Galen Leather is run by a brother and sister team out of Istanbul, Turkey. They specialize in handmade leather goods and have a growing line of products for stationery nerds like me. The No. 55 Leather Field Notes Cover is a beefy cover made out of 2-4mm vegetable tanned cow leather with room for a pen and several cards. It is available in a variety of colours for $34 USD at the time of publishing.
The cover comes in a lovely brown box with classy black printing. Inside is the notebook along with a sheet of paper with care instructions, information about the leather, and a small hand filled form documenting the colour, the date the cover was made, and the person who made it. Additionally, the package comes with a small blue glass Evil Eye charm and a small write up about the Evil Eye and Galen Leather. The packaging has a simple but elegant look to it and I love how personal it all feels.
The No. 55 notebook holder is a beefy piece of leatherworking. It fits any 3.5”x5.5” notebook, just slide the back cover into the holder’s back pocket. The fit is perfect, snug enough that a notebook will not slide out without intentional effort, but not so tight that the cover may rip when the notebook is removed. The front has a smaller panel of leather that is only partially attached to the cover. It has slots cut into the flap for holding business cards, bus passes, and credit cards. The slots do not work well at all. When a card is slotted in, it causes a hump in the slot that just gets worse as more cards are put in. It is much better to just slide the cards in from the side, allowing the flap to lay flat.
The back and front pockets are stitched with a heavy grey thread that serves as a really nice accent to the dark coloured leather. A lot of attention to detail has been paid to the stitching, with even spacing and the ends of the thread tucked neatly into the flaps. I did notice the edge of the inner flaps would leave a black charcoal like streaks when rubbed against. It was a much bigger problem with the black cover than the brown cover and needed a good bit of cleaning with a cloth to get rid of.
In the spine of the cover is a roll of elastic band glued to the spine. The elastic band is glued flat so it does not interfere much with writing, but it leaves a bit of a visible odd spot on the cover when it is closed. The band is sized for mid to wide pens like the TWSBI 580 or the Kaweco Sport. Smaller width pens like the Pilot Cavalier or ballpoints will need to be clipped to stay secure.
Writing in a notebook stored in the No. 55 is great. The elastic band collapses, so it barely interferes with the paper. The front flap is a little more noticeable when writing, especially if the card slots are used. I think I would have preferred a version without the front flap entirely. There is a lot of space when closed. I had no problem storing two notebooks with their covers strapped together with an elastic band Midori-style and a Kaweco Sport. Three notebooks might be a bit of a stretch without the use of a smaller pen.
At $34 USD, the No. 55 Leather Field Notes Cover is priced extremely well. The leather is thick, but not too thick for practical use. The manufacturing quality is high, though some of the edges could use better cleaning. I really like how design is well suited for using two notebooks strapped together. The fact it can hold a pen is an added bonus; however, the slots on the front flap are completely useless. Overall, a solid notebook cover from Galen Leather. If you are in the market for a notebook cover, definitely check out them out.
The review unit was provided to me for free. The opinions expressed in the review are strictly my own. Thank you to Galen Leather for providing the review unit, check them out at GalenLeather.com.