When buying electric products, a compromise is likely unavoidable. I feel this way with electronics more than with most other products. This is partly because you never really know what’s inside the shell, and often the shell doesn’t look or feel good to begin with. It usually doesn’t help that they are made out of one of my least favorite materials – plastic.

My first electric shaver was an old one my father didn’t use anymore – a Braun Micron from the ’70s. It’s made out of plastic and aluminum. In some old products, plastic has the ability to look good. Having come to a full understanding of plastic’s negative environmental impact and the widespread use of low quality plastics today, products made of this ubiquitous material are usually a visual and psychological turn-off for me.

Early Braun electric shave, 1951. (Photo by marratime @ Picasa)

Braun Standard S50 (L80), 1951. (Photo by marratime @ Picasa)

Max Braun introduced his first model of electric shavers, the S50, in 1951. He founded Braun in 1921, but true success arrived when the S50 came out. Previously, the company had thrived by manufacturing radios and record players, until the factory was destroyed during WWII. Production resumed again in 1947 after the war had ended and the factory had been rebuilt.

Braun electric shaver S50 detail. (Photo by marratime @ Picasa)

Braun S50 electric shaver, detail of razor. (Photo by marratime @ Picasa)

 

The company’s excellent reputation for design and quality is mainly due to Dieter Rams. He joined the company in 1956 as one of 16 designers and started overseeing product design in 1961. He kept this position for an incredible 34 years. Rams, who also began designing furniture 1957 – is still an active designer and design consultant today.

Vintage Braun S50 taken apart. (Photo by marratime @ Picasa)

The inner workings of a Braun S50. (Photo by marratime @ Picasa)

Under Rams guidance, the classic Braun shavers appeared on the market. The Sixtant was a thick and solid little piece of machinery whose operating sound would make you believe that inside, a small locomotive was powering the thing. There is an air of myth around the model, as most of them still function perfectly today. And the two parts that require repeated exchange are still widely available – the block of blades and the thin metal foil that wraps around it.

Braun Sixtant  electric shaver, 1968.

The sleek Braun Sixtant S (5330) from 1968.

Rams’s credo is “less, but better”. In an interview with Design Boom he is asked to describe his style: “In Japanese they say ‘wabi sabi’. Together these two concepts mean ‘tranquility, simplicity, balance’, but also ‘liveliness’. This is a point of reference for me… I have always been interested in mixing materials, in my earliest furniture designs. I mixed wood with plastic or aluminum”.

Braun Sixtant, 1968.

Braun Sixtant, detail.

About whether form follows function, Rams says “yes, form has to come after function, I can’t conceive of it in any other way. There are certainly psychological functions as well, it is a matter of balancing the aesthetic content with regard to use.” As other designers of influence, he names Jasper Morisson and George Nelson.

After Rams left Braun, the design of their products went downhill. Their current product line is a disaster in my mind. It probably didn’t help much in terms of design and quality when the company was swallowed by Procter and Gamble.

Unless you still have an old Braun, a wet shave seems the only solution.

Braun ladies electric shaver from 1971.

Braun cosmetic shaver for women (5650), 1971.

and tagged , , , ,

46 Comments

  1. Michael R. Kozlowski
    Posted February 2, 2010 at 2:44 PM | Permalink

    Greetinngs!

    I enjoyed (and agreed with) your comments about the Braun shavers.
    I was wondering if you know anything about the the #211 type 5511 Brauns. Are they quality, their worth etc.
    Thanks, MichaelK

  2. Posted February 4, 2010 at 3:26 AM | Permalink

    Michael – Don't know the #211 type 5511, and couldn't really find anything about them online. Thanks for reading, Sebastian

  3. Posted February 5, 2010 at 5:16 PM | Permalink

    Michael – I did a bit more research on the 5511. The 5511 is also called Braun Sixtant BN. It was released in 1967 and designed by Richard Fischer and Dieter Rams. It looks very similar to the 5330 (pictured above), which was released a year later.

  4. MLC
    Posted February 13, 2010 at 2:39 AM | Permalink

    Does anyone still sell the old Braun Micron. I have a Braun 5556U that I have refurbished several times and would like to find another one similar for a spare. Any ideas?

  5. Posted February 13, 2010 at 6:40 AM | Permalink

    Hi MCL,

    The 5556, also called Micron S Universal, is a very nice shaver. But since it's from 1986, when Braun was already putting out new products very fast, I don't think there are a lot of them around. eBay maybe. I've also heard good things about a guy named Richard: http://electricshaverservicebyrichard.com/

    Best, Sebastian

  6. Posted June 8, 2010 at 9:17 PM | Permalink

    Great insight of the product. Indeed, Braun Electric Shavers gives real good performance with less burns and pinching Braun is very famous for its pulsonic vibration technology. Before buying, you can always evaluate how Braun shavers perform as compared to manual razors or blades, with their unique foil hair removing system.
    http://www.bestbuyereviews.com/best-electric-shav

  7. Adrain
    Posted June 30, 2010 at 5:32 AM | Permalink

    hi, can i ask, what engineering materials r braun shavers shaving foil made from?

