05-02-2012, 07:51 PM
#1
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The GEM MicroMatic Family

3rd in the continuing series of SE razor reviews.

As always, other folks impressions/reviews of the reviewed razors are welcome.

I’m already on record as stating that the Open Comb MicroMatic (OCMM) is a favorite razor of mine. Despite that I think can write an honest appraisal of this family.

It consists of these razors introduced in this order:

Open Comb MicroMatic (OCMM) (1930)
Clog-Pruf (1941)
Flying Wing or Bullet Tip (1947)

They all measure 3 ½ “ long and weigh 65 grams (my scale is only accurate to 5 grams. If something weighs 63 grams it'll show 65 grams). The heads are 1 11/16" wide. The Bullet Tip feels heavier to me, but that is either my imagination, the shape of the handle, or different weight distribution because of the handle shape. The bullet tip has basically a truncated cone as the shape of the TTO knob. The other 2 models continue the conical shape of the entire handle.

[Image: DSC03488.jpg]

The major difference is the comb and the area behind the comb that allows the lather and whiskers to pass. The open comb passes all spent lather under the blade and through the comb, the Clog-Pruf has 2 huge trapezoidal openings, and the Flying Wing has 3 rectangular openings.

[Image: DSC03489.jpg]

The Flying wing has a different handle, the OCMM and the Clop-Pruf have similar handles. For me the Flying Wing handle works fine. The other two handles I need to add o-rings to in order to get rid of the "It's slipping out of my hand" feel. I don't care for the handles w/o the o-rings. I use an extremely light grip and I don't put my pinky under the bottom of the handle. If I did place my pinky finger there the handle might be fine for me.

Use these razors the same as any other SE razor. They require the cover to almost be sliding flat against the skin. In fact, that’s what the original directions say- keep the head against the skin. I like them best when the head is laid against the skin (assuming a north to south stroke) and just lower the handle slightly to get the razor head just off of the skin. This is a significantly different blade angle compared to a double edge razor.

All of these razors give the same great shave. For me it’s 2 passes and some touchups for a BBS. They all shave great. The difference is in the way they feel. These are NOT mild razors- they require perfect technique and are unforgiving of the smallest lapse- especially the OCMM.

All three have the great sound of most all SE razors as they mow down the whiskers. It sounds something like buttering a piece of toast.

The Clog-Pruf has an aggressive shave w/o the harsh blade feel. It feels much less aggressive than it actually is on my face. For me that’s very dangerous. I want to feel the aggressive nature of the razor if it’s aggressive and all of this family are. If I don’t feel it then I become complacent and that gets me into trouble. Unless I constantly strive to remember how aggressive this razor is it can lead to blood. Despite those words, it might be just a touch more forgiving than the OCMM.

The Flying Wing has the same aggression of the Clog Pruf, yet is more sophisticated in some way that I can’t quit put my finger on. Of the bunch IMO this is the most refined, yet gives the same shave as the others. Possibly it's the handle that makes me think it's more refined.

The Open Comb (OCMM) is the brute. It’s pure aggression and it doesn’t let the user forget it and I like that. I get lulled into complacency if I don’t have the reminder of the feel of the blade. But that isn’t for everyone, neither is this razor. Same shave as the other 2 models though. When I was shaving my head, it was the OCMM that gave me the best results of all my razors, but to be fair I didn't have a Clog-Pruf or Flying Wing then.

These razors aren’t for everyone and definitely not for a new shaver. But if you like an aggressive razor and an ultra close and long lasting BBS with minimal effort, they might be for you. Let your technique slip or your attention wander though and you’ll be seeing red.

I may be able to compare the aggressiveness of the shave to other razors. In DE it might be like a Slim set to 9. It isn't as aggressive as the Muhle R41. It's about the same as an EverReady '24, maybe just a touch less aggressive. Those are the ones I can think of that come close.

I like these razors. The OCMM is my favorite, but I can use them all. The only real problem I have with them is the handle as I stated, but that's easily corrected with a trip to the hardware store. Lots of folks like the razors just as they are.

