Holiday Gift Guide 2017: 7 Gifts That Last a Lifetime

Here’s an idea: this Christmas, instead of buying the man in your life something flashy, seek out an heirloom that’ll get use over many years – even a lifetime. Each piece is crafted intentionally by artisans preserving tradition. And while the prices reflect the old world craftsmanship and quality, remember: these are timeless investments with sentimental value.

And with that, here are 7 tokens deserving a look.

Moore and GIles Attache

Moore & Giles Standard Attaché

Globetrotters and businessmen on the go will delight in Moore & Giles’ Standard Attaché, a smooth leather briefcase made from titan-milled leather that combines chrome and vegetable tanning for a vibrant, burnished surface similar to that of high-end dress shoes.

But don’t let its sleek exterior fool you – the briefcase boasts serious substance, with functional design elements like a small padded computer compartment and a large compartment with an expandable gusset for document storage. Classic styling means the briefcase pairs well with any outfit, regardless of season.

SHOP: Moore & Giles Standard Attaché, $860

Junghans

Junghans Meister Handaufzug 38mm Stainless Steel and Leather Watch

A exemplum of masterly German watch-making, Junghans Meister Handaufzug is based on a design first built in the 1930s. This handwinding watch combines vintage aesthetic with contemporary technology (including a 42-hour power reserve). A luminous navy dial, slender calf leather strap, and lightweight design make the timepiece a staple suitable for daily wear. The stainless steel case and plexiglass dome ensure durability.

SHOP: Junghans Meister Handaufzug 38mm Stainless Steel and Leather Watch, $1280

Sandro Wool Blend Overcoat

 

Sandro Wool-Blend Overcoat

Add a bit of Parisian cool to his wardrobe with Sandro’s Wool-Blend Overcoat. Crisp tailoring and a streamlined fit – signatures of the Parisian fashion house – make the camel overcoat flattering no matter the occasion. He can dress it up with a shirt and slacks, or throw it over a sweater for weekend errands.

SHOP: Sandro Wool-Blend Overcoat, $645

ceramic

Terre Étoilée Ceramic Cocotte

This Christmas, give him – and your family – the gift of a lifetime of great meals.

Terre Étoilée cookware has been made by artisans in France since 1830. The cook in your life will appreciate the heavy ceramic of this cocotte, which maintains temperature to cook food evenly, and the bosses on the interior of the lid, which capture and redistribute moisture and flavor evenly. This cocotte is a mealtime lifesaver with a simple yet charming design.

SHOP: Terre Étoilée Ceramic Cocotte, $189

liliput

Kaweco Liliput Copper Fountain Pen, Medium Nib

The Kaweco Liliput Copper Fountain Pen (Medium Nib) is for the gentleman who appreciates the art of physically writing down thoughts and notations. The Liliput pen originally debuted in 1910 in Germany, and was re-released over a century later, in 2011. A smaller version of Kaweco’s Sport Fountain Pen, the Liliput Copper Fountain Pen transforms into full-size length once the cap is screwed on to the end of the barrel.

The raw copper body, which has an elegant silhouette, transforms beautifully over time. Frequent use will give the penny red pen a reddish brown patina that will protect it from daily wear.

SHOP: Kaweco Liliput Copper Fountain Pen, Medium Nib, $109


cashmere scarf

Johnstons of Elgin Fringed Cashmere Scarf

Treat your loved one to a luxurious cashmere scarf from a company that holds a Royal Warrant.

Johnstons of Elgin crafts time-honored knitwear he’ll treasure for a lifetime. Founded by Mr. Alexander Johnston over two centuries ago on the banks of the river Lossie in Scotland, the company continues to create knitwear in the same factory where it was founded, using traditional methods. Each scarf goes through 30 painstaking processes before it is delivered to stores.

This understated cashmere does a good job of keeping him warm while looking masculine.

SHOP: Johnstons of Elgin Fringed Cashmere Scarf, $175

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Muhle Purist Double Edge Safety Razor, Briarwood

Does he appreciate fine craftsmanship in his grooming tools? Then Muhle Purist Double Edge Safety Razor in Briarwood is a gift he’ll treasure for years to come. A collector’s piece with sinkside appeal, Muhle Purist Double Edge Safety Razor in Briarwood features a stunning briarwood handle, with reddish graining unique to each razor. Briarwood is prized for its aesthetic appeal and durability – it’s the same type of wood used to make high-end tobacco pipes.

