I learned to shave on a Gillette Contour and found it to be a very harsh shave. Used an electric for a few years and by the time I went back to wetshaving the Fusion had just been released so that's what I went with. Crap as it was, I just assumed that the older models would be even worse so I stuck with it.Just out of interest, why did you move to the Fusion then anyway, and stayed with it for so long? Marketing? Unavailability of the Mach cartridges?
Not using cartridges myself (except the Trac II), the Mach also looks like a torture device to me though [emoji14]
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My experience with Gillette carts is that as you go back chronologically, the design improves but the quality of the blades deteriorates. The Mach3 hits the right balance of design and blade quality - if you go forward, the engineering gets poorer (Fusion) and if you go back, the blade quality decreases* (Sensor, Contour)
I've never used a Trac II but I have one of the Indian models (PII) incoming from eBay so hopefully I'll give it a test run next week or the week after. I also have a Gillette Guard on the way.
*I have however used Gillette Vector blades from Singapore which are the Asian market version of the Contour and they are noticeably higher quality than the ones available here.