The Perfect Filofax? Well, Almost.

07 June 2013

I recently won this personal Cavendish on eBay. She's used but is in great condition. She's also not purple or teal or any other fun color. She's burgundy. The boring brown side of the burgundy spectrum at that. No fancy brushed metal or gold hardware on this one, either. Nor is there any fancy croc print of any kind on her leather. So, why was I so thrilled to have won her?

Well, first off, she has 30 mm rings! An inch and then some if you want to do all the converting. Much bigger than the standard 23 mm's you get in most Filofaxes. Rings of this size in a personal size Filofax are few and far between. Sure, there are the Portland Grands and some of the Winchesters, but they are very hard to come by. Trust me, I've looked! And then there are the few zipped binders that also boast larger rings. In fact, I was almost tempted to purchase a Cuban zip at one point, and I don't even like zip binders! Here's a few side-by-side comparisons with my used and abused, yet still beautiful Ochre Malden so you could see just how uh-mazing the Cavendish's rings are.

The Cavendish also comes with two (TWO!) pen loops. All leather, no elastic. But, my FriXion Ball Knock gel pen fits in the larger of the two pen loops with ease, and my FriXion Ball Slim gel pen fits perfectly in the smaller one. So far, I have had no problems closing the Filofax with both writing utensils in place.

The interior boasts plenty of pockets and compartments. There are eight card slots on the left with a full-length pocket behind them. On the right, a full-length pocket with a secretarial pocket on top.

And, as if the interior pockets weren't enough, there is also a zipped compartment along the backside of the Filofax for added storage.

The leather is a nice combination of soft and hard. There's definitely some kind of cardboard in between the leather. But, it's still supple enough to mold itself around all the inserts, yet stiff enough to not be so overly floppy. The feel of the leather is smooth and soft and, with a bit of TLC, I was able to bring out a little bit of its original shine. It lays perfectly flat, too. But, I think that's all thanks to its previous owner. No training needed on my part.

And, now, the nitpicking part. I noticed that her strap appears to be kind of short. I'm almost afraid I won't be able to close my Filofax once I've actually stuffed it to its full capacity. And those large rings are meant to be used! No problems so far, but, I guess, only time will tell. Also, the spine is very round, which, I think, is due to the fact that the ring mechanism is slightly larger than the usual. Not necessarily a good thing or a bad, more like a "Meh" kind of thing. *shrugs shoulders* It sounds silly, but it makes the binder look/feel bigger than it really is.

Overall, the Cavendish is a fairly decent Filofax. Will her massive rings make up for her lack of pizzazz? We'll see. I have her quite stuffed at the moment with room to spare. And more room is always a good thing, yes? I only wished that Filofax would make more personal size planners with rings this size. I mean, seriously, how hard would it be to fit a personal Malden with 30 mm rings?


  1. This is a lovely filofax :)

  2. If you ever do not want this Carla let me know. I would happily take it off your hands :))!

  3. Car, how does the color compare to the Wine Holborn or Wine Osterley? Dang, the Malden's rings look so petite compared to the Cavendish. Does it feel bulky to you?

    1. Hi, Jennifer! It's more on the brown side than the Holborn wine which to me was more purpley red. This is more brown res. Pretty, but I find the wine color on the Holborn prettier. I wish she was more pleasing to the eye on the outside, but those massive rings...if only other personals came with rings like these! It doesn't feel bulky at all which is nice and I think it's because the leather isn't too thick. If you see the photos next to the Malden, you'll notice the Maldens leather is considerably thicker.

  4. I think your Cavendish looks lovely, with an understated elegance. :) Those rings! The pocket setup is great (zipped compartment on the back, yay). I like the browny red colour. Well done on finding it, if you ever decide to pass it on I'll join the queue! :)

    1. LOL. Will note that for future reference, and thank you! :)

  5. I bought an "brand new in box" navy blue Cavendish a while ago on ebay. It was dated 1999 and in perfect condition. The rings are HUGE! The internal layout looks good to me, but the leather seems very thin and fragile. I'm scared I might damage it! I don't think this is an organiser that can be just shoved in a bag with other stuff. It's more suited to being carried on it's own.

    I agree about the strap being short. The Cavendish will not close if I put my preferred pens in it (A
    LAMY 2000 Ballpoint Pen in the big loop, and a Frixion 0.5 clicker in the small loop). I'm not sure what I'm going to use it for yet.

    The filofax I currently use is a 2003 Personal Hampshire. The leather on that model is really tough. I love it!

  6. I've seen one person that used the Cavendish as a wallet, and used the back pocket for change. I'd be worried that it would stretch the leather on the back though. Mind you - I do often have a lot of coins!

    For me I think that any personal sized Filofax is too big to carry around everywhere. But with 8 card slots I can see why somebody would use this as a wallet. What do you think?

    One thing to be careful of with the Cavendish, is the button on the strap is covered with leather and I've seen mentioned elsewhere that it tends to wear right through eventually. So, I'm trying to open and close mine without touching the leather button!

    Just curious, but was it just the big ring size that made you want the Cavendish or was there something else about it that appealed to you?

    1. Hi!

      The Cavendish is starting to grow on me and I've decided that she is a keeper, after all. It's those rings, I tell ya. It was definitely the rings that first caught my attention. Actually, since discovering Filofax and learning about their standard 23 mm rings, I had made a note of all the Filofaxes made with the 30 mm rings. Having transferred over from Franklin Covey where big rings were not an issue, I was somewhat spoiled in that department. I pretty much memorized which Filofaxes came with the bigger rings and, once I saw the Cavendish listed on eBay, I went for it. Having had a planner with 1.75" rings (MONSTROUS!) and one with 23 mm rings, I've learned that 30 mm is more than enough for me (anything bigger would actually be too big) and wished that more current Filofax models came with them. I'm hoping--dreaming and wishing--that a Malden with 30 mm rings in the future will be available as it is my favorite range.

      I did read about the short straps and the button on the strap wearing through prior to purchasing the Cavendish, but so far, no issues yet. The previous owner has done an excellent job at taking care of it. Despite its soft leather, it takes a good beating in my bag with no problem. It's strictly used as a planner (I don't do the wallet thing with my planners) and the personal size is perfect for me as I find the A5 too cumbersome to carry around and the pocket way too small for me to write in. Personal is just right.

      Lucky you finding a "brand new" Cavendish in Navy Blue. I think I would have preferred that color much more than the Burgundy. There was a black one I had my eye on recently on Philofaxy. But, as expected, that sold quickly.

      Anyway, I loved reading your comments, and thanks so much for visiting. Would love to see what you do with your Cavendish. :)

  7. The navy blue colour is very dark. In some lighting conditions it can look almost black. But it is definitely navy. It did look a little dull when i first got it. but i cleaned it with a leather wet-wipe and it brought the leather back to life. It is so soft, and the filo is definitely a keeper!

    Thanks for putting my mind at rest about the leather's resistance to damage. I think i will keep my current Hampshire filo for work and use cavendish for personal stuff. I might start a blog one day to talk about filos etc, but not sure i want to invest the time.

    Please keep us up to date on how you get on with yours.

  8. That Cavendish is lovely - ooh, I feel a search coming on... :-)


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