Monday, April 13, 2015

Key Questions Remain About the New Rockwell Razor

The Rockwell 6S Razor is an interesting three-piece DE razor that apparently comes with three different baseplates. These three are reversible, which provides the  user with (one would assume) six different varieties of shaving character. It looks to be of high quality materials and well made. The packaging seems nice.

Their site implies one should reserve a 6S for purchase. And $75 for such a razor and unique design doesn't seem unreasonable.

Yet what is wrong with this picture?

The problem is it might be a great razor for the purchaser or it might be a pig in a poke. (If you don't know what this means, click on the phrase for an explanation from Wikipedia.)

OK, this is a six-setting adjustable razor without the twist; got it. However, just because a razor is adjustable doesn't mean it will provide a rewarding shave for every user. For example, I have a Gillette Slim Adjustable, but it sits in a shoe box in a closet because I get better shaves from other non-adjustable razors. Adjustment provides variety in shave character, but adjustment has limits, and the available settings may not be ideal for a given user.

Here's what the Rockwell Razor folk are not providing as of this writing, but should:

  • Detailed specifications of the key design aspects for each of the six baseplate options. Those key design aspects are 1) blade exposure (how far the blade edge is above or below the shave plane formed by the safety bar and the top cap), 2) blade angle (the angle of the blade in relation to the shave plane), and 3) blade span (the distance between the blade edge and the imaginary line on the safety bar that touches the face when shaving; that is, the line on the safety bar that determines the shave plane of the razor head).
  • Side-view close-up photos of the razor head with blade installed and the camera lens aimed directly down the blade edge. Each of the six configurations should have a photo as just described.
  • It would also be nice if each of the photos had a description explaining how one would expect the shave character to be based on the key design aspects pictured. This would help those shoppers who don't yet fully understand the relevance to shave character of exposure, span, and angle.
I'm not currently in the market for another DE razor; I have that base well covered, thanks very much. If I were open to a new razor, would I order a Rockwell? With the information provided, no way -- unless there was an iron-clad all-money-back guarantee that I would be happy with the shave performance. Even then would I order? Maybe, only maybe.

But I shouldn't have to rely on a performance guarantee. I should be able to make a better-informed purchase decision right from the jump without having to rely on hope, faith, and meaningless sales puffery from a seller that their razor is good (whatever that may mean). (And please note, I'm speaking of all razor sellers, not calling out Rockwell in particular.)

I am not saying the Rockwell folk are a bad lot; they're probably good, well-intentioned people, with an interesting new approach to razor adjustability. Unfortunately, they just haven't apparently read and acted on my articles that speak to razor sellers providing better design information to allow better purchase decisions.

However, it is time that DE sellers and manufacturers stepped up and offered more relevant information on their products. It isn't just about looks and materials. First and foremost, it's about how their razors shave. And short of buying and trying, the only way to get a sense of likely razor performance is for 1) buyers to understand how the big-three design aspects apply to their needs, and 2) for sellers to provide data on what those design specs are for any given razor.

Happy shaving (and shopping)!


  1. Wow, what a beauty! The letter/number stamp, the rough finish with smooth contact surfaces... the baseplates look just like a magnet given to me when I was a young lad. A treasured object of mysterious power. Sorry, Doug... I think I'm already sold!

  2. Oh. Amid the disasterous launch reviews, I saw the diagram indicating they intended the cap, guard, and blade edge to be in a plane, and that laid flat to skin... not my cup of tea. Cheers!

    1. I haven't seen any reviews of the razor (or gone out of my way to find them since I'm not in the market for any more DE razors). If it's convenient, post a link; I'd be interested to see.

  3. I recently purchased the Rockwell 6 S and could not be happier. It provides a close, clean shave! Being a new wet shaver i can say this has been one of my best investments in a long time. Rockwell definitely had some problems with their initial offering, but that is in the past. From what I've researched, this razor compares favorably with much more expensive razors.

  4. I'm truly happy for you that you like your razor. Your comments suggest you may have missed the key points of the article, however.

    And by the way, do you own the company out right, or do you have partners? ;-D

    1. Upon a second reading of your comment, with the benefit of hindsight, I don't think you missed the point of my article. I apologize for mischaracterizing your constructive comment. Thanks!

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  6. Hi Doug,

    I recently received the updated version of the Rockwell 6S and could not be more pleased. For my face it seems to be the perfect razor. Having said that, I agree with your assessment that their marketing could benefit from including more specifications. Even worse the gap measurements they do offer are not consistent when you compare their product description pages to their blog. For a business that styles itself like a Silicon Valley tech company, you'd think they would offer more head-geometry data than most users would want. I do believe their intention is to make outstanding products but I worry they are so growth focused they may not be able sustain one of their key value propositions: an end-to-end high-quality customer experience.