  8. 25 Year old Micron
    Posted October 5, 2010 at 11:29 PM | Permalink

    I've been using my Micron 5422 since I was 16 years old. I still use it everyday – some 25 years later! (hard to believe a quarter century!) A replacement cutter and foil every year or so makes it good as new! Great Product quality, looks great and gives me a great shave!! Very happy with my Micron 5422. Hopefully I'll get another 25 out of it!!

  9. Posted November 26, 2010 at 7:00 AM | Permalink

    I have had a Braun 5556 for ages but I now I need a new foil, cutter and plastic guard. I tried TotalVac but they do not ship to Canada. Cannot find anywhere esle that has all three – Can you help?

  10. John Huff
    Posted March 19, 2011 at 6:59 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for the pics and the history notes on the Braun shavers! I just bought my 3rd one this one.

  11. Alexander Dluho&scar
    Posted March 25, 2011 at 10:56 PM | Permalink

    Mám rád solidní věci. Jednou z nich je i Braun Sixtant SM3, který jsem koupil v roce 1967. Od té doby mi věrně sloužil do letošního roku.

    Občas jsem vyměnil planžetu, vyčistil mechaniku a strojek perfektně fungoval. Bohužel teď nemůžu sehnat planžetu, Můžete mi prosím poradit kde lze ještě koupit planžety ? Děkuji.

    Alex. Dluhoš

  12. Posted April 17, 2011 at 6:43 AM | Permalink

    I have the one you show as the "Braun Sixtant Special SM2 (5220), 1963" but the box has only the words "Braun" and "standard" plus a photo of the upper half of the enclosed razor. I wonder if it was also called the "standard" like some of their previous models…

    BTW, it still works great!

  13. roger swain
    Posted July 21, 2011 at 4:08 AM | Permalink

    I would like to buy a 5422 or 5556 Micron 2000 shaver

    can you help??

  14. Bernard
    Posted September 5, 2011 at 9:30 PM | Permalink

    Hi Great Article ! I have the Braun 5561 and was wondering if anyone knows how to get this refurbished as the chargers gone ! a brilliant design may i say !

  15. Sarah
    Posted November 12, 2011 at 10:15 PM | Permalink

    I just found on a flee market four braun razors,

    1 Sixtan BN 5511

    1 Sixtan S 5330

    1 Synchrone

    and one Orange one (I don't know what model)

    My friend is a designer and loves Dieter Rams and I wanted to give him one of those for christmas and I have no idea of the value of these items.

    I would like the razor to have been designed by Dieter Rams and as far as I understand he designed the 5511

    Could you give me more information ?

    thanks

  16. Posted January 3, 2012 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    Hi! I searching grid for Braun Sixtant S Shaver :)))) Help me!

  17. Posted January 3, 2012 at 9:11 AM | Permalink

    I have grid Braun micron/L 410. I want exchange!

  18. Posted January 3, 2012 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

    I have grid Braun micron/L 410. I want exchange! I want Braun sixtant S grid! Email me temotsava@yahoo.com

  19. Mark Pfeiffer
    Posted February 17, 2012 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

    I've had my Braun Micron L (Type 5410) since the 1970s. I don't remember exactly when I bought it, but I'm pretty sure it was when I was stationed in Schweinfurt, Germany (1970-73) at the Ledward Barracks PX. It has served me well over the years but, unfortunately, I creased the foil the other day while cleaning. I have been searching the internet all day trying to find a source for this now out of production part. Interestingly enough, the cutters are still available from after-market manufacturers, but not the foils. Can you help me out?

  20. John
    Posted February 23, 2012 at 1:04 AM | Permalink

    I have a Braun Sixtant and need a replacement foil. I have traveled all over the world withit and love it. Where can I find a replacement foil?

  21. Doug
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 4:32 PM | Permalink

    I have an old Braun razor from around 1980. It is like the razor at the top of this article but has an aluminum body with black nubs all over it. The trimmer has stopped working again. I have really only used it for the last two years. What do you know about this razor and is it worth fixing. Interested in your comments.

  22. ralph erdtelt
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 4:19 AM | Permalink

    Hi

    I have a braun 1508 electric shaver. What do you thinck the value of it mite be? Can anyone help? It is stil in its box has the electric cable, it works and has its manual on how to use it.

    Thank you!

  23. Ed
    Posted July 12, 2012 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

    Hi Doug,

    Is it rechargeable? If so, I may be interested in buying it from you.

