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A difference between old and new Rex Ambassador

I have two Ambassadors. One is 2017 (M4) and the other is 2020 (P3).
I've noticed an interesting difference in the baseplates - the older is narrower (on the right). I still haven't shaved with the new one so I can't tell if there is a difference.
Just writing this post for general knowledge of the folks here.

Ambassador.JPG
 
Something different The year quarter stamp might make a N1-4 2018 model interesting for that member who is looking for a birth year razor for his kid.
 
If I remember correctly the early model suffered from the baseplate bending, so the thicker base was developed.
The centre 'bush' of the base also got fatter/longer, and better threads too.
There is a link 'somewhere' about the changes so I will see if I can find it.
OK, full description follows below...(I copied and pasted from another site...hope that's allowed?).
 
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Razor Emporium...

So I wanted to update you guys about some of the changes to the Ambassador.

For those who don't know the timeline:

  • We announced the Ambassador at Big Shave West in April, 2017
  • We released ~150 pre-order razors in September of 2017 (M3). Of those, about 25 units came back to us for 3 key issues (finish, adjustment dial not working properly, guard canting) We paid shipping both ways and addressed all issues to the customers' satisfaction.
  • We then sold another ~100 razors with the M3 date code. These all had the new brushed finish. Of these, only a handful came back with any issues. Again, we paid shipping both ways and made sure the customer was satisfied with the outcome.
  • In the Fall of 2017, we produced around 200 razors with the M4 date code. Of these released, less than 5 came back to us with issues (namely canting) Again, we paid shipping both ways and made sure the customer was satisfied with the outcome.
  • For 2018, we have so far released almost 300 of the N1 razors as of this week. So far we have seen 0 come back for canting / dial moving issues. Only 3 for dial seized (a result of thread lock liquid migrating from handle to just under dial. In all 3 cases I was able to solve it with warm water alone. We are contemplating dropping the use of thread lock all together but that's a story for another day...)



CHANGES & IMPROVEMENTS
We started changing some of the geometry of the components in an effort to optimize manufacturing and produce "cleaner" and easier parts to produce.

The razor cap was the first part to change. We are milling these parts out of solid stainless steel billet. By going from a curved part inside to an angled piece, the part required about 1/3 of the machining time. Plus it looks cleaner. Here you can see the original LEFT and Current RIGHT:

[Image: rex-caps-compared.jpg?t=1523417667&_ga=2...1522988028]


The next part to change was the guard. Originally with the M3, we were trying to mimic the look of the Gibbs with the square lather holes with internal bevel. However Gibbs were cast in Zinc whereas we are trying to mill stainless. This internal bevel required us to use the most expensive machine in the shop - 5 axis mill (every machine in a shop has a $ value that it has to "charge" every minute it is working in order to pay for itself / operator / profit). By changing the holes with M4 / N1 to more closely resemble a Gillette, we were able to not only produce a cleaner part, but use a standard 3 axis mill instead. Here you can see the original guard versus the new guard.

[Image: rex-guard-compared.jpg?t=1523418924&_ga=...1522988028]


The guard was also made thicker. This was to combat deflection / bending that was occurring during manufacturing. Here you can see two unfinished samples compared (sorry for poor quality this was shot with my cell today)

[Image: rex-guard-thicker.jpg?t=1523419456&_ga=2...1522988028]


We also changed the "blade tray" as I call it (the part that the blade sits on / stays stationary as the guard raises and drops during adjustment). Again, the first iteration was more or less a direct copy of the Gibbs. When we updated the cap, we wanted the same 20 degree bevel (made by a custom 20 degree end mill bit) to match up with the blade tray to provide a really solid blade lock (even though we already had that) but really to cut down on machining time and make a cleaner look. We also gave it's end caps / "ears" a rounded look - easier to machine as compared to squared off ears from the first model. Here are the two parts compared:

[Image: rex-blade-tray-compared2.jpg?t=152342081...1522988028]


It's very important to note that the PRIMARY reason for the above changes were due to improving how we MACHINED the parts. Ask any machinist - simple geometry is easier to make than complex geometry. I do feel that the razor overall looks nicer now, however it only went up 6 grams in weight and it was my goal to shave with many prototypes of all of these changes to make sure it shaved as similar as the original 0001M3 as possible. I think the M3 and N1 shave very similarly overall.

We did have 1 change made that was in direct response to customer feedback. That was the internal threading that I call the "neck" - it connects to the above blade tray and is what the spring rides on, nut travels on, and is what attaches the handle to the head.

