#1

Member
Central Maine
The GEM MicroMatic Family

3rd in the continuing series of SE razor reviews.

As always, other folks impressions/reviews of the reviewed razors are welcome.

I’m already on record as stating that the Open Comb MicroMatic (OCMM) is a favorite razor of mine. Despite that I think can write an honest appraisal of this family.

It consists of these razors introduced in this order:

Open Comb MicroMatic (OCMM) (1939)
Clog-Pruf                                (1941)
Flying Wing or Bullet Tip (1947)

They all measure 3 ½ “ long and weigh 65 grams (my scale is only accurate to 5 grams. If something weighs 63 grams it'll show 65 grams). The heads are 1 11/16" wide. The Bullet Tip feels heavier to me, but that is either my imagination, the shape of the handle, or different weight distribution because of the handle shape. The bullet tip has basically a truncated cone as the shape of the TTO knob. The other 2 models continue the conical shape of the entire handle.
[Image: DSC03488.jpg]

The major difference is the comb and the area behind the comb that allows the lather and whiskers to pass. The open comb passes all spent lather under the blade and through the comb, the Clog-Pruf has 2 huge trapezoidal openings, and the Flying Wing has 3 rectangular openings.
[Image: DSC03489.jpg]

The Flying wing has a different handle, the OCMM and the Clop-Pruf have similar handles. For me the Flying Wing handle works fine. The other two handles I need to add o-rings to in order to get rid of the "It's slipping out of my hand" feel. I don't care for the handles w/o the o-rings. I use an extremely light grip and I don't put my pinky under the bottom of the handle. If I did place my pinky finger there the handle might be fine for me.

Use these razors the same as any other SE razor. They require the cover to almost be sliding flat  against the skin. In fact, that’s what the original directions say- keep the head against the skin. I like them best when the head is laid against the skin (assuming a north to south stroke) and just lower the handle slightly to get the razor head just off of the skin. This is a significantly different blade angle compared to a double edge razor.

All of these razors give the same great shave. For me it’s 2 passes and some touchups for a BBS. They all shave great. The difference is in the way they feel. These are NOT mild razors- they require perfect technique and are unforgiving of the smallest lapse- especially the OCMM.

All three have the great sound of most all SE razors as they mow down the whiskers. It sounds something like buttering a piece of toast.

The Clog-Pruf has an aggressive shave w/o the harsh blade feel. It feels much less aggressive than it actually is on my face. For me that’s very dangerous. I want to feel the aggressive nature of the razor if it’s aggressive and all of this family are. If I don’t feel it then I become complacent and that gets me into trouble. Unless I constantly strive to remember how aggressive this razor is it can lead to blood. Despite those words, it might be just a touch more forgiving than the OCMM.

The Flying Wing has the same aggression of the Clog Pruf, yet is more sophisticated in some way that I can’t quit put my finger on. Of the bunch IMO this is the most refined, yet gives the same shave as the others. Possibly it's the handle that makes me think it's more refined.

The Open Comb (OCMM) is the brute. It’s pure aggression and it doesn’t let the user forget it and I like that. I get lulled into complacency if I don’t have the reminder of the feel of the blade. But that isn’t for everyone, neither is this razor. Same shave as the other 2 models though. When I was shaving my head, it was the OCMM that gave me the best results of all my razors, but to be fair I didn't have a Clog-Pruf or Flying Wing then.

These razors aren’t for everyone and definitely not for a new shaver. But if you like an aggressive razor and an ultra close and long lasting  BBS with minimal effort, they might be for you. Let your technique slip or your attention wander though and you’ll be seeing red.

I may be able to compare the aggressiveness of the shave to other razors. In DE it might be like a Slim set to 9. It isn't as aggressive as the Muhle R41. It's about the same as an EverReady '29, maybe just a touch less aggressive. Those are the ones I can think of that come close.

I like these razors. The OCMM is my favorite, but I can use them all. The only real problem I have with them is the handle as I stated, but that's easily corrected with a trip to the hardware store. Lots of folks like the razors just as they are.