This is a gift that keeps on giving day in and day out, as he’ll enjoy smooth, non-irritating shaves from the closed comb construction.

SHOP: Muhle Purist Double Edge Safety Razor, Briarwood, $195

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Tips for Wet Shaving While Traveling, Part 3: Strops, Mugs, and Razor Cases

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Welcome to Part 3 of Tips for Wet Shaving While Traveling! Today we will be looking at the best solutions for strops, mugs, and general toiletries when you’re on the go. Just because space is limited in your suitcase doesn’t mean you have to halt your grooming ritual. Get a fantastic shave away from home with the tips below.

Remember to check out Part 1: Razors and Blades, and Part 2: Brushes, Shave Soaps, and Aftershaves.

Strops

Traveling with a straight razor and want to bring along a strop? How you pack it will depend on its size. Long, hanging strops belong in your checked bag (lie them flat to prevent creasing).

Paddle strops are sturdier and smaller, so they can fit safely in your carry-on. We have used the Bison Paddle Strop Razor Case to great success. Measuring only 9 inches in length, this two-in-one strop and razor case maximizes space.

Mugs

No matter how well you pack a mug, there’s always the possibility that it’ll break during your travels. Plus, mugs are rather bulky to fit into your dopp kit. Instead, borrow a handy contraption from the camping world: a collapsible mug.

The Sea to Summit X-Mug Collapsible Mug is made of durable silicone and features an accordion design that folds flat for easy storage. Lather the same way you do with your regular mug, then let it float in a sink of hot water to keep the lather warm.

Razor cases and dopp kits

If you’re an infrequent traveler, you can get away with simply rolling your razor in a towel for storage. But if you’re always jetting from place to place for business trips, invest in a razor case that’ll keep your razor secure for the long haul. The RoyalShave Nappa Leather Safety Razor Case by Dovo holds your razor with an internal elastic band, and even includes a blade storage compartment.

Frequent travelers will also benefit from a dedicated travel case or dopp kit. Made of supple vegetable-tanned leather, the Muhle Small Handmade Leather Travel Bag features a rigid body for safe storage of all your toiletries. Plus, the leather will develop a unique patina over time, reflective of your life and travels. A dopp kit is another valid option – make sure to purchase one that can withstand sharp razor blades and possible spills, like the Piccadilly Gladstone Leather Washbag.

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Our Top 5 Customer-Reviewed Safety Razors

We had such a great reception to our blog post, Our Top 3 Customer-Reviewed Straight Razors, that we had to shed some light on safety razors as well. With oftentimes a far greater selection than straight razors, sometimes the sheer quantity of options can be daunting, whether you’re a first-time shaver or a veteran.

Below are our 5 best-reviewed safety razors, accumulated from years of customer purchases and testing.

Merkur 34C HD Classic Safety Razor – Polished Chrome Finish

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Features

  • Midweight construction for just enough pressure
  • Stubby handle for better grip
  • Two-piece, closed comb construction

Customer reviews

“This is my first safety razor. I tried the Merkur blade that came with it and was so impressed at how mild yet effective the razor was. I was very nervous the first time. No nicks but the closest, smoothest shave ever in over 30 years of shaving.”

-Faust D.

“This razor is my first, and still only DE. After a full year of use, I’ve been satisfied enough not to bother putting out for an additional razor. It’s easy to load, has a great feel in the hand, and is easy to hold securely. The handle is not real long, but is fine in my large hands. I especially like the thickness of the handle and the weight of this instrument.”

-Eric

“I have been absolutely amazed, astonished, and impressed by the fantastic shave I experienced with my new Merkur HD Chrome Plated 34C Razor and the Merkur blade. I’m a 75-year-old gent with the soft, sagging skin that comes with age and had used a Gillette double blade razor for more years than I can remember. Not only did the Merkur glide smoothly over my skin but it gave me the closest shave imaginable, without any nicks or cuts. It’s in a league all by itself – incomparably better than my old Gillette. In addition to its effectiveness, it is a work of precision, mechanical art, and has a nice heft and grip. I recommend it without any reservations.”

-Grover W.

