21 December 2011

Guest Review - Glenroyal Organiser -Gerard

It is always nice to receive emails from our readers, especially ones offering to provide Guest Posts! Gerard contacted me a few weeks ago to tell me about his 'latest find' and then a couple of weeks later he sent me some pictures of his latest purchase, I was even more interested in the story behind his new organiser. And here it is.......

The Discovery

A few weeks ago an on-line search turned up an organiser brand that was entirely new to me.

Glenroyal are a small producer of bridle leather goods, all handmade in Scotland. In common with some other traditional firms, their website is not set up for on-line ordering, so at first I was a bit stumped. Anyway, this worked out well, since – instead of the usual impersonal on-screen checkout – I was able to exchange emails with a very friendly and knowledgeable lady, and quickly finalised an order for an organiser and a briefcase.

As a small producer, they seemingly don’t carry stock, and the idea that my items were about to be made to order added another traditional dimension to things.

A short while later I was notified of the tracking number, and the order was courier delivered to Dublin at a very reasonable cost. Each item was packed in its own green baize bag and wrapped in bubble wrap, all contained in a sturdy cardboard box.

The entire process from order to delivery took just two weeks.

The Organiser

So – what about the organiser itself? As I’m about to give it a rave review, I should declare up-front that I have no affiliation with the company, and that I paid full price for all of the items. I also didn’t know at the time that Steve would come looking for a review.

The binder is a standard six-ring arrangement in 23mm diameter and is compatible with Personal size paper. It came with a generic A – Z index tab set, but realistically I think anyone at this end of the market will have very specific refills in mind and the lack of any included fill won’t bother most readers. Incidentally, Glenroyal don’t manufacture any refills themselves.

Currently, Glenroyal produce a single binder design, in standard Personal size. This is the antithesis of the Filofax approach, but – interestingly – it’s precisely the route that Mulberry have taken.

The materials and workmanship are absolutely first class. The binder is made from thick bridle leather; the finish is impeccable and the stitching is 100% perfect to my eye. Being bridle leather, it comes with a generous application of dubbin to keep it soft and supple during transit and storage, and a thorough polishing with a soft cloth brought it up to a nice sheen.

I opted for the “Dark London” colour, which is a classic rich chestnut tan colour. The edges have a neatly applied semi-matt finish which closely matches the main colour.

The closure strap has a simple “Sam Brown” brass stud which works well and looks like it should last as long as any pop fastener. Similarly, the ring mechanism seems quite sturdy, with a good positive action and perfectly aligned rings. The binder has a single pen loop which is not elasticated, but is big enough to take reasonably thick pens.

There’s a single curved full-length pocket back and front, which I find suits my usage very well, as I’ve always carried smaller cards in a punched holder and don’t use my organiser as a wallet.

Overall, it’s a very understated design and the only sign of branding is a small logo and “Handmade in Scotland” text discretely embossed inside the front cover.

The Conclusion

I’m delighted with the quality of the Glenroyal organiser – as I say the materials and workmanship are both first class. The cost of the organiser was less than the top-range Filofax binders, and it has a simple, timeless authenticity. I’ve focussed here on the organiser, but I should mention that the briefcase is also a very fine piece of work.

The buying experience was a pleasure, and I found the customer service and delivery arrangements excellent.

This organiser is perfect for my needs, and my only quibble has been the need to scale down from a large-capacity Winchester. Like most readers here, I’m certain to rotate between organisers over time, but I have a feeling that the Glenroyal will be at the heart of my collection for a very long time.

Thank you Gerard for the review and all of the photographs, this organiser I think everyone will agree is a thing of beauty.  Gerard in conjunction with Glenroyal has produced a leaflet giving the full details of the Glenroyal Personal Organiser,  you might also like to look at their full range of leather products on their website


  1. Looks totally beautiful! I would love to own one

  2. Hi Gerard, that's a *very* handsome looking organiser....beautiful.I too think there is a future for small artisan-style manufacturers who do a limited range of goods and concentrate on quality over range. We've recently bought a quantity of furniture from just such a company here in Wales, and it's so pleasant to be dealing with people who remember who you are, rather than with a call centre or even more impersonal internet checkout, where you quickly become an anonymous number in a computer system rather than a valued customer. Since my own business is founded on just such personal service and relationship, I really appreciate it....especially if something should go wrong and need to be sorted out(which it didn't in our case).

