The Merkur Progress Adjustable Safety Razors
Will You Still Love Me When I’m 64?
The Merkur Progress turns 64 this year. When it launched in 1955, the original version featured a Bakelite baseplate, in 1958 Merkur dropped the Bakelite baseplate but kept the plastic adjustment knob.
Other than that and a couple of very minor cosmetic changes, the actual design is now 66 years old. This tells me Merkur got the design and dimensions absolutely bang on the button. Why change a winning formula?
The appeal of the Progress is down to it being an adjustable razor, it has settings 1 to 5 with half settings so 10 in total. The higher the number you dial up to, the closer the shave you will get. Some men will start off on number 1 and dial-up to 8 or 9 to finish off with, others will start off on number 8 or 9 and finish off on number 1. Whatever works best for you is what you should do, there is no right or wrong way to use a Progress.
The ability to vary the blade exposure is what gives the Progress the adjustability it’s famous for, to adjust the setting all you do is twist the knob at the bottom of the handle while the deeply fluted handles deliver a wonderfully reassuring and comfortable grip.
In 2019, Parker of India launched an adjustable razor called the Variant which is similar to the Progress but lower priced. Despite the introduction of the Variant, sales of the Progress are as buoyant today as they were pre-Variant. I guess men appreciate the Progress for its retro styling, its robustness and of course it shaves so very well.