If you have been buying notebooks in 2021, then you have surely encountered Leuchtturm1917. These high-end German notebooks have built a diehard audience thanks to their fair pricing, high quality, and cool styling.
So what’s the deal with Leuchtturm1917?
Leuchtturm1917, often styled as “LEUCHTTURM1917,” is a paper brand that was founded in 1917. The company is based in Geesthact, Germany and is owned by the Leuchtturm-Gruppe. Leuchtturm-Gruppe is a small German company that is primarily known for its stamp and coin collecting albums, but that ventured into stationery products in 2005.
The company makes calendars, notebooks, leather goods, and even makes pens with the recently released Leuchtturm1917 Drehgriffel ballpoint.
Leuchtturm1917 has a website, located at Leuchtturm1917.us.
Leuchtturm means “lighthouse” in German. This explains why the US-based company that distributes Leuchtterum’s products is known as Lighthouse Publications Inc. These US operations are based in Fairfield, NJ.
How Do You Say Leuchtturm?
“Leuchtturm” is one of the most confusing named in stationery, and without instruction only German speakers will know how to say it properly. The name is properly pronounced as “loi strum” in which “loi” rhymes with “boy.”
Leuchtturm1917 has a number of popular products, almost all of which are notebooks. Most people know Leuchtturm1917 has a brand that makes fountain pen-friendly paper and competes with companies like Clairfontaine, which is to say they make very high quality paper products that are fountain pen and rollerball friendly, without being specialty paper, like Tomoe River.
Leuchtturm1917 Notebook Classic
If you had to pick out the quintessential Leuchtturm1917 product, it would be the Notebook Classic in A5 paper size with a black cover and dotted paper. Selling for about $20, this perennial best seller is usually seen with a black cover, but it’s sold in a vast array of colors.
The Notebook Classic is a hardcover notebook with dotted, blank, grid, or lined paper.
This notebook is sold in a number of sizes as well, from A4+ (very big) to A7 (very small). The A5 size just happens to the the most popular of the bunch, likely due to it being a nice mix of portability and size. There are B5 and B6+ sizes as well, though those are softcover models.
This notebook uses a heavy paper (80 gsm) that is archival-safe and acid-free. The paper is smooth, but not glass-smooth like a Rhodia, it doesn’t have a coating that slows down absorption, and there is relatively little bleed-through. These quality make it popular with fountain pen users. The paper carries a forest-friendly FSC certification.
Leuchtturm1917 has a number of notebook lines that are essentially the same as the Classic but have different colors or other minor changes. These include:
- Notebook Muted Color
- Notebook Neon
- Notebook Rising Color
- Notebook Metallic Edition
- 100 Years Bauhaus
- Red Dots Special Edition
- 120G (different color covers and heavier, 120 gsm paper)
There are also the Bullet Journal (Edition 1 and Edition 2) which are popular offerings. These are offshoots of the Notebook Classic that have printing and organization inside that are designed to aid your bullet journal technique.
Leuchtturm1917 doesn’t just make hardcover notebook, they make a number of softcover models as well. These aren’t as popular as the Classic line, but they are quite good. In this respect Leuchtturm1917 is a lot like Moleskine, where the Classic line has achieved very popular status but the other other products they produce are still worth learning about.
Some of the softcover notebook include:
- Notebook Classic (softcover)
- Notebook Muted Colors (softcover)
- Notebook Rising Colors (softcover)
The Jottbook, which is quite similar to the Moleskine Volant, is the primary Leuchtturm notebook which is specifically designed to be a softcover. Most of the other models are sold in other hard or soft versions.
Leuchtturm1917 isn’t known as a pen brand, but they do make some writing instruments.
The main pen the company sells is the Drehgriffel in a ballpoint version. This is a clip-less, cleanly designed pen with a twist retraction mechanism. It’s a nice pen, but it isn’t particularly well distinguished from the huge amount of competition in the $15-$30 pen range. The Drehgriffel is also sold in a gel version, which is the same pen but with a different refill and some different body colors.
Lastly there is the Drehgriffel x Monocle edition, which is a limited run of Drehgriffel pens which have been made in collaboration with Monocle magazine. These pens, again, as the same as the main Drehgriffel but have different colors and use unpainted brass for a classier look. This version sells for just $5 more ($30) but has been sold out and has gotten to be hard to find.
As a stationery brand Leuchtturm1917 doesn’t limit itself to paper and pens. Other products the company sells includes:
- Document albums
- Storage boxes
- Folders and folios
- Address books
These products aren’t as readily available and, at least in the US, you won’t run into them at your local stationery store the way you might encounter the Notebook Classic. These products are easy enough to find online though.
How do you pronounce Leuchtturm?
The Leuchtturm is properly pronounced as “loi strum” in which “loi” rhymes with “boy.” The full name of the company is Leuchtturm1917.
What does Leuchtturm mean?
Translated from German to English, leuchtturm means “lighthouse,” as in a signal house that warns boats of upcoming rocks or shore.