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#2

Member
Metro Detroit
Great review!
I am struggling with the OCMM to get consistent shaves without irritation. Does it get smoother with improved technique?
#3

Member
Detroit
Nice review! I'm with you. I have the flying wing which I've been using pretty much daily since I got it. Close and comfortable. In fact, I've been seeing less incidents of blood since starting to use SEs. I have gone back to a DE a couple of times and it just doesn't compare. I love how the blades last so long too. In fact I have 18 shaves on my current GEM PTFE blade. No DE blade will ever come close to that, except for a vintage Personna 74 maybe. I am interested in trying the infamous OCMM too.

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- Jeff
#4

Member
Toronto, Ont. Canada
Thank you Brian,

An excellent review very well illustrated.

I am a confirmed GEM user and hunter.
As of Friday I now have eight.

I have never had any problem with aggressiveness with any of them.
I am particularly fond of the Micromatic Open Comb.

Mickey (GEMophile)

wyze0ne likes this post
#5

Super Moderator
San Diego, Cal., USA
Another great review/analysis, Brian.  I absolutely detest the Open Comb Micromatic and what I liked about your write-up is your honesty in suggesting that the razor might not be for everyone.  Your comparisons are detailed and interesting and I might have to consider giving the other two (Clog-Pruf and Bullet Tip) a try.

I was so turned off by my OCMM that I never had a desire to try anything produced by GEM that came after that razor.  Then I started hearing suggestions that the Featherweight was truly a whole different animal.  Will (1morepasswill) gifted me one for my birthday when I mentioned that my curiosity had been piqued and it turned out that I loved the razor (though I know it's not a favorite of yours).  Honest reviews and analyses such as yours truly help to broaden my outlook and I appreciate the time others, such as yourself, take to do this.

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#6

Member
Detroit
I enjoy the Featherweight too Freddy. A tad more mild than the Bullet Tip, but still a great shaver. That's assuming you're using the PTFE coated blades of course.

Mickey Oberman likes this post
- Jeff
#7

Member
Central Maine
I've got to be honest with you. I'm the wrong person to ask.

Since writing that review I've come to realize that I can probably shave with a blade glued to the end of a branch. Or maybe I can answer it. Yes, completely technique. I have no special skin.

On my bad days when my head is elsewhere I leave my really aggressive razors on the shelf. Unfortunately I don't know that until I'm deeply into a shave most times. But for me the OCMM is just a rabbit fart of a razor.

It helps, if using GEM SS ptfe blades, to age them for a time before putting them into a more aggressive razor. I use them for at least 4 shaves in a lesser razor before using them in razors that I prefer.

Mickey Oberman likes this post
#8
(05-01-2016, 05:09 PM)tdmsu Wrote: Great review!  
I am struggling with the OCMM to get consistent shaves without irritation. Does it get smoother with improved technique?

Absolutely! It took me several months to get the hang of it, but in the end the OCMM turned out to be a teddy bear. No kidding.

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--
Viseguy
#9
A Teddy Bear with giant claws! The MMOC is the razor I disliked the most. The pushbutton on the otherhand was quite mild and pleasant to use. But my 1912 carried more favor so it won out in my personal battle of SEs.

I concede it takes "a real man" to use a MMOC as it just took way to big of a bite for me to handle. Kudos to those that can use them without fear.

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B&B Ban date 4 July 2016
My personal B&Blexit
True irony
#10

Member
Marin County, CA
It's amazing and enlightening to read about the wide range of experiences with various razors. I have to say between video and written reviews, I always feel well prepared these days to take the plunge into something new (or vintage!) when I'm inclined to vary up my rotation.

In this case, a seemingly new OCMM was my introduction into the non-injector SE realm. And I have to say, it's become one of my favorite razors as despite its very apparent blade exposure, the weight and design allow me to easily tackle both angle and pressure without much effort. I do have a rather coarse and nonlinear beard (doesn't everyone?!) and somehow, this just works for me. It's comfortable and, dare I say, fun to use.



Todd R.
DE/SE Wetshaver for 4 happy years!

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