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Gillette 195

I picked up a fairly decent condition 195 bottom dial a few months ago and have been using it in my rotation. This razor came on the scene about 2 years after the Fatboy was launched in ~1958. The razor I have has an F4, 1960 date code, the same and only year of the toggle. Even so, the 195 has the appearance of a prototype from a model shop – well finished but with the patina of a development part rather than a mass produced one. The fit and finish is not quite as good as a production part but in no way is it rough or poorly made. Just wider tolerances possibly to allow for some tweaking of the mechanism. The plating has a rather matt finish and it doesn’t look as though the razor was deeply polished prior to plating. Maybe it was made along with the toggle to expand patent coverage and gain some ground in case of competition in the adjustable market? The overall build overall quality is exceptionally high – clearly not a low budget or hasty job.

The adjustment dial clicks with very firm detents. I’ve seen rumors that the dial can change setting when you shave because your hand is close to it. I doubt it, it is not likely to move in use, especially when the doors are tightened down. These razors are very heavy duty weighing in at ~85 grams. The blade bed is flat with notched sides similar to the toggle and the “red dot” fatboy.

I generally shave with a setting of 7-9 so it is at the more aggressive end of the range. I have used feathers, BICs and super iridiums – all of them work well, no obvious differences. The blade simply clamps in, no last 1/8 turn to set it like a fatboy or slim. The weight of the 195 means that it really works itself, just let it glide down your face at a moderate angle and it leaves a super-smooth finish behind. The balance of the razor is very good in spite appearing to be bottom heavy – the head is also very heavy being made of heavy gauge sheetstock. Hold it near the neck and it is very balanced.

I would rate the objective shaving quality as a 9+, about as good as it gets with a DE razor. Very clean shave but no cliffhanger safe window – you can shave fast and lose concentration and not get cut up the way a slant would. The overall quality of experience, factoring in the history of the razor is also a 9+.



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Ease of Blade Replacement
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