Staedtler’s posh pencil and Atoma’s posh notebook

Expensive pencil purchases

There are two pencil purchases I’ve been thinking about for a while. One of them is a Rotring 800+, but with a price tag of more than £40 I haven’t been able to convince myself to buy it yet [1]I guess I should buy it. In a recent Pen Addict podcast they were talking about a similar situation , it all reminds me of a Bavarian movie called ‘The sooner … Continue reading.

Every now and then I check whether I find a good offer for this pencil in online stores, on Amazon and on eBay. Earlier this week I was just checking CultPens again (so far they have been the cheapest store for the Rotring 800+ when taking postage  into account) when I saw an offer I couldn’t resist: Lots, really lots, of ‘free’ items if you buy a Staedtler Initium pen.


So many ‘free’ add-ons…

The Atoma leather notebook

The most tempting of these ‘free’ add-ons was Atoma’s Leather notebook [2]Mady by Belgium’s Ruitertassen.. Most tempting for two reasons:

  • I am using my Atoma notebooks on a daily basis, at work and at home, and I really like it
  • and I really like the look and the graceful ageing of tanned leather [3]Think Yo no bi, which reminds me: I just hope my Rustico notebook doesn’t get too dark over time, but based on experience with a leather bag I think I will be fine

…so this notebook was the reason why I went ahead and ordered the Staedtler Initium pencil.

I think I was probably even more interested than I otherwise would have been because of the recent flood of blog posts about William Hannah’s similar notebook after they sent free samples and discounted samples to many bloggers [4]including Scribble, Philofaxy, Pen Paper Pencil and Gourmet Pens.

Drool, so much nice stationery
Drool, so much nice stationery

Staedtler’s premium line

I do love Staedtler products, you might have noticed that this blog has more articles about Staedtler than about any other manufacturer [5]So fat there are 50 Staetdler articles. Faber-Castell, the number two only has  39 articles at Bleistift. but so far I haven’t been very excited about their foray into the world of more expensive stationery, their Initium line. Based on the photos I have seen online I think the Initium fountain pens look like cheap ‘own brand’ pens from a high street stationery chain – I might revise my opinion when I see one in reality, though, photos can be deceptive. The pencil on the other hand looks nice to me, but maybe not >£60 nice. So I went with the mechanical pencil instead. On the photos it looks better than the fountain pen, but I couldn’t really imagine how the clip works – is there a spring like in the Lamy 2000?



Well, my purchase has arrived now, I just unpacked the items. First impression: The body of the Staedtler pencil looks a bit more plasticy than expected, but overall it looks good. The Atoma leather notebook looks just amazingly beautiful!


I’m very much looking forward to trying all the items out.



You can read more about Atoma in my 2012 blog post about this system.


1 I guess I should buy it. In a recent Pen Addict podcast they were talking about a similar situation , it all reminds me of a Bavarian movie called ‘The sooner you die, the longer you are dead’
2 Mady by Belgium’s Ruitertassen.
3 Think Yo no bi, which reminds me: I just hope my Rustico notebook doesn’t get too dark over time, but based on experience with a leather bag I think I will be fine
4 including Scribble, Philofaxy, Pen Paper Pencil and Gourmet Pens
5 So fat there are 50 Staetdler articles. Faber-Castell, the number two only has  39 articles at Bleistift.

12 thoughts on “Staedtler’s posh pencil and Atoma’s posh notebook”

  1. This, indeed, is a very good deal!!
    Particularly when you know about the leather used for the Atoma 😉 It is of the best quality, full grain and 100% vegetable-tanned. With such a tactile object, it should age beautifully.
    Not sure it will would be the case for a William Hanna.

  2. Thanks for your comment.
    The back of the Atoma says Made in Belgium. Does that mean there leather is also made in Belgium?
    I don’t know much about the William Hannah notebook and don’t have one, but I do know that my vegetable tanned leather items like the Atoma notebook age beautifully.

