Review: Piccadilly Primo

As I’ve often mentioned here, I’m a fan of Piccadilly’s little black notebooks. I’ve probably bought 8-10 of them by now and I have used 4 of the small ones as my daily notebook. I haven’t paid as much attention to the rest of their product line, but when I saw the small Primo Journal at a Borders store, I decided to buy one and give it a try.

The Primo is a very different product, with some things I like, and some I don’t. Let’s take a look!

Packaging is similar to the regular notebooks: it’s shrinkwrapped in the store, with the removable horizontal paper band. The first obvious difference is the horizontal elastic wrapping around the notebook.

Piccadilly Primo Journal

The back has an embossed logo, as usual.

Piccadilly Primo Journal

Below you can see how the cover sticks out a bit beyond the pages. It’s flexible enough that the elastic would bend it, but there is a little notch cut into the edge to prevent that. The cover has a sort of rubbery feel with the dots giving it texture. I noticed that it almost seems to pick up dirt like an eraser– after taking these photos, I had the journal knocking around in a bag for a few days and the bright red cover picked up a lot of very obvious dirt smudges.

Piccadilly Primo Journal

You can see below how the cover on my notebook was already curling a bit at the corners just from being in the shrinkwrap. You can also see that the spine is rounded and sticks out quite a bit. I wish the cover was trimmed more closely to the pages, and that the spine was more squared-off.

Piccadilly Primo Journal

Compared to the standard black Piccadilly notebook, the Primo is quite a bit thicker, with 288 pages of 100gsm paper. It’s still approximately 3.5 x 5.5″. I love the chunky shape of the Primo, it feels great in your hand.

Piccadilly Primo Journal

Piccadilly Primo Journal

Here’s one of my major beefs with the Primo– once you undo the elastic, it just flaps around on the spine. Vertical elastics can be tucked around the back cover if you don’t want to use them, and I really prefer that. The only possible benefit I could see for the elastic being this way is that maybe you could stick your wrist through it to hold the notebook more securely and not lose it while you’re on a rollercoaster or something. But you know, that really wasn’t something I was too worried about!

Piccadilly Primo Journal

The inside front cover is blank. So is the inside back cover, except for a small logo and barcode. There’s no pocket.

Piccadilly Primo Journal

Piccadilly Primo Journal

Despite the thickness of the notebook, it opens nice and flat.

Piccadilly Primo Journal

The paper is great– smooth and heavy, and most of my usual test pens didn’t bleed through at all.

Piccadilly Primo Journal

Piccadilly Primo Journal

Bottom line, I like this notebook but I don’t love it. I find myself turning it over in my hands, just enjoying the shape, but the minute I un-do that elastic, it bugs me. I may try to do some surgery on the notebook to see if I can remove the elastic– I think I’d rather just have a couple of small holes in the spine. Other factors to consider are that the thickness and the dirt-attracting properties of the cover might not make it the best notebook to carry around, but it is certainly a pleasure to write in, so it might be good for a stay-at-home journal for longer writings.

I neglected to record exactly how much I paid for the notebook at Borders– I think it was $5.99 or $6.99. You can also buy Primo Journals in small, medium and large, in blue, red, and orange, at the Piccadilly online store, for $8.95 small, $12.95 medium, or $14.95 large.

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4 Responses to “Review: Piccadilly Primo”

  1. I love Piccadilly and I LOVE the primo journals. These are my favorite of the brand.

    A back pocket would be nice and you’re right…dusk and dirt and stuff show up a bit easily, but overall I think they are a pretty durable book.

    I can’t wait til the large blue ones become available.

    -Victoria 🙂

  2. I’m familiar with that rubbery stuff on the cover. It *will* get nasty in a hurry. It looks neat but is very impractical for a hard-working notebook.

    As for the elastic – Is it long enough or stretchy enough to wrap “pole to pole” parallel with the spine, kind of like a wraparound bookmark? If you can do this somewhere near the back of the book (or around the back cover) maybe the bulge it creates would be cushioned by the bulk of the pages. Just a thought.

  3. The real advantage of having the elastic like this, is that it can wrap around, and carry, it’s own pens.

    The other thing it’s got going for it, is it’s got nearly 1/2 again as many pages as a standard 192 page Moleskine, at 188. The picture doesn’t really show how much bigger it is. Or well, actually that’s kind of good, it doesn’t *look* much bigger, but you’ve got more room to fill up.

    So, in essence, this isn’t a moleskine knockoff (although I do love the essential notebooks too!), but a different sort of journal, that may appeal to someone who likes softcover, doesn’t need a back pocket, fills up a standard notebook too quickly, and would like the convenience of keeping a pen with their notebook at all times.

    For me, I think my best fit would be a hardcover, moleskine style notebook, but with a horizontal elastic band to hold the pen. One day someone will make it, and I’ll buy up a bunch…

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