Victory! 1963 Vintage Lady Gillette
So the other day I visited /r/wicked_edge and asked for some razor advice. J and I have a Merkur and an Edwin Jagger but I find both just slightly too short for comfort. If I’m going to be doubled over and stretching at full reach I’d like a handle that seats firmly in my grip. The EJ is just short enough that it felt like there was no way I could use it. The Merkur is just barely in the comfort zone. I really wanted just an eency bit more to hold on to. But since that’s not a piece of information that’s usually available at retail, and since most manufacturers have men and face shaving in mind, I wasn’t sure how to definitely identify the right tool for the job.
That’s where the excellent Reddit community comes in. They’re incredibly helpful, always encouraging, always compassionate towards newbies. So I posted my question. I want a longer razor, but I’m not comfortable doing eBay for a vintage model because I have no idea how to evaluate a vintage item’s quality.
Several very helpful and educational responses later I realized that maybe the retired vintage Lady Gillette sounded like my best option.But that put me up against my ignorance. That’s when a fellow lady DE shaver offered to check out auctions and help me choose something good. With her input I settled on an auction for a pristine 1963 Lady Gillette. I scooped it up in the last 20 seconds of the auction and 2 days later it arrived in my mailbox.
And here she is.
Let’s have a look at the handle length of the three razors side-by-side. You can see the significant difference between the Edwin Jagger and the Lady Gillette.
Let’s have a look at the heads close up. I should mention that J swapped the MK and EJ heads because he felt like he preferred the MK head but the EJ handle. So if you’re looking at this and you’re some kind of expert, yes the head are swapped. I’ve appropriately labeled the photos, though.
The handles show a significant difference. First of all, the Lady Gillette is a butterfly-style head. That means you twist the knob at the base and the head rotates open so you can drop the blade in. The Merkur and Edwin Jagger screw together at the head so you have to detach the whole thing to swap the blades out. The EJ has a solidly formed base that feels nice in the hand. The Merkur is a much more basic and functional finish with a hollow tip. On the other hand, the LG and Merkur both have textured handles that improve grip. The EJ is smooth, which I found a little slippery.
Finally here are all three of the heads open for blade swapping. This was a the second best selling feature for me, after length. being able to just drop a blade in is great. I hate fumbling to disassemble the Merkur and Edwin Jagger heads.
So there it is. My vintage razor. I fully believe the seller did a meticulous job with the cleaning and restoration. Still, this was likely used to shave someone else and as such I think I’ll probably run it through the dishwasher on santize just once. I can’t wait to take this baby for a test run! Review to come.