Review: Piccadilly Primo Journal

Specifically, this is a Piccadilly Medium Primo Journal w/ 288 lined pages.
“288 lined pages, 100 gsm cream paper, elastic closure, page ribbon.”

This journal was sent to me by the fine people at Piccadilly. I first heard of the brand maybe a year ago or so. They seemed like a cheaper Moleskine alternative. I’ve used on in the past and been happy with it. A couple weeks ago I was at Border’s killing some time and I picked up the Piccadilly journal that appears to be an ‘homage’ to the classic black Moleskine. Same size, lined, looks great and works well. The big difference? The Moleskine was I think $12. The Piccadilly? $4.99. Too good a price to ignore for a journal that seems to be (imho) 98% as good as the Moleskine.

[n.b. all of the pics can be enlarged by clicking on them]

So, in the mail the other day arrives the above-mentioned Piccadilly Medium Primo Journal. I did manage to snap a few pics before tearing off the cellophane.

And now a few gratuitous “tortoise w/ Piccadilly” shots.

The cover has an interesting tactile feel to it, kind of rubbery. Reminds me a little of the earlier Rhodia Webnotebook cover, but different. I know, that doesn’t help much. ;-) Let’s just say that it’s markedly different from the black Moleskine cover material.

I’m not quite what to make of the binding, it didn’t want to lie flat easily like the Moleskine or Rhodia. I used only a single pen and ink combo on it today: Pelikan M800 w/ Fine nib and Montblanc British Racing Green ink. I did see some minor feathering, not enough to really bother me though, and the MB ink is rather free-flowing compared to some.

There is no rear pocket. The front and back cover each have a small notch in the middle so that the elastic band can go cleanly around the journal without bending the covers.

Now let’s see what might be the most important consideration … does the paper handle fountain pen ink well?

On the writing side it looks pretty good. The back shows a little bleed-through. I definitely wouldn’t write on the back side of these pages. But that’s not a deal breaker for me as I almost never do anyway.

These Piccadilly journals (and there are many more than I realized) are definitely worth considering at their price points, even if you use a fountain pen, and especially if you don’t.

Related links:
Piccadilly Quality Journals, Notebooks, & Stationery
Review: Rhodia Webnotebook
Review: Montblanc “British” Racing Green Fountain Pen Ink

  • Michael

    Don't forget the "No tortoises were harmed in the creation of this blog entry" notice. :)

    I do routinely write on both sides of the paper when journaling, and find no significant problem doing so with most of my fountain pens in a Piccadilly Primo notebook. Frankly, with several of my fountain pens, it wasn't an issue writing on both sides in my Piccadilly "non-Primo" notebooks.

    I would add that I've most often been writing in the Primo with a Hero 330 fountain pen (fine nib), lately filled with Private Reserve Chocolat ink. But I sometimes write with a Sharpie pen, and bleed through isn't a problem with it, either.

    Oh, and I buy my Piccadilly notebooks at Borders, either during a "3 for 2" sale, or using a 30% or 40% off coupon. Such sales and coupons are pretty common. So they're very affordable – and about 1/3 the price of a comparable Moleskine. The Hero 330 (old version) pen set me back all of $5, from It – like the Hero 616 – is an example of a cheap Chinese knock-off that writes like a champ. (Piccadilly isn't really a cheap Chinese knock-off of Moleskine, simply because these days Moleskine is itself made in China.)

  • Speedmaster

    Great comments, thanks, Michael! ;-)

  • Inkophile

    Good review and photos. Haven't seen the Primo before. Great form factor even if the paper isn't fountain pen perfect.

  • dianeb

    Great review, I don't get to Borders very often but will have to check this out sometime soon.