Parker has been manufacturing safety razors since the 1970s, and a variety of their razors are fairly well-respected in the wet shaving community. The Parker 87R double edge safety razor is a newer razor in the Parker range as it was introduced in 2016. The razor features a twist-to-open razor head found on many Parker safety razors post-2010 and a chrome plated, all brass construction. The handle is particularly stout, offering a spiral knurling that is well-textured for grip and quite appealing to the eye. Like other Parker razors, the Parker 87R is manufactured in India and distributed in North America by Super Safety Razors. The Parker 87R can be purchased directly from Super Safety Razors or through Amazon to take advantage of speedy Prime shipping if you have a Prime account.
The Parker 87R Shave
Parker twist-to-open (TTO) razors are well known in the wet shaving community for quality craftsmanship and a mild, but efficient shave. I’ve owned and enjoyed several Parker razors throughout my wet shaving journey, so adding the Parker 87R to my collection was an easy choice after initially being awed by its gleaming chrome finish and spiral knurl work.
The Parker TTO razor head is often described by wet shaving veterans that share their opinions as providing a very mild shave. While I would not disagree with this generalization, my personal experience has informed me with a more detailed opinion that somewhat deviates from the forum groupthink on Parker TTOs. The Parker 87R offers a close shave in two or more passes leaving me with no wounds and zero irritation. This shave experience is easily replicated as the blade’s cutting angle is simple to achieve.
With many milder razors, it is not uncommon that I am required to traverse the same stubble several more times than I normally would like just to achieve a moderately close shave, and, as a result, I’m left with irritation or even razor burn. This is where the Parker 87R razor rises above the “very mild” generalization. Similar to many “mild” razors, the Parker 87R is comfortable on the face and gentle to the skin’s surface during the shave. Unlike many “too mild” razors, when equipped with the proper blade, the Parker 87R mows down whiskers with similar efficiency to more aggressive designs with greater blade exposure. The benefit with the Parker 87R is that it does not leave you feeling “scalped.” I routinely achieve outstanding results with the Parker 87R when pairing it with high quality, double edge blades that are a bit sharper than norm. I prefer to match Feather Hi-Stainless, Polsilver Super Iridium, and Personna Comfort Coated (Lab Blue) double edge blades with the Parker 87R to achieve the best results.
While the TTO razor head design is similar to other Parker offerings, the handle design of the Parker 87R is unique to the range and visually striking. The handle is a shorter, classic design measuring approximately 7.5 cm (3 in.) in length. Reminiscent of the vintage 1934 Gillette Aristocrat “bulldog” knurling, the eye-catching Parker 87R knurling spirals around the handle with a lined texture the crosses back against the spiral pattern providing for a substantial purchase during the shave. The shorter, classic handle length allows for superior dexterity compared with longer handled razors.
The girth of the handle is burly, measuring approximately 12mm (.5in.) in diameter. The thick, hefty brass handle provides a solid feel to the razor in the hand and gives significant weight (apx. 87g./3oz.) to the razor adding to the shave performance.
While some wet shavers seem to fall for the “more/bigger is better” fallacy and choose the largest, heaviest handle they can find for their razors, I think that balance plays a more significant role than simple overall weight. The Parker 87R is on the weightier side of razors, but also balances well in hand while shaving. The saddle point of the razor is marked where the knurling begins just below the razor head after the flared top piece. Balance equilibrium is achieved with the standard thumb and forefinger grip here. The razor design allows for stability throughout the shave without being too head or handle sided.
Lastly, a note on the razor finish. The brilliant chrome plating of the Parker 87R is remarkable, to say the least. It catches the eye and looks posh on display. Upon very close inspection some minor tool marks and stray dings can be observed under the plating throughout the razor. This is especially noticeable around the edges of the brass razor head when opened or when looking at the underside of the head. To me, these minor imperfections are only noticeable if I look specifically for them and in no way affect the shave performance. Considering the current market price of the razor, I would argue that the chrome finish is quite well done for the price point and above average when compared with other offerings. Nevertheless, the finish imperfections exist and must be mentioned.
Competitive Options and Value
There are not too many modern twist-to-open (TTO) designs on the current market outside of the other Parker TTO offerings and the cheap, Chinese, WeiShi-type razors. The other Parker TTO or “butterfly” razors offer the same razor head design with differing handles all around the same reasonable $20-$30 US price point. There are many Chinese TTO branded variants on the market which highly vary in quality from “tin foil” construction to something a little more substantial considering the low price, usually under $15 US. My experience with the WeiShi types is that they are simply not worth the hassle as most of them are junk. Although, I know some wet shavers seem to appreciate their mild characteristics if they can find a razor that is of decent quality, and the WeiShi brand specifically seems to be O.K. in that regard.
Delving into the vintage market offers a few more choices of TTO designs from Gillette. The Parker 87R shave is somewhat comparable to the 1950 and 60’s era Gillette Super Speed. Similarly, the Parker 87R shave can be achieved with a Slim Adjustable set to 3 or 4. While the handle design of the Parker 87R is reminiscent of the 1934 Gillette Aristocrat, I have no direct experience with that vintage razor and unfortunately cannot compare shave performance.
The vintage razor market can be frustrating at times as there are a lot of dubious sellers trying to hock razors at high prices that are in pretty bad shape. Many razors suffer from plating loss, corrosion, cracked handles, and bent components. Buying on the internet can be risky as you never really know what you are going to end up with. Some local deals can be had at small antique shops where you can go hands-on, but supply varies and prices can have ridiculous “antique” markups.
If you like the twist-to-open design, but are not willing to delve into the “antiquing” hobby or are simply not interesting in the frustrations associated with the vintage market, a close look at a modern Parker TTO razor is warranted. The Parker 87R offers quality TTO construction, a great, smooth shave, and vintage styling all for a very reasonable price of approximately $30 at the time of this writing. Purchasing through this Parker 87R link provides fast Prime shipping through Amazon if you a have a Prime Account and will give Anthronicle a small commision if you wish to help support our content creation.
I’ve been shaving with the Parker 87R for approximately a year and could not be happier with the razor. It provides reliable, close, irritation-free shaves, has wonderful balance in hand, and just looks great hanging in my razor rack while drying or on display. When taking the very reasonable price point into consideration, I think that the Parker 87R is a remarkable deal for what you get. The Parker 87R is a great addition to your collection if you are a wet shaving novice or veteran interested in a TTO design, or are simply taken with the Parker 87R razor’s impeccable looks.
Let us know in the comment section below about your experience with the Parker 87R or any other Parker TTO variant. Also, tell us if you like this sort of content on Anthronicle and what you might be interested in reading about in future Safety Razor Insights articles.
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We hope you have some great shaves!