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Omega Brushes - Anyone Else Noticing a Drop in Quality?

My first post on B&B in over a decade, but I figured this was the place to ask this question due to the high proportions of brush-aholics here!

This morning I took delivery of a couple of new Pro 49 brushes. It takes me back - my first ever brush was a 49! However, on unpacking them I noticed a few things:

- The bristles are yellower than my current 10083 brush (ostensibly the same knot in a chrome handle)
- The knot seems significantly less dense than my current brush

...the thing is, that this isn't the first time I have had this experience recently. A couple of months back I began to break in a new 10065 to replace an older one that had started to show a bit of wear and tear. Again, the new brush had much yellower bristles and seemed considerably less dense. At first I thought it was simply because the older brush was fully broken in, but after a few months of exclusive use of the new brush it became apparent that there are simply significantly fewer hairs in the knot compared to the old brush - in fact, when both brushes were well broken in, the older knot had almost double the circumference at the business end simply due to the density of hairs.

I recently also saw a post on a Reddit shaving sub where a newbie thought that their new Omega might be faulty - they posted a picture and it was obvious that the knot density was a joke - people advised them to return the brush. I wouldn't say my new brushes are that bad, but compared to the older brushes it's not a great look.

My new red 49 is currently doing it's first wet / dry cycle, as I usually do two or three before the first use. It's already showing some split ends, but it makes me even more certain that there is a definite difference in knot density between the new and old brush.

Pics to follow when I have time if anyone is interested (alas I no longer have the old 10065, which would have made the difference between new and old obvious to anyone). Omegas have always been great value brushes, but I am wondering if the house of Il Famoso Pennello has been doing a bit of "value-engineering" in recent years to try and offset increasing production costs. I am interested to know if anyone else has noticed a drop off in knot density / quality when comparing current Omegas to brushes of say 5 or more years ago...or maybe I am just a crank and it's all in my head!
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Here are some pics to illustrate my point - the new brush (red) is pretty much dry now except for some dampness in the base of the knot. Surprisingly, I would say the tips are about 70% split after just one cycle, including some 3 and 4 way splits. The 83 is more split, although it took many more uses to get there. The difference here isn't as stark as it was with the new and old 10065s, but the top view should illustrate the trend (?) I am talking about:

(red is on the right here).

Hopefully you can all see what I am getting at. You might expect that after more uses, the brush on the right will catch up with the one on the left, but my experience with the 10065s suggests that ain't gonna happen - the difference between the two will remain as shown here.
I don't think you are the only person to notice this. Here is a link to the Omega Jade thread where this is discussed.

Interesting - so it could be something across the whole range, from the premium Jade down to the everyday workhorses. If it is a trend then it's a shame. I am not exactly rolling in disposable income at the moment and I would rather have spent a bit more on a couple of Zeniths instead of ending up with "spares" of brushes that aren't as good as the ones I was hoping to duplicate.

Of course, they will still make lather, but probably won't be as pleasurable to use (certainly, my newest 10065 is merely functional, rather than being a great little brush like the older one) and it's disappointing when you don't receive the quality you were expecting.
my most recent omega boar brush.
bristles, handle really nice.
only complaint, the label has peeled off!
That one certainly looks like a denser knot than the ones I have received in the past 6 months or so - it looks more like my older 10083. I wonder if you got lucky and picked up some older stock.

I always peel off the labels straight away - they come off sooner or later anyway!
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That one certainly looks like a denser knot than the ones I have received in the past 6 months or so - it looks more like my older 10083. I wonder if you got lucky and picked up some older stock.

I always peel off the labels straight away - they come off sooner or later anyway!

Mine arrived couple years ago
Cannot imagine any big change in quality over that time.
Thank you. It's hard to judge without seeing an older one next to it, although I reckon that looks denser than the one I have been breaking in. Either way, I think if you are happy with it then it doesn't matter whether it is the same as the brushes of a few years ago.

