13 August 2014

Filofax Lockwood - Review

The Lockwood is a recent addition to the Filofax range. It is available in Personal size and A5 size.

Today I am reviewing both sizes, comparing them to current and recent models that you might be familiar with.

Personal  Lockwood Zip

The personal size Lockwood Zip organiser is currently available in 'Cognac' a medium brown colour, it is similar to the Ochre Malden in terms of colour and the texture and feel of the leather.

In terms of construction there is some stiffener in between the outer and inner layers of leather and lining, but it is confined to the covers and it does not interfere with the opening of the organiser.

The measurements of the Lockwood when zipped closed are 20.3 x 13.5 x 4.0 cm, comparing this to non-zip Filofax organisers, it is very close in size, for example a Holborn measures 19 x 13 x 3.8 cm, ignoring the protrusion of the clasp. The Lockwood Zip empty weighs 240 grams, a Holborn clasp 205 grams

The front outside cover has a simple full height slip pocket.

The inside front cover has four card slots and a full height slip pocket.

The inside back cover has a half width full height slip pocket and a single fully elasticated pen loop.

The rear outside cover has a zip pocket it is not gusseted so it is only really suitable for sheets of paper, a passport or tickets. 

So some comparisons, here from left to right is the Holborn Zip, the Lockwood Zip and a non-zip Malden all of them in personal size.

Putting the Holborn Zip next to the Lockwood you can see a difference in the way the zip doesn't 'bulge' out quite like it does on the Holborn. I think this is due to the way the zip is attached to a band of leather on the Holborn where as on the Lockwood it has been attached direct to the front and back covers. So when zipped up it sits inside of the covers when looked at from above.

The Holborn Zip only has the one slip pocket on the front with nothing on the back.

One of the pleasant surprises with the personal size Lockwood Zip is how flat it lays after unzipping it. The picture below is it just after being unzipped and as you can see all the pages are to one side of the rings.

Do the same with the personal size Holborn Zip and this is the result. Yet the Holborn zip doesn't appear to have any stiffener between the layers where as the Lockwood does.

Looking at the Holborn in detail it appears to have an extra layer of leather around the spine which stops it from laying as flat as the Lockwood.

Here we are comparing the Malden and the Lockwood with approximately the same number of pages either side of the ring mechanism, the Malden is closest to the the camera. The Lockwood again gives a reasonable showing for itself in this comparison.

I also have a Cuban Zip, this is well known for not wanting to stay open, in fact I couldn't conduct the same test as these it just kept shutting on it's own! But the main difference between these two is that the Cuban does come fitted with 30 mm rings compared to the standard 23mm rings fitted to nearly all personal size Filofax organisers these days.  The Cuban is factionally bigger all round on dimensions. Certainly quite brick like in comparison to the Lockwood.

So instead of a laying down test I tried just opening the organiser and then letting it settle naturally whilst holding it by the rings and then placing it down on the flat surface. This is the Cuban top and Lockwood at the bottom.

In use:
I've been using the Lockwood for the last couple of weeks and compared to other personal size zipped organisers I've tried to use and not got on well with, the Lockwood has been much better. As shown above it opens and stays open a lot flatter than my other zipped organisers.  The pocket layout suits my own set up just fine. 

Like my Ochre Malden, the leather on the Lockwood does show finger scratches, but they are easy to remove, with a slightly wet finger tip. A quick rub and the marks disappear.

The Zip fitted to the Lockwood seems to be of good quality and not strained with my full personal set up which easily fits on one side of the rings when opened. In addition I normally carry my UK passport and other documents in side my personal size organiser, plus a pen of course.

The rings have been fine, I've been opening and closing them more often than I would normally do to test them. No ring gaps or mis-alignments.

A5 Lockwood Zip

The A5 Lockwood is very similar in design to the personal size, it differs slightly in the internal design.

In terms of construction like the personal there is some stiffener in between the outer and inner layers of leather and lining, but it is confined to the covers and does not interfere with the opening of the organiser.

The measurements of the A5 Lockwood when zipped closed are 25 x 20 x 4.0 cm, comparing this to non-zip Filofax organisers, it is very close in size, for example a A5 Holborn measures 23.5 x 19 x 3.8 cm, ignoring the protrusion of the clasp. The Lockwood Zip empty weighs 400 grams, a Holborn clasp 320 grams.

There is a deep slip pocket on the front cover.

And a zip pocket on the back, like the personal the pockets are fine for papers and thin booklets. 

The front inside cover has 5 vertical card slots, with a 2/3rds height slip pocket below that, and a full height slip pocket behind both of these. 

There is a fully elasticated pen loop on the inside front cover as well. 

The A5 Lockwood is fitted with standard Filofax A5 25mm rings, this makes the overall organiser quite slim and compact for a Zip model. 

The inside back cover has a horizontal opening slip pocket and a full height slip pocket behind that. There is a 2nd fully elasticated pen loop on the inside back cover. As on the personal, the pen loops can take quite a variety of sizes of pens, which is very useful.

The A5 Lockwood comes with a vertical 2015 diary insert, along with the usual selection of inserts for an A5 organiser.

To show the comparison in size here is the A5 Lockwood in the centre with my Van der Spek Manager on the left which has 35mm rings and the A5 Holborn Zip with 30 mm rings.

The colour compares very closely to the Ochre Malden.

And the Lockwood lay open perfectly flat with no difficulty.

In use. 

