I have to tip my hat to a razor that I find the least aesthetically pleasing out of my collection and a brush that I hoped would live up to expectations and hype. The GEM is my first SE razor and non Gillette or Merkur that I have purchased. I got the GEM in a antique store in good shape for $8 and even though I find it odd looking compared to Gillette offerings.....I figured why not? It will be a conversation piece if nothing else. With the purchase of cheapo blades from CVS (ptfe blades on the way) and a two day growth the ugly little single edge razor lived up to its reputation as a top notch shaver. The most comfortable easy shave I have had. Other razors in my collection do the job intended. For being efficient though I put the GEM right there with my Futur, with the Futur being closer though to jumping on a crotch rocket three sheets in the wind and the GEM being closer to a child's bicycle with training wheels. On to the Maseto 30mm 2 band badger. I had high expectations as I had read many positive accounts about the Maseto punching above its price point and for a first impression I would agree. Impressive lathering right out of the box with backbone and comfortable on the face. I can easily see this being my go to brush. Even though I have not used my Semogue OC boar yet if it even equals the Maseto I will be pleasantly surprised.