Paper Review: Other Leuchtturm 1917 Notebook Options (Part 3 of 3: 120gsm Edition)

Originally, my plan was too include THREE different Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks in one post but it was going to be way too much for one post.  So, this will be part two of three. Part 1 & 2 are available here.

The last in our Leuchtturm 1917 “other notebooks” series is the new 120gsm version of the classic A5 notebook ($24.50USD). If you’ve been looking for notebooks or Bullet Journals on Amazon or other online shops in the past year or so, you may have noticed a lot of people making or promoting 100gsm or 120gsm paper notebooks. The appeal of this thicker, heavier paper is less showthrough when using markers and other decorative pen tools. the question, however, is how do these papers work with fountain pens?

I was wiling to try out the new Leuchtturm 1917 with 120gsm paper over a lesser known brand found on Amazon. For one, I suspect that the paper quality will remain more consistent over time over a lesser known product. Also, Leuchtturm 1917 is often easy to find in bookstores and larger brick-and-mortar stores.

Overall, the 120gsm Edition of the Leuchtturm1917 features everything we have come to love about their products: two  ribbon bookmarks, elastic closure, gusseted back pocket, archiving stickers, and an array of promotional booklets about the history of the brand and its users. It lays flat easily and the overall cream color and pale grey dots are consistent with the standard Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks.

A couple notable differences, the 120gsm books are thicker but have fewer pages (203 pages compared to 251 in regular A5 Leuchtturm 1917 notebooks) and there are no perforated pages in the back of the book. In the photo at the top of the review, the 120gsm notebook is pictured in the middle of the stack to see the variation in thickness of the notebooks.

(Once again, the beautiful creamy ivory paper photographed terribly — please forgive me and my camera, we might be breaking up soon!)

But let’s talk about the most important aspect of the 120gsm Edition Notebooks: the paper performance.

Most notably, the paper is the smoothest of any of the Leuchtturm paper I’ve used thus far. I would say its almost comparable to Rhodia in terms of smoothness. That’s both a plus and a minus. I sometimes find Rhodia paper to be glass-like so consider yourself warned f you like toothier paper.

There was also no show through or bleed through of any of the pens I tested. I certainly could have pushed the boundaries with a Sharpie marker and gotten some bleed through potentially but in daily use, with an array of pens most people would use in a Bullet Journal or Commonplace book, I had no issues.

As you can see on the reverse, you could easily utilize both sides of the paper without the distraction of show through. Huge bonus, IMHO.

So, thus far, besides the tried-and-true Leuchtturm 1917 standard notebook, I recommend this new 120gsm version. Particularly to fountain pen users, I think the smoothness and thicker paper will be much appreciated. I didn’t fully test the paper for ink color fidelity — potential for sheen and the like, since the creamier color might affect ink color accuracy anyway.

Just having a reasonably priced, readily available notebook that can stand up against fountain pens, brush pens and other BuJo supplies and survive is enough for me. Add to that number pages, light-enough but visible-enough dot grid, index pages, elastic closure, two ribbon bookmarks and a gusset pock in the back and I’m hard pressed to have any complaints.

DISCLAIMER: Some items included in this review were purchased with funds from our amazing Patrons. You can help support this blog by joining our Patreon. Please see the About page for more details.

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12 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Ana, forgive me, but is there more of this review? Maybe a second page or a “continued in next post”? The coppy I see even after refreshing ends with this sentence: “Most notably, the paper is the smoothest of any of the Leuchtturm paper I’ve used thus far.” Then there are two photos, one with the empty sheet and one showing the collection of non-fountain pens you used.

    1. Okay, I added the last section of the review. I guess when I copied and pasted the text, I forgot a couple paragraphs. Mondays!!!

  2. Ha! We all have those days! Thanks for fixing it – this is the one I’m most interested in. Which.

  3. Oh, thanks for this review — I have been curious about this 120gsm Leuchtturm! I was sad when the 180gsm sketchbook got discontinued, but this might be a good compromise.

    1. I debated comparing the 120gsm to the sketchbook version but I didn’t realize it had been discontinued. I don’t think the 120gsm would do well with liberal applications of water because the paper is very smooth but most pens seem to perform just fine.

  4. I am using one currently, and really like it. One thing I didn’t think of is because the paper is thick, guidesheets don’t work with it (I use one to create a chart each week). No big deal, I can freehand one, but I didn’t expect that.

    It is nice to have no real bleedthrough. My Leuchtturm1917 before this was really bad with bleedthrough, which I had not seen in the years I have been using them. Hoping they release other colors for the 120gsm!

    1. Heather, I hadn’t even considered that the paper would be too thick for a guidesheet! Luckily, the dots on Leuchtturm are some of the lightest available and provide some guidance.

  5. Thanks for this review. Mid-way through I realized I’ve been using aversion of this notebook since January — the second edition Bullet Journal xLeuchtturm is made with this paper. It’s great, though the drying time is slower than with the original 1917.

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