We made 2 changes to this part that solved the two MAJOR issues we heard from customers:
  • We added more of a shoulder to this part. This added spring compression, ergo making the dial harder to turn i.e. less likely to "move" on accident as a FEW customers said.
  • We decreased the number of threads on it and fattened it up SLIGHTLY so that as it travels through the guard, there is more metal to metal contact - eliminating the "canting" or uneven blade gap as the guard travels up and down.
Here you can see the original Left and Current Right:

[Image: rex-neck.jpg?t=1523421346&_ga=2.20872788...1522988028]


FINAL THOUGHTS

When I decided to take on making the first American adjustable since Gillette, I knew it was going to be an audacious goal. First, I had never made a razor before and second, it was a complicated piece of machinery at 8 pieces and 2 springs. The amount of variables present here is exponentially greater than a 3 piece razor. However I wanted to make a splash in the industry and do something that hadn't been done.

I'm very happy to hear so many customers are loving their Ambassador razor - it really makes all the work worth it. We did lots of experimentation before ever releasing a razor, had many prototypes and "test shavers" use them - but there's nothing like making a few hundred of something and hearing from your customers on what they think. Even Gillette produced many versions of the Toggle and Fatboy as they were perfecting their adjustable design - those early models today are collector's items. Their market research is precisely why they abandoned the bottom adjustment dial and made the toggle lever bigger.

I'm proud of every razor we put out - any customer concern we take seriously and I work on every Ambassador personally to make sure it will be met with satisfaction. We have a lot more in store for Rex this year (website, straight razor, strops, leather cases, safety razors, soaps, brushes....) and the Ambassador is just the beginning. We are thrilled that it is now being carried at several popular online + brick & mortar stores around the country and world.

We are hoping that it continues to have success and even aim to (hopefully) bring it's cost down slightly (I'd love $199!) due to all these manufacturing process changes that have made it more efficient to produce. I want Rex to be high end, yes, but obtainable.

I'm here to answer any other questions on the Ambassador or anything else.

Thanks for making it this far into my epic post.

Regards,

Matt
 
I would like one, but have read that most folks stay around the 2 or 3 setting as after that the razor is too aggressive.
Not much use having a dial that goes to 9 (?) and you effectively can't use the last 2/3rds of the settings.
Looked at the Taiga because of this, but would prefer the Rex if they sort out the dial settings better.
 
I was just talking about this. Matt mentioned on his RE video where he reviewed the Janus that the M4 Ambassadors were more aggressive because he listened to feedback. He didn't like them that way, so they went back to a head geometry closer to the original.

I've been thinking about asking Matt if he has an M4 in the shop I could swing by and borrow to do a comparison with. I actually with my P2 was a bit more efficient.
 
Setting 2-3? - I used mine on 6 yesterday for a WTG, before dialing it back to 4 for the ATG pass, after watching Geo-Fatboy use it, citing he went 6 WTG, 3 XTG, and then 1-2 ATG for a smooth finish.

Of course today, I went back to 4 for all passes, and would you believe nicely cut/nicked above the mouth going WTG! - I usually go ATG first, then a WTG finish, which yields a nice BBS shave. Also changed to a Wilkinson Sword blade, which seems to account for 90% of any nicks or weepers I've ever given myself. Load a KAI, Pol-Silver, Rapira Plat Lux, Nacet, Voskhod, Astra SP, and nothing, just a great shave, so go figure. I should probably just trade them on BST, given I have at least 15 cards/packs of them.

On 4+, the newer model (2020 4th Qtr in my case) is more efficient than a Timeless 95 OC, and right up there with my Chinese R41 Clone, but smoother, and easier to wield around.
 
I was just talking about this. Matt mentioned on his RE video where he reviewed the Janus that the M4 Ambassadors were more aggressive because he listened to feedback. He didn't like them that way, so they went back to a head geometry closer to the original.

I've been thinking about asking Matt if he has an M4 in the shop I could swing by and borrow to do a comparison with. I actually with my P2 was a bit more efficient.
@Iron Paw

Is there a difference in aggressiveness between the earlier and the later models? Thank you.
See the post I quoted above. It's not an earlier / later model issue. Matt confirmed that the M4 is the one date code that they made with a slightly more aggressive geometry.
 
20210112_025428.jpg 20210112_025428.jpg
I got my new Ambassador yesterday. A 2020 Q4. My serial number isn't on the Rex site yet, lol. I want to give it a weeks worth of shaves before giving it a full review. So far, based on my fitst shave with it, this will end up as my daily razor. I did a 2 and a half pass shave (I give an across the grain pass in a small patch right under my chin) and with a setting of 3 for the entire shave and a Balzano blade, I got the best shave, with the least amount of passes that I can remember. This thread is a facinating one to me, as I've always been interested in the differences in the early Gillettes, so seeing the changes made to this razor in its still very young existence is interesting.
 
