Why the Mach3 razor annoys aviation addicts


Sleek as your face, the Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird. Image: USAF

Martin Cloe investigates the link between razors and planes and decides he’s not happy.

Apart from the excellent treatments for testicular cancer, the best thing about being a man in the modern age is the Mach3 razor. Though its blades couldn’t be more expensive if they were made by Lockheed Martin, it lives up to the hype: it is a superb razor. It is alleged that developing the razor, which reached the shelves in 1998, cost $570 million in research and development. The razor took around the same time as the F-35 to develop; the manufacturer Gillette started development of a three blade razor in the 1970s and took years to master one that didn’t cause increased skin irritation. The name was well-chosen, putting glamorous images of the SR-71 Blackbird into many men’s heads. What I didn’t like was an ‘improved’ version, the ‘Mach3 Turbo’. Ignoring the relative merits or demerits of the razor (in my opinion the attempt to improve on perfection was unnecessary and cynical – like Silent Eagle, and was a less pleasant shave) and instead look at the name ‘Mach3 Turbo’.

Technically the SR-71 was the fastest turbojet-engined aircraft. In 1976 the aircraft smashed the performance records for C-1 (Landplanes) in Group 3 (turbo-jet) reaching a terrifying speed of 2,193 miles per hour.  But calling it a turbojet-powered aircraft is rather misleading- at these speeds the spinning bits are causing more drag than thrust; at the higher end of the Blackbird’s performance spectrum the aircraft is effectively powered by ramjets. I know, it could be said that the MiG-25, with its turbojets, was Mach 3 capable, but it was Mach 3-capable in the same as my mountain bike is 150 mph-capable: it can do it if you’re willing to change the wheels and tyres afterwards (and allow three miles of braking distance). So suggesting that a Mach3 Turbo would have more grunt than a simple Mach3 seems a bit of a confused message. In fact it’s even more confused as it seems to have been borrowed from the automobile lexicon. I know how I can make my Mach3 car faster, I’ll stick a supercharger on it! This is a bit insulting to men. Oh wait, before I explain why, I should explain some of the silliness in the difference between the marketing of men’s and women’s razors: change the colour, change the name, change the slogan. I’ll give an example: the same razor in both sex-assigned versions was once advertised in the same break. The women’s version had its ‘blades behind silky-fine wires’, the men’s ‘was so sharp it had to be kept behind bars’. The reason I brought this up was my disappointment at the forced marriage between Mach3 and Turbo as words. It’s like there was a meeting to generate ‘words men like‘ and two were just thrown
together without rhyme or reason. I mean why not go the whole hog and call it the Titty-burger, the Football-Barbecue or the relationship-without-commitment-Cornish-Pasty.

Rant over.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s