Demonstrating how she sits one side of the mirror while a volunteer shaves looking into the mirror on the other, Zechel explains “It allows me to look really close-up at the shaver without intimidating him. But I admit I sometimes feel a bit like a police detective watching a criminal being questioned.”
This secretive observation forms the basis of research that leads to the kind of truly ergonomic and beautifully precise pieces of shave ware that underline Braun’s shaving and design leadership. “We want to learn about the spectrum of different shaving habits people utilize”, says Zechel, who travels globally to observe individual shaving rituals. Investing in this deep dive research allows the Braun experts to perfect their prototypes and the products that reach the shelves.
Our access all areas pass has permitted us in to one of the most sensitive rooms in the building. Replete with an armory of high tech gadgets Dr Martin Fullgrabe, a physicist by training, is able to scrutinize and explore the secret science of the perfect shave. “High-speed cameras like those used by car manufacturers running crash tests enable us to watch the shave process in slow motion. High magnification cameras give us intense detail and shavers fitted with fibre optic cameras allow us to examine exactly how the hair is being cut”, he explains.
A major challenge Fullgrabe faces is that men’s facial hair varies in the way it grows, the direction it grows, and how thickly it grows. His mission is to ensure a shaver doesn’t miss hairs when passed across the face. Longer stubble often lies flat on a man’s face, not captured by the holes in the foil of the shaver. In-depth observation lead to an ingenious knuckle design shape for the trimmer. This ensures even the most stubborn hairs are lifted from the face and cut away by the blades beneath the foil.