Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

I have a Vision

with 42 comments


This is yet another report on The Daily Adventure (formerly known as “The Morning Shave”). Today I had my first shave with my new Vision. The photo (even clicked) doesn’t do justice to its size and heft.

When I first started this new interest, I almost ordered the Merkur Vision, on the basic American principle of “bigger and more expensive is better” (cf. the Hummer, a comparison made explicit in the Vision’s description). But the fact that almost all holders for razors were labeled “Does not fit Vision” made me pause.

So I called Classic Shaving to talk to their shaving consultant. He said that most people found the Vision too big, wouldn’t fit under the nose, etc. He recommended, if that was the direction I was going, to go with the Futur, which I did.

Then I contracted RAD (Razor Acquisition Disorder) and decided I really needed some additional morning options—in particular, a safety razor that didn’t require a setting decision (both the Futur and the Vision are adjustable).

I picked a Merkur 1904 (pictured), which (in marketing parlance) “you never have to adjust” (i.e., you can’t—cf. “you never have to change the batteries”). I got a terrific shave with it—and it was easier to use than the Futur. (The critical reader may note a seeming contradiction between wanting more choices (more safety razors) and wanting no choices (nonadjusting safety razors). The critical reader is invited to adjust the criticism downward a tad and recognize the symptoms of RAD.)

But then I noticed something interesting in the discussion groups: Vision fans: shavers whose go-to razor was the Vision, shavers who declared it the best safety razor ever. Sure, there were those who hated the Vision, but why so many loving it?

In the interests of research, I thought I should give it a try. Gentlemen, this is the one. Somehow that large head delivers just the perfect angle to the blade. And, oddly, it’s less cumbersome under the nose than the Futur—perhaps because it encourages one to come in at a slant. This morning, with a new Feather blade, I had a BBS shave—baby-butt smooth.

The adjustment settings are labeled, with Teutonic whimsy (see: “whamsy”): V, I, S, other I, O, and N. N is the least aggressive and it’s the setting I used to start—and it did a fine job. The settings, BTW, are continuous: the labels are just for points along the continuum.

Used shaving soap. Two passes downward, one pass up, and then some touch up as I felt for rough spots. No nicks, no razor burn. Wonderful, wonderful razor. YMMV.

UPDATE: I’m told that the model to get now is the Vision 2000, which includes some engineering improvements on the original Vision. And here’s a more jaundiced view of the Vision, with some great information on disassembly, maintenance, and cleaning. Contrary to this guy’s experience, though, my Vision continues to perform admirably. And this review is also positive.

UPDATE 2: 24 Sept 2011: Continuing reports of problems with the Vision, as well as a problem of my own, prompt me to write a caution. I doubt that a Vision is a good choice if you have hard water, but if you go for it, follow the same cleaning routine I now recommend for everyone, but even more rigorously. First, after several uses of the Vision—say once a week if you’re a daily shaver—let it soak for an hour or two in a 1:4 mix of white vinegar and water. This should help remove soap scum and any hard water deposits. If you have an ultrasonic cleaner (50 watts is the minimum size you should consider), hit it with that as well each week. This sort of thorough prophylactic cleaning should prevent the problem with the mechanism seizing up.

The 3-piece razor is a traditional favorite: robust and sturdy, completely simple in structure—it even packs flat for storage when disassembled. A TTO razor, in contrast, is a fragile thing with many moving parts and generally joints that are somewhat insecure: a drop into the sink may cause a door to spring loose. So more attention and care is required for any TTO razor, and the Vision is especially demanding.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Written by Leisureguy

15 July 2006 at 8:26 am

Posted in Daily life, Shaving, Toys

42 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Priceless post!


    Constant Reader

    15 July 2006 at 8:38 am

  2. Thanks for all of your helpful information! How is the Merkur Vision different than the old adjustable (1-9) twist-to-open Gillette? I am new to wet-shaving, and I bought the Gillette and am trying it (for past few days). Before I spend $100 for the Merkur, I would like to know more. Is there a detailed picture or diagram available anywhere? THANKS!



