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What makes the Gillette FatBoy so great?

JCinPA

The Lather Maestro
I have had one for years, but really have not used it much until I noticed a few guys around here recently singing its praises, when they have purchased one or more modern-manufactured razors in the $100-300 range. All of a suddent they are posting they are gaga over the FatBoy. So I started using it about 5 days ago, and it is wonderful.

I'm a fan of several of the old Gillette classics, though. What is it that makes the FatBoy special, in your mind? I'm curious. I love the balance in the hand, the grippy knurling on the handle, the weight. Curious why some who bought the new stuff got re-excited about the FatBoy.

Thanks!
 
It has a lot going for it but the name coined for it is the best marketing tool in shaving history. There is supposedly a letter from Vincent C. Ziegler, President of the Gillette Safety Razor Company (a division of The Gillette Company), dated February 8, 1960 that specifically calls the Fatboy that name. (from GilletteAdjustable.com)
 
I think what you receive for the price is a very nice razor. More specifically, it is what it feels like in the hand that sets it apart. The shaving performance is fine. I have several razors that shave better, but the razor is a work of art.
 
A Fatboy was my father in law’s daily driver until he passed away. I’m still trying to figure out what happened to it. It would have been a great family heirloom for my son who shaves with a DE razor. I have several Fatboys and really enjoy the shave it provides. To mass produce that quantity of razors of that quality back then or any time for that matter is an amazing engineering and manufacturing accomplishment. Accolades for the marketing too.
 

garyg

B&B membership has its percs
I think it was the razor used for my first shave - so the nostalgia factor is why I picked one up at first when returning to wetshaving. But I still use it regularly, there's one in the ready rack and a slightly brassy one packed in the Dopp for road trips. I've managed to acquire a number of other razors but none that have caused my to forgo my "195". The length, balance and heft are ideal for me and work perfectly with my shave grip.
 

JCinPA

The Lather Maestro
Yeah, I like the FatBoy, too, for some of the same reasons. But I never have (and never will) spend over $200 Samolians on a razor.


SPECIFICALLY

I did not put this in the title of the post. Here's what I want to know--since I've never spent over $100 on a razor in my life, I want to restrict my respondents to those who have.

If you have bought one or more razors well over $100 and come back to find you prefer the FatBoy to the new razor, inquiriing minds want to know why. Well, at least I do. If you prefer the expensive new ones, that great! If you've never bought an expensive new hotness and like the Fatboy, that's great!

I'm talking to you @DaveHStone except he's not searchable, so he may not show up. If someone knows him, please invite him to explain this post.



And not to pick on Dave, I saw one other post where someone ended up saying they liked the FatBoy over their $200+ razor, I'm still looking for that post, will get back here when I find it.
 
The mid-century vibe of the Fatboy, along with the Toggle, Bottom Dial, and Slim, really make them iconic razors Even the cases are wonderful examples of mid-century modern design.

For me, the FB, with its little extra heft has always felt good in hand and delivered fine shaves. The fact that the FB is still in such demand, so many years past its introduction, is a testament to both the quality of the design and the quality of the build. My favorite FB is a user grade example that was a gift from a good friend; the FB was her older brother's razor. It shaves great, and it was my shower shaver for many years.

Clearly, there has been, and will be, many conversations as to which Gillette razors shave the best, and there are many candidates, but IMHO the thing about the FB that makes it so iconic, besides the design and build, is that it allows you to tailor your shave both by adjusting the razor and through blade selection- creating so much that one razor can do.
 
The initial cost of the press mold is very expensive. Even a small bend requires several press molds to complete a sufficiently fine arc; if the intermediate steps are saved, the result will be relatively rough and inaccurate.

Because of the market size of the safety razor and Gillette's huge market share, there are sufficient funds to manufacture this complex mechanically operated razor with a large number of press molds. It is a miracle from an engineering point of view.

Today's shaving market is not enough to support shaving product manufacturers to invest so many press mold.
Therefore, although there are some newly manufactured OTT DEs on the market, they often use cast zamaks in key complex parts-such as base plate/t bar/door... to reduce costs and avoid manufacturing difficulties. Rockwell model T is a good example.

Of course, it cannot be denied that since fatboy manufactures fewer than slim or black beauty, it faces a lot of price hype.
I was lucky to get a complete slim with 1/4 revolution for only $6.
 
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There are many reasons I love mine and bought more for my sons. Design, nostalgia, shave quality, smoothness and reliable adjustment. I love my Slim and my Super 84 is my favorite razor, but if you hold a 195, then hold one of its younger brothers, it just feels like a more solid build.

Unless they are damaged, the adjustment gap is perfect every time by its complex design.

I like to think of them as the classic T-Bird of the razor world.
 
I did not put this in the title of the post. Here's what I want to know--since I've never spent over $100 on a razor in my life, I want to restrict my respondents to those who have.

If you have bought one or more razors well over $100 and come back to find you prefer the FatBoy to the new razor, inquiriing minds want to know why. Well, at least I do. If you prefer the expensive new ones, that great! If you've never bought an expensive new hotness and like the Fatboy, that's great!

When I decided a Wolfman WR2 was too much for my delicate skin, even at a milder spec (1.05), and moved it on, I kept the FB for the rare days where I needed similar efficiency (nothing is as efficient as a Wolfman, but a FB dialed up is pretty close).

I also have a Tatara Masamune, over $200 (for me....CAD), which has taken over from both the Wolfman and the FB. Quite mild, but surprisingly efficient.

So....I guess 1/2 of FB ultimately winning out over expensive razors.
 
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