Note: Gents, I'm just a guy with a razor, some soap and a blade. I have no special qualifications to review anything and I'm especially weak in identification. Where I'm going with this is that if you see a mistake, and there will be plenty, let me know so that I can fix it. If you have an opinion on the razor and want to post your review in the thread, even if it conflicts with mine, that's welcome also, so don't hesitate. Sometimes there are variations in the same model and this is how we find them.

Good shaving guys!

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 05-02-2012, 08:36 PM
#2
  • Tonality
  • Attempted Soap Sabbatical
  • Boston
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Wonderful review Brian! I hope to try out the flying wing/bullet tip one day, the aesthetics of just appeals to me more than the other two. The OCMM is slated for the third week of May for me during SE May. Great timing on these reviews too, maybe it wil encourage more people to join in!

You mention two passes and touch-ups with the SE razors, I had been sticking to three passes like I do with DE razors, I may have to try this out and see if I get a better result.

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 05-02-2012, 08:44 PM
#3
  • tgutc
  • Senior Member
  • Michigan
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Great Review!

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 05-02-2012, 09:13 PM
#4
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Tony, maybe 3 passes is what you'll need with anything. No matter what good aggressive razor I use, SE or DE it always takes me 2 1/3 passes for a BBS, sometimes maybe 1 touchup more, but never less. It may be the same for you except 3 passes. but heck, try it.

I have the flying wing from the test and I don't use it much. If you pay the shipping I'd send it to you to try. I'd want it back, but you'd at least know if you wanted one of your own. It might cost $6 to ship it to you and back. PM me if you want to do this.

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 05-02-2012, 09:26 PM
#5
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Wow, Brian, you sure were busy today! Great review, my friend. The benefits of retirement! Looking forward to it, if i can ever get there.....

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 05-02-2012, 09:38 PM
#6
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Actually I wrote them months ago. They're found on 2 other sites, I just brought them over here for more folks to use them.

I'll copy more when I get the chance. There might be 4 more. I'm guessing.

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 05-03-2012, 12:44 AM
#7
  • Andrew
  • Senior Member
  • Austin, TX
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Great review. I use and very much enjoy the OCMM. For those who have not tried this razor, two things:

First, it is nothing to be intimidated by. Yes, it is efficient. But do not be scared away by reports of it being aggressive or unforgiving. If you would or have tried the new Muhle R41 or the Joris open comb DE, an OCMM is a walk in the park. Just do not apply pressure while shaving with the OCMM. Easy!

Second, OCMMs are inexpensive and easy to come by, and top quality blades can be found at almost any drugstore. So why not give one a try?

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 05-03-2012, 03:55 AM
#8
  • Howler
  • A calamophile and vintage razor lover
  • Fort Smith AR
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Excellent review, Brain.

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 05-03-2012, 07:02 AM
#9
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Brian -

Excellent review! Thanks for taking the time to test these razors and for posting this review.

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 05-03-2012, 08:09 AM
#10
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Here is my review from a previous forum as well...

Quote:Since Brian (ShadowsDad) did such a great job on the pictorial side of things (as well as a great review) I'll just type up my thoughts on 2 of the 3 in the Micromatic family. I do not own the Flying Wing (aka Bullet Tip), nor I have ever shaved with it so my review will not speak to that one at all.

Of the other 2 Micromatics, the OCMM (Open Comb MicroMatic) is far and away my favorite. About a month ago I had one of the worst shaves of my wet-shaving career with the Clog Pruf so I put it away and didn't shave with it again until yesterday. After 2 shaves with it in a row (yesterday and today) I can say that my previous poor performance was user error, distraction, and being in a rush. The OCMM is still my preferred of the two and I will go into why here in a second.

The only difference that I can detect between these two razors is the safety bar. The Clog Pruf has a solid guard bar while the OCMM is, well, open comb. As mentioned by Brian before, the OCMM really lets you feel the blade on your face while the solid guard bar of the Clog Pruf takes some of that harshness away. For me it takes a concerted effort to draw blood with the Clog Pruf thanks to this solid guard bar, while the OCMM will slice you if you aren't behaving. Do I think the OCMM takes the fun out of shaving because you have to concentrate during the whole shave? Absolutely Not! You just have to really know this razor, your beard growth, and your face. You take the time to learn all of those variables and the OCMM will reward you with great shaves each time.

