Best Vintage Gillette DE razor?

Discussion in 'Double Edged Razors' started by retturn2blades, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. Greetings from a newbie. I'm an older gentleman just returning to my youthful roots...traditional shaving instruments. I think to get in quickly, I'd like to start with DE shaving. Since I grew up in the 50s and 60s, I thought getting a vintage Gillette DE would be appropriate. I don't want nicke-plated razors if possible. Adjustable seems a good idea and I like the the twist open over the three piece, but that's not a deal-breaker. I'd want a medium to aggressive razor type.

    Razor suggestions? Where to find? Best blades? What's a reasonable price range?

    I have a medium beard and keep a mustache and goatee.

  2. You are going to want to acquire...

    (1) Old type
    (2) 40s Super Speed

    ... and not necessarily in that order.
  3. You said you're looking for a TTO, non-nickel plated, adjustable.....take a look at the Gillette Aristocrat Adjustable.
  4. R2B, Welcome to B&B! Oh you started a great thread! You are in for some fun and great advice by asking here about "what is the best Gillette DE razor?" You will get advice that every era and style is "best". You will get YMMV, IMHO, etc. I am a 100% vintage Gillette guy (I have 7 or 8) and I really can't say which is my favorite or the best. But to be at least some help...

    You really have to have a nice 50's Super Speed TTO. You mentioned that you don't prefer a nickle-plate so maybe you want to look for a gold Aristocrat. You will pay more for the gold versions if they are in good to excellent condition. I think you are on to something considering an adjustable, either the late 50's Gillette Adjustable (Fat Boy) or a 60's Slim. If you are looking for a medium/agressive in a Gillette you will need to go with an adjustable.

    You can find all of the above and too many more to mention on eBay but you have to know what you want and what you are willing to pay. It seems prices are inflated there these days. It is typical to see Techs (3-pc) or TTOs for $15-$30+ and adjustables for $20-$50+. If you are patient and live near some thrift or antique stores you should watch there for some deals in the $5-$20 range. Be patient. And you must keep an eye out on the Vendor and B/S/T sites here on B&B. The best place to start!

    On blades... Don't ask any of us about blade recommendations unless you want your head to explode. The best trustworthy recommendation is to try a good blade sampler and discover blades you like. Look t the reviews and threads on Safety Razor Blades and you will see plenty of praise for some top performers to try. Compared to cartidges and disposable plastic "razors", buting DE blades is cheap. About $2-$3 for 5 packs, $4-$6 for 10 packs. You will see some better bargains buying in 30, 60, or 100 count orders. Most folks do some trials with blade samplers until they find "the blade" and then go for a 100-count order, usually $10-$15/100.

    Hey, I also "...have a medium beard and keep a mustache and goatee." !!!
  5. Why no nickel?
  6. If you don't want nickel, how about gold? Milord, '40s Aristocrat, and (going back a bit further) the New and Goodwill razors.
  7. Gillette NEW OC's
    Gillette Super Speeds 40's-50's
    Gillette Tech
  8. Some people are allergic.

    As for the razor, I second a TTO adjustable. Gold fatboy maybe?
  9. I may have to reconsider my view on plated DE razors. So many seem to be either nickel, gold or silver plated.
  10. Wow, thanks...I had never heard of that allergy, but it seems to be pretty common.

    Live and learn!
  11. Some are Rhodium plated, a few chrome, then there are (old) Bakelite razors.
  12. alex2363

    alex2363 Contributor

    Stahly, zinc...............
  13. Yes, and the condition and prices are all over the place. I spent some time searching on EBAY and other online sources for Gillettes and I came away fairly certain I won't be buying there. My luck with Ebay is stretchy.

    My next thought is to check out my local "Goodwill Store" and a few antique/junk shops as some have suggested. It would be nice to actually get a nice old razor for a rational price. Plus it's hard to evaluate the condition and function by a photo. Due to the price versus condition of old razors, I may look to a good new DE razor...especially if my search doesn't turn up any gems.

    Thanks for all the suggestions and recommendations. I can see I will need to go slow and be patient. This old style shaving thing is BIG!
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012
  14. How about a Sheraton? It's a TTO, not nickle, it's a smooth OC but mildly aggressive, the OC would be great for the longer hairs around a beard.
  15. retturn2blades,

    First, welcome to the forum. You'll learn a lot here.

    The gold plated razors that fit your needs are a Gillette Executive (gold Fat Boy adjustable), a Gillette Aristocrat (gold Slim adjustable), a Gillette Toggle adjustable (OMG rare and expensive), a Gillette Milord (gold 40's Super Speed) and the 40's Aristocrat (fancy and heavier TTO razor). All of these will cost more than their nickle plated cousins. I own a '61 Aristocrat and a Milord. I like them both, but my Fat Boys are my favorite DE's.

    Good Luck with your search for the perfect razor for you.
  16. Welcome to B&B,

    I would recommend a super adjustable. Not shiny, TTO blade loading, AND it is an adjustable


  17. NEW , Bar handle, shortcomb
  18. I feel my addictive shadow coming online...I want too many razors already. What have I done? No turning back...forward, ever forward.
  19. Well, if you want an adjustable, that narrows it down. Someone's already mentioned the gold-plated adjustables.

    If you just want to give this a try, the Milord is probably the most common gold TTO razor. It's basically a superspeed with gold wash instead of nickel plating, and easy to find. Not particularly aggressive, though. The Sheraton isn't a bad idea but it is going to be harder to find at a good price.

    You can always buy a regular razor and have it replated.
  20. Welcome aboard. My advice from personal experience is buy one razor and work with it for a bit. Read up on razors on B&B, then you will likely be able to make a decent decision on what razor you really want next. If you can make that first purchase an adjustable the all the better.

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