02-10-2017, 11:33 AM
#1
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
User Info
The Emperor is arguable one of the most beautiful Simpson handles (for me) and is easily overlooked considering the hype around the “big sellers” Chubby, Duke and alike. The Emperor is related to the ASM3 and M7 handles in some way and is somewhat of a “parent” to the – recent -  Captain handle (at least I think of the Captain as a slightly modified, large version of the Emperor – Simpson’s response to the popular barber style handles).
 
The Emperor has been less popular lately because it houses a rather small knot (19-22mm depending on the version), while currently en vogue are knots equal or greater than 26mm. You shall not confuse sheer size with lathering power though. The Emperor knots are a power house that should not be messed with!   Biggrin
 
The Emperor comes in three sizes (E1, 2 and 3). Handles stand at 53, 57 and 60mm tall, respectively. Knot sizes vary between 19-22mm with lofts anywhere between 45 and 54 mm. For the sake of simplicity, I will from now on only talk about the largest model, the Emperor 3.
 
Originally, the Emperor was only offered in the premium Super grade (no “Best” or “Pure” here, after all it is the “Emperor”) and in the traditional cream handle. Then, suddenly, out of nowhere, a batch of Emperor 3 brushes in light and dark faux tortoise (!!!) labeled “Silvertip” appeared at Truefitt & Hill and was sold with a significant mark-up over the standard Emperor handles available from Simpson (testing future LEs?). Eventually, not all of these sold and as T&H revamped their brush assortment, they handed them to a third party seller for sell-out with a nice discount – I got mine there. Such an Emperor will be part of our comparison.
 
A few additional words about “Silvertip” and Simpson: As mentioned above, Simpson’s top band 3 grade is called “Super”. The term “silvertip”, prior to its current usage, was only used – to my knowledge - for the above T&H batch and the occasional Super 3 band custom brush (see the Duke 3 that was prepared for me below). Later, the term was used for the “Super 2 Band” hair in order to distinguish it from both Manchurian 2 Band and Super 3 Band grades. In other words: within the Simpson line-up the term “silvertip” was originally used for limited production run or custom Super 3 Bands and then later for 2 Band brushes – a 2 Band “Silvertip” – confused?  Huh


[Image: yeyINqm.jpg]

 
Back to the Emperor: Simpson 2 bands of the famed 2011-14 batch came in various handles, though never predictably so. They were sold originally in many outlets, but limited to only direct sales from Simpson after the MAP policy (minimum pricing) was implemented (around 2012). After that, supply of 2 bands was limited to custom brushes ordered directly from Simpson before basically drying out, when custom orders were no longer (broadly) accepted (2014). Today Simpson (“Super”) 2 Band has the occasionally showing as “LE”, renamed “Silvertip”. THE 2 Band Simpson is currently marketing as their top tier product is “Manchurian”, a completely different “animal” (pardon the punch). The Emperor in Manchurian is also available as the occasional LE.
 
The Emperor in 2 Band used here in this comparison is from 2012 and was still acquired the traditional way, i.e. through one of our vendors.
 
After all this background/history, let’s get to it, shall we:
 
-       Emperor 3 in 3 Band (!) Silvertip (2012): 21/50mm
-       Emperor 3 in 2 Band (2012): 22/54mm


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Emperor 3 Band T&H Silvertip (2012):
This brush is an absolute joy to use. Often described as a bowl lathering brush, I only face lather with the Emperor (I only face lather with every brush). Super ergonomic handle, and the 3 band has a perfectly sized knot that gives you loads of lather. It is a precision tool that enables you to make and distribute the lather wherever it needs to go while avoiding places where it shouldn’t. For those of you who are used to 28mm plus diameter brushes that cover your face with lather in two strokes, it is worthwhile to go “small” once in a while to get a new perspective.
And then the hair: My experience with Simpson 3 Band Super is mixed. More often than not, the hair was rather scritchy when compared to my absolute softness benchmark: the Thaeter 3 Band Silvertip.
Not this Emperor: whatever Simpson did when offering those to T&H and calling them “Silvertip”, it paid out. From all the Simpson 3 bands I have used this is the one with the softest tips. Maybe a different batch, maybe sorted with a more picky hand, whatever it was, this knot is spectacular to use. The loft is great for this knot (although a 48mm loft would probably be perfect). The brush is medium dense with great flow through and soft tips caressing your face! Could this be the perfect (small) brush?


[Image: VN8kW2j.jpg]



[Image: KJcWZWa.jpg]

 
Emperor 2 Band (2012):
Oh boy! I am a sucker for Simpson 2 Band brushes of this period. BUT: How can there be a 22mm knot with a 54mm loft? What were you thinking, Simpson!? Looking at the brush the loft seems oversized for the handle, like the weird cousin with the wild hairdo of the perfectly shaped 3 Band “Silvertip”. Upon further inspection, it turns out the (effective) loft is truly not 54mm, but 50mm. What? Why? A GLUE BUMP!!! A sizable one as well.


