Parker Variant Adjustable Safety Razor - Update after using it for two weeks
Must say I'm really enjoying using this razor still and I have spent time testing a few different blades. The choice of a double-edged blade is key for finding the best one to match your skin and the razor you are using. This razor is quite a bit more aggressive than the Merkur 34C so what I'm looking for is a slightly milder sharpness and a smoother blade.
I found the Shark blades to not be so smooth, and interestingly enough the Personna blades were sharp but just a little lacking in smoothness for me (many recommend them very highly). I did get a good 6 days shaving off one Personna blade which works out a lot cheaper than Feather blades (which are too sharp for me in this razor).
What has worked very well for me so far is The Astra Platinum (Olive Green colour) which were fairly sharp and extremely smooth. It was a perfect shave, but I'm keen top still try some Voskhod blades from Russia and maybe also the Crystal blades and Treet blades just to be sure. The Astra's cost about R16 (just over US$1) for 5 blades which will be about R32 per month for shaving. That is about half the cost of Feather blades more than ten times cheaper than Gillette Fusion cartridge blades.
The beauty of the Parker Variant Adjustable is that you can do the first pass using the setting on 1 (it's mildest setting) and then do a second pass on setting 2 (slightly more aggressive). That second pass just gets nice and close. As some have said about the Parker, it is a pity it does not have a 0 setting for a still milder shave (more like the Merkur 34C gives) but apart from that this razor is really perfect. I really like the way you can adjust the aggressiveness on the go, and its knurled handle gives a good grip even if your hands are wet with shaving soap.
I'll do an update in a month's time when I have tested a few more blades with this razor.