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Merkur Progress first impressions

I have been considering a Progress purchase for many many years. Every time I have been eyeing it, I told myself "Stop it, too many razors, too many razors!". Well, finally I did it (or, better to say, my RAD did it? :lol: ). Boy, what have I been missing! I have been DE shaving for decades and tried so many different razors, but I have to admit, this one is the BMW of razors.

It does look better than on pictures. When you hold it in your hand, it just exudes style. Contrary to many users' dislike of the plastic knob I love it. It is indeed like the interior on 50s German cars. And I have always preferred short razors.

With sharper blades on 3 it gives a nice BBS. Not a single nick. And I wouldn't go beyond 3 with them. Still haven't tried it with medium or low sharpness blades, but I think I would go to 5 with them, as I like high aggressiveness. Someone here on this board said it should be called Lawnmower, not Progress. I do agree. That's exactly my type of razor, as I have very tough whiskers.

The Progress has been around for 65 years. Now I understand why.

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Glad to hear that you've found a razor you love. I used a Progress daily for a few years, and it is still the adjustable razor that beat out all of the other adjustables I have tried. But I found I never changed the setting and prefer "sleeker" razors with thinner heads (none of which are adjustable of course, but I came to the conclusion that I just didn't need an adjustable razor). And I agree with you about the plastic knob; I always thought it was a plus.
 
It was my first DE razor in 2004. I still use it for head shaves while at home, and as my travel razor for both head and face shaves. I too mostly leave it at one setting, around 4, but occasionally dial it down or up depending on blade sharpness.
 
The interesting thing is I saw photos of the original 50s Progress and the knob is not yellowish at all, it is almost pure white.
 
It does look better than on pictures. When you hold it in your hand, it just exudes style. Contrary to many users' dislike of the plastic knob I love it. It is indeed like the interior on 50s German cars. And I have always preferred short razors.
It is a great razor and that knob dates back to a great era. I cannot understand the bad comments that knob attracts from some. The handle length I find perfect; the long handle would be unwieldy.
The only modification I am thinking of is highlighting the numbers in red; I think the earlier ones were highlighted in red. I got some red fly head varnish somewhere so will dig it out and use it.
 
Yep, the 50s model had red numbers, they stopped painting them somewehere around the 70s, I think.
 
I love my Progress!
I have 2 long handle and 1 short handle.
I love the retro plastic knob on it, I'd never change it for a metal one.
 
Great review!!

The Progress is definitely a ‘classic’ with (to me) a very Art Deco appearance!! :a29:
 
+1 for the plastic knob, very stylish. I really don't understand the expensive "Mergress" thing with it's high price and aftermarket metal knob. It seems like it would make the razor a good bit heavier too. I think the color adds something, like the 50's German car mentioned above. It definitely adds some mid century style to it.

Like other Merkur razors, I've seen the Progress vary widely in terms of price. I've seen the 34c for about $45-$50 and I've seen it for $25-$26 too. I wanna say I've seen the Progress vary from $56 to almost $90! I wonder what's up with that?

I'm glad to hear it shaves really well. Merkurs all seem to have great safety bar designs. I think they're a lot more forgiving than even vintage Gillettes (with the exception of the Tech). Even the Merkur 45 has a huge safety bar, and it needs it because that thing is a BEAST!!! You better have some wild jungle stubble or it's gonna take half your face along with the hair!
 
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I just found a Progress on eBay for $40 and snatched it up! I'm looking forward to seeing if it's better for my face and technique than the Gillettes I've been using for more than a year. I get good shaves with Vintage Gillettes but I keep getting razor burn near the same places. My 42c doesn't do that to me in quite the same way. I'm curious to see what happens when I really dial it in with the Progress.
 
The Merkur Progress was my "upgrade" razor from a R89/Weber Bulldog which had been a daily driver ever since I began DE shaving a few years ago. There is a reason why it has been around for so long; it is a reliable shaver. While I did not mind the plastic knob, I decided to have it converted to a Mergress a few months ago. I know find that I like it even more!
 
I just found a Progress on eBay for $40 and snatched it up! I'm looking forward to seeing if it's better for my face and technique than the Gillettes I've been using for more than a year. I get good shaves with Vintage Gillettes but I keep getting razor burn near the same places. My 42c doesn't do that to me in quite the same way. I'm curious to see what happens when I really dial it in with the Progress.
Just don't start with the higher settings. With very sharp blades even on 3 it is quite aggressive. I would suggest starting at 2.
 
I really like my Merkur Progress. The only issue I have is that the numbers are difficult to see without looking up close each time. Anyone have an idea about how to color them in?
A bamboo toothpick dipped in Nail varnish does it for me but you might want to take it real easy, use pretty sharp point and keep the nail varnish thin. Requires several coats because of thinner varnish .
 
Just don't start with the higher settings. With very sharp blades even on 3 it is quite aggressive. I would suggest starting at 2.
I was planning on starting at level 1. I shave every day and use mild razors with sharper blades. My goal with the Progess was to see if I could do the in-between, say a 1.25 or 1.5 to really get specific mildness. It can do that, right?
 
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