30 June 2014

Filofax Catalogue 1989

If like me you find the history of Filofax and its products fascinating when you look back over the years, then I think you will enjoy a series of posts coming up over the next few weeks/months.

Filofax UK have very kindly loaned me their collection of old catalogues from their archive. It is not a very large or complete collection, but all the same I'm very grateful for the loan of these catalogues.

It is not until you sit down and look through just one or two of them that you start to discover lots of information about older models etc. There's almost too much information!

So what I'm going to be doing every time a get a couple of hours to spare is to scan in each of the catalogues. I will be posting the scans as posts on Philofaxy. I will also be making the photos available on Flickr.

Now another project which is underway and I'm sure will be using this data is FiloWiki which is a Wikipedia site about Filofax organisers. Robert Mayr and I both started similar projects at more or less the same time without realising it! So we are combining our efforts to bring together as much information as we can about older models and any information we can find really.

So jump in to the DeLorean DMC-12 and let's go 'Back to the Future' of 1989.... enjoy the ride!



































The scans are also available in slightly higher resolution in this Flickr album.


17 comments:

  1. Steve, what a great start to this series of posts. I didn't know where to begin reading. 23 pages of different leaves? Brilliant. I remember receiving these catalogues every year, and being excited to see what new additions there were. These really were the glory days of Filofax, and I wish I'd kept the catalogues now. Also great to see binders I have never heard of before, or seen on the internet, like the Zeppo. Are there any corresponding price lists for this one? I'd love to know what binders like the Balmoral Jotter and the Winchester cost in 1989. Some of these inserts are such a blast from the past. Horoscopes, Drinking in London (essential!), what colours to wear.....and all with great photos, of people with power shoulders etc. Fantastic.

    I did see a chap on FLickr, called Stevie, who has a complete list of all Filofax catalogues and price lists going back decades. Maybe he can fill in some of the gaps. One of his photos is here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/45091016@N07/4143854107

    Thanks for all your hard work that you and the team do. This is an obvious labour of love and is greatly appreciated by your readership.

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    1. Price lists that are roughly contemporary are available in my Flickr stream.
      Wallets & binders:
      https://www.flickr.com/photos/30775101@N04/12136770424/
      Leaves:
      https://www.flickr.com/photos/30775101@N04/12136361235/


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    2. Gmax, thanks for the link. INteresting that the Balmoral 10CLFJ was only £82.50, yet the Carmarthen was £195, which I wouldn't have placed above the Balmoral in terms of pricing. Maybe it was to do with the leather. Or possibly the gold corners, which I never found attractive. Was it the Sherwood which also had cold corners? I had one for a very short time but found the corners caught on absolutely everything.

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    3. Hi Paul - yes the Camarthen was a newer model and priced, I think, rather opportunistically for a yuppie clientele. I bought one on ebay a few years ago but didn't really bond with it, so sold it on.
      The 10CLFJ, on the other hand, was one of the durable old-school models and very striking. In today's 2nd hand market I'd expect it to command around double the price of a Camarthen.
      Not sure if the Sherwood corners were real gold.

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  2. Good morning Steve,

    Whilst having breakfast and logging into Philofaxy blog ( my daily morning routine ), I almost chocked on my coffee reading your latest article, only because I am so thrilled that you have published the older catalogues. As you already know, I am obsessed with the older Filofax models and their loose leaves, as I have fond memories of yesteryears, mainly of my first job in London. After working 2-years my boss gave me my first Filofax (Oct 1986) as a leaving present; a red plastic organiser which many years later I discovered was known as 2VR7/8 organiser, but unfortunately one of the corners snapped off. When I moved onto my second job I waited a year before purchasing a lovely black Winchester 4CLF7/8 (Dec 1987) which I still have. So to quickly review your article this morning before heading off to work, I am now looking forward to this evening where I can spend a few hours reading each single line, word, paragraph, viewing the illustration and photos!! Thank you so much for publishing the article, and I'm looking forward to your next edition to this fascinating series. Thank you and Filofax for making my Monday a Great Monday!

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  3. Interesting that the Double Personal Deskfax is not mentioned at all in the 1989 catalogue, not even any mention of refills or discontinuance. I know it appeared in the 1987 catalogue, but I don't know if it was in the 1988 catalogue.

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    1. The "Professional" organiser format had completely taken over at this point Paige. It actually stole the "Deskfax" name as well.
      But the double "personal" leaves listed here would be suitable as refills for the original "Deskfax".

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  4. For many of us, this will bring back many happy memories and floods of nostalgia! It's only when you see such a catalogue after so many years, that we realise just how much the market place and the Filofax brand has changed. They truly were halcyon days!

    1989 is a fascinating year to concentrate on. The bubble had in fact all ready burst for Filofax. A profit of nearly £3m in the first half of 1988, turned into a LOSS of £1m in 1989. This vast range of very similar looking (and very expensive) black and brown organisers and the enormous range of inserts (some of doubtful need!) that dealers were now unwilling to stock because they were just not selling. The company was facing meltdown as the share price tumbled from a high of 203 pence to just 20 pence by 1990.

    Whether selling the company (more than once), taking the product down market, outsourcing manufacture overseas, flooding the market with a huge range of different binders (which we still see today) and culling the range of inserts to go in them almost to extinction was the cure to Filofax woes is still very debatable.

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  5. I'd love a Balmoral or a Duplex! Does anyone own either of these?

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  6. What a blast from the past! The choice of inserts back then covered just about any and every eventuality.

    My first Filo was a cheap vinyl personal size. Inside was beautifully simple – just four sections. A horizontal diary with appointments, a few pages of white notepaper, a vast contacts section and the rest was filled to the brim with Time Out guides to London, theatre, cinema, restaurants and my horoscope! Sadly my original Filo fell apart from over use, and I gravitated to an A5 business professional in my next job and as work expanced the amount of space for social inserts got smaller and smaller.

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  7. I wish we had that selection of inserts today. The choices were amazing!

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  8. How fascinating to see the introduction of the 4 ring Pocket. And how much simpler the product range was then - Pocket, Personal, Professional.

    On a separate note, I've assumed the death of the Deskfax was the rise of the A4/5 paper standard. Since FF was so keen to have interchangeable paper between the sizes, what possessed them to use a different ring configuration for the A5? Mulberry used the same ring configuration as Personal for their A5 Planner, so it was certainly possible to keep ring compatibility.

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    1. I've often wondered about that too! Time Manager (TMI) introduced their A5 before Filofax and, like Mulberry, they stuck to the same ring formation as Personal (Time Manager calls it "Original"), except the A5 has only 4 holes. At least it keeps it compatible without having to trim the corners off pages to fit in the A5 binders!

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    2. Thanks for the heads up on the TMI binders. Time/System US stocks the Succes A5 binders, so I'm assuming they've switched to the same 6 ring configuration as Filofax now.

      I'm tempted to hunt down a Mulberry A5 for things that don't require portability, so I can swap my Personal stuff in and out as necessary.

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  9. This is absolutely fantastic. I wish they would bring back the Professional.

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  10. Wow, this will keep me entertained for a few evenings :-) Thanks Steve and Team!

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  11. I'd like the Billingham and the Winchester calf leather with 1 1/4" or 7/8" rings ;-)

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