SHOP: Merkur 34C HD Classic Safety Razor – Polished Chrome Finish

Muhle R89 Closed Comb Double Edge Safety Razor

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Features

  • Lightweight body for easy maneuverability
  • Engraved handle for grip
  • Three-piece, closed comb construction

Customer reviews

“Got the Muhle R89 for Christmas from my wife, on my request. I’ve got several other brands of razors, but “wanted” the Cadillac!!! Royal shipped it w/5 Kai blades and I haven’t looked back since. I usually did a 3-pass shave, but with the Muhle and Kai, I’m down to 2 passes. WTG and ATG. Done. Closer than all the other razor and blades combined.”

-Mike H.

“Let me preface by saying that I am a 1 razor guy (1 DE + 1 Str8). I’ve tried some of the high-end razors and they don’t shave better than this Muhle. Sure you’re paying for luxury with those, but the shave itself is not actually any better. I’m not a wasteful person and I feel that this razor is the best bang for your buck out there. I recommend it both to the novice and veteran alike.”

-J Dogg

SHOP: Muhle R89 Closed Comb Double Edge Safety Razor

Edwin Jagger DE89L Double Edge Safety Razor with Lined Handle

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Features

  • Chrome-plated for enhanced rust resistance
  • Fluted handle for a secure grip
  • Three-piece, closed comb construction

Customer reviews

“This is a pretty amazing razor at a very economical price. Fantastic option for new DE shavers who want a superior razor but don’t want to spend a lot upfront. Very impressive build quality and materials. Weight is just right. And the longer handle is a great choice for those transitioning from cartridge and disposables. It will feel very familiar. At this price, you can’t go wrong. Actually, you’ll be pretty amazed at how much razor you get for just $32.”

-Kenstee

“This was not my first safety razor. It is moderate to mildly aggressive. It is immaculately plated and beautiful. It delivers BBS when paired with the right blade. It is in my rotation and I purchased one for my son as well. Must be pretty good if I bought two of them.”

-Larry

“Out of the box the chrome finish of the Edwin Jagger DE89L was amazing. The finish was polished to a crisp sparkle. There is a good heft to the overall razor and the balance is consistent throughout. Some people may prefer a lighter handle so that the shave head is heavier, but these are just personal preferences.

Some have mentioned that there is not enough grip with the lined handle but I have not had any issues even when my hands were wet. Using Derby Extra razor blades and Col. Conk Shave soap, I could get a super smooth, irritation free shave with 2 passes (with the grain, against the grain).

Summary: A great razor with an outstanding build quality with an almost flawless chrome finish. Shaves a little bit less aggressive than the Merkur 34c. Unbeatable price when compared to the Muhle 89R which uses the same razor head.”

-Eric

SHOP: Edwin Jagger DE89L Double Edge Safety Razor with Lined Handle

Feather AS-D2 Stainless Steel Safety Razor

 

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Features

  • Heavy weight for smooth passes and a close shave
  • Diamond-pattern knurling for enhanced grip
  • Three-piece, closed comb construction

Customer reviews

“Once you put the first blade in you will notice the quality of workmanship. The blade is tight and the weight is very well balanced. I use with Feather blades and get a close comfortable shave. My HD will be collecting dust.”

-Joshua K.

“I knew I had to have one of these as soon as I saw it! Just such a lot of money for a safety razor…

Anyhow, I took the plunge and I’m glad I did. The manufacturing quality is splendid, and the weight, feel and balance are all first class.

This new Feather is a mild but effective shaver. Even used with the legendary “Ninja” sharp Feather blades, it is difficult to make a mistake. A very smooth performer.

Compared to most of the fixed-head razors in the Merkur range, the Feather might be considered a little less aggressive, but it does the job surprisingly well – one almost doesn’t feel it cutting, but the whiskers are disappearing all right!

I’m delighted with my purchase, and look forward to having a grandson to whom I might pass it on. It will certainly last more than one lifetime.”

-Tom H.

SHOP: Feather AS-D2 Stainless Steel Safety Razor

Merkur Futur Adjustable Safety Razor – Satin Finish

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Features

  • Adjustable blade aggressiveness with 6 settings
  • Well-balanced build with chunky handle
  • Two-piece construction

Customer reviews

“At first I didn’t like this because I felt the head was to bulky. I have used this for a couple of weeks and love it. Shaves really close with feather blade no irritation. I can get closer to my nose with Futur than with my Merkur 34C. The balance and feel is the best. Only EJ DE89 comes close in quality of shave. I also don’t need as much prep with Futur. Great razor!”

-Jack K.

SHOP: Merkur Futur Adjustable Safety Razor – Satin Finish

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What are the Best DE Razors for Beginners?