View attachment 1207515 View attachment 1207515
I got my new Ambassador yesterday. A 2020 Q4. My serial number isn't on the Rex site yet, lol. I want to give it a weeks worth of shaves before giving it a full review. So far, based on my fitst shave with it, this will end up as my daily razor. I did a 2 and a half pass shave (I give an across the grain pass in a small patch right under my chin) and with a setting of 3 for the entire shave and a Balzano blade, I got the best shave, with the least amount of passes that I can remember. This thread is a facinating one to me, as I've always been interested in the differences in the early Gillettes, so seeing the changes made to this razor in its still very young existence is interesting.
Intriguing! My experience was very close- received my P4 yesterday, and started at 3.5, using a Voskhod. I have never had the experience of a "RAD killer," but in all honesty, I looked at my numerous razors last night and realized I simply have little interest in putting up with many of the individual faults & foibles in search of a good shave.

Now, 12 hours after shaving, I have light stubble under my chin (where I usually note regrowth first) but much less than with anything other than my Funken or Kirby. The RX is close, but takes much greater care to finish without knicks & weepers.

We have a winner. Fit & finish are excellent!!
 
I would like one, but have read that most folks stay around the 2 or 3 setting as after that the razor is too aggressive.
Not much use having a dial that goes to 9 (?) and you effectively can't use the last 2/3rds of the settings.
Looked at the Taiga because of this, but would prefer the Rex if they sort out the dial settings better.
I really can't see aggression at the lower settings being much of an issue, with the 2020 make. Running at 3.5 felt about the same as a Fatboy at 6, but more efficient.

I started at 3-ish because of the horror stories, but I'll probably try tonight or tomorrow wide open.
 
Intriguing! My experience was very close- received my P4 yesterday, and started at 3.5, using a Voskhod. I have never had the experience of a "RAD killer," but in all honesty, I looked at my numerous razors last night and realized I simply have little interest in putting up with many of the individual faults & foibles in search of a good shave.

Now, 12 hours after shaving, I have light stubble under my chin (where I usually note regrowth first) but much less than with anything other than my Funken or Kirby. The RX is close, but takes much greater care to finish without knicks & weepers.

We have a winner. Fit & finish are excellent!!
It really is a fantastic razor. My RAD disappeared years ago. Until the Ambassador, I haven't bought a razor in about 5 or 6 years. I decided to look into stainless steel razors and when I saw the Ambassador, and read the reviews, I made the purchase. My razor has none of the issues that some have reported. It's a superbly crafted razor, and based on the 2 shaves so far with it, I see no practical reason to look for another razor, lol.
 
I ran my Ambassador up to 6.5 this evening. Long story short- incredible on the cheeks, but not as efficient XTG on the neck, simply because of the amount of blade. This can be a pretty aggressive weapon.

Comparators: Asylm RX, Tradere OC (original, first run), and Le Coq cage-comb.

The Ambassador loses nothing on the wide open, as compared to the 3.5 setting. Exfoliating effect may be higher, but I'll know tomorrow, mid-morning. It is more forgiving than the Tradere, which can bite if you aren't mindful of you angle. I would say that it is very comparable to the RX on the cheeks, as the RX has width and blade-stops. The Le Coq is very similar, with a somewhat subjectively rougher shave, which I believe relates to a bit less blade support than its newer cousins, blades of its era being thicker and more rigid.

On the neck, WTG and ATG were on par with the others. XTG was more problematic, as the hollows of my neck invited blade contact that was not controlled by cap or bar. The RX actually does much better, as its thicker more rigid blade lends itself well to cutting at a slant, while all of the DEs are more prone to nicks & weepers with their less tolerant blades. Overall, my neck was no better, but certainly no worse, than with the Tradere or Le Coq. The RX does better, but is irritating if I go for BBS, so my neck really just doesn't like the extra attention.

Last night, at 3.5 setting, it rated about a 9 on satisfaction, between comfort, close to BBS, and overall efficiency. Tonight was 6-7. Lots of blade, which I like, but it left me a touch raw. I can certainly learn to run it wide open, but the quality of shave at the lower setting makes it more academic than anything.

I'm really liking this razor.

If you like aggressive, it definitely runs with the big boys. Mid-range, albeit with only 2 shaves in, I would say it will stay alongside the Fatboy, Slim, Game Changer, etc.. I'll try 1 tomorrow. If its just a shade more edgy than a Tech, I'll be in Heaven!:biggrin1:
 
My shaves continue to be outstanding with this razor, truly outstanding. However, I noticed something that I hadn't before. What is this line going across the cap? I hadn't noticed it until today. It doesn't seem to be a scratch as it feels completely smooth. Strange. 20210114_175801-1.jpg View attachment 1208649
 

Attachments

Upon closer inspection, and using my fingernail lightly across the surface, it appears to be a scratch. Weird, I didn't see it before today, and I haven't dropped the razor or anything... sigh. Thankfully, whatever it is, it has no effect on the shave. Today I used it with a Gillette 7 O Clock at setting 3 for all of my 2 and a half passes. Terrific shave. Tomorrow I'm going to start experimenting with different settings.
Back to the original topic. Maybe i missed it, but when was the last time any changes were made to this razor?
 
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