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I have a number of other Merkur razors with the same head. Certainly one of the more predictable model of razors available, not too aggressive and as equally useful for a novice or well seasoned wet shaver. One of the risks of gold plated items with a complex surface with lots of detail is the potential for spots where the plating is dull or even completely missing. That is certainly not the case with the 34G, it plating and construction is pure craftsmanship. Blade alignment is spot on and perfectly balanced. Its a treat to use this razor
The 34G HD has just the right balance of comfort and effectiveness. The plating has improved greatly since 2012/13. I own many vintage Gillettes (Old Types,NEWs,Techs and Super Speeds) and I think this Merkur shaves better than most of them. If you're concerned about the longevity of the material used for the top cap and base plate I would suggest the occasional use of a wax to protect the finish from soap and water as well as diligent cleaning and drying after using it. I did this to my Merkur 23C when I first got it and it still looks brand new. And I'll add that Fendrihan service and delivery are top notch.
I've used the Edwin Jagger DE89, their Kelvin, Fendrihan's scientist and also a 2016 Parker TTO and this razor hands down is my favourite. I'm not sure if it's because it's gold plated but it holds heat so well when rinsing off after each stroke. Also highly recommend Merkur's double edged blades!