Buffalo Girls

This post is in direct response to a comment question by @plannerisms regarding the differences between the Holborn and Malden…both of which are Filofax binders made from buffalo leather.

So if you don’t like the post, blame her ; ) Just kidding of course.

Ok, so while both the Holborn and Malden are both buffalo leather binders, they have totally different looks & feel.

For a detailed description of my use of the Holborn, check out this post. If you want to read about my love affair with the Malden, you might get a kick out of this gem.

Malden Ochre on the left, Holborn Brown on the right. Both Personal size

The iconic “f” logos. Malden on left, Holborn on right

Babies got back! Rear views…Malden on left, Holborn on right

Malden features “vintage look” buffalo leather. With some sort of glazed coating (particularly on the Ochre) to give it a nice sheen. Personally, I don’t think of it as all that vintage-y. Maybe the Ochre, but I think that’s more about the color than anything else. The black Malden screams Soho to me. Despite the descriptor of “rustic” on the Filofax site, I find it quite chic (especially the black, with the other colors being a more casual chic). I especially love that gun-metal press stud on the snap closure. That’s right, I said “stud”.

The Malden has its contrast stitching focused around the closure. Gotta love a well-appointed stud!

Notice also the glazed sheen, small dings and slight patina from constant use. Maybe it will end up looking rustic by the time it wears out, who knows!

Holborn has “natural grain” buffalo leather. No coating, no more sheen than your average cowhide binder. In fact, if I had to compare Holborn to one of the more traditional Filofax models, as far as the leather was concerned, it would be Guildford. I only have the Holborn in brown, so I can’t comment on the black version (but it is on the Christmas list!).

The Holborn contrast stitching highlights the spine and, as shown above, the logo area

I don’t know if you can pick it out in the photo above, but my individual Holborn appears to have different grains of leather on the spine part & snap closure. The grain on them is larger and very slightly darker, while the grain of the remainder of the binder is smaller and a wee bit lighter in color. Again, not sure if that is intentional or my piece was just made from different lots of leather, or what.

On the inside, these binders are both highly functional but again…very different.

The Malden (my number one choice for a planner/wallet combo by the way, if any of you are keeping score) has a skinny zip pocket, a full length pocket behind that, 6 credit card pockets, and then a  full length slip pocket behind all that on the inside front cover. Then a nice set of 7/8″ rings. On the inside of the rear cover it has another full length slip pocket, a super handy note pad pocket and a pen loop. Not stretchy, in case you were wondering.

Inside view of a Personal Malden. In this case a Crimson one, courtesy of Pens and Leather

The Holborn (my 1st runner-up for the planner/wallet combo award) has the same 6 credit cards slots (only vertically placed) – as well as one large and totally awesome curved pocket, this time straddled by left and right full slip pockets on the inside front cover. The ring mechanism is stated as 15/16″ this time around. The inside rear cover features another set of left and right full length slip pockets and a pen loop. With a bit of stretchy material, as it is a newer binder and they seem to be adding that feature on the new ones, which is pretty awesome if you ask me.

Hidden inside the right-hand slip pocket is a full length zip pocket. I find it interesting that this feature is not listed on the spec page on the Filofax site.

Inside view of Holborn (brown) courtesy of Filofax USA

It is there though, trust me.

Told ya

I love that it is a full length zip pocket (as opposed to the Malden’s skinny one), but it can be difficult to get at when a pen is in the loop if you are trying to use this as a planner/wallet and get at change at a register. Thus making people look at you funny. Which is why it is only 1st runner-up).

The primary things @plannerisms wanted to know about were not the specs;  she wanted insight into the feel ( structure, floppiness, etc), the tactile experience of the leather and, if I may interpret, the overall vibe.

Very subjective. But here goes:

Both are very soft to the touch. The glaze on the Malden makes it feel a little more “slick” and I would definitely say the Malden is the floppier of the two.

The Holborn smells yummier. If you consider the aroma of leather to be yummy. Which I do.  The Malden smells nice too, however perhaps due to the coating, the scent is more pronounced on the Holborn.

Malden definitely gets a patina with a lot of use. I personally like that, as it makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something (don’t ask me why…) and while both wear very well, the Malden seems to show scratches more – at least on the Ochre one – while the Holborn, sans glazed coating, does not.

Both laid flat right out of the box (yay!) but with the Malden there was never a moment of doubt anyway. That thing is as unstructured as they come.

