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23 different British Gillette Aristocrat sets - a partial historic overview and my collector’s journey (pics galore)

Thank you so much Black-Tie for those kind words [emoji120][emoji120][emoji120]

I built the thread to give back to all you gentlemen in this kind community. I have had incredible help and support along the way also from much more knowledgable members who have gone out of their way to share their deep insights on these fabulous razors.

I am very curious to know which Aristocrat you have, and a picture would be much welcomed :D

It’s a #66 set. The razor is beautiful, in mint condition, unfortunately the case isn’t.
I looked on the regular bays, unfortunately I couldn’t find a replacement.

I hope one day I’ll be able to pair it with a case as beautiful as the razor.


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How can one tell if a 4th generation is nickel or rhodium plated? I've recently aquired one in ''almost'' prestine used condition and I think it's nickel plated, but I can't say for sure. I've heard that the nickel plated ones have the Brit.Pat. 694093, while the rhodium plated ones have Nos.Pat. 694093.

Hannah's Dad

I Can See Better Than Bigfoot.
How can one tell if a 4th generation is nickel or rhodium plated? I've recently aquired one in ''almost'' prestine used condition and I think it's nickel plated, but I can't say for sure. I've heard that the nickel plated ones have the Brit.Pat. 694093, while the rhodium plated ones have Nos.Pat. 694093.
Hit the doors with a little polish; if it turns the rag black, it‘s nickel. If not, it’s rhodium. That said, the doors of the 4th Gen Crats were never Rhodium (only handles).
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Thanks all,

@Medivh: Nope, this is a 2nd gen Aristocrat dated 1948 according to mr-razor. Could be a #15 set as far as I can see the case beside it.

Here's a better photo. I think I regret buying this one, because according to the information that I have now, this model is using the US TTO mechanism, which isn't as good as the British one and also most people consider this razor to be not as smoot and harsh compared to the other models. I still have to shave with it before I make up my mind though.

Finally found one...now I just need a box from this li'l imposter.

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Finally! - I was wondering when this would turn up here. Sincere congrats David - I suspect you will find that it shaves just like a ”true” 4th gen Aristocrat. Supercool that you got that name tag too.

O.k. Now we need to wait for that 3rd specimen to appear to increase the membership of AOSOC (Aida Open Style Owners Club) :punk:
Gentlemen, thank you so much for appreciating this - warms my heart!

I am smitten with this Gillette model line as it represents such an amazing level of craftsmanship and design. Imagine the care and workman’s pride which back then went into producing something as menial as a razor.
Thanks for posting all the pics and details. It was a very pleasant Sunday morning read 🙂
Fantastic find! I assume it's a copycat of British Aristocrat Gen 4?
Indeed. I was keen on finding a British Gillette solid guard Aristocrat.
However, when Peter posted this "imposter" it was on my radar.
I found one at a Japanese auction NOS for a very reasonable price. For
some reason this razor does not appear to come with a case which is
unusual since most other Aida's from this area came equipped with a
blue vinyl case.

Gillette Aristocrat 4th generation sets

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1950s Gillette Aristocrat 4th generation #66 set, rhodium
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Matched razor and case acquired as-is in Sweden. The almost correct British made blade dispenser I happened upon in the UK. Great condition set. To me the 4th generation Aristocrat is the smoothest and most preferred daily shaver of the bunch. For me the absolute ideal everyday driver, perfect level of blade feel (= borderline none), perfect efficiency, perfect balance, perfect everything.

1950s Gillette Aristocrat 4th generation Deluxe set, “gold #66”
Full set acquired as-is from a seller in the UK. Not necessarily a matched set as mr-razFull set acquired as-is from a seller in the UK. Not necessarily a matched set as mr-razor shows the Deluxe set with another case and only shows this case with a gold Flare Tip Rocket. However the case and razor is same time period and matched as regards the gold look, and the set even came supplied with the designated special golden blade dispenser cover.

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So it could be original but it could also simply have been put together by the original owner, in this case a quite plausible explanation: Because this full set originates from my seller’s grandad who worked a lifetime as a plating manager at the Gillette works (pictured above) in Isleworth, Brentford, Middlesex! A wonderful backstory to add to this razor.

