Earlier this year I wrote about the new crop of adjustable razors. One of the razors I looked at was the Viking’s Blade Crusader. Viking’s Blade recently reached out to me to announce an upgraded adjustable, the Emperor, and sent me one to play with.
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Viking’s Blade Emperor Augustus Adjustable Razor
According to the Viking’s Blade website the Emperor is their “most technical” safety razor. It’s a relatively large, heavy razor, coming in at 134 grams and 110 mm in length.
There are two cosmetic versions, the standard Emperor in a “Frosted Chrome” color and the Emperor Augustus edition in “vintage bronze and cognac” colors (both use the relatively common brass/Zamak construction underneath). I received the Augustus edition. Viking’s Blade notes to “[t]horoughly towel-dry the razor after use to maintain the cognac plating.”
Engineering-wise, there have been a few tweaks compared to the earlier Crusader model. “Special ANTI-Misalignment mechanism which TRAPS the doors if users mis-align the blade to prevent uneven cuts. Hold razor upright while loading blade and closing razor to ensure doors won’t be trapped.“
The Crusader’s dual comb head design continues on the Emperor: one side has a scalloped safety bar, while the other side has a smooth safety bar:
Viking says the scalloped side is “good for aggressive shaves on normal skim” while the smooth side is “great for gentle shaves on sensitive skin.”
Unlike the Crusader, the Emperor’s handle has visual number cues for the adjustment dial so the shave consistency of this version of the razor is much easier to determine.
My Shaves With The Viking’s Blade Emperor Augustus Adjustable Razor
My first impressions of the Viking’s Blade Emperor Augustus adjustable razor are quite favorable. The razor is presented in a nice case and feels solid, hefty, and decently balanced. The action of both the TTO mechanism and the adjustment dial are smooth. The color scheme is interesting and I’m sure the “vintage bronze and cognac” word choice was made to convey an up-scale vibe.
A note about the TTO doors in the razor’s head. Subjectively they look and feel a bit thicker than the TTO doors of many inexpensive import razors (I don’t have a calipers to measure it though).
I can’t help but compare the shaves I get with the Emperor razor to the shaves I get with the Crusader razor. First, it feels like the low end of the adjustment range of the Emperor is milder than the Crusader but the top end is about the same to me, so the adjustable window seems to be wider. I like mild razors (and adjustable razors in general!) so this is a good thing for me. Unlike the Crusader, the adjustment settings on the Emperor are printed on the handle (though not etched like a Merkur Futur) so it was easy for me to lock in the correct setting for each pass of my shave (see: How To Use An Adjustable Razor Most Effectively).
Next, while I couldn’t detect any difference between the sides of the dual head head design on the Crusader I can definitely feel a difference with the Emperor. The smooth safety bar gives me a smoother-feeling shave with less blade feel, while I get noticeably more blade feel using the scalloped side, given the same adjustment setting. However I couldn’t tell any actual difference in the amount of stubble reduction from either side–it’s more of a feedback kind of thing to me.
The handle texturing is nicely “grippy” and I don’t have any problems with the razor slipping through my fingers.
Finally, the head design of the Emperor has been tweaked for easier rinsing and less clogging. Blade alignment has not been an issue for me.
Overall I get nice shaves from the Emperor.
My only real concern with the Viking’s Blade Emperor adjustable razor is its long-term durability: the company’s reference to “towel-dry the razor after use to maintain the cognac plating” and the possibility that the printed number range above the dial could potentially fade gives me pause. Only time will tell. However it is definitely an upgrade to their Crusader razor, shaves me well, and seems to be a worthy competitor to other similarly-priced adjustable razors as well.
Do you have an Emperor razor? What do you think of it? Leave a comment below.