It’s no secret that I’m a fan of adjustable DE razors. Now there’s a stainless steel, luxury adjustable razor, the Rex Supply Co. Ambassador adjustable razor, and I had to crack open my wallet to get one.
The Ambassador Adjustable Razor Specs And Background
- Length: 3.5″ (87mm)
- Weight: 3.5oz (100g)
- 316L Stainless Steel
The Ambassador is built and sold via Razor Emporium. I asked Matt Pisarcik, owner of Razor Emporium, about how the Ambassador came about:
Mantic59: Why did you develop the Ambassador?
Matt: “We decided to develop the Ambassador after years of working on Gillette Adjustable safety razors. For over 8 years, Razor Emporium has serviced Fatboys, Slims and tons of other great vintage Gillette razors and realized that they were a design everyone could like – you can dial in the shave you want. Customers love them and would often ask if there were any modern adjustable razors similar in construction or function. While many vintage models existed, there few modern options available. We drew inspiration from historic models like the Gibbs Adjustable, but also incorporated features that brought the razor into a modern, CNC production world.”
Mantic59: Can you give us an overview of the design and development process?
Matt: “The first prototype we created was a simple test to see if we could move a base plate up and down. A crude model was made out of brass – turning and lathing a few parts by hand and borrowing a few parts and spring from vintage razors. Viola! It worked. Now to take a crude prototype to a finished razor. My focus went to the handle- it had to feel solid and easy to hold onto. Gillette had razors like the Big Fellow and Fatboy that people love today. We settled on a 3.25 inch handle – complete with deep milled knurling that was easy to grip in any shaving location – shower or at the sink. I also wanted to retain the bottom knob, similar to a Merkur 34C. This small feature eases the blade loading process – less parts to fumble with.
“Over the course of a few years, more prototypes followed, and we even lent a few out to customers and members of the wet shaving world to test out. The feedback we received continued our process until we formally announced the razor at Big Shave West in April of 2017. Pre-orders followed and the first few hundred were shipped out in the 3rd and 4th quarter of this last year. A local machine shop was contracted to produce the milled and turned stainless steel components as well as laser etch. We chose high corrosion resistant materials because we want this razor to stand the test of time. We did the tumbling, brush finishing, “red dot” milling and final assembly in house. Feedback from these first several hundred customers has been highly positive and greatly received. Razors include a lifetime warranty and we stand behind our work.”
Mantic59: Why are you selling the Ambassador through the “Rex” brand instead of Razor Emporium?
Matt: “The idea of producing a safety razor has been something on my mind for nearly a decade. However, a decision to build a company rather than a razor model was also made years ago. REX is a company and brand outside of Razor Emporium that can develop on it’s own and encompass various men’s grooming products from safety razors and other hardware to soaps and aftershaves. We will soon be releasing a line of hand-ground straight razors, shaving soap, razor stands and hand-finished strops – all of which will be made in house. We’re excited to have this forthcoming line of shaving products, including the Ambassador, in stores both online and brick and mortar in 2018.
“The name ‘REX’ had many meanings when we chose it. Formally, it stands for Revisit Excellent. It Latin, it means King. But to me, it means Razor Emporium eXperience. After years of retailing, repairing, and collecting razors, I feel it’s only the next evolution. We want to incorporate the best from the past and present and provide a line of products that make you feel like a king in your bathroom. Grooming can be fun or it can be a chore. We want to help men everywhere get the best shaves possible – and we want to create high quality products that aim to do so.”
One design element I noticed is the thickness of the head. Here is the Ambassador (center) flanked by a Merkur Progress (left) and a Parker Variant (right):
All three of these razors are two-piece designs so in that respect it is an “apples-to-apples” comparison.
How Is The Ambassador Adjustable Razor Shave Experience?
I’ve used the Ambassador for a while now and its performance has been excellent for me, as I would expect a razor in this price range ($250) should..
The handle is about the same size as the standard Progress (shorter than the long-handle Progress or the Variant) but it’s deeply knurled handle provides an excellent grip. I find the weight and balance likewise excellent: the “heft” is there without getting cumbersome.
The “adjustability” range is quite wide, going from very mild to very aggressive, unlike some other adjustable razor’s whose range may start higher at the low end (the Merkur Futur and the QShave 2000 Futur “clone” for example). The adjustment mechanics have been smooth and reliable. The only “complaint” I have–and it’s admittedly a nit-pick–is that the dial marker is a bit small for my less-than-20/20-eyesight:
I found the DE angle “sweet spot” quickly and the shave effort is, well, effortless. 🙂 The Ambassador’s thinner head makes getting into tight spots like under the nose much easier for me to deal with.
The razor rinses easily and I have not had any lather clogging problems.
My usual shave routine with an adjustable razor is to perform my first pass at a low setting, raising it up for the rest of my reduction passes, then bringing it back down again for touch-ups. I have found that some adjustable razors (coughProgresscough) have a “Goldilocks” setting on the higher end: a very small setting range (or even a single point) produces the most favorable results without nicks or irritation. The Ambassador adjustable razor seems to be more flexible and has given me more confidence to experiment at the higher end without giving me problems.