In the first half of the 1980's the Filofax range featured three designs of wallet. The first two were the Slimline and the Winchester, both of which are well known and popular now amongst fans of that vintage period. But the third model is virtually unknown, and lacks even a name other than its product code of 6CL, denoting six pockets and calf leather. I like to think of it as Winchester's secret sibling!
How has it come about that something equally splendid to the Winchester has remained in the shadows all this time? I believe the answer must lie in the periods during which they were each on sale. By 1987 the 6CL was no longer offered, while the Winchester carried on well into the early 90's, and crucially was sold in much larger quantities during that time. Meanwhile, the Slimline (in one form or another) has remained in the range ever since.
Winchester is the closest comparable model, offered (then) only in calf leather and with a range of three ring sizes. Winchester was the most popular, but beyond that one can only guess at why the company decided to drop the long-standing 6CL design. Perhaps the overall Winchester pattern, including the central flaps, snap fastener and pen holder, was just more appealing to public taste at that time?
Anyhow, I thought it was about time we took a proper look at the 6CL, and, most importantly, revealed its true identity!
So, with a trumpet fanfare, let me introduce... the Gloucester.
Yes, the neglected 6CL really does have a name after all. It has been described as follows.
This traditional design in Montana Calf leather has two stamp pockets and a credit card pocket, behind which there is a full length pocket. On the opposite side it has one gusset pocket and one full length pocket.
Colours:- black, brown, burgundy, red, green, blue
Ring sizes:- 1/4", 1/2", 7/8"
The example shown here is in brown with the medium, 1/2" rings. I find the interior layout of the Gloucester quite charming, and the absence of a fastener means that it can work very well in a pocket, particularly with the smallest ring size (which equates to a slimline). The tiny stamp pockets may be slightly impractical, but are very cute.
Possession of a Gloucester does make it sound a bit as though you are an owner of a rare breed of pig, perhaps in the mould of Lord Emsworth (although I think his pig was a Berkshire). I'm sure we'll get more used to seeing the Gloucester name in Filofax contexts.
It's worth looking deeper at the "traditional" aspects of the design. A recent Philofaxy post showed an old advert for a ringed wallet from another manufacturer, and Gerard (owner of a Gloucester who does not, as far as I know, keep pigs) had noted the great similarity. In fact I have a theory that the Lefax A299 pocket book mentioned in the 1937 Filofax catalogue became the Gloucester, in the same way that the E199 became the Winchester.
In the absence of its real name, 6CL has on occasion been referred to as a "Ladies" Filofax (for example where represented in the Japanese "Filofax Collection" site), but I don't believe any specific gender orientation was ever intended for it. That site also proves that, at some point, a pigskin 6PL version of the Gloucester was produced. Now wouldn't that be something? Lord Emsworth would probably not approve!
Once again thank you Gmax for solving another mystery!