Unlike Brian, this Brian loves the handles on these Micromatics. I don't have any issue with them slipping out of my hands at all. However, I did notice something when reading through the previous review that we differ in. I like to hold my pinky under the bottom of the handle while ShadowsDad doesn't. The length of these handles and the shape of the heads are why I prefer these razors to any of the 1912 style razors.

Now to me, both of these razor are very efficient especially when compared to most DE razors (and most other SEs for that matter IMO). However, the Clog Pruf's solid guard bar really hinders the different angles at which I can use the razor and still get good results. The blade gap seems to be much less in the Clog Pruf as well which gives me a lower quality shave. My hair is very thick and coarse so a larger blade gap really provides not only a more efficient shave for me, but also a smoother shave. The solid guard bar on the Clog Pruf didn't let me get the spots under my chin and jawline as easily as the OCMM does. Part of this could be that I use the OCMM much more and really know that razor while I haven't given the Clog Pruf near as much face time. However, I truly believe that the solid guard bar prevents me from using angles that I otherwise can use thanks to the larger blade exposer and gap on the OCMM.

I can easily use either of these as a daily shaver. I could not have said that a few months ago. Fortunately, I've learned more about myself, my technique has improved, my lather making has improved, I've found a pre-shave routine that really helps prepare my face and stubble, and most importantly I've found a great A/S balm that hydrates my skin extremely well. I find this final post-shave step is really the most important pre-shave step for my shave the following day. Don't neglect your skin between shaves as it will only lead to a lesser degree of forgiveness with any of your chosen razors and blades for that day.

Just for reference sake, the only DE that I've shaved with to date that can compare to these Micromatics is a Gillette Slim opened all the way up to 9 with a Feather blade inside. Keep in mind what I said earlier about why blade gap is important to me and understand that raising the # on your Slim is actually increasing the blade gap. The shave I got with the Slim @ 9 would be pretty close to a Clog Pruf shave for me. The OCMM still has it by a hefty margin in my book. If you're new, then I wouldn't suggest trying these Micromatics right away. That is unless you are like me and just can't seem to find a DE razor/blade combo that works for you. The Micromatics are very efficient razors and I'm happy to be able to shave with these so often. It's really a crying shame that razors of this quality aren't still being made today. I do hope to try a new 2011 R41 sometime this year as from what I read it sounds like the most likely DE candidate for my face.

As a loyal GEMlican, the Micromatics (the OCMM particularly) make up the bulk of my shaves with the Heavy Flat Top getting the leftovers. So the OCMM would be my President, the Clog Pruf is Vice-President, while the Heavy Flat Top is the Senate Majority Leader. Now that is about as good as politics is going to get!

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 05-06-2012, 12:44 PM
#11
  • MrGuy
  • Member
  • Black Hills of SD
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Minor Changes in the Major Models: Open Comb Micromatic Edition.

Here are some of the small changes made to the different models. As you can likely guess from the pictures alone, these changes have little to no effect on the shave, but are important to note for possible dating info.

First off, the Open Comb Micromatic. One of my all time favorites. These came in a chrome plate and in "gold", possibly brass. There are some adds giving the option of gold or chrome plating, I don't know for sure if it was in reference to gold as in "Au", or gold as in "It looks shiny and gold colored". The only difference I have found has been to the topside of the base plate. Some have two little "bumps", some do not. I'm guessing, and it is strictly a guess, that the bumps came after the smooth plate as the bump design carried over into the later MM models. After more than 4 years using the OCMM I've noticed that the bump-free razors are just a touch less forgiving than their bumped counterparts. My guess, again just a guess, is that the bumps were added for a more consistent blade loading experience, giving the blade a natural angle to seat properly in the clips at the front. In my experience, a blade loaded very flat on the sans-bump versions often leads to a less than blood free shave.
And now the pic.
[Image: DSC01002.jpg]
In this shot, we see the chrome version to have the bumps, while the gold does not. I have found gold versions that have the bumps, but so for no chrome versions that do not. Please feel free to add if you have a bump free chrome razor.

