My brother introduced me to the Moleskine. Let me quote from their website.
Moleskine® was created as a brand in 1997, bringing back to life the legendary notebook used by artists and thinkers over the past two centuries: among them Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Bruce Chatwin. A trusted and handy travel companion, the nameless black notebook held invaluable sketches, notes, stories, and ideas that would one day become famous paintings or the pages of beloved books.These notebooks are based on notebooks made by small bookbinders and sold in stationary shops in Paris in the late 19th–early 20th century, Moleskine was a nickname that Bruce Chatwin called his notebooks by.
Here is a picture of a couple of my Moleskines:
I have Several, and after trying out a number of different ones, I decided that I liked the quadrille (gridded) paper the best. I purchased and carried several of the smaller ones before I ever considered buying a mid-sized one. As it turns out I really like the mid sized one, and I carry it almost everywhere.
As my last Moleskine was nearing completion, I happened upon a Leuchtturm1917. From what I can tell, Leuchtturm1917 is the notebook that Moleskine thinks it is (I stole that line from another blogger). Leuchtturm was founded in 1917, which seems to be the time period that Moleskine bases their books on.
But let's talk about what differentiates the two. A common practice among Moleskine users is to set aside a page or more to be used as an index/table of contents, which requires that you go through the book and number the pages. Leuchtturm has pages set aside particularly for this purpose and the pages are pre-numbered.
I've never had a problem with the paper in the Moleskine, it seems to handle the ink from my favorite pens without problem—but I guess fountain pen ink doesn't work very well with them. The Leuchtturm paper apparently alleviates this problem (except in the case of very wet inks). I can't really speak for that, but it's nice to know they have thought of it.
The Leuchtturm I have is the same height as the Moleskine I have, but the Leuchtturm is slightly wider without being unwieldy.
Moleskine and Leuchtturm come in a variety of types. Sketch (No Lines), Quadrille (Graph Paper), Ruled (Lines). The Leuchtturm has one up on the Moleskine though—they have a dotted grid. There is a grid of Dots on the paper, giving you the functionality of the Grid or lined paper; yet the dots are so lightly printed that the paper also works quite well for sketching. Speaking of lightly printed, the other Leuchtturm options (Grid and Ruled) are printed lighter that their Moleskine brethren. The patterns are not difficult to see, but they are very unobtrusive and get out of the way when scanning.
The Leuchtturm has tear out pages in the back, Moleskine does not.
They both have a convenient pocket in the back of the notebook.
They both have a ribbon bookmark. My last Moleskine bookmark frayed almost immediately after I purchased it. I thought it was made of a synthetic material, and tried to seal it using a flame, and nearly had a more serious fire on my hands. The glue came loose literally when I was moving the bookmark out of the way so I could write on the last page of the notebook.
The Leuchtturm bookmark appears to be synthetic and feels like it could take more abuse.
Moleskine wins in the elastic band category. The band on Moleskine is tighter, and feels more substantial than the one on my Leuchtturm.
The Leuchtturm1917 comes with Labels. It's my understanding that the intended purpose of these, is that they are to be placed on the notebook once it is full.and you are storing it on the shelf. They come with Spine and cover Labels.
So far I'm really liking the Leuchtturm better. I have the quadrille variety, I was hoping to get a dot grid—but the university book store (where I discovered the Leuchtturm1917) did not have that particular flavor. I'll have to order one online.
A Pic of My Leuchtturm1917: