12-17-2012, 05:46 AM
#1
  • Andrew
  • Senior Member
  • Austin, TX
User Info
After searching high and low, I finally added a Darwin DE to my den. This was/is my Holy Grail razor. Not only are these razors rare, beautiful, and made from solid Cobalt steel, they have a reputation for being fantastic shavers. Here are a couple recent threads that provide some nice reading and photos:

My Darwin Experience

Testing a Darwin Standard

The Darwin I purchased is similar to, yet distinctly different than the Darwins I have seen posted on the shaving forums, i.e., the Darwin Standard and Deluxe. The biggest difference you will note from the photos is the construction of the head piece - the base plate is flat, not curved, and the pins that hold the blade in place are on the base plate (like a Deluxe) but are covered by the top cap.

I'll start with some photos of my Darwin and post some thoughts on the razor later.

[Image: Darwin1.jpg]

[Image: Darwin2.jpg]

[Image: Darwin3.jpg]

[Image: Darwin4.jpg]

[Image: Darwin5.jpg]

[Image: Darwin6.jpg]

[Image: Darwin7.jpg]

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 12-17-2012, 05:50 AM
#2
  • ben74
  • Administrator
  • Perth, Australia
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Andrew, congratulations on an amazing acquisition!

I'm looking forward to learning of your shaving experiences with it...

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 12-17-2012, 05:56 AM
#3
  • ajc347
  • Senior Member
  • Exeter, UK
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Great photos of what looks to be an amazing razor. Smile

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 12-17-2012, 09:17 AM
#4
  • Andrew
  • Senior Member
  • Austin, TX
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I think this patent diagram is interesting:

[Image: 8238948617_d4f41ceac0.jpg]

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 12-17-2012, 09:35 AM
#5
  • slantman
  • Expert Shaver
  • Leesburg, Florida
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That is a beauty. Congratulations and use it well.

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 12-17-2012, 01:34 PM
#6
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Very cool- these are one of the neatest vintage razors around!

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 12-17-2012, 07:08 PM
#7
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Wonderful find, excellent performer and it will never need replating.

Enjoy!

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 12-17-2012, 07:12 PM
#8
  • geezer
  • Senior Member
  • Menomonie, Western WI
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Late to the party! Congratulations!
~Richard

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 12-17-2012, 07:58 PM
#9
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Wow, Andrew, that is a fantastic razor! Very, very nice.

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 12-17-2012, 08:35 PM
#10
  • OldDog23
  • Senior Member
  • BeanTown MetroWest
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excellent ! the artisan razor of it's day ! staying tuned for the shave test !

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 12-17-2012, 09:25 PM
#11
  • savagejoerude
  • If you ain't a LOSER, you ain't livin'!!
  • New Orleans USA
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Just yesterday read a pretty extensive thread on another forum about the Darwin. Nice find. Waiting for the reviews...

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 12-18-2012, 08:52 PM
#12
  • Andrew
  • Senior Member
  • Austin, TX
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For anyone who wants to get geeky with information on the Darwin DE, here is a link to the original 1925 patent (thanks, Intrigued):

Darwin patent

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 12-18-2012, 09:25 PM
#13
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What a great razor and a great find. I too look forward to the shave reviews.

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 12-18-2012, 09:28 PM
#14
  • Triad
  • Triad Razor Handles
  • Texas
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Coolest looking razors out there Congrats Andrew

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 12-19-2012, 05:07 AM
#15
  • Andrew
  • Senior Member
  • Austin, TX
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Having used the Darwin for four days now, I can make some early observations. I think anyone reading my thoughts on this razor should consider the bias I may have toward it because of the time and money I spent to acquire it. I would like to think I'm being objective in my assessment, but I can't deny the bias this razor induces.

On to the razor. On one of the other forums, the particular style of my Darwin razor has been dubbed the Darwin Original, as it is distinctly different from the Darwin Standard and Deluxe, the two versions most commonly seen. And my razor more closely resembles the patent diagram. I weigh my Darwin at 66.5 grams. I had to put it on the scale several times to confirm this weight, as it feels like an 80 gram razor in the hand. The razor is incredibly shiny, and I would swear the cobalt steel feels colder than my other razors. Maybe that observation is more related to the lack of knurling on the handle.