1950s Gillette Aristocrat 4th generation #66 set, aluminum version (one-off version)
This razor also came to me from the family of the former Gillette plating manager in the UK. It is very interesting as it comes with a TTO knob sporting the same width as the handle, exactly like a Rocket Parat to an ordinary Rocket. Never seen before, as far as I have been able to tell. Either a one-off made specifically for the original owner at the plant, or more likely simply a production mishap that the guy caught in Quality Control before it left the factory?

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It seems the #58 alu Rocket has the same handle-knob width so maybe a raw #58 knob was tossed in the Aristocrat heap before the barberpole knurling was machined out? - Or maybe plant management quietly accepted that the production line folks sometimes used the machinery for privat purposes; I know this to have been often the case at factories here in Denmark back in the day.

The case I acquired cheap in Spain off of a mismatched set with a Rocket Monobloc. For fun I am calling this a ‘potentially matched’ set using primitive Northstonehill logics as one could assume the two #66 versions could at some point have been offered with the same case? Mr-razor though only has the aluminum version razor paired with another style case, so others I am sure can pitch opinions in here.

1950s Gillette Aristocrat 4th generation nickel (#70)
In 1958 the British Gillette organization introduced one last numbered set into their by then 30+ year old Aristocrat line. They simply took the rhodium plated 4th generation razor sold at the time in the #66 set, nickel plated it and presented it in a new case. For the latter they used the same ground model as the #66 case but gave it new colors outside and in along with a new logo on the inside top of the lid. But the most remarkable design addition was the outside top of the case where a beautiful silver colored fleur-de-lis type pattern was added. Quite unique and never seen again.

The #70 set, and the case especially, has turned out nowadays to be pretty hard to come by, as it was only offered for a couple of years whereas the #66 set was sold at least from 1953 to the end of the decade.

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My #70 razor was the first British Aristocrat I ever got and I love it to bits. I use it at least once a week as it is my absolute favourite shaver of the 100+ razors I’ve tried, only matched by the Gillette Hybrid Tech. Perfect weight, perfect handle length, perfect balance and very mild, almost no blade feel and incredibly smooth with a sharp Feather blade. The model design is basically identical to the #58 and even the Rocket HD, but of course with the added detail of the gorgeous barberpole handle pattern.

Since getting the razor I have been searching high and low for a case for it, but I only succeeded a couple of months ago where a fine condition specimen surfaced on the bay, sold out of Minnesota. Only downside to it is that the top is slightly damaged, whereas it is otherwise in solid condition and presents very well.

The impostor!

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Couldn’t help but include this, just for kicks. The AIDA Open Style Razor is a fascinating Aristocrat 4th generation clone. Made in Japan alledgedly in the early 1960s, material is nickel plated brass. Engraved back baseplate ‘Aida’, ‘Made in Japan’, and ‘Open style’ as well as engraved bottom of TTO knob with ‘Open’ and an arrow to show the direction to twist.

The visual similarities to a 4th generation Aristocrat are stunning. Even in hand and during the shave this razor feels exactly like it’s Gillette ‘twin’, the weight is the same, 72 grams vs 73 grams for the Aristocrat. It is built like a tank and delivers a perfectly smooth shave identical to the 4th generation Crat, supersmooth and efficient.


Well, gentlemen, thanks for reading this longwinded tale. I hope you enjoyed looking through these family portraits and reading about their origins and history. I’ve had immense fun assembling them all, and not least with all my interactions with kind sellers, Aristocrat aficionados and kind collectors here.

As said, comments and corrections most welcome.

Happy shaves, all!

See also my separate thread on another gorgeous and fascinating vintage British Gillette model line – the 1930s Gillette Populars which were close cousins to the 1st generation Aristocrats.
I got this years ago from the UK from the estate of a WWII vet. Grandson told me it was a retirement gift that his grand father never used (plus other stuff they found). It was only missing the blade dispenser. I only had a 10 ct to put in case.
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