The Paradigm SE Artist Club Razor
We had several goals in designing this razor. First, to tame the notoriously aggressive AC blade and to obtain a mild but efficient shave. Second, to make blade changes simple and secure. As most of you will know, the AC blade was not intended for use in a safety razor. Third, to be aesthetically attractive.
The shaving geometry of the Paradigm SE is unique. Rather than the blade fitting on posts on the top cap, it lies on the bottom plate. For the AC blade, this eliminates the problems associated with flipping the top cap over when changing blades. But more important, it provides for a very large and comfortable shave angle. The blade guard angle mirrors the shave angle, making it altogether one of the most forgiving and easy to use razors on the market. At the same time, it is quite efficient. It won't shave you quite as close to the skin as more aggressive razors, including others in the Paradigm line, but the combination of mildness and efficiency permit shaving ATG in difficult or sensitive areas. For instance, I find that I am able to shave ATG on my neck, something not possible with most razors.
This razor really rewards good technique. Pay attention to the direction of growth, and take it 100% against the grain on the second or third pass. The stubble will cut clean and leave you with a smooth, uniform shave.
The method of changing blades requires some explanation. We wanted to have a two piece design with a sliding, low profile cap. Also, to keep fingers well away from the blade, and simply to be easy. The head is not as thin as some now on the market, but it makes no practical difference. It is the leading edge which does the shaving, the rest just follows behind. The razor is quite maneuverable. It is also no bigger than some other, well-established designs. The size of the head will not impede getting a great, super comfortable shave.
To change blades, the top cap slides off sideways. The old blade is removed, and the new one placed on the bottom plate. Slide the top cap on again, and the blade is held in place by two spring detents, which give a positive click when the razor is fully closed. There is also an overtravel stop, so you can't overshoot.
Aesthetically, the razor is in what has become (up until now) our house style of art deco. The side pattern is actually a rotated zig zag. On top is a wave pattern. Both of these patterns have been cut deeply enough to facilitate gripping with wet, soapy hands. Ditto for the rectangular framed handle; it provides an excellent grip.
The curved shape of the handle and gooseneck are designed to assist in finding a good shave angle, and to get into difficult areas such as under the jawline. With the blade on the bottom plate, we could have simply angled the head and left it on a straight handle, but we felt it didn't look as good, nor was it as effective. The razor is undoubtedly large, but it is titanium, a light metal. It weights in at 80 grams, and feels great in the hand.
I have received many questions about this razor compared to others in the Paradigm range. It certainly looks different from other razors on the market. But there is a purpose behind every design decision that went into the SE. I hope this blog post explained these purposes satisfactorily. Any remaining questions, please feel free to get in touch with me through the website.
A couple of afterthoughts. The SE is designed to work with standard Artist Club blades. It has been tested with Feather Pro, Schick, Kamisori, and Kai. Blade guards will not fit, but the shave is gentle enough that there is no way you will need them. Feather Pro Supers are too thick. I have read of people successfully using them, but it is not recommended. It's a good way of jamming the cap.
Finally, Paradigm ships only domestically, but if you live outside the US, don't despair. Giftsandcare.com carries them in the EU, and Bullgoose ships to a wide range of international destinations.