Bakelite is one of the first ever plastics, named after Dr. Leo Baekeland, the Belgian who invented it at the beginning of the 20th century. During World War 2 there was a strategic shortage of metals so Bakelite was pressed into service for a myriad of uses, they even thought of making coins out of it. So it is no surprise that it was used for making safety razors. Manufacturers like Wardonia and Souplex produced models that are collectors items today. I have a Souplex and it is terrible to shave with.
So when Merkur announced that they were going to produce a new Bakelite razor there was a lot of interest. It is a three piece design, like a Gillette Tech, though it is unusual that it arches the blade a lot, like a Merkur Progress, this means you hold and use the razor at a shallower angle. It is very light indeed, just 14 grammes, so in the hand it feels a bit like a Weishi.
Merkur are selling the Bakelite quite a lot cheaper than its existing range of razors, presumably to reflect it’s lower manufacturing cost Although it may also be not as durable, only time will tell. The Bakelite that they have made it out of is quite bright and distinctive, so it certainly stands out from other razors.
I have been using one of these for a few days now and it certainly is an excellent shave, the exact opposite of my Souplex. It is quite aggressive, something similar to a Feather Portable, but is easy to master once you adapt to the very light weight. On the internet many users are reporting very favourable results from using it.
So it looks like Merkur have another hit razor on their hands. Something that is different to everything else and which delivers great results.
btw In case you were wondering what Bakelite is here is it’s chemical name: polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride.