The Wunderbar arrives
The Wunderbar is here! Italian Barber has set up an on-going production arrangement with the machine shop, and he will be getting 100 Wunderbars per month. (The first shipment has arrived, and it sold out in 44 minutes.) I naturally wondered at what point the regular production run would catch up with demand. (I’m reminded of the young Abraham Lincoln’s waiting at the mill for the grain he brought to be ground, and observing that he thought he could eat the grain as fast as that mill was grinding it. The mill owner responded, “Yeah? And how long do you think you could keep that up?” Lincoln said, “Until I starved to death.”)
So I proposed a sort of pool (winner gets honor only) on Wicked Edge: Name the month and year the first time the 100-razor supply lasts the full month. My own guess was June 2019—that is, the aggregate demand (current demand plus any increase from people reading reviews, etc.) would be ≈3600 razors. Some thought that demand would be much smaller: one guess was November 2016, a total aggregate demand of ≈600 razors. Other guess:
January 2017 (≈800 razors)
March 2020 (≈4500 razors)
You can also look at it as guessing the answer to this question: The first run sold out in 44 minutes. The amount of time to sell out the production run will increase over time. How long will it take the “run-out” time to grow from 44 minutes to one month? That will be the month and year supply finally catches up with demand.
I used my wonderful Omega 21762, the softest boar brush I’ve experienced, and I had no problems at all in generating a superb lather from Barrister & Mann’s Solstice shaving soap, which seemed an appropriate choice for today.
Three easy passes with the Wunderbar left a totally BBS result. One tiny nick on the lower lip, which I think is just part of learning the razor. I believe that this razor has more blade feel than, say, the X3 (or the Stealth, for that matter), but it is still extremely comfortable and has all the efficiency one expects from a slant. I’ll be trying some other brands of blades, and that may also change the blade feel somewhat. (Different brands of blades can have slightly different widths.) The blade fits with zero play, so alignment is totally not an issue: slap it in, tighten the razor, and the cutting edges are perfectly aligned.
The Wunderbar is more polished than I expected: more polished than the Above the Tie, for example, though not so highly polished as Wolfman razors. The handle is comfortable and grippy, and since it is a three-piece razor, you can substitute any handle you prefer.
A good splash of Chatillon Lux Gratiot League Square Aftershave, and the day begins. (BTW, I think if I purchased again, I would get their post-shave toner (ingredients: Aloe vera, witch hazel, chamomile extract, calendula extract, elderflower extract, glycerin, lanolin, purified water, grapefruit seed extract, denatured alcohol) rather than their aftershave (ingredients: Denatured alcohol, chamomile extract, calendula extract, witch hazel, aloe vera, elderflower extract, vegetable glycerin, menthol and fragrance).
Here’s a side by side view of three stainless slants. From left to right, iKon, Wunderbar, and Above the Tie S1:
You’ll observe some tea-stains on the iKon. That obviously doesn’t affect performance and is easily rubbed off (I just didn’t notice until I saw the photo), and I think such stains were one reason for iKon coming out with the (very tough) B1 coating, which prevents the stains.
Front view, again from left to right: iKon, Wunderbar, Above the Tie S1:
We’re still looking forward to the release of the iKon Shavecraft X3 ($70, presumably, with head at $45—those are guesses, note; I’ve seen no official pricing). I have an X3 prototype and it’s got a very interesting feel: it feels as though there’s no blade in the razor, but it’s as efficient as all get-out.
So we have the iKon Shavecraft (cast aluminum head) slants at $70, iKon B1 coated stainless slant at $125, Wunderbar at $130, Above the Tie at $185, and Wolfman makes no slants—I imagine the machining of slants is tricky, but there’s the Dunning-Kruger thing again. It’s interesting to see how many instances of the DK effect you can spot in your conversation and your reading and news-viewing. Sort of like that game where you try to be the first to spot a VW, and especially the first to spot a red VW. (Beetles only need apply.
So that’s quite a range, and it doesn’t even include the moderately priced bunch: the upcoming German 37 from RazoRock as well as the Fine slant ($30) and The Holy Black’s slant ($40), and the Merkur 37C ($45). I don’t much care for the Merkur 39C (same head as the 37C, but—naturally enough—some prefer it.
It’s a good time to be a slant fan, and I continue to make that everyone should get a slant as their second razor. But then you knew that.
UPDATE: For the second shave, I used an Astra Superior Platinum blade, which in this razor turned out to be more comfortable than the Personna Lab Blue and equally efficient.