  24. buddy
    Posted July 30, 2012 at 4:24 AM | Permalink

    need foil and cutter for braun 5 561 razor made for Norm Thompson and has ELTRON printed on case

  25. alberto
    Posted August 4, 2012 at 6:27 PM | Permalink

    Hi everybody! I am a collector of Braun products and I would like to ask if somebody can tell me a website or a book or something where I can find a Braun products' database, with models, years, designers, etc… I have a lot of stuff that I don't even know its model name! I already got this braun book (http://www.weltbild.de/3/14735532-1/buch/braun-50-jahre-produktinnovationen.html) that is quite comprehensive about Braun's production but of course it doesn't contain ALL the models but just the main ones… where did you get all this informations about those razors? Anybody can help me? Thank you!

  26. Doug
    Posted September 18, 2012 at 4:34 PM | Permalink

    Yes my Braun shaver is rechargeable. It is in very good working order with the only thing wrong with it being the trimmer. I have heard that it is a good shaver.

  27. Posted March 7, 2013 at 4:13 PM | Permalink

    A smart shaver was forever the sign of fine man's style and standing. Every morning it can be a nice supply of satisfaction from the standard of shaving. Best electric shavers of recent generation do not concede of its efficiency to the newest models of safe ones. And indeed, they have perfect construction, that offers an individual possibility to shave as smoothly like safe razor, not using the extra tools, water and foam.

    electric shaver review

  28. Joe
    Posted April 1, 2013 at 7:25 AM | Permalink

    I am writing a report for a German class. It centers on Col. Jacob Schick and Max Braun. Schick must certainly have been of German, Swiss, or Austrian descent. Braun was German and founded Braun AG.

    As I remember it, Braun AG was the first company to use the foil shaving head back in the sixties, but I have as yet been unable to confirm my memory. Does anyone have any information or leads on the subject?

  29. Max Amnon
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 6:31 AM | Permalink

    Hello- Maybe you can assist me-I have this Braun Micron 2000 type 5422 The interior spring which connected to the slider lever (Activat the shaver) came out of it's place. Where do I find assembly instructions sketch, to put the spring, back to it's place? Regards

  30. Max Amnon
    Posted May 12, 2013 at 6:40 AM | Permalink

    Hello roger swain-Ihave some Braun shavers, including Micron 5410, New Old Stock.Contact me to- Regards-Max

  31. anthony albrittain
    Posted May 17, 2013 at 3:51 AM | Permalink

    I have a Braun Sixtant S shaver, without the power cord. model 5512. I'm willing to sell it.

  32. Duncan North
    Posted May 23, 2013 at 1:39 AM | Permalink

    Can any one help me find a foil for my Braun 5372?

  33. Marg Gould
    Posted May 28, 2013 at 9:01 AM | Permalink

    Which of the Braun Electric are still made in Germany and which ones are now made in China

  34. Jay Deubel
    Posted June 3, 2013 at 2:38 AM | Permalink

    I am looking for a Braun 5428 or other models like this one. I am not interested in the rechargable models….Thany You

  35. Victor
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

    anthony albrittain

    Posted May 17, 2013 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    I have a Braun Sixtant S shaver, without the power cord. model 5512. I’m willing to sell it.

    I would be interested if You still have it . Is it works with 220 Volts ?

    How much ? .

  36. Jeff
    Posted August 14, 2013 at 10:58 PM | Permalink

    Hi Nick, if you're looking for the best electric shaver, this source http://www.thepersonalcare.com/Electric-Razor/ may help you find the right one.

  37. Tony
    Posted September 6, 2013 at 11:57 AM | Permalink

    The first pic make me think about grandfather' electric shaver when I was young I think that is very cool stuff and a signature of adult. Now I'm looking for a new one and found http://www.bestsellingreviews.com/Personal-Care/E… is a great source for top recent models.

  38. Posted September 21, 2013 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

    It's amazing to pay a visit this site and reading the views

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    am also zealous of getting familiarity.

  39. Posted October 16, 2013 at 11:32 PM | Permalink

    Hi there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are yyou using for

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  40. Posted November 3, 2013 at 4:47 AM | Permalink

    write me also on facebook fabrice vandermeeren

  41. Posted December 31, 2013 at 8:55 AM | Permalink

    Can someone tell me where I can obtain the piece that holds the screen for a 5422. The piece that holds it to the main body of the shaver broke. Send me an email, kanecreek@aol.com or give me a call at 702 303-0289 Thank you

  42. Posted January 2, 2014 at 4:50 AM | Permalink

    Hi Harry,

    Unfortunately we don't have that info. This is just a reference. Here's a possible lead: http://www.braun.com/us/male-grooming/series-shav

  43. Eox
    Posted January 14, 2015 at 5:19 PM | Permalink

    Seek German-made orig. foil, blade & frame for these Brauns:
    5330 / Sixtant S (early '70s)
    5235 / Linear 235 (1988)
    Chinese spares ruled out.

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  45. Kimmi
    Posted February 26, 2015 at 8:23 AM | Permalink

    I am a newbie electric razor user so I never used the retro razors. I can't imagine they are as comfortable as today's electric razors. Does anyone know if these are worth buying? What is the noise level like? http://www.shaverinsider.com/best-electric-body-t

  46. Posted May 12, 2015 at 4:15 PM | Permalink

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