Date Launched: 1891 – the SwissChamp was introduced in 1986
History: The Swiss Army knife is a multi-tool pocketknife manufactured by Victorinox AG in the Swiss town of Ibach.
The Swiss Army knife was first produced in 1891 by Karl Elsener, who had won the contract to produce Modell 1890 knife – following a strict specification set by the Swiss military – from the previous German manufacturer. In 1909, the company was renamed in memory of Elsener’s mother Victoria and in 1921 with the introduction “stainless-steel” or “inox” (in French), the final iteration of Victorinox AG was born.
A cultural icon, the design of the knives and their quality and versatility has gained a worldwide recognition.
The expression “Swiss Army Knife” is thought to have come from US servicemen during the Second World War who saw the knives used but couldn’t pronounce the German version name “Offiziersmesser”.
Swiss Army Knives that are made of the finest Swedish steel from Sandvik and Victorinox is now the sole supplier of multi-purpose knives to the Swiss Army and the biggest manufacturer of pocketknives in the World.
The Swiss Army knife generally has a main spear-point blade, as well as various tools, including a screwdriver, can opener, saw and many other useful implements. These attachments are stowed inside the handle of the knife through a pivot mechanism. The handle is usually red or black and features a cross logo – being the coat of arms of Switzerland.
My Victorinox SwissChamp: I have several SwissChamp knives. My first was bought on a skiing trip to Switzerland about thirty years ago – it has a black body and case. The main knife blade is stamped with the name of the Geneva shop where it was purchased. I have had to replace the saw blade after it snapped cutting wet logs in France – which was an easy thing to do as Victorinox are well set up for such replacements. I have lost and replaced endless tweezers, toothpicks and pins. It the the most amazing pocket tool you’ll ever really need – except the pincers are a little feeble.I don’t think a day goes by without me fixing, scraping or filing using my SwissChamp – simply brilliant.
My second a classic red SwissChamp – in a bespoke red leather case – was bought in the flagship store of Victorinox on Bond Street in the heart of London’s West End. Downstairs is a treasure trove or those who find Victorinox products fascinating.
My wife has an electric pink key-ring knife that is always in her hand-bag and Victorinox make beautiful sets – often accompanied by Maglite torches – our Maglite post is here – Maglite D 3 cell torch – which have become firm favourites for nephew’s birthdays.
Having bought my son a Victorinox knife for Christmas a couple of years ago I recently purchased and had engraved two of the very small key-ring knives for my two daughters. As we all do a lot of international traveling I was assured by the guys at Victorinox that the smallest is the only knife that UK Customs allow to travel on planes – none of us has yet been brave enough to test that!
Your Victorinox SwissChamp: Please share your experiences, we’d love to hear them. How? By completing the “Leave a Reply” section below your experiences would be most welcome. Please remember, as we are an international site you may post in any language.
Featured image by Victorinox