I learned to shave with an old Gillette butterfly DE razor. Like a lot of my age group the multi-blade cartridge razors caught my eye and I used them until they got prohibitively expensive. I decided to purchase a really good DE razor. I purchased the top-end, adjustable Merkur razor. At the time, it cost over $200! That turned out to be a huge mistake. The razor literally began to disintegrate in my hands with each use. The adjustment mechanism stopped working in a few months. I then purchased a much less expensive Butterfly razor from Australia. It lasted about 8 years. It no longer holds the blade steady. Which brings us to now. I decided to give Merkur another try. After looking through the InterWeb reviews I decided on the Merkur 23C. It gets excellent reviews at a price point I can live with. At this point, I'd like to mention, I take umbrage with those reviewers calling this a "beginners" razor. I'm 68 years old and don't consider myself a 'beginner'. I will admit to having a course beard and sensitive skin. Which may be the perfect combination? I've only had the razor for a couple of days, but I'm getting a smooth, comfortable shave using the enclosed Merkur blade. My usual routine is to shower, pre-heat my brush and razor in a shaving mug and hot water. I use a cheep shaving cream I get at my grocery store. I also purchased 100 Astra blades. I try to KISS. I'm no expert, I don't have multiple high-end razor I rotate through, just one razor at a time until I need another. In conclusion, I find the Merkur 23C an excellent razor. How it will hold up with its chrome plated Pot metal head and brass handle, IDK? But, if it lasts another 7 - 8 years, I'll be happy. I'd love to get a S.S. razor, but they're out of my price range. I can buy 3 Merkur 23C for the price of a decent S.S. razor. JMHO, YMMV. Happy shaving.