After several years of using Moleskine journals, I decided to make a change for 2010. I'm now using a large Quo Vadis Habana lined journal.
Why the change?
It's not that I became displeased with the Moleskines. I've used them for several years and they work great for me. But I wanted to branch out and try some different fountain pen and ink combinations and, frankly, Moleskine paper is not always FP friendly. I've experienced a good bit of feathering and some bleed-through, particularly with some of the freer-flowing inks I've tried.
The Quo Vadis Habana uses some wonderful "Clairfontaine" paper which is acid-free and pH neutral. The bright, white paper has thus far has accepted whatever ink I've thrown at it without a smudge, smear or feather. The overall quality of the journal is very good - I particularly like the leather-like cover, which seems a step above the cover on the Moleskine. Currently, my favorite pen/ink combination is Private Reserve's "Orange Crush" in a red Lamy Safari. The color is a bit more subdued than the Orange Crush soda I remember drinking, but it is a nice color all the same - a warm, orange-brown that flows easily and shows up well on the pages of the Habana. The ink dries quickly, too.
The Habana is constructed in similar fashion to the Moleskine with a vertical elastic band and black cover. It easily lays flat when open without any ominous cracking of the spine or binding. The large version contains 80 sheets of lined paper with rounded corners. It also contains a pocket on the back cover, but I found it to be of poorer quality to the Moleskine - more of a "me-too" afterthought. It is the one aspect of the notebook that was not well executed. The pocket is glued to the back cover (crooked in my case) and is not as sturdy as the pocket in the Moleskine. I think Quo Vadis should have just left it off. It also lacks a ribbon marker, which seems an odd omission for such a notebook.
I still have a good supply of Moleskines and will continue to use them. But for my primary 2010 journal, I have to say I'm quite pleased with my Quo Vadis Habana. I look forward to adding entries to it each day of this new year.