    21 August 2006 at 6:42 am

  3. I think the Vision’s adjustments are smoother and seem to have a wider range. Of course, in all razors, YMMV. I suggest that you post a query in the Razors topic on and request feedback from those who have used the Vision: this will give you information from a range of users. Also, the Buy & Sell topic might enable you to pick up a Vision slightly cheaper…

    Clicking the photo above will provide an enlargement that will let you see more detail.



    23 August 2006 at 5:00 pm

  4. Have tried more than once to access site listed on sample packs of double edge safety razors with no luck.

    Any other site recommendations?



    John McGhee

    10 September 2006 at 8:07 pm

  5. You can order the sampler packet here. Follow the instructions at the post—they include a link for actually placing the order.



    10 September 2006 at 8:33 pm

  6. This is a great piece of information. Makes me look at shaving totally differently. I think I’m going to have fun with this new Classic way of Shaving.

    By the way, the Vision 2000 is incredible.

    Tony Newsom


    Tony Newsom

    26 November 2006 at 3:48 pm

  7. Where can I actually get the double edge razor? I have the gillette double edge razor blades from walgreens but need the actual razor to put the blades on. Please let me know.



    15 January 2007 at 8:23 am

  8. The post at “My Shaving Knowledge” (just below my photo above) has lots of links to sources for razors, blades, and the like. You’re probably going to find that the blades from Walgreens are not so good as some others, BTW.



    15 January 2007 at 8:27 am

  9. Does the vision make a big difference when it comes to safety razor shaving? I have a few classic gilette models and a few parker models, but I am very interested in the vision 2000 and specifically the 4 piece set. However, as you know the price tag on the set is very steep. What do you think?



    13 August 2007 at 12:20 pm

  10. I have to say that I would never buy a set or recommend that someone buy a set. I think you can get much more satisfying and cost-effective tools by purchasing the components separately.

    I think the Vision is quite good, though in the Guide I do recommend that your second razor, once you have established good technique, should be the Merkur Slant Bar, which is much less expensive. But if you like a Vision, I suggest that you get the razor by itself. Once you learn to handle it, it provides a great shave.



    13 August 2007 at 12:24 pm

  11. I recently buy a Merkur Vision 2000 and I got a fantastic shave.

    BTW, your blog was the first good reference that I found about shave on Internet. Thanks for sharing your experience with us!


    Rodrigo Gressler

    10 October 2007 at 11:51 am

  12. You’re welcome. The Vision is great, isn’t it? I’ll use mine tomorrow, now that you’ve reminded me. Thanks for commenting.



    10 October 2007 at 12:17 pm

  13. I know this post is several months old, but you say NOT to buy a set. However, I found a Vision 4-piece set for only $225!!!
    That’s inexpensive as far as I’m concerned considering it is all genuine Merkur product and all the pieces separately are WAY more than that price. I was looking to get all the pieces anyway, so i figured i couldn’t pass it up.

    Also, between the Futur and the Vision, how much better would you say the Vision is? At that price, it is the same as the 4 piece Futur set I was going to buy on another site.



    24 March 2008 at 2:17 pm

  14. The Vision and the Futur are both excellent. The Vision mechanism is slightly more complex and may require a little maintenance, but it does give an excellent shave—as, in fact, does the Futur. It’s really a matter of personal preference. Go with the one you like.



    24 March 2008 at 3:51 pm

  15. I’ve read mixed reviews on both the Vision and the Futur. I *know* everyone’s opinions and experiences vary greatly, and I’ve read a lot of your posts on SMF and respect your take/opinion (I won’t hold you responsible if my opinion varies ;-).

    So, my next question is, what is your take on some of the negatives people mention, such as:
    – The Vision (and Futur) razor head is too big for shaving close under the nose.
    – The Futur’s method to both change and adjust the blade is flawed in the sense that the top snaps on and doesn’t hold the blade in place well (people have said it chatters and moves around), and that it can be dangerous to change or adjust.
    – That the Vision is just too massive and requires special holders and cases, etc.

    While I don’t personally know if these things would be true for me, I’d love to hear your response to those (again, knowing that it’s YOUR opinion and everyone’s may differ).

    Finally, I have a “Pure Badger” brush, but have been thinking of buying a Silvertip Badger Brush after reading some things about them. Does the brush make a huge difference (in your opinion)?

