second... how many?

Empty boxes? Oh very funny Steve.....


They look full to me....



By this point my senses started to go in to overload... the rich smell of the vegetable tanned Tuscan leather was quite intoxicating,  but I carried on taking photographs.


As you might have guessed this is going to be a very long post, so better limber up your scrolling finger at this point. But I promise you now it will be worth it by the time you get to the end of the post.......

I decided to select the one in the bottom left hand corner for a closer examination, this was the Dark Brown and Gold model, with contrasting stitching. This particular model is the 'Medium Amica' it is the equivalent of Filofax Personal Size, with the same ring spacings as Filofax Personal size, so your existing inserts will just drop straight in.

Dark Brown 772 and Gold 774




As you can see from the photo above the planner lays flat, straight out of the box, no training at all was required. The leather around the spine is soft and supple, yet the covers do have some stiffening in them to make it easier to write in when you are away from a desk or flat surface to rest on.

When ever I pick up a new organiser I like to look at it in detail, remove the pages and look at it under a magnifier and look at the details of the design.

The design of this organiser is very timeless, very well put together in Italian leather. It is the sort of organiser that will not have dated in its design in say 10 years time compared to some we know.  It has clearly been well thought through with the user in mind.

The ring mechanism in any planner is to some of us the most important item. The rings in the Gillio Amica are 26 mm in internal diameter, that compares to 23 mm for a modern day Filofax personal organiser, so they are a shade bigger.

The mechanism on the Gillio is held on with a concealed 'key hole and slot' fixing, not rivets. This arrangement is the same as some other high value organisers. It does mean that if there is a problem with the rings in service then it is fairly easy to swap them. In fact Tom from Gillio has put a video on You Tube showing how to do a ring mechanism swap.



The ring mechanism sits snugly against the leather of the spine of the organiser.


The front inside cover has three card slots, an additional slot for tickets or similar below them. Then there are two secretarial pockets behind the card slots.


The additional slot pocket has the Gillio logo and model name embossed in it.  This picture also shows the quality of the stitching;v I can't fault it at all.


The back cover has a single large secretarial pocket.


The pen loop is a nice single thick piece of leather, and it comes with the pen shown.


The pen loop sits in board of the edge of the binder edge rather than outside of the edge.  This next picture is the view from above without the inserts present. You can see how well the cover fits around the rings and the shaping of the leather at the spine is neatly done. The generous size clasp uses an industry standard make of press stud and it is also of a generous length too.


Now in case you were wondering.. how does it compare to a similarly priced Filofax? The nearest I have in my 'collection' is a Filofax Eton from around about 2005.


Straight away you will see what I mean about 'generous size clasp'! Look closely and you might notice that the Gillio is also slightly bigger than the Filofax Eton.


A ruler confirms the overall length when open as 300 mm, this compares to 280 mm for the Eton. But the Gillio does have factionally bigger rings so that would account for the slight increase, but not all of it. The positioning of the pen loop in board of the edge has sensibly been allowed for too. So the pen does not crush the tabs at all.



The view from above, Gillio on the left, Eton on the right.


Now before we go on to looking at inserts,  a close up of the end of the ring mechanisms, this often shows up the perceived quality of manufacture of the ring mechanisms.

First the Filofax Eton, as you can see like the Gillio Amica there are no rivets holding the ring mechanism in place, it uses a similar 'key hole and slot' arrangement with a decorative spring metal cover  to hide the inner working parts of the mechanism.

And now the Gillo Amica. They certainly look similar in design.

A couple of pictures to finish off this part of the review.



What ever the brand, these things are just so beautiful to photograph.

So moving on to the inserts. Starting from the front, there is a frosted ruler and a clear fly sheet, followed by a Gilio Firenze title page. On the reverse of this page is a personal notes page.  Facing is a 3 year calendar page for 2013, 2014 and 2015 in this case.


On the reverse side of the calendar page is the start of a 2013 monthly planner followed by a International holidays page for 2013.



We then go in to the main part of the diary insert which is a week on two page layout. Saturday and Sunday are slightly smaller, but this does give more space for the week days. These are all ruled with times indicated. The slightly off white paper is two-colour printed and in four languages. There is a monthly calendar across the bottom of each diary page. Each bottom corner has a perforated  tear off to show you the current week clearly.


At the end of the diary insert there are some notes for the new year page, which are just simple ruled pages, it's quite a useful idea to have these.

The A-Z tabs are quite special, instead of them just being plain, they include a listing for names and phone number, very useful for quick reference I think.


There are then some similar paper contacts pages too.

