When comparing a coticule edge to a DE blade, that's an apples and asteroids issue. Me, personally, I am not all that impressed with Feather blades so to me they're not a magical benchmark to judge edges by. I think they're harsh as hell and prone to dying fast; I don't get better shaves from them. They tend to tug on whiskers above my lip by the corners of my mouth - my straights never do. FWIW - close shaves are reliant upon honing skills AND shaving skills. The best edge in the world isn't going to make magic on anyone's face unless they know how to: prep right, lather correctly, be proficient with the straight. How much skill is needed to get 'there' ? Well, whatever it takes, is what it takes. Everyone is different. I suppose that, for a number of reasons, some people never get there. But I think the majority of people that put in the effort do though. How long that takes is up to the user, there's no way to quantify or qualify this. Honestly though, once people start shaving well with the edges they are making on Coticules, or whatever stone, a certain type of maturity begins to evolve; they stop worrying about what other people think about Feather blades and they begin to appreciate other factors that affect the shave in different ways.