Lucrin first came on my radar last year when they sent me several leather pen accessories to review. They were well designed and well made, and I have the three pen tray in use on my desk to this day.
The A5 Leather Notebook is the latest Lucrin product to hit my desk, and my feelings are much more mixed on this one. There is no doubt it is beautiful, but the performance is lacking. At over $150 as configured I expect more. Like it should clean my pens and re-ink them when I’m done writing more.
This notebook sits solidly in the gift category at this price point, so is it fair for me to review it from a daily stationery users perspective? Absolutely. Why buy, or gift, a product if you don’t expect it to be used?
The exterior of the Lucrin A5 Notebook is the standout feature. The pebbled Sky Blue leather looks amazing, and the stitching and construction are top-notch. It is a pleasure to look at and carry. My name embossing is sharp, although I’d prefer a choice of fonts, and you can select the stitching color as well.
If everything on the outside is a 10 out of 10, the insides are along the lines of 6 out of 10. Good, but not great. A tick above average. For the price, I expect excellence.
Let’s start with the line rulings: They are too dark and too narrow. I was immediately taken aback by their darkness against the ivory page when I opened the book. They actually look better with words between the lines, but still, appearances mean a lot, and they are too strong. With only 5 mm between them, they are too narrow as well. I write small enough to make it work, but for general use, lined paper needs to have 6 mm to 7 mm spacing. The spacing also makes the line darkness look darker.
The paper quality is average at best. If this were a blind test I would say this paper stock is equivalent to what Moleskine uses. That makes it fine for some pens - like gel and ballpoint - but hit or miss with liquid inks like rollerball and fountain pens. You have to keep your writing pace up when using wider, wetter pens or risk them bleeding or feathering. And even if they don’t, the ghosting level is high if you are planning on using both sides of the page.
You could argue the acceptability of some of these flaws if the price point of the notebook weren’t $150. But when we as users have options for nearly perfect paper in the $20 price range, the issues become glaring.
I don’t see how I could recommend this notebook to anyone who cares about the writing experience. Lucrin is a leather company first and foremost, and that shows in this product.
(Lucrin provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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