I discovered Moleskines about ten years ago, and I instantly fell in love with them. Previously, I had been stuck writing in composition books, and the Moleskine was a better size, had better paper, a bookmark and elastic band.

Back then, they only had a few sizes, only a few paper types, and only a single color. They’ve come a long way since, and until late last year, I was still a die hard Moleskine fan.

Then I discovered something better. The Leuchtturm 1917. My world was changed.

Notebook Cover

The Leuchtturm is well-thought out, and has a number of features that Moleskine should have added a long time ago, and ultimately is what won me over to the Leuchtturm.

Paper Types

Moleskine offers lined, grid, or plain, with a couple of specialty paper types that are useless to me, like music staves and storyboarding.

Leuchtturm offers lined, grid, dots, and plain with lined or grid backing paper, which allows the cleanness of plain, but with the structure of either lines or grid, which is interesting.

Dot Grid

The main winner for me is dots. This is, by far, my desired paper type because it allows the cleanness of plain paper, but with a subtle structure of a grid present in the dots.

Paper Quality

Moleskine and Leuchtturm both use exceptional paper. I find that the Leuchtturm takes fountain pen ink a little better and I have less smearing. It is also considerably thinner than Moleskine paper, so dark ink shows through a bit more. It’s not a huge issue for me since I use light blue ink in my journal.

Shit Moleskine doesn’t do

Here is where the Leuchtturm 1917 really begins to shine.

Page Numbers, holy fuck!

Table of Contents

There are three pages dedicated to table of contents with nice structure and a pretty look. It allows me to index my journal, which I do anyway.

Numbered Pages

Indexing is great and all, but I really hate having to go through my journal and add page numbers to every page. It looks messy and is time consuming. The Leuchtturm has imprinted numbers on every page, which means I never have to number my pages again.

Other small details

Labeling: Have you ever tried to label your Moleskine in a way that looks integrated with the design of the notebook? Unless you are a designer, you probably failed, badly. I know I did.

Leuchtturm comes with stickers that match the look and style of the notebook, that you then write on and stick to your notebook. That’s great for archiving or just to help identify them. They come with cover and spine labels, but I’m currently only using the cover label because I only have a single Leuchtturm currently.

Perforated pages on the last eight pages is a nice touch, but I haven’t had to use them.

European sizing is another clear advantage. A8 size is the size of the current notebook that I’m using, and so it gives a little extra space because it’s a little bigger than half-letter like the Moleskines. This does have it’s downside, though, if you expect it to match up with your already massive archive of Moleskines.

All in all, the Leuchtturm 1917 notebook has become my go-to notebook because it offers superior features over the Moleskine.