It has been a while since I have picked up a new razor, so when my latest addition, the Parker 89R arrived – I was excited to give it a go. However, as I have been attempting to do, I wanted to give it a First Impression run down before giving it a trial run in the shave den. In addition to the first impression I like to compare my new razor with current favourites or go to razors in my collection. I decided to use two additional razors for comparison here, the Edwin Jagger 89lbl - arguably my favourite razor, along with the Merkur “1904″ Classic – the razor that got me started in wet shaving. Using these two for comparison should provide a decent look at what I guess I would call entry level to intermediate level razors.
Right off the bat the first thing I notice with the Parker 89R is the handle. It’s smooth design really stands out and is quite different than my other razors, like the EJ 89lbl and “1904″ classic that each have a design pattern on them. Next to the handle it was the weight of the Parker 89R that stood out. Without comparing it to my other razors, my first reaction was that this razor was considerable heavier than most, if not all of my other razors with the exception of perhaps my only other Parker razor the 92R. You will find that some websites refer to this razor as being Super Heavy Weight, but the Parker website doesn’t have it listed as such. Either way it has quite a nice weight to it. Comparing it to the Edwin Jagger I would say that, by feel alone, the Parker feels slightly more substantial.
All three razors that I am comparing have the three piece design. No real advantage to one over the other really. The Parker 89R seems to have a quality build to it. The handle screwed in nice to the cutting head without any slipping or suggestion of it loosening. Overall what one would expect from the a three piece design.
I touched on the handle a bit above but just to take a closer look you can see that there are essentially three different design features to the handle – the divot type grip that circles the handle seems to provide an comfortable, slip free area to place your thumb (I’ll comment on it further in the review of the razor to see how it handles when wet). Above and below the divot there is a squared pattern that, depending how you hold your razor, provides some grip for you forefinger. And of course the nub on the end of the handle provides a nice hefty area to balance and support your little finger.
Compared to the other two razors I would have to say that I still prefer the look and feel of the Edwin Jagger 89lbl. There is something about the line pattern that creates a nice balance between design and functionality.
The other major difference in the handles is of course the length. The Parker has a much longer handle than the Merkur “1904″, and only slightly longer than the Edwin Jagger. The length of the handle really comes down to personal preference. I actually enjoy the shorter handled razors, I feel like they provide me with a bit more control, something I wouldn’t have imagined prior to entering the wet-shaving world. However, for those of you how are looking to make your first double edge razor purchase and are a bit hesitant about changing too many things at once then you may find the transition to something like the Parker 89R a bit easier to make. Additionally if you have larger hands you may also want to consider the longer handle of the 89R over some other options.
The Cutting Head
When I first took a look at the cutting head of the Parker I was convinced that it was identical to the Edwin Jagger 89lbl that I had sitting in my shave cabinet, but on closer inspection there is definitely a difference, at least in it’s construction. The Edwin Jagger seems to have a more rounded bottom to it, where the Parker angles up at each end.
The biggest difference between the three cutting heads has to be the blade exposure – specifically that of the Parker. I would say that I was more than a bit surprised to see the gap that the Parker provided (click on the image to get a better idea). Having not used it I would imagine that my first experience with it will be an aggressive one. In fact, the gap is so great that I would hesitate suggestion this as a first razor without a quick tutorial on razor aggressiveness.
My final thought on the Parker 89r razor before actually judging it based on it’s performance is that I am excited to give it ago. I’m curious about how well the handle will perform with wet hands. I’m excited by the weight of the razor – the balance feels good to the touch and I hope it continues with the shave. But what I am most looking forward to is finding out how aggressive this razor actually is. When I ordered it I didn’t expect an aggressive razor, part of me hopes that it is.