Gillette Aristocrats

gvw755

SU-Patron Gold
No shaving forum (or Universe) is complete without at least one (or 100) threads on Gillette razors.Because the Gillette Aristocrats are probably the most famous and longest running series from Gillette, I will start this off. I do not claim to be an expert on Gillettes and definitely not on the Aristocrat series. In fact I own only two and both are from the same series. I am hoping that others will join in with their knowledge and pictures of their Aristocrats.

I own two third generation Aristocrats made in England. A while ago I obtained an Aristocrat Jr in a trade and found it to be the best shaving TTO razor ever. I also found out that the head of the Jr was the same as the third generation Aristocrat. It is distinguished by having a closed comb and flat base plate with the patent number 430.030 proudly stamped on the bottom. The Aristocrat has a very elegant looking barber pole handle with the TTO knob on the bottom. These razors were made in England between 1948-52 and most were plated either in gold or rhodium.

I obtained a rhodium one through an acquaintance who had contacts in the vintage Gillette world, and I obtained what I thought was a second rhodium one by a lowball bid on eBay. To my surprise, that one showed up as a gold one so I now own one of each.

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The King

SU-Patron Gold
9FD6BD48-398E-4836-B548-9614E7EA49BB.jpeg 68A10B0F-6D55-4850-9F61-6FC3A65A53D5.jpeg Nor am I a specialist or collector of the Gillette Aristrocat, but I have one in my display case.

I shave with it once in a while but I'm not really enthusiastic about his shaving behaviour.

He has the patent number 694093 and I honestly never thought about which year he is, I read a few times 1958??

It's packed in a nice box so I hope that will somewhat mask my lack of knowledge.:uhoh
 
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Northstonehill

Well-Known Member
No secret that British Aristocrats are my true addiction. As we speak I am awaiting the return of 3 Aristos inbound from Captain Murphy/Chris Evatt along with my latest acquisition inbound from Belgium.

With this I have collected 15 different sets so far. And once they are all back I have prepared an overview which I look forward to sharing here. Stay tuned!
 

Northstonehill

Well-Known Member
No wonder I can't find any of the early OC models, Peter has them all! :sabber1
Haha, thanks Les, but no I am sure there is one out there for you too. I will keep on the lookout for ya :daumenhoch

You can't miss one? :eek:
I don't think one less will ever stand out in your beautifully extensive collection...:respect_schild :kaputtlachen1
Haha, thanks King. Well you may very well have a point, good sir. Honestly it seems ridiculous to have 5 OC’s and 16 Aristo sets in total (yet another inbound) when the razors themselves are identical in the 4 generations... A part of me genuinely wants to be a minimalist owning literally only a handful of razors in total. But then again this would require me selling off a bunch of beauties, what to do...:)
 
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efsk

Sky high and six thousand miles away
Moderator
SU-Patron Gold
Haha, thanks King. Well you may very well have a point, good sir. Honestly it seems ridiculous to have 5 OC’s and 16 Aristo sets in total (yet another inbound) when the razors themselves are identical in the 4 generations... A part of me genuinely wants to be a minimalist owning literally only a handful of razors in total. But then again this would require me selling off a bunch of beauties, what to do...:)
Basically you're saying you only have two razors, it's just you have them multiple times. That is minimalist.

As you're so insistent in getting the Brit Aristocrats: do these shave different from the US ones?
 

Northstonehill

Well-Known Member
As you're so insistent in getting the Brit Aristocrats: do these shave different from the US ones?
Good question Richard!

Well, my insistence is mainly based on the gorgeous cases... I am trying to get one (and only one!) of each design/color combination... And I am just about done I think.

As for the difference between the Brits and the US Aristocrats for me it is really not about the shave. Shavewise they are indeed (to me) better shavers - but not by a longshot. Especially the 1934 US Aristo and the later 48-50 model are superb shavers too. But even so the Brits are just a tad smoother and have less blade feel.

...No the real difference between the two to me is in the looks! - That rhodium shine, that barberpole handle — and then, on top, the out-of-this-world build quality! A US Aristo honestly feels like it is built like a Ranger Tech or a Super-Speed, fine enough but not awesome. But the Brits have that (oftentimes) exceptional TTO-mechanism (especially the 3rd and 4th generations) and they just feel like they are built like tanks. You hold them and you just cannot believe that you are holding a 70-80 year old original condition razor.

The 1st generation to me is the most beautiful razor ever built, bar none. My favorite photo of all is this one below showing this razor in all its glory, I look at this photo at least a couple of times a week. They were indeed a sheer work of art!

Now, I know there are much more rare (an hence more expensive) razors and I am fortunate to own some of them - the Darwins and the European rare adjustables. But the British Aristocrat to me beats them all, also in shave quality :herz1

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gvw755

SU-Patron Gold
Finally, I have something to contribute to the discussion of the Gen 1 British Aristocrats. I worry now because I just cleared my winter kale beds and my vegetables for the Spring are still in little pods and have not been planted yet. This makes it hard to live on a diet of watered down soup for the rest of the month to pay for my razor.

I recently acquired the Gen 1 British Aristocrat made for the French market, which is supposedly harder to find and more desirable, and tonight was my first shave with it. I must say that I am completely impressed! :daumenhoch I thought my Gen 3 British Aristocrats were the best shaving TTO razors, however this Gen 1 with the open comb totally beat the Gen 3 hands down. Using a blade that was a couple of shaves short of being tossed (which is how I test my new razors), I could have walked away with a one pass DFS. However, not wanting to waste all that good lather on my brush, I went for a second pass and ended up with a two pass BBS with no touch up. The razor had no feel to it, but just did what it was supposed to do. This razor is not only the most beautiful razors I own, but is one of my best shaving razor. Suddenly, watery soup for the rest of the month does not seem that bad after all. ;)

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