Friday, April 14, 2017

The New Parker Variant with Charcoal Handle

Two Realities of New-Product Introductions

If you really understand product development and market introduction, you know two things:
  1. The wise company does their utmost to perfect their product prior to initial release.
  2. Despite the best efforts of the manufacturer, the new product, if it involves any level of sophistication, usually undergoes an evolution with cycles of ongoing improvement and fixes as the new product undergoes further testing and evaluation by the first waves of customers.

The Parker Variant adjustable razor with the charcoal handle.
These two truths certainly apply to automobiles, where one industry insider once referred to the initial model year of any vehicle as merely an advanced prototype. It commonly takes two or three (or more) years for auto manufacturers to sort out the findings from their initial customers that they weren't able to learn from pre-introduction testing.

Software, too, is rarely optimized at initial release despite often-rigorous beta testing, and usually undergoes seemingly continual and never-ending continuous improvement throughout its life cycle.

The Latest Parker Variant

So it should come as no surprise to savvy readers that Parker, in its initial release of its newest, advanced double-edge razor (DE), the adjustable Variant, we saw two things:
  1. The initial product was generally well received, getting in many cases rave reviews for its shave quality and capabilities.
  2. The Variant, since its initial release, has undergone subtle evolutionary changes that have made a very good DE even better.
The original-release Variant came in two finishes: all satin chrome and satin chrome with a black
The new charcoal Variant (foreground) can be
compared to the former black handle as seen in the box.
handle. The original Variant razor head was widely acclaimed as providing a close, comfortable shave. Apparently a few of the early-production Variant heads had a noticeable asymmetry. Other early-production Variants had a very subtle asymmetry, which was almost always unnoticed and nonetheless offered a high quality shave. Some of the original black-handled Variants may not have had ideal durability in the black-handle coating. All of these birthing-pain issues were most often successfully and happily remedied with prompt replacements from the seller.

This latest production lot of the Parker Variant includes subtle engineering and production tweaks to the razor's head design, and most notably, the black handle-coating material has been replaced by a new charcoal-color material and bonding process.

Not only is the new handle color very handsome and a nice companion color to the satin chrome, but the new coating, which I believe is electroplated on, offers crisp corners on the handle knurling. This knurling has always been grippy and effective on the early satin-chrome Variants, and its quality and characteristics on this charcoal handle remain unchanged: grippy and effective.

The quality of the shave offered by these latest-run Variants is at least equal to that of the earlier production. In principle, the latest design tweaks to the razor head should offer subtle improvement. However, the previous shave quality may have been sufficiently high that the razor-head tweaks offer shave-quality improvements that are too subtle to be noticeable by most.

In reading the on-line customer reviews of the Variant, the vast majority highly praise the shave quality offered by the instrument. I emphasize that users will find this latest release of the Variant to certainly provide a shave that is equal to or better than those described in earlier reviews. Any user who uses good DE technique (meaning light pressure of razor against face) can get a very good shave from this razor, when using the appropriate adjustment setting for his face and choice of blade.

The early-production Variant, which I purchased in its all-satin-chrome color scheme, was enough for me to begin to reduce my inventory of DEs (as evidenced by my on-going virtual garage sale); there was no longer any need for any other razors. I found that early Variant to be top drawer, noticeably better than most, which were now reduced to redundancy at best.

The newest Variant is at least as good as my earlier model, and better looking in my humble opinion. It is truly the razor that I prefer to use on most days, and unquestionably on those days when I want the closest, most comfortable shave that I can get.

Razor Garage Sale Continues w/ New Additions -- Make Me an Offer

Keep in mind that there is about $4 of packaging and mailing costs embedded in the prices of my garage-sale razors, and there really isn't a lemon in the bunch.

But if you think my prices are out of line, send me an email, make me an offer! Let's see if we can find a point of win-win.

Happy shaving!


  1. Replies

      This is the main importer and distributor of Parker products in the USA.

    2. You can also click on the display link embedded in the article itself which will take you to There the quantities available are listed, and I believe that is also supersafetyrazors .com. I have found them to offer excellent customer service when necessary.