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Thread: Vintage vs. Modern Adjustable?

  1. #1
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    Default Vintage vs. Modern Adjustable?

    I've begun poking around, looking at adjustable razors. At this point it's just research, as I figure I'm some time away from adding an adjustable to the collection. One thing I notice is that the old razors that are written up as having great performance tend to be running in ebay for prices comparable to (or higher in many cases) a modern adjustable (e.g., a Futur).

    One might naturally suppose that a good modern should perform as well or better than the corresponding vintage model (for example a fatboy vs. Futur) and since it's newer, should have better longevity (assuming comparable maintenance procedures). This all assumes that the fact that technology gets a little better each year is more than offsetting the desire to cut production cost by a smidge each year.

    So, except for the fact that it would be kinda neat to have a razor from my birth year, I'm thinking the way to approach this is that if cost is equal or nearly so, I'd pick up the modern one first and maybe add vintage units later, as much out of curiosity as anything else.

    So I wonder if there is (purely from a performnance/longevity point of view) a consensus out there among the experts on this, and would very much like to hear people's perspective (pertaining in particular to adjustables): Vintage or Modern?

    Thanks,
    Charlie
    Last edited by Charllie; 10-21-2013 at 04:46 AM.

  2. #2
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    I've got several slims and fat boys. FWIW I prefer the Futur. It is nice to hold a birthdate (birth quarter?) Gillette in ur hand though.

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    Senior Member Sargon's Avatar
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    The prices of vintage razors don't really have much to do with how well they shave. They tend to have a lot more to do with rarity and collectability, especially when you are talking NOS type razors, which are in high demand and low supply. Without going into too much detail, vintage Gillettes tend to be milder than modern adjustables, and they certainly are well made pieces of shaving hardware, just understand that you are paying for their rarity, more than the quality of the shave.
    Last edited by Sargon; 10-21-2013 at 06:12 AM.

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    You may be able to find vintage Gillette adjustables for quite a bit less than the cost of a Futur. Antique stores sometimes have them and will sometimes sell them for a lot less than you see on eBay. Even on eBay, you can find them for less if you're patient. I picked up a Fatboy for $30 in really good shape with a box on there not that long ago. Slims can be had for a little less but they shave just as well.

    All that said, I do get slightly better shaves with my Futur.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Lince's Avatar
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    You can get Gillette Slim's in very good condition from $15 and up. They clean up easily. I get excellent shaves with my Slim. The Gillette's are still around because they were made to last. They also do not have pot metal heads like many modern razors.

    The bottom line is that it is your face and your shave. I would get both to evaluate. You can always sell one for what you paid for it, at least the Gillette anyway..........and you may want to keep them both too!!
    Last edited by Lince; 10-21-2013 at 03:07 PM.
    Bob

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    Senior Member sheajohnw's Avatar
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    I have both vintage and currently manufactured DE razors. The bottom line is how well they shave you which depends on the razor, the blade, your face, and your skill with that particular razor. While the popularity of a particular DE is a good starting point, there is no way to know for sure how well that razor will shave you until you use that razor.

    Many popular vintage and currently made razors can be acquired at modest to moderate prices and can be resold at a fair price on the classifieds. On the other hand, there are some currently made DE razors that are significantly expensive making one think and think again before acquiring one for a trial. I would like to try some of the stainless DEs, but I am reluctant to shell out $ 200 more or less to try one and possibly find that it shaves no better or possibly not as well as what I already have.

    I use a Merkur Vision, Merkur 37C, Merkur 34G, and a Gillette Slim most often. The Vision is my best shaver, but I must take it down after each shave, wipe it clean, blow water out of the adjustment mechanism, and reassemble to prevent alloy corrosion issues. This is also true for the 37C slant and the 34G HD. I wish that I could get the Vision in stainless or plated brass so there would be no corrosion issues requiring an enhanced daily maintenance ritual for prevention. I believe that the Vision would be more popular if it was not so expensive and did not have corrosion issues without meticulous maintenance. The Slant and HD are priced OK and the additional maintenance tolerable for the money, but I wish that they could be acquired in stainless or plated brass. Although the Vision requires maintenance, I can do it in about 2 minutes which is far less work than what I must do to maintain the edge of my carbon and even stainless straights.

    The Slim shaves me very well, but not quite as close as my Merkurs. However, the Slim shaves well enough that I could keep happy shaving if I only had the Slim available. I recommend trying a Slim in good condition because its adjustable feature provides a good prospect that a setting can be found that will shave most users well. The Slim is made of plated brass and only gets rinsed under hot running tap water and shaken dry. It has given me no corrosion issues after many years of use. When I tried this maintenance regimen with the alloy Merkurs, I discovered the beginnings of corrosion after a few months of use. The dis-assembly, wipe clean, and reassembly regimen now used with the Merkurs has stopped any further corrosion advancement so far after several additional months of use. I also now open, wipe, and dry even my Slim after each use and find that it stays cleaner looking that way.

    One makes their choices and takes their chances.

    HTH
    Last edited by sheajohnw; 10-21-2013 at 10:00 PM.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    I have a few DEs but the only adjustable ones I own are a couple of Fat Boys. Together they cost me far less than a Futur both shave very well. The only new DE I own is a Muhle R41 that is no too expensive and really shaves close but the head seems to be too thick for my liking. My favourite non adjustable is a Gillette open comb, sorry forgot the exact model, that shaves as close as the Muhle R41 but has a thinner head that I like better.

    If both vintage and new are in good mechanical condition they should both last as long as you do. That is unless you do something to bugger them up. As with straights I would not say that new has an automatic advantage.

    Bob
    Life is a terminal illness in the end

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    The Hurdy Gurdy Man thebigspendur's Avatar
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    I think the technology for DEs was perfected years ago. They keep trying to perfect the wheel but even with design changes I don't think they shave any better be it new or vintage or the new expensive stainless models. I also don't think having an adjustment gives a better result. The R41 is fixed and it's the closest shaver in the world (at least most think so). best bet is read the forum and you'll see the razors most like and get good results with and the chances are you will too.
    JBHoren likes this.
    No matter how many men you kill you can't kill your successor-Emperor Nero

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    Senior Member Johnus's Avatar
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    Gillette '04. War years and before. None better.

  11. #10
    Junior Member TaranStone's Avatar
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    I have shaved with many DEs and, among adjustables, my favorite is my current newest razor, a GIllette Super Adjustable. The handle and weight are perfect and with a Bolzano, shaves better than the Merkur adjustables.

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