Between specs like closed comb, open comb, adjustable, slant bar, and 2-piece vs. 3-piece vs. butterfly, deciding on your first double edge razor can make your head spin. We’re here to simplify the process by giving you a solid starting place.

One of our most frequently asked questions is what razor is best for beginners, and in order to give a qualified response, we have to consider two things: beard hair type and blade selection (since the blade is what ultimately does the cutting). We covered how to find the right DE razor blade for you in another post, so today we’ll discuss great beginner DE razors, broken down into razors for fine/medium hair and medium/thick hair.

It’s important to select a razor in tune with the density of your hair, since a razor that’s too aggressive may be overkill (and even quite damaging) for men with fine hair, but a perfect match for those with thick hair. Conversely, if you are a man with a sizable, coarse beard, a beginner DE razor with low to medium aggressiveness will produce an unclean shave.

Read on for our DE razor picks!

Fine/Medium Hair

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Parker 22R Butterfly Brass Safety Razor

The Parker 22R’s closed-comb butterfly head makes blade changing a cinch, so there’s less chance of nicking your finger. The extra long, ridged handle adds balance and control for beginners.

Made of heavy brass, the 22R’s hefty weight means it sits tangent to your skin, swooping in easily for a clean pass.

SHOP: Parker 22R Butterfly Brass Safety Razor – Gun Metal Finish

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Muhle R89 Closed Comb Double Edge Safety Razor

The Muhle R89 Closed Comb Double Edge Safety Razor is a forgiving first razor, with a closed comb construction that exposes less of the blade, so it provides a less aggressive shave. Because of its lighter weight, it will give you more feedback as you make passes over your skin, as well as enhance maneuverability.

The 3-piece construction means simple blade changing and cleaning.

SHOP: Muhle R89 Closed Comb Double Edge Safety Razor

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Parker 60R Nickel-Plated Butterfly Safety Razor

With an extra-long handle for better control in larger hands, the Parker 60R gets in for an irritation-free close cut. Closed comb construction means it’s forgiving if you’re still nailing down your technique, and the textured grip gives you excellent control.

It shaves with a medium aggressiveness that can easily tidy up fine to medium hair.

SHOP: Parker 60R Nickel-Plated Butterfly Safety Razor

Medium/Thick Hair

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Edwin Jagger DE89 or DE8911 Double Edge Safety Razor

The Edwin Jagger DE89 is designed to make shaving a breeze, even if you’ve got a bad case of shaky hands. 3-piece, closed comb construction means reduced possibility of a bloodbath, and the fluted handle is especially desirable because it’ll give you a solid grip, even in wet and soapy conditions. Weight is distributed evenly across the handle, enhancing balance and control.

The resulting shave is somewhere between mild and aggressive.

Beyond just being beginner-friendly, the DE89 is chrome-plated to resist rust and will last you a long time. Though we recommend this razor to those just getting started in the world of wet shaving, its precision and durability have made it a favorite of veteran wet shavers.

SHOP: Edwin Jagger DE8911 Double Edge Safety Razor

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Merkur 34C Classic Safety Razor

The Merkur 34C is one of our top-selling razors, and for good reason. The balance on this razor is near perfect, with a shorter handle than the other models to counterbalance the head. Plus, the knurled handle makes it easy to grip.

Amongst our customers, longtime wet shavers have told us how they’ve returned to this razor after many years and remembered how effective it was, while a gentleman trying wet shaving for the first time mentioned he was “impressed at how mild yet effective the razor was. I was very nervous the first time. No nicks but the closest, smoothest shave ever in over 30 years of shaving.”

At an affordable $39.99, it’s a fantastic entryway into wet shaving.

SHOP: Merkur 34C HD Classic Safety Razor – Polished Chrome Finish

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Merkur Long Handle Progress Adjustable Safety Razor

If you’re a man with particularly coarse hair, deciding on your first DE razor can present a conundrum – you need a razor (and blade) strong enough to cut through your thick beard, but not so aggressive that you end up with razor burn and irritation.

This is why we recommend the Merkur Long Handle Progress Adjustable Safety Razor, which features an adjustable knob with five aggressiveness settings so you can either dial it up or down to the exact blade angle you need hit your hair shaft just right.

As you start, begin with the least aggressive setting, then increase aggressiveness gradually as you hone your wet shaving technique.

SHOP: Merkur Long Handle Progress Adjustable Safety Razor – Polished Chrome Finish

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