Now a quick run through the remainder of the inserts. Here are the Memo/To-do pages.


Undated appointment pages


Detailed contacts pages with names and address, phone numbers, email address, comments etc.


Some projects pages with areas for details to be recorded, sketch plans, resources and budget details.


Objective pages for setting your goals.


Ruled notes pages and graph pages.



Expenses pages, useful for tracking your saving account for your next Gillio?!


The section dividers use both top tabs for Diary, Addresses, Memo, Planner and side tabs for Contacts, Projects, Goals, Notes and Expenses. It does mean that for that number of tabs they are of a reasonable size.

The Diary section divider is divided up so you can record important dates, 6 months on each side, so ideal for birthdays and anniversaries. The Addresses section divider has International dialling codes printed on it.

Following on from the section dividers the organiser also includes a world map, this folds out to 7 pages wide! With the Northern hemisphere on one side and the southern hemisphere on the reverse.

In the back of the organiser there are two plastic envelopes one side opening, and one with a side flap opening. As you can see one contains some sticky labels and hole reinforcing rings.

There is also a business card/credit card holder too.


Finally there is a card fly sheet to finish off the insert fill.  I've never come across such a complete set of refills in an organiser. If you consider what it would cost to add all the different types of insert and the additional accessories that come included in the price of the Gillio Amica then some cheaper organisers would be more expensive than the Gillio Amica!

Thank you to one of our readers for spotting that the inserts are the same as supplied with the Aspinal of London range of personal organisers. There's an excellent write up about them on the Paper Lovestory blog, thank you Angela for pointing this out to me.

As you saw I was also sent some other samples to look at, here are some photos of those too, they have the same inserts as the ones already discussed.

Croco Matt Black 456

Croco Matt Black 456
Black 775

Black 775

Dark Brown 772

Dark Brown 772

Red 770-Gold 774


Red 770-Gold 774



I have only been able to show you four colours from the extensive range, but Gillio planners come in a very large range of colours, some in two tone colours too. Here is a small selection of the colours in actual leather samples, the numbers on the reverse side refer to the numbers used on the Gillio website.



Each organiser comes with it's own numbered certificate giving assurance that it has 100% been produced in Italy. They also come with a lifetime warranty.


Prices
  • With a complete refill excluding the week on two pages year planner ( Choose No option in the option section on the bottom right) : price will be € 213 (price for a one colored binder) 
  • With a complete refill and year planner week on two pages ( as you received) ( Choose refill week on two pages in the option section on the bottom right) price will be €226 (price for a one coloured binder) 
  • With a complete refill and year planner one day per page refill ( Choose refill one day per page in the option section on the bottom right) price will be €249 (price for a one coloured binder)
Please note that the prices above include 21% VAT, if you live in a Non-EU country the VAT will not be charged on your order.
I must thank the team at Gillio in Belgium for supplying the samples you have seen in this review and for their patience with answering all my questions.

Be sure to check out Gillio on the web both on their website,  'like' their Facebook page and subscribe to their You Tube channel. There is also a Gillio group on Facebook for users to share their experiences, photographs etc

Thank you readers for getting all the way to this point... now would you like to own a Gillio planner yourself?... Well come back tomorrow to Philofaxy and find out how you can win a Gillio planner.....

62 comments:

  1. I'm neither shocked or surprised Steve great review though....

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  2. I've stayed away from these because of the price. But seeing the pic of the red one, I may have to find a way to justify the cost.

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  3. The red one does look exceptionally good. The brown one is also very tempting.

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  4. I've had my Gillio Gold Medium Compagna for three weeks..absolutely the BEST planner I have ever owned. The smell is wonderful. I get little whiffs of it as it sits on my desk at work all day! Yes, it was pricey, but it was oh so worth it. I can't see ever using anything else. I am happy with the inserts and the pen is top notch too.
    Great review, Steve..I hope you get to keep one of these for yourself!

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  5. Thank you Steve for the review and also thank you Gillio for providing the planners for review. I would love to have a Gillio, but I will have to save for it. But I think it is a good quality binder that will last a long time.

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  6. Excellent review! I am seriously reconsidering the Malden now. The orange A5 Amica on their site is screaming at me! Wheels are turning.

    Ashley

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  7. Great review. I have two and as others have said you really do get what you pay for. I honestly don't think I could go back to filofax.

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    1. I agree - I have a *beautiful* compagna mini - and I don't think I could go back to ff now..... (maybe this will save me money in the long run??!!)

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  8. Could I please win one!!! PLEASE!!! :-)

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  9. fantastic review and will be back tomorrow to try and win one!
    totally out of my Australian price range because of the shoddy dollar.

