02-14-2017, 07:03 AM
#1
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
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I had to change the title a bit given we are now talking three Dukes.    Tongue
 
My first Simpson Duke 3 was the 2 Band – my first 2 Band overall! I bought it in 2012 at the beginning of my journey with Simpson. I had a Simpson Chubby 1 in Super at that time already, but it was not much to my liking – we parted ways.
 
I asked Mark Watterson for a custom Duke 3 in “Silvertip” (commonly the term for the highest 3 Band badger hair). He answered that Simpson’s Super is basically the same grade, but not named as such. When I received the Duke 3 from him it was labeled “Silvertip”. Did I cause this? Who knows.
 
I tried Simpson’s Manchurian grade several times and every time – in the early days – I remained dissatisfied with the hair grade. The early batches and knot construction (dense, short lofted) created stiff and scritchy knots that I could not bear. The Jubilee is notably different here with a medium dense, tall lofted knot and great face feel.
 
So, here we go, comparing these Dukes (from left to right):
-       Duke 3 “Silvertip” 3 Band: 24/48mm (2012)
-       Duke 3 Manchurian: 24/46mm (2013)
-       Duke 3 2 Band (labeled “Best”): 25/50mm (2012)




[Image: yOwcx1Z.jpg]



 
Let’s start with simple metrics: the 2 band has the fullest knot, is the only bulb and has the highest loft. The 3 Band resembles most the standard specs of a Duke 3 at the time. The Manchurian has the shortest loft. All are within “normal” spec variation for a Simpson brush. Current Duke Manchurian advertised come with a spec of 23/48mm.
 
Again, my observation that today’s offerings seem to have a lower diameter knot compared to few years ago (especially true for Manchurian grade).
 
Let’s go into the details:
 
Duke 3 2 Band:
This is the first 2 Band I acquired and it started my obsession with that “unicorn” hair of that period. The bulb is perfect, the density is just right, the hair is incredibly soft and provides a wonderful, gentle shaving experience. After this Duke, I went for 10 custom brushes from Simpson in that 2 Band grade, most of them with a 25/50mm knot.
This brush is incredible!


[Image: p6soxeu.jpg]



[Image: XOUdMt2.jpg]

 
Duke 3 “Silvertip” 3 Band:
First of all, the cause of confusion that Simpson chose to name a “Super” grade brush “Silvertip”. I have only seen this on a few 3 Band brushes, either customs like mine or the T&H Emperor Special addition discussed in my other thread. Does the hair feel any different than the Super grade of that time? No. Is it as “refined” as the T&H SE Emperor 3? No, but it is difficult to compare two knots with different attributes: the E3 of that time is a 21/50mm compared to this Duke (24/48mm). The taller loft always provides more flex and a softer feel to the skin. Besides that, the D3 in “Silvertip” is a joy to use, but no comparison to the 2 Band.


[Image: NuKAZzw.jpg]



[Image: Em5eEdS.jpg]



 
Duke 3 Manchurian:
After the Jubilee, that has a great knot with the Manchurian of the time, this D3 was the second Manchurian I acquired and the reason why I stayed away from Manchurian grade hair until 2016. The knot is stiff (46mm loft!) and the hair scritchy. A real disappointment, as far as my taste is concerned – YMMV. Personally, I am staying away from Manchurian knots with less than a 50mm knot. I own still today a 58, Captain and (recent) a Chubby 2 in Manchurian (all from 2016 batches). Those feature much softer hair AND a loft of 52-54mm. Just the sweet spot, as far as I am concerned.


[Image: pN7xR36.jpg]



[Image: aAQE1Nb.jpg]

 
Bottom line, the D3 in 2 Band a true revelation, the D3 in Super “Silvertip” an ordinary Super (good, not outstanding), the D3 in Manchurian completely not resonating with my taste.
 
Both the 3 Band Silvertip and the D3 Manchurian are no longer with me. The D3 in 2 Band will always be.
 
Now, I want to be transparent in saying that the current Manchurian batch is a pleasure to use with lofts of 52-54mm as described above.
 
I am also owning three Simpson Super grade brushes from 2016/17 (T3, PJ3, Chubby 2) and those batches feature very soft tips and will stay with me for the foreseeable future.
 
Enjoy your shaves, Gentlemen!
 

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 02-14-2017, 10:30 AM
#2
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Yet another awesome write up! Thanks for doing the Dukes.
The brushes you refer to you in your last paragraph, are they 3 bands? Can we see a pic please?

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 02-14-2017, 11:15 AM
#3
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
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(02-14-2017, 10:30 AM)snowman Wrote: The brushes you refer to you in your last paragraph, are they 3 bands? Can we see a pic please?

Yes, Simpson "Super Badger"

[Image: RyzJFzf.jpg]

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 02-14-2017, 11:55 AM
#4
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What a beautiful trio! Enjoy in good health!

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 02-14-2017, 01:23 PM
#5
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My Duke 3 is a Silvertip 2-Band from 2016.  

[Image: rcHScTM.jpg]

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 02-14-2017, 01:30 PM
#6
  • German
  • Simpson 2 Band Aficionado
  • USA
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(02-14-2017, 01:23 PM)TheLegalRazor Wrote: My Duke 3 is a Silvertip 2-Band from 2016.  

[Image: rcHScTM.jpg]

Ricardo, if you have used a 2 Band from the 2011-14 era, I would be interested to know how you would compare them to today's "Silvertip" offering? In pictures they seem often less of a bulb (more a hybrid) and smaller knots (e.g. mine is a 25mm knot). Hence, I have refrained from getting any of the new ones (because I probably have that same handle in the "vintage" grade and feel not compelled to try).

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 02-14-2017, 05:36 PM
#7
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(02-14-2017, 01:30 PM)German Wrote:
(02-14-2017, 01:23 PM)TheLegalRazor Wrote: My Duke 3 is a Silvertip 2-Band from 2016.  

Ricardo, if you have used a 2 Band from the 2011-14 era, I would be interested to know how you would compare them to today's "Silvertip" offering? In pictures they seem often less of a bulb (more a hybrid) and smaller knots (e.g. mine is a 25mm knot). Hence, I have refrained from getting any of the new ones (because I probably have that same handle in the "vintage" grade and feel not compelled to try).

I don't have any Simpson 2-bands from that era.  It's frustrating, because I could have had some of those earlier brushes.  I recall that they would periodically show up at The Superior Shave, but I had no clue 2-band hair would become so rare.  Looking at pictures though, I do agree with you that some of the earlier 2-bands seem to have more of a classic, perfectly shaped bulb.  I don't know why that would be the case, and may just reflect different persons making the knots.

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