Fatboy’s, Slim’s, and Black Beauty’s. Love them or hate them, it’s tough to argue the popularity of Gillette’s highly sought after adjustable razors. read my thoughts on all three of these vintage double edge razors……
Aside from the very Rare Gillette Toggle(1957), the Gillette Fatboy was the first of Gillette’s Adjustables to be readily available to the public in 1958. It was also called the ‘195’ as that was its retail price from what I have heard. they are not $1.95 anymore. There has been a variations of the Fatboy called the Bottom dial Fatboy which placed the adjustmant mechanism on the bottom of the handle rather than up near the head. this razor is possibly the rarest of all the Gillette adjustables.
The Fatboy in my estimation is the most popular of the three common adjustables released by Gillette. Its thicker handle and cross hatched knurling make it very aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Despite its looks and popularity Gillette ceased production of it in 1961. It is a workhorse of a razor and has really stood the test of time.
Although the head designs of the three razors is similar I find the Fatboy to be my least favorite. A little to thick and it just doesn’t perform as well as all the hype would have lead me to believe. Even set to its most aggressive setting of 9 this razor is not considered to be very aggressive. For me there are far better razors out there. With the Fatboy you are paying a hefty price for the hype. luckily all the ones I have purchased were found at garage sales and antique stores ranging from $2-$10. however I have traded and sold all but the one pictured.
Shavability/Performance = 6
Appearance = 7.5
Cost = 3…….just not worth the inflated prices
I would give the razor a 6.5 out of 10
The second of the three razors released was the Gillette Slim. The slim was released in 1961 and is the slimmer cousin of the Fatboy. The main difference being a thinner handle and different knurling as well as a slightly lower profile head. This razor is often sold on eBay as a Fatboy when in fact they are two totally different razors…so be aware when hunting the auction sites. The slim ceased production in 1968.
The best part of this razor is that it can be had at a fraction of the price of the Fatboy and it shaves just as well if not better.
In my opinion this razor is superior to the Fatboy. the only thing I like more about the Fatboy is the thicker handle. The thinner profile head makes shaving the upper lip far easier and the razor is just more maneuverable in the hand. A nice little shaver for sure. But not one of my top razors. (This razor has actually been sent to a friend who really wanted an adjustable. I cleaned and refurbished it for him and repainted the adjustment numbers!! This is a great looking razor).
Shavability/Performance = 7.5
Appearance = 6.5
Price = 7….this razor can be had for a good price
Overall I give this razor a 7 out of 10
Lastly is my FAVORITE of the Gillette adjustables. The Black Beauty, or Black Handled Super adjustable. This razor was produced from 1968 up until 1988. There is the long-handled version and the regular ‘short’ handled version. This razor remained the same until the late 70’s when Gillette decided to change the base of the head and use a black plastic. This made the razor lighter, but in my opinion ‘cheaper’ as well. the knurling was also slightly modified in the later years as well.
In my opinion the best of the common Gillette adjustables. Esthetically it looks BADASS! And shave wise it is awesome as well(sure probably the same as the slim). This is a razor that was made during my birth year so it holds a special place for me in that way. This particular razor is an R3 which doesn’t correspond with my birth year and is actually a better quality razor than the ones made in the late 70’s and 80’s. This razor is just a joy to use and look at. The same narrow profile head makes it so easy to manoeuvre. The black handle and knurling feel great in the hand as well. Also, this razor is far cheaper than the Fatboy which makes it all that much more appealing.
Shavability/Performance = 8….yeah it should be a 7.5, but in my head it just shaves better
appearance = 9
Cost = 7 – 9……really variable on this razor. I have seen these go for super cheap and also very high
Overall : 8.5 Yes I am a bit biased but I truly think this is the best of the Gillette adjustables.
In conclusion, I do think everyone should own an adjustable. Does it have to be a vintage Gillette? Nope. there are some very nice modern adjustables that tend to be a bit more aggressive than the vintage Gillette’s. Another great thing about these razors is that they are in high demand. So if you obtain one and find you do not like it they are quite easy to sell or trade. Also the fact that these razors are up to 50+ years old and still shave amazing shows you how good the quality of the builds were. no pot metal/zamak. Another great thing is that these razors will last another 50 years if cared for properly….heck even if they are just chucked in a drawer they will last another lifetime!!
Here is a quick look at today’s Shave of the day!
Razor : Gillette Black Beauty (R3)
Blade : Feather
Brush : Semogue SOC
Soap : The Strop Shoppe London Morning
Toner : Thayer’s Rose Witch Hazel
Aftershave : Local Gent Eucalyptus Mint balm
Ja-Lu Toiletries Nights of Izmir
I wont go on about the London Morning soap again, but I will say this stuff is amazing and a must try!
I love my Semogue Owners Club boar more than I could have ever imagined liking a boar and it has got me wanting to try more boar knots!
The part of my shave that impressed me the most was the Feather blade. I haven’t used one in a LOOONG time. the last time I did there was blood, lots of blood. These blades are sharp. It’s amazing how much sharper they are than other blades in my opinion. Well, today I gave it another shot after reading a fellow bloggers post on feathers(Adonis). I set my adjustable to….wait for it…..1. That’s right the mildest setting it has. Loaded the feather and went to work….carefully. The end result was a smooth shave and a DFS to boot. no blood, no nicks, and no weepers to speak of. I think my technique has really improved the last couple of months and I recommend anyone who previously shied away from feathers revisit them. I was amazed how close the shave is with the setting on 1. I will try the feather in others razors soon.
I used the same witch hazel and ASB as yesterday but splashed on a bit of Ja-Lu Nights of Izmir. I really like this scent paired with cologne type soap scents and as a casual scent to wear out. A bit below the radar but really nice stuff.
“I’m Shaving away” – STYX