When I saw the iKon OSS for the first time, two things came to mind: (1) I do not know how iKon names their products, but OSS sounds like a battleship, and (2) Damn, this razor looks a lot like the Feather All Stainless. This article takes a closer look at this razor from iKon to explore if it is similar to a battleship and different from its Japanese twin.
OSS vs. Battleship
When you first handle the iKon OSS it is immediately obvious that this is a solid and well-built razor. The weight of the OSS is sturdy and you feel as though you could kick it down the street and it would not damage (but you would not want to because it really is beautiful). In the hand, the razor feels less like a grooming product and more like a fine-crafted tool that can stand up to anything, perhaps even naval warfare.
Consistent with other models of iKon razors that I have reviewed, the engineering and machining are all very precise and excellent attention to detail went into manufacturing the OSS. The handle of the razor has a precision cut knurling pattern down the length of the handle, which gives it a good grip texture for wet and soapy hands while shaving. The diamond pattern of the knurling is so exact that I could not find a single flaw in the grip. There are a series of rings cut into the grip as well that provide nice additional points to secure your grip during shaving as well as assist maintaining a consistent finger placement on the grip.
The razor is finished in a matte stainless steel and not plated like other lower cost razors. The stainless steel material is superior to plated razors because it is more resistant to rust or damage from being submerged in water and soap or cream every day when you shave. With proper care most quality razors will easily last many years; however, this stainless steel razor will look just as good many years from now as the day you bought it.
OSS vs. Feather All Stainless
The overall shape and size are strikingly similar, but the details and shaving experience are quite different. One obvious detail is the dual action cutting head of the OSS that is offered on several iKon models. This innovative design allows the wetshaver the convenience of both an open comb and standard safety bar in one razor. During my shaves, I find the open comb side to very useful for shaving down longer beard stubble on the first pass, especially on those Monday morning shaves when I have to shave off a weekend's worth of growth. After the first pass with the open comb, I simply flip the razor to the standard comb side and it provides a close and comfortable cut for finishing off subsequent passes, including a final pass against the grain.
The cutting head of the OSS provides a more aggressive shave than the Feather, which is quite mild. The Feather is a great standard comb razor, but I found it required a very specific angle of contact to my skin to get the blade to cut efficiently. Instead of holding the razor at a normal 30° angle, I have to angle the Feather at about 45° so that the blade makes smoother contact with my skin. Although the two razors look similar, the iKon OSS provides a consistent cut at a more natural cutting angle. For those looking for a consistent cutting action without having to alter their technique or experiment to find the right angle, the OSS provides a better out-of-the-box experience.
As I have said previously about the Feather All Stainless, it is the razor equivalent of a trophy wife. It is beautiful, expensive, and fun to show off to your friends; however, after a while even beauty gets boring and something more reliable with more substance is desired. This is where the OSS comes in.
The iKon OSS Safety Razor is just as beautiful, but feels better in the hand. The handle is cut so that the razor provides a more solid grip. The cutting angle is less tricky to find the correct blade exposure making the OSS easier to enjoy. The dual head’s versatility is also an advantage because the open comb efficiently cuts stubble on the first pass and the regular safety bar provides a close, comfortable shave during the remaining passes. And it runs about $50 less.
If all is fair in love and war, this battleship just sunk the Feather.