05 July 2017

Filofax Malden A5

I have loved the Filofax Malden since it came out in 2010, at first I wasn't sure about it, but when I held one in my hands I just loved the softness of the leather and how 'floppy' it was compared to my rather stiff Finsbury A5 that I was using at the time.

The Malden first appeared in 2010 in just Pocket and Personal size. It was initially available in three colours Black, Crimson and Ochre. The first one I bought was a Crimson in Personal size. I picked up an Ochre one via our own Adspot page again in Personal size.

In 2011, Filofax expanded the Malden range with the Mini and A5 sizes. Crimson disappeared to be replaced by Vintage Pink and Grey to add to the Black and Ochre. Strangely in UK they initially only offered Vintage Pink and Ochre in the A5 size.

I quite liked the Grey and just by chance asked if the A5 was available in Grey whilst visiting the Filofax Neal Street store during one our meet ups. To my surprise they had an A5 in Grey. At that time it was supposed to be only available in Germany.

It eventually appeared in the UK store in Grey. For some reason they have never made a Black A5 and the Crimson was only ever available in Pocket and Personal size.

There was also a bit of an oddity with the A5 I bought in London. When I got home to France I started to use it, but something didn't seem right with it. The outer cover seemed to be oversized, the pages seem to be a long way inside of the edges of the cover. So then I measured the rings as best as I could at the time. At first I thought that the catalogue was printed incorrectly, it stated 30mm rings and no matter how I measured mine I couldn't get that measurement. I started asking people is it the external or internal diameter. I compared other organisers and checked them in the catalogue. Must be an error...

It turned out that the first batch of A5's had been incorrectly fitted with 25mm rings instead of 30mm rings! Filofax Customer Service were excellent about it, they thanked me for pointing this out, and a few weeks later when the next batch arrived they sent me another Grey A5 with 30mm rings.

Spot the difference, the covers are identical

Just the rings are a different size


So if you are buying an early A5 check the size of the rings. I've seen Vintage Pink A5's with 25mm rings as well!

The other oddity with the A5 design compared to the Personal, whilst on first sight the internal layout looks the same, just a different size. Look closely and on the Personal there is a slip pocket that goes behind the notepad pocket on the rear inside cover. That pocket isn't there on the A5, it is sewn closed. I didn't notice this at first, it wasn't until I was comparing them one day and I noticed it.

You will also notice that the A5 outer cover is in two parts with a vertical seam on the back cover, were as the other sizes are all one piece. I wonder if at one point they intended to put an external outside pocket in the back cover, but then found it didn't work because of the flexible nature of the organiser design so they just joined it instead.

Each year I've always wondered if the Malden will be phased out and discontinued. One colour that has continued through its whole life is the Ochre, it has that natural rugged look about it. It marks very easily. The Malden range expanded to include Zip Compact and Zip Pocket models. The Zip Pocket is the only size I don't have in my collection!

The Mini size has been discontinued completely on all models now, but the Malden continues with regular Pocket, Personal and A5.

It must has been a big success for Filofax, so much so that copies of the design have appeared on Amazon and Ebay under a 'Sandringham' name. Filofax should defend their intellectual property more actively, because these copies were not like the real thing at all.

I realise that the Malden isn't universally popular, but I think for a modern design it has been a great organiser.


  1. Thanks for the article Steve. My guess regarding the reason for the seam on the A5 size is to allow more economical production by avoiding the need for a larger piece of leather. I expect they can get better value per hide by using smaller components, even allowing for the extra stitching cost. Perhaps that was also one factor in the design of the earlier Filofax "Cross" range of organisers and bags?

    1. I think you are right with the smaller size parts saving money.

  2. I love my A5 Malden in purple!

  3. I have a purple Malden in Personal size and I would LOVE to get one in A5! I got my personal size in a very good deal on Ebay for my birthday a couple of years ago. The A5's are a bit more pricey for my budget. But I love the Maldens forever and ever! It is so elegant.

  4. I have the personal Malden in every color bc I'm just in love with them. My very first Malden was the a5 ochre ... I don't use it but can't bear to part with it either. I've tried other planner styles intermittently between my Maldens but always go back to my true love. The floppy smoothly textured leather does it for me.

  5. I own and A5 Malden in almost every color that it comes in however I've been longing for one in Crimson and have even requested to Filofax that they make an A5 Crimson version. But to no avail I still wait...��

  6. I love my purple A5 Malden. A very tactile experience for me. I really wish I could find an A5 Grey or I can hope they re-release it at some point in time.

  7. I love my personal and A5 - both in Kingfisher (gorgeous color). Enjoyed your article. TY

  8. Extremely helpful site, thank you.

    I use 125x200mm shorthand pads daily and wondered if they are likely to be compatable for slotting in back of Malden A5

    I am trying to decide between an A4 Finsbury or A5 Malden in purple or Fuschia ( struggling to find one in this pink)

    Influenced by yourself I ordered a Raspberry A4 Finsbury but as I travel/walk extensively each day I am concerned re weight

    1. Yes that size will fit A5 which is 148x210mm

  9. Thank you. I thought it should given the overall dimension but WH Smith said not. Now to find best price for a purple...or fuchsia...suspect vintage pink will be hard to source.

  10. I'm so keen for a crimson malden... I've sent messages to Filofax, but do you have any suggestions for how I could help convince them to make crimsons again? :)