Minor Changes in the Major Models: Clog Pruf Edition.

The Clog Pruf varies from the Open Comb in that it has a safety bar while the Open Comb has well, an open comb. Like the OC, the Clog Pruf was available in gold and chrome. GEM, again, had some very small changes for no known reason. In the Clog Pruf, the changes are to the "teeth" on the safety bar.
As you can see, the chrome version has fewer and larger teeth.
[Image: DSC01006.jpg]
My sample size of Clog Pruf razors has been somewhat limited, but to date the variation of the safety bar has been consistent to the photo. All my chrome plated razors have the larger teeth, all my gold razors have the smaller teeth. Please feel free to add if you have one the other way around.

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 05-06-2012, 12:55 PM
#12
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Lemme go see...

All of my OCMMs have the bumps. That includes 2 chrome & 1 gold/brass.

FWIW, I also noticed the same bumps present on the Clog-Pruf (which I think came after the OCMM). The Feather Weight & Heavy Flat Top both have the bumps too & they are certainly post-OCMM. I'd have to agree with Andy that the non-bump OCMM would seem to be an earlier version than the ones with bumps. So be sure to find the bumpy razors so you can prevent razor bumps?!?! Wink

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 05-06-2012, 01:03 PM
#13
  • MrGuy
  • Member
  • Black Hills of SD
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Minor Changes in the Major Models: Flying Wing Edition.

The final Micromatic edition, both in this comparison and in production, The Flying Wing. Again, gold and chrome models were available, along with yet more changes.
First the "Guiding Eye". Based on ads, this was more of a sales gimmick than anything else. The user was supposed to be able to enjoy a great shave while the "Guiding Eye" does the work. The eye itself is nothing more than a little circle drilled from the cap.
The Guiding Eye variant.
[Image: DSC00995.jpg]
The "blind" (no guiding eye) version.
[Image: DSC00997.jpg]

Here, I show the plating options, along with the seldom seen plastic tip razor.
[Image: DSC01001.jpg]

(05-06-2012, 12:55 PM)SharpSpine Wrote: Lemme go see...

All of my OCMMs have the bumps. That includes 2 chrome & 1 gold/brass.

FWIW, I also noticed the same bumps present on the Clog-Pruf (which I think came after the OCMM). The Feather Weight & Heavy Flat Top both have the bumps too & they are certainly post-OCMM. I'd have to agree with Andy that the non-bump OCMM would seem to be an earlier version than the ones with bumps. So be sure to find the bumpy razors so you can prevent razor bumps?!?! Wink

"Let our bumps stop yours!" That just sounds like a GEM slogan from that eraBiggrin

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 05-12-2012, 10:30 PM
#14
  • pooking
  • Wishful thinker.
  • Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn
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Well, now I am looking on eBay and etsy for inexpensive and yet clean OCMM all because of your reviews. You all have nice and clean (slightly scratched) razors. What I see on eBay razors that are full of gunk with lost plating or with $ 35+ shipping for more or less acceptable OCMMs. What is the appropriate price (place) to get usefull OCMM? Please share. My apologies for newbie question, I do not have experience with vintage razors.

I did enjoyed reading your great reviews.

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 05-13-2012, 03:43 AM
#15
  • Andrew
  • Senior Member
  • Austin, TX
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(05-12-2012, 10:30 PM)pooking Wrote: What is the appropriate price (place) to get usefull OCMM? Please share. My apologies for newbie question, I do not have experience with vintage razors.

By far the best place to get a nice OCMM is from another member on the shaving forums. Post a WTB (want to buy) thread on the Selling and Trading forum. You should be able to pick up a nice one for $10-15, possibly with a Bakelite case. Good luck!