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  10. An excellent and thorough review, your photos make me feel I could touch one. Oh for smelli-web!

    Brown is such a classic, isn't it?

    To paraphrase Phil Collins - No Stickers Required.

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  11. Great review Steve....!! When I am back at work, my first holiday may well have to be a trip to Belgium for a Gillio!! *Cough*

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  12. Fantastic review, Steve. These really are beautiful planners. Those brown ones are just calling out to me :-).

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  14. Bingo! Don't 'spose I win one on account of guessing who your affair was with? No? Well, can't blame me for trying lol!

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  15. Excellent review - absolutely love the red one! Am saving for one and I'm sure it will be worth the wait!

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  16. Fabulous organisers! Fabulous review! They are in a different league compared to a certain well-known brand. Rolls Royce vs Ford! For the price they represent great value for their quality and workmanship. Just look at those rings, for a start. No worries of inferior workmanship and DRGD (Dreaded Ring Gap Disease). And no pancake thin leather packed out by cardboard either!

    Alas, they don't state ring sizes on their website and they all look very chunky to me. The You Tube video of their top A5 suggests it's a mammoth beast! These days, portability is everything! A sleek, slim A5 (or even personal) would be my nirvana. Even if I had to forgo a new mountain bike to get one!

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  17. Great review, Steve!

    Do you know if Ghilio has any binders with rings that correspond to a Compact size? (ie, ring sizes of approximately 15mm) There isn't any information about ring sizes on their website that I could see.

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  18. Excellent review Steve as usual. I am so tempted!

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  19. I have an A5 Mia Cara in Epoca Gold. It is worth every single penny. You get a binder within a binder so to speak and can carry many A4 pages in the back flap. It is a bit bigger than a Filofax A5 due to the double binder effect but no heavier than my Siena. Extremely well designed and leather that will outlive me!

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  20. I love the pocket layout on these! They all look gorgeous. Sadly, I have zero chance of affording one!

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  21. I just received my dream Filofax, a Personal Eton in shockingly new condition purchased from Alan via Adspot. I highly recommend Alan as a seller -- he answered endless questions and sent extra pictures to help me get over my "wedding night jitters", he shipped promptly and he used an easy and secure payment method. You can buy with confidence from Alan.

    As to the Gillio -- gosh, they are lovely, and I can almost smell the leather through the computer screen. If I weren't still jumping up and down in glee over my Eton, I just might be tempted. But I think that for now, a Gillio will go on my Life List, right after a Filofax Ostrich in Buttercup.

    But I must say, I am eager to see what it might take to win one. I just hope my Eton didn't hear that.

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    1. Jilted so quickly!

      Thank you for the very kind words and the feedback that you most generously provided to me in email.

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  22. Thanks for a fantastic review & also to Gillio for providing the planners.
    Wow, these are seriously gorgeous!

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  23. The Dark Brown Amica paired with a Visconti Opera Element in Yellow would be my ultimate dream!!!!!

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  24. First, Steve, beautiful pictures. You really captured all the fine detail. Wonderful review, you had a great comparison to the Filofax. Thank you!!

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  25. My second time back to re-read... So nice :)

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  26. Just amazing - and a great review thanks Steve. I just can't afford one at the moment, but they are on my list for when I can. I prefer quality to quantity so would be happy to sell my other binders for this at some point. Also the chance to have gold rings (which I know they do) would be good as well!

    I'm sure we are all desperate to win one of these Steve - so you should get a great response!

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  27. I absolutely LOVE my epoca gold Gillio! It's by far the best planner I have even tops my vintage ostrich filofax.
    It's worth every penny!

    Fantastic review, Steve & great pics!

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    1. Tops your ostrich! Wow! That's saying something! :-)

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  28. OH....I WANT TO WIN THE BROWN ONE!!!!!!

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  29. Steve - So nice to see a review of the Gillios from The Planner Man! :-) Wonderful review and lovely pictures. Thank you for providing so much detail.

    I have three Gillios (med. Compagna in Epoca Black/Orange, Blue Croco and a medium Mia Cara in Gold) and each one is superb. I am thoroughly impressed by the quality. Gillio says that the planners are each made by artisans in Italy...my hat goes off to these artisans! And my thanks go to Gillio for recognizing those artisans and designing such gorgeous organizers. I haven't been this freakily in love with a planner since....well....ever. Okay, my Ostrich Buttercup got the same reaction but that's the only other one.

