See how "Blade Gap" changes based on Adjustment Dial position. A higher dial setting equals more Blade Gap equals greater blade Exposure equals closer shave.
So, I thought I would create a guide with an indication of how rare each Gillette Adjustable razor type is today.The quantity numbers associated with each model type are a gut feel on my part based on various information I have gleaned over the years. The types of information include discussions with other collectors and in a large part the frequency with which each model type comes up for availability on eBay. If there are a bunch for sale every day, there must be a lot of them. If they only come up for sale once every 6 months then not so much. The model types with an asterisk after the quantity indicates I could be crazy wrong. These numbers have a "less than" symbol which says yes it is true (as well as I can guess) but maybe not so close or accurate. The numbers with an asterisk could be off by up to 4 or 5 times. That is, for example, the number of actual Slims that exist could indeed range from < 100,000 to < 500,000. Sorry I cannot be more accurate. P&G is not being forthcoming with their actual historical production numbers from Gillette, so it is hard for me to gauge. I am investigating other methodologies to approximate the numbers based on publicly available information. I will update the quantities and footnotes to the methodology as I get more accurate guesses. Take it for what it is worth... my best guess.
NDC - No Date Code Prototype
N&G - Nickel Plated and Gold Plated Versions
N&B - Nickel Plated Dial and Black Painted Dial Versions
Exec - Executive
FB - Fatboy
Std - Standard
5P- 5 Position Maximum Adjuster Dial
9P - 9 Position Maximum Adjuster Dial
Arist - Aristocrat
SA - Super Adjustable
Blk - Black Plastic Bottom Plate
Vert - Vertical Knurling Handle
Diam - Diamond Knurling Handle
The following is a graphic from an internal Gillette marketing document in the 1950's showing how the range of settings of the adjustable razor satisfies the shaving desires of 99.7% of all consumers. Also, the average consumer will prefer a setting of "5" and 68% of all consumers will be satisfied with an adjustable between the settings of "4" and "6". The marketing document went on to explain how a consumer can use the adjustability of the razor to compensate for conditions such as balancing skin comfort versus closeness, shaving different area such as the face and the neck; needing a lighter shave in the evening; getting the best performance out of a new blade; and special face conditions such as sunburn.
Gillette Adjustable Razor Blade Gap By Razor Type
How will your shave differ depending on the Adjustable Razor Type you choose?
Use the following Blade Gap Sizes Chart. It will help you "guesstimate" which type of Gillette Adjustable razor will shave you better. My takeaways and conclusions are as follows:
1) The Standard Slim (or the Aristocrat Slim)*is closest razor to the "Average" adjustable razor.
2) The Bottom Dial 1-5 Prototype was the mildest of the bunch.
3) The most aggressive commonly available adjustable razor is the "Black Beauty".
4) The Bottom Dial 1-9 was the most aggressive of the bunch.
5) All the adjustable razors are great!
6) Fatboys are cool!
7) Everyone should try a vintage Gillette Adjustable razor.
* Standard Slims are built using the same physical parts as the Aristocrat Slim - only the plating metal (nickel or gold) is different.
Gillette Adjustables Rarity Guide
How to use this Blade Gap Table:
1) Finding an equivalent gap on another adjustable razor type.
For example, If you have a Standard Fatboy razor and shave with it at a "7" and want to know how another Gillette Adjustable will behave, simply look at the column for the other razor and match up the gap numbers. So, a Standard Fatboy at "7" is a ".033". That is roughly equivalent to a Standard Toggle at a "5" (".032").
2) Finding if an adjustable razor type is not aggressive enough or too aggressive.
For example, if you have tried Slim at "9" and it is just not provide a close enough shave, look at the blade gap amount for the Slim at "9". It is ".039". Now, find another adjustable razor type that has a higher gap amout than ".039". The "Super-84" fits the bill. It is a ".045". So, a "Black Beauty" will give you more range. A Super Adjustable at "9" is like a Fatboy at "12" or "13" (if there was such a thing).
Also note Gillette has designed each and every one of the razors to provide about a ".003" difference from one setting to the next. That is the difference between a razor at any given setting and the setting above or below it will be about ".003". This is true for all of the Gillette Adjustable models.If you don't exactly see that in the Blade Gap Table, it is due to a slight measurement error. For those who care, the average standard deviation is .0072" so considering the "Average Razor" and an average +/- 1 STDev as a significance threshold, only the Bottom Dials are significantly different than the rest of the adjustables.
A Feeler gauge was used to measure "Blade Gap" on various types of "new" Gillette Adjustable razors. Important differences between types of razors were found.
A Reference Resource and Historical Archive.
"Blade Gap" is the dimension in red on this Gillette diagram.
See the following chart for reference to discover how a normal distribution of customers in a population will behave.
The Adjustable Razor is Universal!
|Razor Model||Qty that Exist Today|
|Chrome Toggle (Gold)||1|
|Red Dot Fatboy (F-4)||1|
|Serial Toggle (Nickel)||3|
|Bottom Dial 5 Position (Black Dial)||< 5|
|Bottom Dial 5 Position (Nickel Dial)||< 10|
|Serial Toggle (Gold)||< 50|
|Bottom Dial 9 Position||< 250|
|Chrome Toggle (Nickel)||< 500|
|Red Dot Fatboy (D-1)||< 1,000|
|Standard Toggle (D-1)||< 25,000*|
|Standard Toggle (F-4)||< 50,000*|
|Executive Fatboy||< 100,000*|
|Super Adjustable (Gold)||< 100,000*|
|Aristocrat Slim||< 300,000*|
|Super Adjustable (Black Bottom Plate)||< 750,000*|
Please note: The date code is two parts. The first is an alphabetic letter which corresponds to the year of manufacture as indicated in the above chart. But the Gillette date code is both an alphabetic letter and it is a number too. The numbers mean the three month quarter of manufacture. 1 is the time from of January to March. 2 is April to June. 3 is July to September. 4 is October to December. So, for example a date code of D-1 is an adjustable razor manufactured in the first quarter of 1958 or first quarter of 1983 depending on the razor model.
|D||1958||Fatboy||Exec FB||Red Dot FB|| Std Toggle|
|F||1960||Fatboy||Exec FB||Red Dot FB||Std Toggle||Chrome Tog(N&G)||Bottom Dial(9P)|
|G||1961||Fatboy||Exec FB||Slim||Arist Slim|
|X||1977||SA Blk Vert|
|Y||1978||SA Blk Vert|
|Z||1979||SA Blk Vert|
|A||1980||SA Blk Vert||SA Blk Diam|
|B||1981||SA Blk Vert||SA Blk Diam|
|C||1982||SA Blk Diam|
|D||1983||SA Blk Diam|
|E||1984||SA Blk Diam|
|F||1985||SA Blk Diam|
|G||1986||SA Blk Diam|
|H||1987||SA Blk Diam|
|I||1988||SA Blk Diam|
|9|| .034 ||.034||.038||.037||.037||,039||.039||.041||.044||.045||.043||.059|
(Measurements are in inches - Table Updated 4-14-17).
Gillette Adjustable Razors