Because of the rascals in you-know-where who are famous for the “loving copies” of anything on this planet, DOVO is not going to exactly spill the tea, as the cool kids say now, in regards to the geometric progressions from the standard Merkur three piece type head. But suffice to say that the native angle of incidence of the blade to the skin, the degree curvature of the double edge blade created by the head cap and base plate, the exposure of the blade edge beyond the head cap geometry, the gap between the cutting edge and the guard bar, and the cutouts for lather/water/whiskers on the guard bart have all been altered from the Merkur designs.
I have compared the two styles directly side-by-side, and can report that while the weight of the top two pieces is only ~1g heavier on the DOVO model, the difference in the intermediary and top segments [the guard bar and head cap] are quite substantial between the DOVO and Merkur; the slope of the stretching surface on the DOVO guard bar is notably steeper (= pointing more closely to the line from the center of the head cap to the bottom center of the handle, for a reduction in the null/native angle of the blade to the skin), the bar itself much smoother, and the guard is now continuous – no more ‘fluting’ below the blade. The Merkur style has the ‘fluted’ straight comb with a bit less space between the guard bar’s top and the bottom of the cutting edge (the ‘gap’), and a standoff angle of the guard bar that is bit higher° relative to the handle axis than the DOVO, about ~5°. The chrome plating uniformity on the DOVO model is very much superior to the Merkur norms. The curvature of the top cap upon the DOVO model is a bit steeper. And the total space afforded for the passage of lather has been slightly increased upon the DOVO version (it is ~0.2mm wider on the DOVO).
It is hard to estimate this precisely without critical infrastructure, but ‘blade exposure’ – that is, the total space the cutting edge extends beyond the curve created between the head cap and the guard bar – is undoubtedly increased on the Dovo. In fact, the guard bar’s width is 0.4-0.5mm narrower on the new model, while the size of a double edge blade obviously does not change. While this generally means more aggressive blade feel, if combined with a reduced native cutting angle, the result can be both high efficiency and mild feel, which is always the ever-elusive goal. That’s what Dovo’s done, they have increased exposure, decreased native angle, increased gap, and increased cutouts space as compared to Merkur 3pc and 2pc classic design (3pc and 2pc Merkur designs, excluding Slant and the adjustable Progress, do not vary their native angle, blade gap, angle on the side of the guard bar, or head curvature).
- Greatly improved chrome plating
- Provided a more durable screw/thread interface that’s also further away from the blade head and requiring more turns to affix
- Increased curvature of the top cap
- Increased gap between the blade edge and the primary skin-stretching surface of the intermediary bar
- Increased the cutouts in the guard bar for the lather and water to pass
- Reduced the angle of the guard bar’s primary face ~-5° [the one intended to meet flush to skin and align with the head cap]
They’ve made the cutting angle more gentle, and more parallel to the handle stem [technically the relation to the handle stem to the blade edge is of no consequence, it is the relation to the guard bar facet and head cap to the blade that matters, but you’ll find most aggressive razors increase the angle between the blade and the handle, while milder razors tend to decrease that angle].
To combat that reduced native angle’s tendency to make a razor too mild, they increased the gap, and increased the exposure.
How this combination of factors shaves remains to be seen, but one has to respect the deep engineering that goes in to something which has been critically and systematically altered in such a way that it has all of the unequivocal, empirical changes denoted above and yet still appears to the self-appointed/self-declared “expert” as “just the same”.
A free pack of the new Dovo German-made DE blades is also included.
There’s two grip patterns, and in an initial observation, the “I” as here is better looking, and the more spartan checkering of the “II” is to these hands slightly more grippy. However, I would advise to buy based on the handle appearance that you prefer, because the variance in grip is distinctly less than the visual variance.
Enjoy in good health, and happy shaving!