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Gillette Techmatic..taking the plunge

So today I came across a couple of refill cartridges for the Gillette Techmatic for a dollar each. Since I have one of these handles for literally decades and hadn't used it, due to lack of "blades", I bought them. Now, I have heard real horror stories about this razor so, with some trepidation, I loaded a cart set it to 1 click below medium, and gave it a try. I did nothing more than wash my face with warm water and apply a goodly dollop of Gillette Foamy Menthol canned goo for prep and I must say, the shave was excellent. The blade was extremely smooth and sharp. With one pass I was just barely shy of having a BBS shave. Slapping on my usual skin bracer revealed no irritation or stinging of any kind. Let me note, I was shaving 2 days growth and I have a medium to heavy, stiff beard. IMHO this razor has gotten a lot of un-earned negative press. Now if only they would make carts for it again. I only have what equates to 20 blades for this razor. But used sparingly I can make them last. If you come across one of these razors with a refill, by all means pick it up and give it a shot. As always YMMV.
 

L.A. Jones

Contributor
Ambassador
Don't do it! Soylent Green is people! This is an anomaly. That particular Techmatic should be isolated and studied carefully.
 

ajkel64

Moderator
I used one earlier this year in a Moon Mission challenge with @Ad Astra and @razorboi. I was astounded at the shaves that I was getting. Don't use a brushless cream though. I did for the last shave and it pretty much clogged up the band.
 

Ad Astra

Ambassador
I used one earlier this year in a Moon Mission challenge with @Ad Astra and @razorboi. I was astounded at the shaves that I was getting. Don't use a brushless cream though. I did for the last shave and it pretty much clogged up the band.
This! Advance it once, to pass any oxidized blade section, and enjoy great shaves for a long time!

AA
 
The cartridges were discontinued in the late 70's, early 80's, I believe.
I don't expect Gillette has even the slightest interest in reviving the system and producing cartridges.
However, the cartridges show up from time to time on the secondary market, and if one is patient, deals can be had.

The bands are super-stainless and if stored properly, are still sharp as new to-day.
Cartridges that are found on used razors are unreliable. The exposed band is almost always compromised by long-term exposure to the environment. The unused, interior bands may or may not be any good, depending on the razor's storage history.

Sealed replacement cartridges should be sought out for maximum performance.
If the blister-pack is still intact and sealed, the blades are usually good as new. Sometimes the first (exposed) band may not shave optimally but the remainder should be fine.

If you find a new-old-stock razor that is still sealed, the cartridge should be as good as a sealed replacement cartridge. This adds some value to the NOS razor, because otherwise the handles themselves are virtually worthless. Note: The razors were fitted with short 6-band cartridges when new.

Replacements were available in 5-band, 10-band, 12-band, and even 15-band cartridges, although I've only come across 5 and 10 band types. I believe the 12 and 15 band replacements were non-adjustable only.
The early cartridges (1965-1967) were not adjustable and thus, did not have a dial. The adjustable type came out in 1967. Gillette continued to make the non-adjustable replacement for a while, selling it cheaper than the adjustable, but soon dropped it. The replacement cartridges contained no date codes that I know of, but the last to be made did have a bar-code on the packaging, dating them to the late 1970's at the earliest.

Nevertheless, sealed cartridges of any era should good.
Take note of the number of bands when evaluating an ebay listing. Some sellers will list a 5-band at the same price or higher than a 10-band. They may not even be aware of the difference.

Contrary to myth, the Techmatic was one blade where Gillette did claim a specific longevity, stating that a "band" would provide a week's worth of shaves. I've found that claim to be just about right.

Schick introduced a copy-cat razor shortly after Gillette, known as the "Instamatic." The Schick replacement cartridges will work in a Techmatic handle, but not the other way round.

In the 1970's, Gillette got some more mileage out the design by incorporating it into a disposable razor called the "Sure Touch." I would not recommend them to-day as their cheap design did not protect the bands as well.

Don't pay any attention to all the negative rubbish you read about the Techmatic on this and other shaving forums.
It's mostly unfounded rumour and hearsay from persons who have never shaved with one, or they shaved with one back in the day, and their memories have become tainted by all the derision.

The system speaks for itself, provided you find well-preserved blades.
There was nothing wrong with the Techmatic from a design or functionality point of view. It performed beautifully.
The Techmatic's demise was caused by the relatively high price of the replacement cartridges at the time.
 
Gads I feel for it too. I thought what the heck... right.... wrong. I won't make that mistake again. I forgot I didn't like them when they first came out either.
 
I was not a fan. Shave with it daily for a few months and you’ll find out why the popularity faded fast. Soap scum and lather were not friendly to that razor system. Shave quality degraded rapidly with continued use. If the cartridges were easily available and you could use it daily over an extended period you might feel the same way.

It’s a nice piece of history but I would not want it as a daily driver YMMV.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
The Sure Touch razor was fun to shave with on the first edge. When I tried to switch to the next edge, it snapped. Be careful when changing to the next edge.
 
Today was day 5 with the Techmatic. Still no problems, though I think it all has to do with the angle of the shave. Looking closely at the blade, one can see that the razor would not be very forgiving, should one not pay close attention. At any rate, 5 shaves on the first blade and it is still going with no complaints. I guess I just got lucky kind of like those few that can actually wear the Veg and get away with it! :)
 
Brother Boss,

Congratulations on your good experience. It was surprising to me, as over the years I had only heard negativity about the Gillette Techmatic system.
 
Same with me. I even remember shaving with one when they first came out. I never could get a good shave with it.
Maybe it was because I was using the can foam from them with it too.
 
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