I was due to sort through the pages I had been keeping in my A5 organiser anyway, so the move in to the Lockwood to use it before I wrote this review was a good opportunity to reduce the number of pages slightly. Nothing too drastic, mainly spare pages that I was carrying too many of really.

My complete A5 set up fits the 25mm rings ok and I've been using it in my usual way for nearly two weeks now. My A5 generally sits open on my desk and occasionally I will use it in other parts of the house.

I did try it for size in my 'man bags' and there was no problem with it slotting in to my small messenger bag.

Like the personal, the A5 model does show finger nail scratches fairly easily, this is the same as the Ochre Malden model too. But a slightly damp finger tip rubbed over the scratch makes them disappear. This might bother some people but it's perfectly normal.

The rings have been fine, I've been opening and closing them more often than I would normally do to test them. No ring gaps or mis-alignments.

Availability: Both Personal and A5 sizes are available on the Filofax UK website and in the usual stockists.

Overall I've grown to quite like this particular Filofax model and I will continue to use it from now on to continue the user test of it in case there are any long term issues I've not managed to spot so far.

Thank you to Filofax UK for providing these samples for review.


  1. Ooh..... I like these very much!! I feel as if I need both sizes but I don't know what I'd use them for :-) I think the colour is gorgeous and the leather looks shiny. Both sizes have ample pockets which are a bonus and they look sturdy which means good value for money. So, I'll focus on getting just the personal size for now. Thanks for the review!

  2. That's a really useful review (rather than just a description). Well done Steve! As a cognac fan I think it looks very attractive but I'm still puzzled as to why they have introduced a model that is so similar to the established Malden?

    1. Steve and I have both taken on board the results of the poll I posted on my blog - thanks everyone who answered as they were so helpful to us who write these kinds of articles. I am adjusting my posts accordingly as well. Steve this was fantastic. Really enjoyed the opinion part!

    2. Thank you for your feedback Tim.

      Following this review and the ones of the Van der Spek which I had lots of time to use them before reviewing them. I'm going to look back at previous reviews we have done and look at republishing them with an update to how they have faired 'in use' since doing the review.

      So essentially the post will start with the same description etc. But will have a section added on with updates on how it has worked in practice. Assuming I still have the particular organiser of course.

      There might be some additional photos as well of course so you can see what it looks like after 12 months use or how ever long it is etc. With my own thoughts on how the design works in practice too.

      Again thank you for your support and feed back

    3. Thank you also Janet for your post, that was where the inspiration came from for this particular review. Some great discussions in the comments on your blog post.

    4. Steve - that would be fascinating ! Only tonight, I was looking back at your Malden Compact review and wondered how well it might have lasted. Ring mechanisms go slack, stitching comes undone and binders that looked and smelled great when new, can soon lose more than their shine!

      And Janet's "This Bug's Life" is always essential reading! Her debate "reviews versus descriptions" especially!

  3. Now *that's* a nice binder. Similar to the Malden as Tim says, but a nice addition nevertheless.

    I'll now be watching for Filofax to re-affirm their commitment to the 'file of facts' over against the fashion items they have been recently touting.

  4. Very nice & if I wasn't so content with my current A5 I would get one. I'm not normally a fan of zipped binders as much, but I like the minimal lines of this one. Thanks for a great review, Steve.

    1. I agree with Anita! Not a big fan of zipped binders at all, but I really like this one! Hope to see it in person one day. That cognac is gorgeous!

  5. This is the first new Filofax model in years, that I would consider buying if I needed another one. I too was struck by the similarity with the Malden, but that sold very well and has an established fan base, so I suppose it makes sense from a marketing perspective. Good to see they are finally addressing some issues, such as a zipped binder lying flat. The outside pockets may not be to everyone's taste but having used an A5 Durham Zip, I find them very useful indeed. It would be good if they could take a leaf out of Van der Speck's book, and make the tab lie flat too. I didn't even know that was possible until I saw the review on how they make them. My only concern with this is that they are still using the Chinese rings. It's the most important part of the Organiser, as if that fails, it's all over.

  6. What is the ring size for both? 25 mm for A5 and 23 for personal?

    1. Yes 25mm in the A5 and 23mm in the personal

  7. I quite like the look of the leather and the layout. Pity they only do zipped versions though.

    1. I agree, having the zipper is just one more thing to go wrong.

  8. I would like to see this binder in the compact size with rings a little larger than 15 mm and a non zip closure. The leather looks very nice and the I like the portrait card slots.

  9. Love the review, I love the fact it is a halfway house between malden and Holborn love it

  10. Have this in the personal size and I love it ! This is the first time I have tried a zipped binder and must say am very impressed. The outside pockets seemed quite tight at first but are starting to give a little in use. I also love the fact that the leather scuffs and marks in use as I enjoy the well worn look, but for others that may not, any little marks rub out quite easily. All in all a lovely,sleek binder.

  11. I also feel this is the first model in several years that I am tempted to purchase. Good for you, Filofax! Looks similar to the Malden but without the awkward closure strap and a slightly tidier overall look. Very nice.

    1. So glad to know I am not the only one who finds the clasp awkward on the Malden!

  12. Love this review! I can only hope that FilofaxUSA decides to carry more leather binders, along the same quality level as this model

  13. Steve,
    Great review, esp. with the comparison of the more recent models.
    Do you know if Filofax is considering making this in a non-zip format?
    Great work!

  14. Thanks for your review.I had a filofax in the 80s and thought I'd organize my life again.Have ordered the Lockwood[garnet,Personal of course] as it has a zip so I can use it instead of a handbag.I wasn't a yuppie just a medical student at London Uni !