  3. Yes, the leather is also from Belgium 😉
    It comes from a very old tannery that used to source and prepare Louis Vuitton’s leather too and eventually taught them how to tan leather.
    Today, maybe 15 to 20% of the leather in the world is 100% vegetable tanned like the one use for the atoma 😉

  4. Stationery Traffic

    Wow. That is a staggering deal. The Atoma notebook on its own is over 40 quid. As much as I like leather bound notebooks, it’s too expensive for me to consider this, at the moment. I am intrigued by the Atoma system, however. My work journal is nearly full and needs to be replaced shortly, perhaps I should get a cardboard cover version to try out? How does this system work day to day?

  5. Oliver, oh, I love this kind of background information. Thank you very much. Looking through your web site I am not surprised I like your products: I have a satchel ( – hmm was much cheaper when I bought it many years ago ) that is nearly identical one you are selling.

    Bruce, they are great. I use one daily at home and one to two daily at work. If you want to try them out: The cheapest place to get them used to be here: only €3, including postage. Well, I think a few months ago I wouldn’t have wanted to spend that money, but our family has two incomes again, plus I think the leather notebook will end up being a birthday gift for my wife, so I gave in to the temptation. Thinking how long my other leather goods last I like to convince myself that it will be cheap per year of use, but I know full well I only tell myself that to convince myself to buy it…

  6. Wow, that leather cover is awesome! Although I never did get used to the Atoma system (I just feel that old-fashioned spirals are sturdier than discs), this particular cover is enticing. Do let us know how the leather fares, esp. the wear and tear around the discs. We are seeing something of a leather renaissance back home and I am very happy to see stationery items benefit from this trend 🙂

  7. Stationery Traffic

    Just tried to order from ISB. Unfortunately it seems they have stopped the free shipping as it’s now 8EUR to post two notebooks to the UK. Total order 14 Euro.

    Guess I’ll just order from Cult Pens after all…

  8. Well that’s funny, that’s a typical Ruitertassen copy…
    They do copy a lot of our designs. The leather and construct won’t be the same though, but it might still last for a good time.

  9. Sola, funnily enough I am not keen on spiral bound notebooks – but regarding the discs, I find them great because I can rearrange the pages, e.g. keep things in alphabetical order even though new sheets might have to be added later. Very useful at work. One of the Atomas is to keep notes regarding students I am the personal tutor for, so new ones might be added later, but they have to me in alphabetic order or I”d never find the right page.

    Bruce, hmm, I am not too surprised they stopped free international shipping. They must have lost quite a bit of money. Not sure who is the cheapest, but it’s good there is more choice now than there used to be. A few years ago the only places in the UK were the distributor and Manufactum (but they only had the expensive stuff).

    Oliver, there are a few problems with their design, mainly that the shoulder strap hooks damage the leather of the flap, otherwise it’s a good bag. Strangely enough the leather got dark yellow over the years, not brown… Well, if I ever need a new one: now I know about Ruitertassen.

  10. Stationery Traffic

    In the end I bought an A5 notebook from Cult Pens, along with a Lihit Lab Book type pen case. The Atoma notebook looks good, even though I have the kids’ version with cardboard covers. Mine is a nice shade of blue, with squared paper. If this works out I will get one of the posher variants with aluminium discs. Thanks for the review, Matthias. Did I read somewhere that the Staples ARC punch will work with the Atoma system? Because I don’t want to spend £139 on a hole punch, thanks.

  11. Just a few days ago I admired the beautiful Lihit Lap pen case. It made me think of other cases I got in the past ( and ) and even though I gave one of these cases from the past away I thought I don’t need another pen case – but I was very tempted 8^)

    I didn’t think of the cardboard version as a kids version – I thought of it as the standard version 8^) It’s the one I mainly use.

    The ARC punch works well, even though the shape of the ‘holes’ is slightly different. You’re not the first person to ask, so I’ll take some photos to show the difference.

  12. Pingback: Staedtler Initium Lignum Fountain Pen Review | pencils and other things

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