[Image: 8JUFwrk.jpg]



[Image: X9ndpW5.jpg]

 
Glue bumps… Love or hate them? It is really not the glue bump per se that is an issue – though aesthetically, a glue bump may or may not delight once the brush blooms (perfect mushrooms, anybody?). The issue is not knowing in advance, if a brush has a glue bump or not. Why? I select brushes in the context of knot diameter and loft and for me anything around a 2:1 loft to diameter ratio is about right (as always, there are exceptions). So, if I buy with a certain ratio in mind and my brush comes with a sizable glue bump, then suddenly my perfect 24/50mm becomes a 24/46mm, which completely changes the characteristics of that brush.
 
Then there is Simpson, which always has some sort of variability, when it comes to actual brush dimensions vs. spec. And indeed this brush does not disappoint. The effective knot of 50mm is perfect for this loft. The hair is silky soft but the bulb shape and resilience of the 2 Band does not present any problem even with hard soaps.
 
So which one do I like better?  Angel
 
It’s a tie! Both are perfect brushes with ample power to work out a great lather and just the right size knot to not create a mess…
 
Enjoy your shaves, Gentlemen!
 
 

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 02-10-2017, 05:09 PM
#2
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My circa 2009 E3 Super 3-band was my favorite among smaller brushes. The skinny handle and large bloom made things seem a little off-kilter to my eye, but I still found myself reaching for it more than other brushes because of the lather it generated, as you suggest. Its beautiful shape led me to the larger M7 styles, a fixation I still have. I would have been content to have one in 2-band Super, along with an M7, Grosvenor and Ehsan. The gents who actually do are lucky fellows.

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 02-10-2017, 06:27 PM
#3
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Fantastic writeup.  What a series of articles.  The emperor and related handle shapes have always appealed to me.  Great description of the hair, knot and loft sizes.  Thanks German!

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 02-10-2017, 07:00 PM
#4
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Awesome write up Georg, very much enjoying all of them. Maybe I missed this in the article but which is "supposed" to be the higher grade of hair, 3 band SilverTip or "Super"

If I may ask, I would love to see a similar write up for one of these; Tulip, Grosvenor and/or of course the infamous Duke

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 02-11-2017, 01:49 AM
#5
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Thank you for the insight. If there's one Simpson brush that always catches my attention, it's the Emperor. The Chubby is 2nd but the Emperor is my Simpson dream brush.

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 02-11-2017, 05:53 AM
#6
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
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(02-10-2017, 07:00 PM)snowman Wrote: Awesome write up Georg, very much enjoying all of them. Maybe I missed this in the article but which is "supposed" to be the higher grade of hair, 3 band SilverTip or "Super"

There is no real distinction between "Silvertip" or "Super" 3 Band. I believe Simpson adopted the Silvertip term for a short period for distinct 3 band brushes (T&H, custom orders) for Marketing purposes. Then with the Manchurian grade occupying the 2 Band space, this term was used to label the occasional "Super 2 Band" brushes.

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 02-11-2017, 05:56 AM
#7
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
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(02-10-2017, 07:00 PM)snowman Wrote: If I may ask, I would love to see a similar write up for one of these; Tulip, Grosvenor and/or of course the infamous Duke

Possibly....   Biggrin

[Image: MIQGNh4.jpg]

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 02-11-2017, 09:22 AM
#8
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(02-11-2017, 05:56 AM)German Wrote:
(02-10-2017, 07:00 PM)snowman Wrote: If I may ask, I would love to see a similar write up for one of these; Tulip, Grosvenor and/or of course the infamous Duke

Possibly....   Biggrin

DO IT...
Thanks for clarifying too

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 02-13-2017, 06:40 AM
#9
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The E3 has always frustrated me.  I like the handle a lot, but the knot is just too small for me.  I prefer knots in the 26-28mm range, and have a few larger than that.  My smallest brush is a 2-band D3, and the only reason I went that small is that I like Simpson 2-band hair.  So, I go on admiring the E3 handle, but knowing that I can never get one.

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 02-13-2017, 09:05 AM
#10
  • refles
  • Senior Member
  • New York
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The Emperor series is another lovely and iconic handle, exciting part 3! Learned something regarding how the T&H E3 came to be, thanks German! 

The only Emperor I still have is an E3 Manchurian which I enjoy immensely, its a little knot that doesn't behave like one due to the stronger backbone of the Manchurian type hair.

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 02-13-2017, 09:33 AM
#11
  • Rufus
  • Senior Member
  • Greater Toronto Area
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Excellent write-up.  I have an E2 super in faux ivory and it is one of my favourite brushes.  Ergonomically, aesthetically and performance-wise it iis everything I look for in a shaving brush.  From an aesthetic and ergonomic perspective the only other brush I own that matches it is my Rooney Heritage Emillion in faux ivory.

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 02-13-2017, 11:18 AM
#12
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
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(02-13-2017, 06:40 AM)TheLegalRazor Wrote: The E3 has always frustrated me.  I like the handle a lot, but the knot is just too small for me.  I prefer knots in the 26-28mm range, and have a few larger than that.  My smallest brush is a 2-band D3, and the only reason I went that small is that I like Simpson 2-band hair.  So, I go on admiring the E3 handle, but knowing that I can never get one.

True, it is a small knot. You can beef it up with the Captain (basically a super sized Emperor handle) , which is a larger brush, though the knot also only gets you to 24mm.

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 02-13-2017, 12:38 PM
#13
  • chazt
  • Senior Member
  • Bayside, NY
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You'd think the maker would increase the knot size in keeping with the more substantial handle.

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