    Lovely organiser.....thank you for posting. Do you run a GTD system through it? I'd be interested to know about your setup.....

  3. Gerard, a couple more questions, if you don't mind.....

    1. I see you're using the diary tab, then a 1-6 set of dividers. Interesting.....I'd not thought of that. I see that your 'section 3' is 'Key Areas' - TMI style? You seem to have managed to adapt a 'to-do' form (generic FF) for the header....is this a custom job you've done yourself? If so, do you have the template, please?

    2. I see you have eight Key Areas there....are you using TM-style task and Activity forms behind the header? If so, are they all in section 3?

    3. What lives in sections 1-2 and 4-6?

    If you could expand on this I'd be *really* interested to her from you. You can contact me on the usual address of davidpopely (at) googlemail (dot) com if you don't want to become embroiled in an exchange in public! Strategic photos of your other-sections setup (if not private) would be even better, as you obviously take a decent photo....

    Best wishes as ever


  4. Gerard,

    Fantastic product!
    Thank you.

  5. Great review thanks Gerard. I too am interested in all David's questions! You can email me at alison @ writetowin dot co dot uk if you don't want to discuss openly. Alternatively you could do another guest post with more details of your setup ....

  6. Just to say I wish I'd found this website a few weeks ago! I've had some presents to buy for some menfolk in our family and have spotted a few accessories that would have hit the spot! Would be useful to get a brochure for pricing etc. I'm sure some better marketing would bring this company a lot more sales!

  7. I am not easily impressed, but this certainly did, I have no idea if they will ship to the U.S. but will contact them. I was equally impressed with their retractable handle briefcase, I have been looking for one for a long time.

    Thanks so much for posting this.

  8. this is beautiful!

    gerard, david, alison, please become embroiled in your exchange in public! can never have tmi about time management

  9. @David..... not Filofax related, but sure I'll be forgiven. Could you e. mail me details of your furniture company, my e. mail is je.mccourt@virgin.net

    Thanks ever so much. By the way Gerard, that is one handsome organiser. Love the button closure. Makes it unique with style and panache. Sounds like it is a good value for money item too.

  10. I am also interested in the setup here!! Please detail!

  11. It's a beautiful organiser, Gerard. Great find and superb review.

  12. Just curious - are those really 23mm rings? From the picture and my visual estimation of page count, they look closer to 30mm. Very beautiful work.

  13. Also - nice to see a Pelikano in the loop, suggesting that most non-oversized fountain pens should fit, which has been a major bugbear for me with most leather Filofaxes.

  14. This planner is absolutely gorgeous. The leather looks as if it will only get better with time as good leather often does. The brief case leather is rich as well. Great Review. That is what I like about Philofaxy they will even review great planners that are not Filofax. This should make Filofaxusa Step up their game. Well done.

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  16. What a beautiful binder! It looks so luxurious. I too am interested to know if they ship to the US. I'm off to check out their website. Enjoy!

  17. Hi Kanalt, they shipped to me in Ireland via UPS, so I'd say you're in business :)

  18. Did anybody find out if Glenroyal ships to the US? I love that planner, it would sure be nice if Filofax took pride in their products like Glenroyal!

  19. I found the website but I couldn't order one - I guess they don't have a "shop online"?

  20. mywormy,

    Try following the link just at the end of the post above: the PDF leaflet gives all the contact details.

  21. This is made just where my ancestors came from! I would love to have something from them... here's hoping, as others have said, that they ship to the US!

  22. Glenroyal is a well known brand in Japan which has been out there more than 15years. Their products are mostly sold in high-end department stores and stationary stores. I was told that Japan is their largest market as more than half of their products are sold in Japan. They make many products exclusively for Japan market which you can see on the following online stores.


    As mentioned above, they sell wide range of leather products and the quality is superb.

  23. I stumbled over this older post and am in awe of this jaw droppingly beautiful binder! This is EXACTLY what I've been posting about over the past several months whenever the subject of 'what is your fantasy binder'?. It's the color. It's exactly what I want, a classic tan color like this one. Oh, my, this is too gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

  24. This is a great example of a top-quality leather binder. I want one!