'71 Gillette Black Beauty super-adjustable

Discussion in 'Safety Razors' started by ins0ma, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. ins0ma

    ins0ma Well-Known Member

    The Black Beauty showed up late last week, and so far so good. Everything works perfectly, and it's in great shape overall. It find it hard to believe it's 2 years older than I am. The date code "RR" is stamped on the bottom, apparently a mis-stamp from the factory sometime in 1971. Even though it's the short-handled version, it feels significantly heavier in the hand than you'd think from looking at it, and the adjustment band clicks precisely through the 1-9 range. The TTO mechanism works as it should, and locks the blade in very securely with the final 1/4 turn of the bottom section of the handle.

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    I really like that it's adjustable. I'm still very new to DE shaving, and after mildly flaying myself with my initial Merkur 1904/Feather blade combo, I went in the other direction with this one by setting it on 1 and using an Astra SP. This is allowing me to work on my technique without carving myself up, and as things improve I'll move the dial up step by step until I find the "burn point," and then back off a click. I suppose one might accomplish the same thing with the angle the razor is held at, but for a newbie like myself, it's great to be able to mechanically control the aggressiveness of the razor itself. The Astra blades are also proving to be far more forgiving than the Feathers, although since most available threads on this particular issue conclude the same, it won't come as news to many here.

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    Compared to the 42 year-old Gillette, the Merkur 1904 (above right) is a brighter, "whiter" chrome color, because of it's newness. Both razors above are nickel-plated, the Merkur because it's a "vintage" effect, and the Gillette because thats they way they came in the '70s. The photos exaggerate it a little, but the patina on the nickel parts of the 'Beauty lends it a warm, yellowish tone that's really pleasing, and as much as I toy with the idea of getting the metal parts replated, I'd miss the existing patina, and besides touching up the numbers on the dial, I'm not planning to do anything to it besides use it regularly and keep it clean. In a related restoration thread I read recently, someone suggested painting the numbers black and the dots between them red, an idea I might well put into action once I get my hands on some Testor's paint.

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    I paid $32 at auction, and I've seen similar ones sell recently around that price, depending on condition and packaging. Since I'm not planning to sell this one, I wasn't concerned with getting the original packaging, although it did come with a Gillette blade safe that might come in handy for traveling. All in all I'm quite happy with the razor and I'm enjoying using it.
    Woodekt, Ryan B, Raven312 and 2 others like this.
  2. Taipan

    Taipan Active Member

    Congratulations on your Black Beauty, she looks great. I got a long-handled version a week ago. I'm doing a blade trial with my Fat Boy at the moment, but I had to try the BB out. I eyeballed the aggressiveness compared to the FB, and it looked to me that 3 on the BB exposed about the same gap as 6 on the FB. So I loaded up a Med Prep blade into the BB and had a wonderful shave. Smooth and sweet. I love my Fat Boy, but I can see the Black Beauty becoming my go-to if that first shave is anything to go by.
    Leo K. and ins0ma like this.
  3. Sara-s

    Sara-s This Pun for Hire Staff Member

    Moderator
    I have the long=handled version as well. It's a great razor. I use mine with Feathers.
  4. BigT

    BigT Well-Known Member

    Very nice razor. ENJOY!
    ins0ma likes this.
  5. Raven312

    Raven312 Well-Known Member

    OK you guys, I'm trying to be good for a few more months... No more talk about how great it is... ;)
    ins0ma likes this.
  6. Sara-s

    Sara-s This Pun for Hire Staff Member

    Moderator
    Since I'm not a guy, I'm going to go ahead and tell you it's great.
    Raven312, ins0ma and Hirsute like this.
  7. Raven312

    Raven312 Well-Known Member

    :happy097:
    ins0ma likes this.
  8. Ryan B

    Ryan B Knight of the Soapocracy

    I almost bought a short handled one today for $30. If I hadn't bought a jar of Tabac, I would have. :angry032:
  9. Taipan

    Taipan Active Member

    Just had my second shave with it today. Kept on setting 3 with a Med Prep loaded. Very,very nice experience.
    Can the Gillette experts out there tell me if there is a difference between the head on the Slim and the BB?
    I was looking to get a Slim but the BB came up first. Is it still worth getting a Slim or would the shaving experience be much the same?

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