Friday, June 12, 2009

Review: Medium Ruled Picadilly Notebook - Mole Clone?

Piccadilly Journals

An array of Piccadilly products. Wire-O, The System, Notebook, and Leather Look.

Piccadilly Mole Clone and Leather Look Journal

While it certainly looks like a Moleskine, is the Piccadilly Notebook a suitable replacement for the well known and significantly higher priced Moleskine?

Piccadilly Small: 3.5" x 5.5" $5.21 - Moleskine same size, $10.00
Piccadilly Medium: 5" x 8.25" $7.46 - Moleskine 5.25" x 8.25" $$15.00
Piccadilly Large: 7.5" x 9.75" $9.71 - Moleskine - not available

Piccadilly Pages: Small 192 Medium and Large 240 - Moleskine same.
Piccadilly Line Spacing in Medium: 6mm - Moleskine same.
Piccadilly Hard cover, off white paper - Moleskine same.
Piccadilly Paper: 80gm Acid-Free - Moleskine weight unknown, Acid-Free

Piccadilly plain and graph versions are available, as is a soft cover version. (Same with Moleskine - though additional versions of the Moleskine are available as well.)

Piccadilly Mole Clone

The Piccadilly isn't as wide as the Moleskine, and as I've been recently using journals that are wider than Mole, I feel that the Piccadilly is a little too narrow for my tastes.

Piccadilly Mole Clone

Same number of pages - but it would appear that the Piccadilly is using a heavier weight paper. Both books have a ribbon bookmark and use an elastic closure - but the one on the Piccadilly is extremely loose. I used to have problems with the elastic on the Mole coming off in my purse and I really prefer a tighter closure. Spine is rounded on the Moles, and flatter on the Piccadilly - and to me, it actually feels too tight on the Piccadilly. Cover material on the Piccadilly looks similar to the Moleskine, but it's not textured like the Mole. Mole seems to do a better job at hiding fingerprints. Each books chooses to place their logos on the lower rear of their cover, making both of these journals very non-descript for those who love the "Plain Black Journal."

Piccadilly Mole Clone

The Piccadilly, like the Moleskine, both opens flat and lies flat - but the sections do feel a little tight on the Piccadilly.

Piccadilly Mole Clone

Large back pocket, but it is not reinforced with a heavier paper on the sides as is the Moleskine.

Cover of Piccadilly Mole Clone

A word on the Piccadilly spine... remember how I said that it felt tight? The back cover isn't lining up properly.

Piccadilly Mole Clone

you can also see the mis-alignment on the inside of the back cover.

Piccadilly Mole Clone

Ruling is the same (6mm) in both books, but the ruling is much darker in the Piccadilly. Despite this poor quality image, the paper colors are similar, with the Piccadilly being ever so slightly more yellow than the Mole.

Piccadilly Mole Clone

If you are not a fountain pen user, you can stop reading here. You will probably find that the inexpensive Piccadilly Notebook to be a good substitute for the Moleskine.

Fountain pen inks are water based, and are sometimes problematic on certain papers. Most fountain pen users find that very few inks will consistently write with no feathering, spreading or bleed-through in a Moleskine.

For the Fountain pen users, Piccadilly Paper is about the same slightly scratchy as you get in a Mole. Feathering, spreading & bleed-through is maybe a little better to about the same as a typical Moleskine.

Piccadilly Mole Clone

An example of Herbin's Rose Cyclamen spreading in the Piccadilly.

In conclusion - if you don't mind a slightly narrower journal, and one that may have a little QC issues with the cover, than by all means - save your self a few bucks with a Piccadilly Notebook.

If you are a fountain pen user and are using a Moleskine, you may see a slight improvement in paper quality... or not, depending on the ink and nib width you are using.

Buy direct from Piccadilly. Also can be found at Borders bookstores.

Listed prices on Moleskine are from


Traveler said...

Thanks for this review. I've just gotten a Piccadilly myself from Borders but have yet to ink it. Looking forward to giving it a try.

Ryan said...

Thanks for the great review, Stephanie. I tried Piccadilly notebooks a few months ago. After trying out several inks and finding the paper quality to be very FP friendly, I thought I had found a permanent replacement for my mole. However, after only about 20 pages, the cover on the spine began tearing, eventually leading to a nasty rip up the side of the book that continued onto the front...great paper, but the cover and binding aren't the same quality as Moleskine. Besides, I have a stack of Black n' Reds waiting to be used!

Brian Scott Richardson said...

I guess I have been lucky. I bought five of the small graph notebooks as soon as they were released and the one I am using now is superb. I only use Japanese extra-fine nibs and Noodler's inks though. Still, that combination on a Moleskine led to feathering, and bleedthrough. The Piccadilly has none of these problems for me.

Anonymous said...

The Picadilly notebook thata friend gave me a few months back, failed when a fountain pen was used. The ink bled throuhg, even when I used a dry writing FP.

ying-ko-4 said...

I bought a pile of the small sized Pic's at a Border's for $3.99 BOGO and I'm pretty pleased thus far. I don't have a problem with my FP, nor is tearing an issue. I put my NB's in leather notebook cover from Renaissance Arts, complete with pen loop. For just over 1/3 the cost, they are a fine alternative to the more expensive Moleskine

Slywy said...

I'm using a Piccadilly as my personal journal. I guess I don't mind if it doesn't last forever . . . I'm trying to be thrifty.

Connie said...

The paper is average quality and the binding is probably not the best. Yet I would definitely reach for a Piccadilly over a Moleskine.

The price is great, especially for someone like me (a student) who does writing as a hobby. I can buy several at a time and not worry about emptying my pockets!

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