    And I just want to reiterate that I understand my mileage may vary and would not hold you responsible for any perceived differences. People seem so sensitive about giving their opinions… it must be that someone disagreed and trash talked that person or something, but I’m not like that. I can appreciate a persons opinion whether I agree or disagree and still regard it as very informal, if for no other reason than it gives me insight into the person who gave it. 😉




    25 March 2008 at 11:36 am

  16. Here’s my take:

    my next question is, what is your take on some of the negatives people mention, such as:

    – The Vision (and Futur) razor head is too big for shaving close under the nose: this is false. No problem at all. You have to do a horizontal pass to get the upper lip fully shaved, but I find that’s true with any DE razor.

    – The Futur’s method to both change and adjust the blade is flawed: this is false. The snap-on top is actually a clever design, IMHO: it prevents the flaw of the TTO razors (that novices don’t tighten the head fully). If the Futur’s top is snapped on, it’s tight. I haven’t seen any sign of the blade moving once the top’s snapped into place. It does make sense to exercise care in changing the blade—e.g., don’t do it with slippery hands. But this is true in any event. If you’re careful to use the side with the thumbhold when you change the blade, no problem at all.

    – That the Vision is just too massive and requires special holders and cases, etc.: Well, it’s true that the Vision won’t fit the regular razor rack, but most of my razors lie on the side on a shelf, so that’s not a problem. I personally like the massiveness, which encourages a light touch.

    Pure badger vs. silvertip: a big difference. I suggest that you get the G.B. Kent BK4, a great brush in a size right for lathering on the face—and this little brush can (as someone said) get a good lather from a pot roast. It’s only $68 US from The Gentleman’s Shop (you don’t pay VAT since it’s shipped out of the country, and shipping charges are modest). Other favorites: Rooney Style 2 Super Silvertip, Simpsons Emperor 3 or 2 Super.

    Hope this helps.



    25 March 2008 at 12:22 pm

  17. Thanks for clearing those up. I didn’t think they sounded like they made too much sense. I ordered the Vision today, so hopefully I’ll have it by Saturday (I’m traveling all next week). I also got a Super Speed used through the SMF forum for really cheap that looks like it is in great condition as a second/backup razor.

    At any rate, I appreciate your advice, and I was rather surprised to see so many people do NOT use razor stands. So I decided to skip that for now too (and spent the money on other things that I wanted). I guess I just thought since so many stands are out there that it was the best way to store your razor (I didn’t have any real reason why it would be better, just an assumption). However, from what I *have* read, it is important to hang your brush bristle side down.

    So thanks again for your advice!



    25 March 2008 at 7:03 pm

  18. Simpsons specifically says that you should stand your brush on its base to dry. Here’s the routine: rinse out all lather with hot water, rinse out brush with cold water, shake brush well, optional: squeeze brush with dry towel to dry some more; shake brush; stand on base in enough air so that it’s dry when you next use it (open shelf, spacious cabinet, etc.).



    25 March 2008 at 7:06 pm

  19. Interesting… so much to learn. 😉 I bought your book on gourmet shaving and should have it tomorrow. Gotta love Prime with free 2-day shipping.

    I currently have a cheap’o Art of Shaving “Pure Bagger” brush that came in a sampler pack with shaving cream and oil and lotion. It’s not a bad brush (that I know of.. it’s my first), but I have to believe that the Silvertip brush I just ordered will be loads better. I’ve thought about using the AoS brush for when I travel… what do you use when you travel? Do you take your best/favorite equipment with you, or less favorite/quality?

    Finally, do you have a favorite shop/website that you purchase your shaving equipment from? I just made my purchase today from because my best friend has purchased from them before with a good experience.



    25 March 2008 at 7:41 pm

  20. I just found your post on some of your travel experience

    So I will read that. If you care to reply to my questions though, I welcome it. 😉



    25 March 2008 at 8:06 pm

  21. I have a travel brush that I use—the Simpson Major. I had a second, but I gave that one to my son-in-law. For travel, I usually take the HD: good shaves, readily replaceable, not expensive. I normally will take a shave stick, sometimes a tube of shaving cream as well.

