Start Bay Notebooks say:
We are makers of products that are
SIMPLE | ELEGANT | DURABLE | SUSTAINABLE
Having used their Navigator A5 notebook cover for some weeks now, I can confirm each of those descriptors is accurate.
They take great care in packaging, too, making you feel like it’s Christmas:
The A5 cover is made of thick, veg-tanned, full-grain leather:
The elastic that holds the cover shut is plenty beefy, which is needed, since you can cram a lot of stuff between the cover.
Here are some close-ups of the careful workmanship (click/tap individual images to enlarge):
The inside elastic holders are not thick, but they’ve held up well so far. It’s really easy to slide in up to four notebooks and/or inserts.
The inserts are fairly new with Start Bay. They allow you to give the notebooks pockets, protective holders for your papers, and a slot for business cards (among other uses).
I’m glad to be able to carry My Dinosaur Dictionary with me.
There are only two possible drawbacks to the whole setup. (1) Writing on the last notebook gets a little lumpy with the elastic band coming through the back cover (this seems hard to avoid in this kind of notebook). (2) The plastic inserts are just a little wider than the notebook, so they stick out when it’s shut. This is easy to get used to, though.
The Navigator is carefully made from the highest quality leather. The outside elastic is nice and chunky. And the width of the A5 is perfect for longer-form writing for me. The size is really right on the money–portable yet with ample room for words.
From the Start Bay blog, some more details on the leather:
> Start Bay Notebooks are handmade from 3mm thick full grain, vegetable tan leather. They are dyed through and coloured both sides and have a warm, slightly waxy feel. The through dying gives the advantage of being able to fix self adhesive pockets to the inside of the leather. Cut edges of the leather are burnished and hand dyed dark brown for an elegant finish. Both the closer cords and inner cords are hand sealed on their cut ends to prevent fraying. Just a few reasons to choose Start Bay Notebooks.
At £45 (roughly $60), the A5 Navigator notebook is one of the best-priced options for its size. It equals or exceeds the quality of other similar notebooks I’ve used, especially with the strong elastic and full-grain leather that mean you won’t ever need a replacement cover.
Due to the insert system and generous capacity of the Navigator, I dare say you can continue to put off the Roterfaden Taschenbegleiter purchase you can’t really justify anyway.
Many thanks to Start Bay for the review samples! Find their site here.