15 October 2018

Guest Post: Filofax Scanda Brown Personal - by Jürgen Henk

Thank you Jürgen for this guest post about his Filofax Scanda

"For the style-savvy male, Scanda's vintage leather and cool closure make it a must. Subtly distressed cracked leather with a belt-like closure, contrast stitching and luxury cream  stationary.“ (US Filofax catalogue 2011)
If you are a guitar player you might have come across a recent trend of artificially aged and distressed electric guitars. Master builders use their expertise to decorate new guitars with scratches, abrasions, dents, rusty screws, sun-tanned varnish, etc. to make a new guitar appear like an old one.

It seems that Filofax followed this trend, but only for a short period. According to filowiki, the Filofax Scanda was introduced in 2011 in two flavours: black with white contrast stitching and brown with blue contrast stitching, available only in Personal. It was apparently offered for only one year and, thus, seems to be quite rare.

I have owned the brown Scanda for a few weeks, which my wife ebayed me as a birthday gift. It came in the original box with cotton cream inserts and dividers as well as a brown page marker. The price tag on the box is EUR 149 (the US catalogue states 120 US-Dollars), which is expensive for a binder in Personal size — maybe that is one reason why the Scanda was so rapidly removed from sale. My Scanda hibernated for seven years; so I have an unused "new old stock" binder with a subtle beautiful smell of leather.

The Scanda feels soft because of the padded front and back, it is a real pleasure to hold. Its distressed look suggests a heavy and robust binder; however, it is surprisingly lightweight. This maybe attributed to the leather that seems to be quite thin, thinner than that of the heavy-weight champions Hamilton or Kendal. Time will tell how robust the Scanda actually is.

Blue contrast stitching on the spine.

The blue contrast stitching is unique and looks in my opinion "gorgeous" (to quote Jamie Oliver). I like it better than the white stichting of a black Hamilton or the tone on tone of a brown Kendal.

Front with belt-like closure strap. The leather is nicely cracked.

Instead of a popper closure the Scanda comes with a belt-like closure. The useless holes suggest that the strap was actually made from a narrow belt. The strap itself is rather stiff and keeps the binder closed without any problems.

Left interior: pen loop with Derwent Precision 0.7 mm pencil, 3 x 2 credit card pockets plus one full-size pocket, glossy embossing. Note that the leather is not crackled on the inside.

The interior layout is rather conventional. On the left you find 3 x 2 horizontal credit card pockets and one full-size pocket. The pen loop is quite narrow, much narrower than that of a Hamilton, and it is gusseted. My Derwent Precision 0.7 mm pencil fits perfectly.

On the right you’ll find a single gusseted full-size pocket and another pen loop. Front and back pen loops are of identical width, which in my opinion is ill thought through — one wide and one narrow loop would be more practical.

"Flat" Scanda. Ball pen: Tornado "Albert" by Retro 1951, with equations from Einstein’s theory of special relativity, the perfect pen for the theoretical physicist.

The back and front of the binder are rather stiff, no comparison with the floppiness of a Malden. It lays almost flat out of the box, so no need for 'training'.

Inner layout. The ring mechanism is covered with leather. Gusseted full-size pocket on the right.

The rings are 23 mm wide and riveted, as usual for newer binders (e.g. Maldens, in contrast to older Hamiltons or Kendals). Another unique feature of the Scanda is that the ring mechanism is covered with leather.

Quite a number of Filofax binders got their names from places in the UK, Balmoral or Kendal to name at least two. But Scanda? Does anyone know the origin of this name?

In sum, the Scanda is both conventional (layout) and unconventional (distressed leather, strap closure, high price). I like it very, very much and it is now my constant companion. I am fond of used things. Thus, I never protect my binders. Scratches, dents, and bleachings tell a story, exhibit transience and imperfection (confer the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi).

Brown Scanda, a revelation of beauty.


  1. Thank you for this post. What a stunning binder.

  2. Thanks for sharing this handsome, unique binder.

    Great overview and photos.



  3. Whilst some organisers appeal to both sexes - Malden and Holborn (pronounced “ho-bun”) are enduring examples, there has been only a few successful binders aimed primarily at male users, in recent years. Kendal, Hamilton, Fusion, Lockwood and this model - the Scanda - spring to mind.

  4. This binder is beautiful. The leather looks like something that Indiana Jones would choose ;p

  5. Maybe Scanda is suggestive of Scandinavia; Norway, Sweden, Finland & Denmark, quite rugged places