    So far as vendors go, check out the list at the right of this comment. In addition, the book includes a list of vendors (with links) as an appendix.

    Hope this helps.



    25 March 2008 at 8:51 pm

  22. Well, I got the book last night and almost finished it. Great info and I’m very pleased I bought it. There are a lot of things I never considered. Nice piece of lit. 😉

    My razor and all my goodies arrive today! Can’t wait for the first shave with a DE… I had been trying to follow a lot of the techniques you mentioned in the book (having garnered them from various internet resources) with my current Mach3, a badger brush (not great quality) and some AoS shaving cream, oil and after shave cream. It was CERTAINLY better shaves than when I wasn’t using some of the techniques, but reading through your book and understanding the method and steps, I can see where I was still going wrong. While I expect that I will still have some “getting used to” period with a new DE razor I’ve never used and still trying to perfect technique, I am confident that the information you armed me with from your book will GREATLY help me achieve the perfect shave sooner than if I tried to figure it all out on my own.

    GREAT STUFF!!! Thanks for sharing with everyone! I only hope I can return the favor one day.



    27 March 2008 at 9:02 am

  23. Well, if you want… 🙂

    You can write a review at and/or at People really like to know what a reader thinks of the book.



    27 March 2008 at 9:08 am

  24. I will, and already planned on doing just that. I want to finish the book before I do that, but I would think it will probably be this weekend that I do it.

    I also started my own blog for my experiences with shaving
    Your book will definitely be getting its own post. 😀

    I only have one post there for now, but I will definitely be adding more quickly. 😉

    Feel free to chime in on there!



    27 March 2008 at 11:02 am

  25. LeisureGuy,

    I just got the Vision for a present and it doesn’t fit in my shaving stand. Most online sites don’t mention if the Futur will fit. Any suggestions?



    7 December 2009 at 5:09 pm

  26. It fits a test-tube rack that I found. But you can just let it lie on its side: the guard will protect the blade’s edge from touching.

    Great razor, eh?



    7 December 2009 at 5:15 pm

  27. I cleaned the Vision I had for a year in ultrasound cleaner once a month. The dial became loose and the bottom TTO opener was impossible to turn. I could not open the top of the razor following Merkur’s incomprehensible directions. Bottom metal button would not come off. Finally got it open (don’t know how).

    Guide rod was covered with soap and calcium. soaked for 1/2 hour in vinegar and wiped rod clean. Could not get razor back together again. Ended with the flaps not closing the razor no matter what I did and finally the flap attached to the rod broke at the connecting point.

    Shave was great so I ordered another. I am afraid to try to open it as I fear I won’t be able to get back together or will break rod from flap again. I am now shooting cold and warm water through the hole in bottom after each shave and standing razor upside down with head on bottom as I figure that is an easier way to keep soap and crud from building on rod.

    Probably will soak in vinegar for 1/2 hour and ultrasound once a month. Merkur’s instructions to clean all moving parts with toothbrush after each shave is just not practical. I have to get to work and do not have 30 min. each morning to do this even if I could understand how to take it apart. Would putting in diluted CLR for 15 mins every 2 weeks be a reasonable alternative. Is standing it on head upside down making sense?

    Also how do yu tell Vision from Vision 2000. Do not know what I have. Just says “Vision.” SI have your book but notmuch on cleaning as per Merkur instructions in their. HELP Thomas J McKeon Indianapolis.


    Thomas J McKeon

    11 June 2011 at 9:29 pm

  28. I’m really sorry to read of your difficulties. I strongly recommend that you contact Merkur directly at In your email, include the details as you report them here.

    I also had some serious problems not long ago with my own Vision. When I returned the Vision to the company, they did replace it. But your problem is in the basic design: the razor was not designed for easy disassembly, cleaning, and reassembly, with the result that the razor can become non functional.

    I am surprised that, despite the sessions in the ultrasound cleaner the razor still was filled with hard-water and soap deposits. I suggest that you add vinegar to the water in the ultrasound cleaner: that should help tackle the calcium. And you might run the razor through the ultrasound cleaner fortnightly instead of monthly.

    I don’t know the distinguishing characteristics of the Vision vs. the Vision 2000, but I’m sure the company can inform you.