    Yes, they are expensive. You are paying for the hard work and incredible detailing of the Italian craftsmen/women as well as a well thought-out design, and top notch material. Take all of that into account and I feel like the price is more than justified. They are beautiful planners.

    Thanks again for your fabulous review, Steve!!!

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  30. Those are incredibly beautiful--but at around $300?? For pity's sake--that's just FANTASTICALLY expensive for a planner. We're talking Saddleback Leather BAG prices at that point...
    Thanks for the review though, they're absolutely beautiful.

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    1. Don't forget, you can take 21% VAT off of the price as you are in the USA.

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  31. Oh man, Steve, you're killing us! As soon as I saw there were four, I was hoping for a giveaway. Looks like I'll have to wait another day!

    Such a beautiful planner, and such an amazingly detailed review! Thanks Steve (and the wonderful people at Gillio!)

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  32. Thanks to you, Steve, for such a comprehensive - visually delightful! - review of this amazing planner. I have 30-some odd (cough, cough - OK - 32) Filofaxes and have only used two (was badly bitten by the Filofax Frenzy bug early this year) and I seriously think I would part with nearly every one - including the Buttercup Ostrich in Pocket size - for one of these beauties. The workmanship is impeccable and the design is superior. I am more a "one and only" kind of planner owner and this one fits the bill all the way! Will have to start selling and/or saving - this looks to be a "must have". Just have to decide on the color ... oh and by the way - what is the difference between the Amica and the Compagna? I will visit their site again and look that one up. Anyone have a rough idea of the cost and time for delivery to the US for the "personal" sized Gillio? thanks again, Steve - I am definitely sold!!

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    1. The Amica doesn't have a full width pocket at the back, and the leather is slightly stiffened. The Compagna does have the wallet pocket and no stiffening.

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    2. Thank you! At present, so many of the Compagna's are out of stock (I believe until October) - but maybe that's good - it will give me time to save!!

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  33. Oh, my gosh! Those are absolutely gorgeous!!!

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  34. Beautiful planners and a great review!

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  35. Wow. They are beautiful...I don't EVEN want to convert Euros to Dollars...I'm sure I'd get depressed!

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    1. If you are in the USA, then you can take 21% VAT off of the price and the shipping before you convert it to US dollars...

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  36. They look exquisite, thanks for such an indepth review. I think I'd actually be happy to go back to a personal size from A5, for one of those...

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  37. Thank you Steve for such a detailed review. The quality of Gillios just seems amazing. And of course I would love to win one. Definitely in on this one.
    S

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  38. Jaw, meet the floor. Floor, I see you already got acquainted with the jaw.
    That´s all... other than, I think I need a moment. And a Gillio!

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  39. Gorgeous planner!! Very expensive though. Loving the red and the green (sample leather).

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  40. Really lovely, and I'm sure these are worth every penny. I am extremely pleased to see a planner which actually tells you where it is made. Apparently EU countries do not require country of origin labeling as so many products don't say where they were made (e.g. filofax, smythson).

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  41. Those binders are beautiful, and the leather looks gorgeous! The quality reminds me of vintage filofaxes. And I agree, I don't think I have ever seen such a complete refill. Does anyone know if Gillio sells the refill on its own?

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  42. I'd like...no I WANT...those inserts. Can't afford the planner but its a beauty. In the meantime if anyone knows how to purchase the inserts please share. Wanted to order lined inserts from filofax but I'd like this set instead!

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  43. Duh...should have visited their site before posting above...they do sell the inserts! Lol

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    1. Wow finished the review...just wow! Thanks for such detail. The photography is so good I can practically smell and feel the deliciousness!

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  44. Steve, that was an epic review! It's terrific that you and Gillio are doing this this competition as well, thank you.

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  45. I can't stop coming back to look at all the photos over and over again! A Gillio organiser is definitely on my wish list.

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  46. Guh. Those are so gorgeous. I'm certainly planning to save up for one now.

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  47. oh my. things of beauty they are. i can almost smell the leather....

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  48. Thank you to one of our readers for spotting that the inserts are the same as supplied with the Aspinal of London range of personal organisers. There's an excellent write up about them on the Paper Lovestory blog, thank you Angela for pointing this out to me.

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  49. I'm surprised that they sent you all identical ones except for the colour. Surely they would have done better sending you various sizes/styles to review. They certainly are beautifully made binders, but then at those prices one would expect nothing less. They are definitely way above most people's pockets. Great review.

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  50. I loved your review inside and out, do you have a review on the slim campagna? are the inserts the same or different

    http://www.gillio.be/en/leather-items/planners-covers/slim-compagna-2

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