Both have very attractive contrast stitching and stylish design elements, and I feel perfectly comfortable using either binder at work, though the Holborn is the more formal of the two (if either could really be called formal).

If anyone cares, Malden has the…I dunno what its called…the outie bit, on the front of the binder itself, while the Holborn has it on the strap. Po-tah-to, po-tay-to in my book but hey, some of you might want to know.

You can also get a bit of a sense of the grain from the above photos too. Holborn has a smaller, tighter grain (akin to cowhide). Malden seems to have a “crinkle factor” going. To me it is more of a unique look and feel.

Overall, the Malden does have a more casual energy to it, depending on what color you go with (I still say the black Malden could give any corporate environment a run for its money, however) and I must confess I gravitate to it more than any other binder I own for sensate reasons as much as function. Including the Holborn (though, Holborn is a close 2nd due to its cool pockets).

I don’t think any of us can deny the cult following that has developed around the Malden. It goes on field trips, has adventures…hell, it has its own Flickr group for crying out loud! At one point, Malden even had a spicier love life than yours truly (happily that is no longer the case).

Holborn is new, and it may not be fair to compare, but so far the only real buzz surrounding it is the controversy over wonky ring alignment.

Hard to quantify, but as Filofaxes go, Malden seems to have an appeal all its own. Holborn is very nice, don’t get me wrong, but it has a kind of “just another binder” vibe to it. I don’t know…Malden just has an air of Je ne sais qua.

@plannerisms…did that help you at all???


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lindsay Alexander
    May 12, 2012 @ 05:21:46

    Love the comparison :o) I got both recently and can add that with the Ochre Malden, scratches do show (I haven’t scratched the Holborn yet) but they just add to that old and loved feel that it has :o)

  2. stevemorton
    May 12, 2012 @ 11:54:45

    Excellent post. Thank you for doing this.

    The Holborn is nice, but I am not keen on the interior, it’s the same as the Cuban on the inside. And the Zip pocket access is just as difficult on that.

  3. Anita Lim
    May 12, 2012 @ 13:47:32

    Thanks for a great post!
    I was considering the Holborn in the wine colour some time ago, but I’m so smitten by the Maldens that I knew it was never a serious contender 🙂

  4. Amanda (from Paper, Pens and Ink)
    May 12, 2012 @ 19:21:50

    Is it the same as the Cuban? I don’t have a Cuban, just he Holborn. The interior of the Cuban doesn’t look the same in the pics on the filofax site…

  5. thezeitgeistofzoe
    May 13, 2012 @ 15:52:22

    @amanda: i’m not steve, but i do have both the cuban and the holborn. the interior of the cuban is the same in that it has the 6 vertical credit card pockets and the large curved pocket below in the front. it does not feature the left and right slip pockets like the holborn…but instead as a single secretarial pocket.

    the inside back cover of the cuban has only a single mesh zip pocket, like the kendal. perhaps the cuban zip is different…i only have the personal snap cuban for comparison.

    @steve, i am also curious…does the zip cuban have the hidden zip pocket like the holborn?

  6. Laurie
    May 14, 2012 @ 00:13:50

    Thank you so much for doing this comparison!!

    I have the Holborn (zip), but not a Malden. My question to myself is, do I want a Malden, or are the Malden and Holborn so similar that it would be redundant?

    I handled a Malden in the Filofax store a couple of years ago but couldn’t remember the details of it well enough to compare the two. I do remember the Malden was buttery-soft.

    I had expected the Holborn to be a more dressed-up version of the Malden, But it seems to me the differences are more than that.

    Hmm….maybe a personal Ochre Malden should be on my Christmas list!

  7. thezeitgeistofzoe
    May 14, 2012 @ 15:23:51

    @laurie YAY! if this post served no other purpose than to enable you into a malden, then it has been a success ; )

    seriously though, i think a malden should DEFINITELY be on the christmas list! no other binder (in my opinion) is like it and it really is something special.

    i love my holborn, but in no way is it a substitute for a malden. go for it!! and of course do a post when you get one, lol!

  8. kanalt17
    May 15, 2012 @ 09:38:57

    Thanks for the link to my Malden’s (mis)adventures! I don’t have a Holborn but I have been contemplating the slimline and now the compact for a while. I still have to see it in person to see if it’s something I really want. I’m so happy with the regency/malden combo I could probably do without another binder – but where’s the fun in that??? 😉

%d bloggers like this: