When I was a child my Dad taught me how to use an electric razor and helped me buy my first one a Philips Philishave Tracer.
Wet shaving wasn’t as popular in the 1970s and 80s as it was synonymous with cuts and pieces of tissue paper stuck to your face. My Dad used a vintage Philips two-head razor from the mid 1960s that fitted comfortably in the palm and came in a smart case. All of this packaging gave out the message that razors were expensive.
When it came to getting my own razor, something expensive was a waste of good money that could have been spent on records or a great personal stereo from the likes of Aiwa.
The second decision you wanted to make was did you want a ‘foil razor’ like Braun or Remington? Or a rotary razor, which was the Philips unique selling proposition. My Dad was a Philips fan, he valued that it was easy to repair and less delicate than its competitors.
That’s where the Phillishave Tracer came in. It was Philips cheapest razor.
Cheap didn’t mean cheaply made, Philips still made a razor that was built to last. It was small, easy to use and care for. After almost 20 years, this one still works.
Compared to modern Philips razors it was was unsophisticated. The beard and sideboard trimmer has a habit of yanking hairs right off your face. The heads don’t shave terribly close, because don’t have the fancy head geometry of newer razors that match the shape of your jawline.
You couldn’t ‘wet shave’ with it as water didn’t agree wit it. Rechargeable batteries were a novelty on high end razors so you were tethered by the cable. I personally didn’t find this a problem as I used to shave in the bathroom mirror.
The graphic design and logo typography aren’t the greatest examples of classic design, but when you are 14 or 15 and you had one of these it started to feel that you were growing up fast. More product write-ups here.