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Questions about the Gillette Aristocrat (and others)

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Questions about the Gillette Aristocrat (and others)

Postby brothers » Wed Jun 03, 2009 7:49 am

What are the differences in the quality of the shave and other characteristics between the variations of the Aristocrat? Open comb TTO, vs. "regular" non-open comb, vs. the adjustable version vs. the British Aristocrats, etc? I've become quite interested in them since acquiring a Sheraton open comb TTO, which should be delivered to me any time.

I find it interesting also to see what seems to be a whole little "family" of certain Gillettes that aren't as commonplace as the usual Gillettes we read about, (SS, Slim, Fatboy, Tech, etc.), and by that I am referring to the Sheraton, Senator, President, Aristocrat, Executive, etc. All of those seem to be similar, and in a somewhat different general catagory than the more common razors.

I've heard that the Aristocrat is an excellent shaver, and I believe I understand that it has something to do with the "heft" of the particular razor, but now I see that the Aristocrat has been around for a very long period of time in a number of variations over the years. I'd love to understand more about these old beauties. What can you tell me about them?
Gary
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Postby Squire » Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:06 am

Gary mine shaves very well but I rarely use it because I prefer a longer handle.
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Postby dmarothy » Wed Jun 10, 2009 6:16 pm

It is my understanding that the closed-comb 40s up to 47 were less aggressive than the 48-50 Aristocrats. They are truly beautiful looking razors.
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Postby bernards66 » Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:37 pm

Gary, Generalizations can be misleding and the whole topic is too large and complex to really go into razor by razor. Anyway, in my experiance, there is some variation even within the same model. For me, the '47 Aristocrat was VERY aggressive ( some say that the design was actually flawed, and that it was corrected for the '48 and later models, which I did experiance as somewhat less...a...severe ). I've had two HD Rockets ( an English model ) and one was a bit more aggressive than the other. I've also owned a Diplomat and still have a Model #58 There is really a whole slew of these 'specialty' Gillettes and not that many gents have tried them all. None that I've used have given a 'better' shave than my standard original Superspeed, and only two did I like pretty much as well when it was time for the blade to meet the skin. They are all beautifully made, however, and often very impressive in appearance.
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Postby Gene » Thu Jun 11, 2009 5:05 am

Gary...I've owned 2 Aristocrats, and while they were indeed beautiful I didn't notice that they were any more, or less, aggressive tha my other razors, nor did I find that than shaved me any better than any other DE I own.
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Postby Hoos » Thu Jun 11, 2009 12:00 pm

Ah, Aristocrats. They have a special place in both my heart and in the shave routine. They're beautiful razors: they look great, they feel great, they shave great.

Here are my experience with them. In order of most preferred to least preferred. YMMV.

1950 Aristocrat - A recent acquisition and currently my favorite razor. It is an amazing shaver: close shaves, but very comfortable.

1953 British #66 - Not an American Aristocrat, but in the same family. Was my favorite of the bunch until getting the 1950 above.

1946-47 Aristocrat - Another favorite. A great razor with a good, comfortable shave. Usually required two passes and touch up. But no razor burn.

1948-49 Aristocrat - These Aristocrats are too aggressive for me. They provide a great, close shave. But often with razor burn afterward.

1934-40 Aristocrat (open comb) - Shaved with it once. Was much too aggressive for me. One pass; lots of burn.

1937 Sheraton - A beautiful razor and it shaves nicely. The one I have requires paying attention. It may have been dropped at some point - doesn't close just quite right.

I keep my eyes open for others of the family (Diplomats, Senators) to try. For some reason, I don't consider the Executive to be in the Aristocrat family. It's a gold-plated Fatboy to me. I have one, but haven't used it yet.

Some of the Aristocrats in the collection:

Image
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Postby brothers » Thu Jun 11, 2009 3:14 pm

Trent, that's a great collection you have. Thanks for the picture. Guys, thanks for the good info. Coincidentally, today's mail brought me a 1937 Sheraton and a 1946-47 Aristocrat. They're just shavers and I was real lucky. I got one off a guy on one of the forums and the other off of ebay. I'm looking forward to cleaning 'em up real good and shaving with each one a few times. I'll be sure to come back and post about it.
Gary
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Postby BeatlesFan » Mon Jun 15, 2009 11:17 am

I own a late 40s Aristocrat (notched) and it is my daily shaver.

My son owns a late 40s (UN-notched).

There is a school of thought around here that the UN-notched provide a more aggressive shave.

That has not been my experience. I cannot tell any difference between the two Aristocrats that live in my house.

I love the Aristocrat. I like its heft, its balance, and how it is tuned in terms of gentleness / aggressiveness of the shave. Just a beautiful, beautiful razor.

I think I've told this anecdote around here before (so forgive me if I'm starting to repeat my stories), but a year or so ago my son (who is 23) asked for some shaving help after he was getting a torn up neck from disposable mult-blades.

I got him a badger brush, several great soaps and creams (Tabac, Trumpers Rose cream, and a couple of others), the Aristocrat, and a blade sampler.

I showed him about DE technique, and all the rest of the wet-shaving gig.

Very quickly his overall appearance improved, and within about just a few weeks his face and neck were PERFECT. Zero irritation, zero ingrowns, nice healthy looking skin. (Whereas before it looked as if a tractor had worked over his neck).

Once in awhile -- JUST once in awhile! -- I can actually teach my kids something and they listen! My next challenge is my other son, who announced that he's finished with the Fusion (because it hacks him up) and going electric.

Hmmmmmm. . .
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Postby brothers » Thu Jun 18, 2009 5:08 am

brothers wrote:Trent, that's a great collection you have. Thanks for the picture. Guys, thanks for the good info. Coincidentally, today's mail brought me a 1937 Sheraton and a 1946-47 Aristocrat. They're just shavers and I was real lucky. I got one off a guy on one of the forums and the other off of ebay. I'm looking forward to cleaning 'em up real good and shaving with each one a few times. I'll be sure to come back and post about it.


This week I enjoyed a very smooth and effortless shave with the 1937 Sheraton OC/TTO. I'm always in awe of the engineering and design that Gillette put into these products (72 years ago in this case). Haven't had a chance yet to use the Aristocrat.
Gary
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Postby StGeorge » Thu Jun 18, 2009 8:00 am

Gary, I'm a big Aristocrat fan and actually don't use any other razor anymore because none that I've tried (there's been plenty) shave me anywhere near as close. I have a 30's model and a 40's model. Both are American gold types that look exactly the same and shave the same. I prefer closed comb (as these both are) and I've given up trying anything else. I'd add that I have a very tough beard and I find that a shallow angle with a sharp blade seems to do the trick and eliminates tugging. The Aristocrats that I own seem to work so well because they give me the shallow angle that I need and not because of any "aggressive" factor. I used to own a Futur which you can make as "aggressive" as you like but it didn't shave me anywhere near as well as my Aristocrats.
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Postby fidjit » Thu Jun 18, 2009 3:50 pm

And then you get into the English Aristocrats............... :P
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Postby MTgrayling » Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:50 pm

fidjit wrote:And then you get into the English Aristocrats............... :P


... and there goes your money! But hey great shaves are priceless, right?
Chris

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Re: Questions about the Gillette Aristocrat (and others)

Postby brothers » Fri Jul 07, 2017 7:19 am

Following up on our discussion of the Aristocrat, I recently was able to trade a mint condition 47-48 Aristocrat for a new Brass General SE razor from Colonial razors. This was a win - win for both of us. Eight years has passed since this discussion took place. The gentleman with whom I recently traded is a dyed in the wool Aristocrat user and collector.
Gary
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