    Let me know what happens. Thanks for commenting. I will certainly note this sort of problem in the next edition of the book.



    12 June 2011 at 7:01 am

  29. I do not think I will send it back since I brokde its flaps trying to twist it to get it back togethor. What do you think of a litttle CLR (just was watching their commrercial which encouraged use on everything. Are you able to get this thing apart by pushing down on it like the instructions somehow attempt to explain. Do ou atempt to take it apart when you clean? Got the new one I ordered and compared it with a Futur both with new Wilkinson Sword blades. The Vision seems slightly better but not $60 better once you become famioliar with how to use both. Bought a Gillete Fat to compare adjustables.(Gilette is still making rajors with their name on top of it in Shanghai with Blue Blades. Got one like it made in India with 7’O’Clocks but no “Giloette on Razor” and was pleasantly surprised. I guess only Merkur is currently making adjustables, which after a cou-ple of years of learning how to work I think I are worth getting over the one size fits all non-adjustables. Though like you indicate in your book you have to be patient in getting the right seting that does not cut or rough up your face but gets rid of all the stubble. Keep up the good work and would be interestd in how you clean your Vision. We have hard water in Indianapolis. Thomas J McKeon


    Thomas J McKeon

    15 June 2011 at 10:55 pm

  30. If you live in a detached dwelling, you could think about installing a water softener for your home: soft water throughout save for the kitchen cold water (which you don’t wanted softened because softened water is too high in sodium for regular drinking and cooking): soft water not only makes laundry and bathing much better, it’s also better for plumbing and the taps. (I regularly had a water softener when I lived in the Midwest—Iowa City.) You would want a unit that recharges based on volume of water used, not based on a timer. That way, you don’t have to adjust when you go on vacation and don’t use water or have house guests and use more.

    Back to the Vision: I usually use my ultrasonic cleaner with vinegar and ammonia in the water, along with a little dish detergent. But if you’ve been reading my SOTD posts, you’ll see that I have drifted away from using the Vision much at all. I’ll get it back in the rotation.

    Monterey has soft water, so the problem is not evident. I’m going to note the difficulty you describe in the next edition of the book.

    I did just learn that Gregory Kahn of iKon is at work on a simple adjustable—a three-piece design along the lines of the Progress, but with differences. By not having it TTO, water hardness should not be an issue. The Futur and the Progress both avoid TTO, so both might be better in your situation.

    Thanks for commenting.



    16 June 2011 at 5:32 am

  31. Thanks, I will consider the water softener, though I read that the negative is the salt that is introduced into the system. I also note when I am in Florida or CA that taking a shower it takes a lot longer to get the soap off of you which I assumed was because the water was soft. I concluded that harder water removed soap better-but that was an uneducated guess.

    I have all the Merkur adjustables including the Futur and the Progress. Just for the heck of it, yesterday I shaved one side of face & neck with Vision & other with Futur, both using Wilkinson Sword stainless blades. I have about equal familiarity with both-tho I learned to wet shave with Futur. Futur was just slightly preferable in closeness & Vision left one very slight nick (adams apple which actually did not bleed with Alum block which usually does not work to stop bleeding to show how slight it was.). Both razors were about equally easy to use. Futur did a better job at areas that tke 3 swipes like back of mandibles. Very little difference between the two.

    As far as cleaning the Vision, besides the two week ultrasound, what I am doing is opening the TTO & removing the blade & flooding the razor at all angles & ends in cold and hot water after letting it set in the sink full of water used for shaving for 3 minutes or so. I don’t have guts to try to take the thing apart after disaster doing so with the last one which is now a parts razor. Thanks Thomas J McKeon



    4 July 2011 at 10:17 am

  32. You might include some white vinegar in the soaking of the vision: that will remove any calcium deposits resulting from hard water.

    So far as rinsing away soap, hard and soft water are very different, but it’s soft water that rinses soap away quickly and well and hard water that makes soap difficult to remove.