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 05-13-2012, 08:26 AM
#16
  • pooking
  • Wishful thinker.
  • Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn
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(05-13-2012, 03:43 AM)Andrew Wrote:
(05-12-2012, 10:30 PM)pooking Wrote: What is the appropriate price (place) to get usefull OCMM? Please share. My apologies for newbie question, I do not have experience with vintage razors.

By far the best place to get a nice OCMM is from another member on the shaving forums. Post a WTB (want to buy) thread on the Selling and Trading forum. You should be able to pick up a nice one for $10-15, possibly with a Bakelite case. Good luck!

Andrew, thank you, I will do so.Thumbup

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 05-13-2012, 09:17 AM
#17
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Ebay results can be spotty. Some sellers think they have gold in a ratty little OCMM with most of the plating missing and sometimes it appears they clened it up with Scotch Brite.

I've bought lots of razors (10-20 at a time) for just a few dollars per razor and gotten good stuff and junk. I bought on elot of half a dozen MMs and they were mostly junk.

I agree, best results are had when buying on the forums. You won't get any steals, but you won't get bent over either. I've found prices to be good and quality to be exactly what the razor is described to be or maybe better. It doesn't take long for a bad reputation to start, and we're expeected to know condition. On e-bay it's a very few sellers who know a razor from a corkscrew.

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 05-19-2012, 06:10 PM
#18
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I've got the flying wing and have only had it for a week. That being said, I shaved with it for a week and noticed a much better shave than with my Parker DE. I love the weight of the GEM and how easily it slides down my face with minimal to no effort on my part; my job is just to guide it along it's path. I am fascinated by this high quality razor and don't know if I'll ever find one so nice, SE or otherwise. Of course I've only been traditional wet-shaving for a little over a month, so I suppose I have a while before I find my perfect set up. I will say that I got two BBS shaves this past week after only using it a few days and since this is my first SE, I'd also say that's fantastic.

Thanks for the share and the info. I was wondering what year my razor was. Smile

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 05-19-2012, 06:28 PM
#19
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(05-19-2012, 06:10 PM)flanman Wrote: I've got the flying wing and have only had it for a week. That being said, I shaved with it for a week and noticed a much better shave than with my Parker DE. I love the weight of the GEM and how easily it slides down my face with minimal to no effort on my part; my job is just to guide it along it's path. I am fascinated by this high quality razor and don't know if I'll ever find one so nice, SE or otherwise. Of course I've only been traditional wet-shaving for a little over a month, so I suppose I have a while before I find my perfect set up. I will say that I got two BBS shaves this past week after only using it a few days and since this is my first SE, I'd also say that's fantastic.

Thanks for the share and the info. I was wondering what year my razor was. Smile

Congrats on getting some great shaves from a simply splendid razor. Just keep your eyes out for the rest of the Micromatic famil; the Clog Pruf & OCMM. The OCMM is my favorite razor, though it's currently being challenged by the Valet AutoStrop VC1.

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 05-19-2012, 06:53 PM
#20
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(05-19-2012, 06:28 PM)SharpSpine Wrote:
(05-19-2012, 06:10 PM)flanman Wrote: I've got the flying wing and have only had it for a week. That being said, I shaved with it for a week and noticed a much better shave than with my Parker DE. I love the weight of the GEM and how easily it slides down my face with minimal to no effort on my part; my job is just to guide it along it's path. I am fascinated by this high quality razor and don't know if I'll ever find one so nice, SE or otherwise. Of course I've only been traditional wet-shaving for a little over a month, so I suppose I have a while before I find my perfect set up. I will say that I got two BBS shaves this past week after only using it a few days and since this is my first SE, I'd also say that's fantastic.

Thanks for the share and the info. I was wondering what year my razor was. Smile

Congrats on getting some great shaves from a simply splendid razor. Just keep your eyes out for the rest of the Micromatic famil; the Clog Pruf & OCMM. The OCMM is my favorite razor, though it's currently being challenged by the Valet AutoStrop VC1.

Will do. I've been meaning to try an OC, so I suppose that'll be my next razor type.

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