To set my mind at rest (or prove that I am a brush-obsessed lunatic) I have written to Omega to ask them if there have been any deliberate changes. I am absolutely convinced that there are objective differences between my new and old 10065 and Pro 49 models, but perhaps I am just unlucky. That said, it seems like folks have seen differences in the Omega Jade too, plus there's that example I saw online of a new brush with so few hairs in it that it should never have made it out of the factory.

I will see what they say and post any response I get here, along with my original message.
I just remembered something. When I received my Pro 49 6 months ago it smelled horribly of stinky pig. I soaked it and and lathered it and rinsed it and beat it on a towel and then turned right around and lathered it up again and beat in on a towel again :) It did that a lot for about 2 weeks before the stink left. It got softer and fluffier over those two weeks of repeated towel beatings.


Mr. Obvious
This is an omega 10019 I believe. I bought it several years ago and never used it until now. I’m traveling and have used it 24 days in a row now. It’s breaking in nicely, but still has plenty of backbone and scruff. EB56FC15-3173-469D-9440-87C18B861BBD.jpeg920CE15C-2A32-4D01-8A8C-FCE907BCCDD6.jpeg
That looks nice and dense for a little brush. If this ends up turning into a "show your Omegas" thread then that's fine by me! I have had an initial response from a very helpful chap at Omega and just waiting for him to respond to my follow up message, probably tomorrow as they are a few hours ahead and will have quit for the day, then I will post the answer here (spoiler: it's good news).
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Mr. Obvious
My intent was to say that as of a few years ago Omega was still producing brushes with quality knots. Even in the cheap brushes. This was also the first time I ever kept track of how many shaves I put on a brush. In hind sight I should have provided before and after photos.


I shaved a fortune
I bought the Jade Premium Omega Boar because several people here said it was their favorite boar, period. I have been thinking about giving mine away.... but I don't want to pass on an inferior brush. I can only say.. I've been very disappointed with it.

On the other hand, I have 4 Zenith boar brushes. .and one of their Manchurian badger brushes... all 5 of them are excellent.. with very dense knots. At this point, Zenith is the only non-expensive brand of brush I'll buy.
Agree - I have a Zenith B03-A26 (where do the brush makers get these catchy names?) that is incredibly dense compared to any Omega. It's a completely different animal - almost too dense! But I do have a soft spot for Omegas and I really like the better examples I have had that gave me just the right amount of scrub and backbone, but still not too dense to provide good flow-through.
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Imho when we talk of certain shaving stuffs we shouldn't forget how much they cost in their respective countries of origin. I'm Italian and at the supermarket an Omega Proraso costs me 3€ . How could I criticize a 3€ brush even if I noticed a drop in quality? sometimes we also buy brushes stock that are badly preserved etc...
Same about the soaps . Proraso green it cost something about 2,50/3€ and 7/8€ the aftershave .
If I compare in my country they are cheapest of cheapest .
If you compare in yours they are on another price level but quality is the same .
at the supermarket an Omega Proraso costs me 3€.

That's crazy! About £2.50 for a great brush...I think if I lived in Italy I would have an eBay hobby business selling Italian wetshaving products online!

I don't disagree with anything you have said - I just wanted to know if what I saw with my brushes was something other people were noticing too, or if I my experience is an anomaly. Omega is such a beloved brand for wetshavers (including me) mostly because the brushes have always been such great value. I would hate to see it lose the affection we all have for it by turning out brushes that, instead of being good value, were simply cheap.

I still haven't heard back but of course I forgot that it is Saturday today, so I probably won't hear from them again until Monday.


three-tu-tu, three-tu-tu
This is distressing to read. I have an Omega boar brush that had a funk to it that would gag a goat. it was a magnificent olfactory assault that lasted many weeks, despite all my attempts to wash or mask it into oblivion. I do hope they haven't lost their desire/ability to manufacture the funk.
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