Loading the blade is much like any 3-piece razor. The blade locks down securely, with no play while tightening the assembly. So there is no variability in the position of the blade in relation to the top cap and base plate. It locks down in precisely the same position every time. The lateral (non-cutting) edges of the blade protrude very slightly from the ends of the head piece. The top cap is very low profile where it meets the blade edge. If you read the patent I linked to above, you will discover that the designer of the Darwin razor wanted the head to resemble a hollow ground razor. I don't shave with straights, so I can't comment on this, but this difference between the Darwin and other safety razors is quite noticeable. The top cap on the Darwin is concave, while the top cap on all of my other DEs and SEs is convex.

In use, the Darwin Original is extremely efficient. The razor provides excellent feedback, both audible and tactile. I find I can vary the blade angle somewhat, with similarly effective results. Unlike some other efficient razors I have used, when I vary this blade angle, I don't sense that the razor will bite. And indeed, it doesn't. In four days of shaving, I have not experienced a single weeper, and more importantly, my face has sensed no irritation from the shave, not even from the spots I have to spend a little extra time on, like my neck. The handle is a pleasure to hold while shaving. I find it ergonomic and intuitive. The base plate has large openings between the guard bars and the center bar, and this allows very good flow of lather and cut whiskers.

To sum it all up, this razor is awesome. I love everything about it - the design, the cobalt steel, the shave it provides. Is it for everyone? I think not. The main stumbling block is its cost, and related to this is its rarity. Then there's the YMMV aspect: for some it may be too aggressive. For others, too mild. I do wish one of the modern stainless steel razor makers would try to make a version of the Darwin shaving head. As I described above, the geometry of the head is different than any of my other DEs, and this may have a lot to do with how effective and smooth a shaver the Darwin is.

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 12-19-2012, 08:19 AM
#16
  • EHV
  • Senior Member
  • Milford,PA
User Info
Thank you for the review Andrew!

For some reason, this is exactly how I imagined that shaving with this razor would be. Biggrin

I wish you many continued, happy and healthy shaves with this beauty and I will admit that I am green with envy!

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 12-19-2012, 11:01 AM
#17
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Maybe i should take a trip down to Austin! Hee hee.
Enjoy the razor, my friend.

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 12-19-2012, 07:03 PM
#18
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Andrew, what a great write up on a great find! Thumbup

It might be fun after the first of the year to send the Darwin Standard your way for a visit so you can compare the shave with your Darwin Original. My curiosity is getting the best of me again. In other words, I'm Intrigued. Cool

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 12-19-2012, 07:05 PM
#19
  • Andrew
  • Senior Member
  • Austin, TX
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As I mentioned above, the Darwin razor I recently acquired is a little different than most you see on the forums. Because of this difference, I really wanted to have a Darwin Standard or Deluxe in my den, in addition to the Darwin Original. Number 2, a Darwin Standard, arrived today, and I wanted to share some photos.

[Image: DarwinS7.jpg]

[Image: DarwinS6.jpg]

[Image: DarwinS5.jpg]

[Image: DarwinS4.jpg]

[Image: DarwinS3.jpg]

[Image: DarwinS2.jpg]

[Image: DarwinS1.jpg]

(12-19-2012, 07:03 PM)Intrigued Wrote: Andrew, what a great write up on a great find! Thumbup

It might be fun after the first of the year to send the Darwin Standard your way for a visit so you can compare the shave with your Darwin Original. My curiosity is getting the best of me again. In other words, I'm Intrigued. Cool

How funny - as you were writing this post, I was busy linking to photos of my new Standard. Biggrin

Of course I will share my thoughts on their differences.

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 12-19-2012, 07:20 PM
#20
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(12-19-2012, 07:05 PM)Andrew Wrote: As I mentioned above, the Darwin razor I recently acquired is a little different than most you see on the forums. Because of this difference, I really wanted to have a Darwin Standard or Deluxe in my den, in addition to the Darwin Original. Number 2, a Darwin Standard, arrived today, and I wanted to share some photos.

[Image: DarwinS7.jpg]

[Image: DarwinS6.jpg]

[Image: DarwinS5.jpg]

[Image: DarwinS4.jpg]

[Image: DarwinS3.jpg]

[Image: DarwinS2.jpg]

[Image: DarwinS1.jpg]

(12-19-2012, 07:03 PM)Intrigued Wrote: Andrew, what a great write up on a great find! Thumbup

It might be fun after the first of the year to send the Darwin Standard your way for a visit so you can compare the shave with your Darwin Original. My curiosity is getting the best of me again. In other words, I'm Intrigued. Cool

How funny - as you were writing this post, I was busy linking to photos of my new Standard. Biggrin

Of course I will share my thoughts on their differences.

[Image: smiley-happy106.gif]

That is too funny!

Yes please, I would obviously love to hear how the two compare. Biggrin

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