    Calcium and other minerals in hard water react with the soap to form a scum that clings—to skin, to the bathtub/shower walls, to clothing in the laundry. With soft water, the soap rinses off instantly, resulting in cleaner clothing and in smooth, slick skin. With hard water, the soap scum clinging to the skin prevents the feeling of slickness that you get when you have so much soap on the skin that the hard water cannot react with it all so the soap provides some lubrication. But as you try to rinse away the soap with hard water, the scum residue attaches to the skin, making it feel not slick at all. The soft water removes the soap instantly, and leaves no scum, so the skin feels slick, which creates the tactile illusion that the skin is still soapy. It’s not.

    The above explains why soft water cleans clothing so much better than hard if your laundry is done with some soap-based cleaning agent. (Detergents probably react a little differently.)



    4 July 2011 at 10:29 am

  33. Thanks, don’t have any ammonia here, put in a little dish washing liquid and a small amount of “Finish-glass magic hard water performance booster” which contains phosphates (phosphorous-acidic).


    Thomas J McKeon

    4 July 2011 at 2:08 pm

  34. That would work: just some acid to dissolve any hard-water deposits.



    4 July 2011 at 2:55 pm

  35. Very interesting. I shave with a 3 piece Edwin Jagger 89 L (with the Muehle head) which I like for its heft and balance. I rarely use my Merkur long handle any more which seems light and flimsy in comparison (but really shaves just fine as well) I will try a Vision in the near future. My first brush was a pure badger Omega and I like it for its stiffness and still use it regularly. My only silvertip is a Vestavia from and wow is that thing soft. I love it with shaving cream but it also does OK with the hard milled soaps which I mostly use. I really want a Kent, but one thing at a time! I am afflicted with all kinds of shaving related disorders but that’s another story. Thanks for sharing and testing all those great products!


    D. Goellner

    23 September 2011 at 11:38 pm

  36. See a used Vision 2000 on ebay. Might be able to get the razor for half the going price.



    7 November 2013 at 12:59 pm

  37. I turned out not to like the Vision. If it were not so sensitive to hard water (which seems to jam up the works) or were made to be easier to disassemble and clean, it would be different: when it’s working, it’s a very nice razor to use.



    7 November 2013 at 1:21 pm

  38. When I first started this new interest, I almost ordered the Merkur Vision, …



    24 August 2015 at 11:48 am

  39. This razor kind of looks like the Merkur Futur right?


    Sean Mason

    26 October 2017 at 3:47 pm

  40. It’s bulkier than the Futur, and unlike the Futur, the Vision is a TTO. For me, the Vision shaved better than the Futur: more comfortable and equally efficient. However, the internal mechanism of the Vision is very sensitive to hard water, and when used in hard water tends over time to become frozen. I no longer recommend it, and in fact it’s been discontinued (perhaps for that reason).



    26 October 2017 at 3:58 pm

  41. I enjoyed reading this somewhat dated blog about the Merkur Vision 2000 and its maintenance. I too love this razor and the marvelous quality of its shaves. I have hard water, and it did freeze up on me once. Only with repeated hot soapy water soaks for several hours, a lot of hard tugging, and with much luck did it finally break free with no damage. It was a scary experience.

    However, I now do the following regimen and there have been no further problems: Never store the Vision 2000 without a blade with the doors tightly closed or tightly opened. Also don’t store it with the adjusting dial all the way tight in either direction. The razor may freeze up, especially if maintenance has not been done for awhile.

    After every 4 weeks of use I disassemble and do the warm water/vinegar solution soak, for maybe 10 minutes while moving the dial and the handle back and forth a few times. I also do the cleaning routine of the innards with a soft old toothbrush and the vinegar solution.

    I enjoy doing light maintenance on anything mechanical. The Vision 2000 upkeep is not burdensome to me. I was sorry to see the razor discontinued. So many things about it are outstanding! But the freezing up problem was unconscionable! The reputation of German engineering was betrayed.


    Steve Riehle

    28 December 2018 at 3:37 pm

  42. Your cleaning and maintenance regimen is exemplary. The Vision was to represent the best of a modern ttO adjustable, but it was a misfire. I will soon have my Rockwell Model T adjustable, which is appearance resembles the Gillette Fat Boy or (even more closely) the Gillette Slim Handle. I expect to have it within a couple of months.

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment.



    28 December 2018 at 4:17 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: