Saturday, December 29, 2012

Rescue Tool

After 5 years of cooperation with rescue and security services, Victorinox created the Rescue Tool. This tool combines everything you'll need to escape, or help in an emergency. The glow in the dark scales or Stay Glow as Victorinox likes to call it, are a nice addition on this already complete 111mm knife. Two tools (window crusher and glas-saw) can be changed when dull, and the large flat screwdriver can be used as a prying tool thanks to the dual liner lock. The sheath has a large belt loop and is especially designed for fire and police departments. I bought this knife because I love the Stay Glow scales and especially the 111mm design. This is a nice knife for hiking or just to leave behind in your car. I like it a bit too much and mine stays in the display cabinet.

Tools :

* Main blade
* Philips head screwdriver
* Reamer
* Window crusher
* Large flat screwdriver
* Cap lifter
* Seatbelt cutter
* Key ring
* Tweezers
* Toothpick
* Glas saw

Specs :

* length : 111 mm
* width : 20 mm
* weight : 180 gr.

Friday, December 28, 2012

125 years Heritage knife

In occasion of the 125th aniversary of Victorinox ,the heritage knife, or first Soldiers knife replica came out in 2009. The entire 125 years your companion for life collection was stunning. The climber, cyber tool, classic and swisscard, all had a etched main blade, and are real collectors items. I managed to get the climber and the heritage knife. The heritage knife is without a doubt the most expensive Victorinox I own, but it's worth every euro. The simplicity, high grade pollish and beautiful wooden scales are once more the proof that these knives over 125 years ago must have been a real magnet for those who had the chance to own one of these. Behind the triangular shaped reamer there's a unique number stamped. This number is divided in 4 main areas with each 1.884 pieces distributed. The second area is Europe. I believe the first one is Switzerland, the third one rest of the world and last but not least the fourth should be North America and Canada. The box is made of the same wood used on the scales and has a nice metal Victorinox shield glued on. Inside the lid there's a small space behind a padded plate where you'll find the certificate and a nice copy of the original drawing from 1884. These pages are made of a high grade material and gives it a authentic look. Everything about this knife gives you a quality feeling....the way we are used to by Victorinox... If you are willing to spend far more then you're used to on a Vic, buy this one! You won't be dissapointed!

Tools :

* Main blade
* Large flat screwdriver
* Old type can opener
* Old type reamer

Specs :

* length : 100 mm closed
* width : 18 mm
* weight : 144 gr.

Swiss Cheese Knife

The Swiss Cheese Knife, introduced in 2010, is based on a 111mm design, without the "one hand opening". It contains, as the name would suggest, a special tool, the cheese knife. This cheese blade is used for the first time on this design and was developed on demand of the Switzerland Cheese Marketing AG. It uses a slide lock instead of the liner lock design and the traditional Victorinox shield is changed by the Swiss cross. The tweezers are missing, but the toothpick is still in the scales. The main blade is partially serrated for easy cutting bread and has the name "Swiss Cheese Knife" etched on it in 4 different languages. I own the standard version, made after the initial limited edition. This knife is now widely available, and the cheese tool will be used in more knives in the near future. 

Tools :

* Main blade, partially serrated
* Cheese blade with forked tip
* Corkscrew
* Toothpick
* Keyring

Specs :

* length : 111 mm
* width : 15,8 mm
* weight : 76gr.

It is a great looking knife with a unique tool-combination and a high collectable-factor.

Victorinox's customer value

Everybody knows that a Victorinox catalog or other promotional items are wanted by collectors, but they aren't easy to find. The smaller shops (not the outlet stores!) aren't keened to give their precious catalogs away. You can always take a look at the online catalog, but if you're a die-hard collector as myself, you probably want the real deal! So after searching for one on the second hand sites, I almost gave up. The strange thing is that I never tried to get one from Victorinox in Ibach. So I tried in my best English to set up a mail through the Victorinox website and within 24 hours I received an answer, strangly  enough, in Dutch. The site redirects the questions on the site instantly to the main outlet shop of that country. The shop that answered was "DESLOGES" in Brussels. These guys are amazing! They let me know that some promotional items would be sent within the next few days. I was surprised that everything happened so fast and was eagerly awaiting my catalog. A few days later I received a large padded envelope with an informational brochure about the history, catalog of 2011, stickers and a lot of flyers. This was far more then I expected! I felt like a kid on Christmas eve! I guess my visit to Brussels is gonna be much sooner as planned! Thanks guys!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A special "thank you"...

Everybody knows that collecting Victorinox knives isn't the cheapest hobby... It takes a lot of convincing your other half when you find something worth the money, but every now and then there's a knife that costs over 100 euros, and your other half starts speeching over saving your money and well, that's that.... I don't have that problem... I think twice before I buy and my other half, she's just PERFECT! She loves the knives! Maybe not as much as I do, but she appreciates the effort I'm willing to put into it. Believe it or not, but she understands the "madness" behind collecting them. So, dearest, THANK YOU for understanding, and especially, thank you for following me on all the insane trips!

Victorinox OUTLET store Roermond (NL)

Another sporadic visit... Well, we were wondering what to do on a sunday evening and suddenly I reminded that the outlet stores in Roermond were open on sundays till 8 o'clock in the evening. After a 1hour drive I began to realise that I should've downloaded the map of the outlet stores. Thanks to one of the many floorplans we found the Victorinox store. When I arrived at the store, I just wanted to know what they had in stock as soon as possible. Damn, it started itching.... :) 90% of the store is clothing and watches, but the remaining 10% was AMAZING!!! I saw the classics with stone scales, mother of pearl executive and many other 74mm models of witch I tought they were extincted! The prices were "fair", but this shop only had one drawback. I noticed that everything was pointed towards the clothes and not the knives. Anyway, it was definitely worth the visit, and I'm going back very soon! 

Outlet Store Roermond

Victorinox Retail Nederland B.V.
Stadsweide 416
Unit 309 NL-6041 TP Roermond 
Tel. +31 (0)475 338 516 Fax +31 (0)475-339188 

After some drooling, I had to make up my mind and choose. If it was up to me, I would've taken them all, but after a few minutes I was thinking straight and made a choice. I learned some very important things in this store. It was the first time that I would buy knives with natural scales, and I never realised that they are unique. So, after a lot of hesitation I chose a MOP executive and a classic with stone scales. Real beauties if you ask me, but that's my taste offcourse. The personel is extremely helpfull and tries to answer as good as possible.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Swisschamp

Where to start? This giant is a 91mm model and this is by far the most popular type of Victorinox. The first 91mm was the Officers knife and came along with the 100mm soldier knife in 1891. Since then there changed a lot behind the screens, but the model stayed basically the same. The scales changed from fibre plates to cellidor in 1937 and some tools changed a bit, but the main design stayed close to its roots.  The length is ideal for the more demanding tasks, without carrying a heavy knife. From a Spartan to the Swisschamp..... More then enough to choose from. Here's a selection of my 91 mm collection.

The Swisschamp is the largest 91mm model widely available for an affordable price! I have to be carefull with what I say, because there are larger models out there, but the Swisschamp is still portable and has a retail price between 60 and 80 euros. It consists of 8 layers and holds 33 functions. This model was introduced in 1985 and was the follow up of the Champion. The Swisschamp and Spartan, the two opposites in size are the most popular 91mm models and therefor often used as special editions. One of them is the current version with hardwood scales as you can see on one of the pictures. Others are the staghorn, Mother of Pearl, Rosewood, and so on...

The hardwood scales are still integrating the tweezers and toothpick! The logo is stamped into the wood and is therefor durable, unlike the painted logo on the rosewood scales.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Alox madness

Cellidor scales are nice, nylon scales more practical, but alox is just perfect! Strong, durable AND appealing... First off let's look at the history of this magnificent material. Since 1961 the soldier knife changed to Alox handles. The first commercial use of Alox isn't very clear, but on the Aloxworld website I've found some models made in 1957. The name ALOX stands for ALuminum OXide. This material has a high hardness and a very high melting point, compared to basic aluminum. The textured alox scales are still in production, but not as much as in the past. The newer alox models are using smooth alox. The textured alox knives are often used as a limited run (50-100 pieces) and thanks to their appealing looks, allways a succes. The one disadvantage on these knives are the missing back-tools like a corkscrew, a reamer and the small exterior tools in the scales like the tweezers and toothpick. 

It is no miracle that I prefer these knives over the classic scales, but it is almost impossible to find or buy these in Belgium (except the silver ones). The saddest part is that most of my alox knives are bought in America on Ebay. So think about this.... I live about 700 km from Ibach (believe me, I've been there ;) ) and I'm obligated to buy alox Swiss knives in another continent... The possitive part is that I've collected a lot of nice knives, wanted and searched for in Belgium. Here are a few of my knives.... 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Victorinox Excelsior

The Excelsior is a knife I personally would never carry, because of its "refined" looks. I bought it a few years ago in Germany just because of these looks. The elliptical shape is unique and adds a nice shape to the rather limited shapes by Victorinox. In my opinion, the excelsior is a nice knife to look at, but misses the wider blade to use it in a rougher environment. Keep in mind that these blades are only a fraction wider than the blade of a Classic, and this knife is intended to use in emergencies. It stays on the keys, till you need it one day. As an edc, the excelsior isn't the thing! My wife uses the Classic for the lesser demanding tasks, ie opening an envelope, cutting paper/cardboard and she admits that the blade of an Excelsior would be ideal to use in this environment. On the other hand, she also uses a Camper with the blade of any standard 91mm knife, so the Excelsior would be the perfect "in between". She still prefers the camper because of its wide array of tools. The excelsior is already a nice looking knife, but I found two more a few weeks ago, in alox....

This 84mm knife has a rather strange division of types. The cellidor type WITH keyring is called Excelsior. The one without the keyring is called the Pocket Pal. When we look at the Alox division, it is the other way arround. The ones without the keyring are called the Excelsior. The Cellidor one and the alox with smooth scales are still in production, but the checkered alox ones aren't. Since the 80's there aren't any checkered alox Excelsiors produced, only the smooth alox ones! So when I saw that a certain Greek Vic collector sold two alox Excelsiors in mint condition, I couldn't wait any longer and bought them... The alox Excelsior, adds an extra refined feel and a stronger impression than the cellidor one. The alox edition came in a wide variety of colours and I had the luck to find it in red and silver. These two were produced in the eighties, according to the tang stamp and look as if they were never used. Conclusion is that the Excelsior should be used for the smaller tasks, due to the thinner blade, but it is a beautiful knife to add to the collection, and certainly the alox ones!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Victorinox Sentinel vs. Wenger Ranger

Ok, I know what everyone is thinking now.... He's a Vic fan so there's no chance this review's gonna be objective. Well, I can tell you that I will do my very best to make this as professional as possible....These two knives are in my humble opinion the very best when it comes to one bladed-knives. The Ranger was a sporadic purchase a few years ago, but I'm a Vic fan, so the Ranger stayed in the display cabinet. I loved the design, but the handles and blade lock felt cheap. They both are great Every Day Carry -knives with a blade that's large enough to defend yourself and light enough to carry it without knowing it. But there are differences, and I'm gonna tell you what they are. This is an opinion, not a fact! ;)

Wenger Ranger : This knife is at first glance beautiful, but when you grab the handle it feels like real plastic. The scales are partially hollow and that's why it feels a bit less sturdy in comparison to the Sentinel. The blade length is perfect (130mm) and weight is low enough to consider it an edc (99gr.). The blade shape is perfect for prying, but the thumbhole is rather a design attribute than a practical part. It's placed far to high to put enough opening force at it and the sharp corners inside the hole make it look real nice, but it makes putting your thumb inside and especially with gloves on, very difficult. (YES, I have large thumbs! :)) The fact that you can close the knife by pressing the logo is just COOL! VERY KEWL! This is a real knife for showing off with your friends! Overall a very cool looking knife with a practically shaped handle, nice closing design, great blade length/weight, but if it comes to comparing, it just feels a bit less strong than the competition (Sentinel). 

Victorinox Sentinel : This knife was for a long time on my most wanted list. A few months ago, I ordered one from a German Ebay seller and have to say that I was a little bit disapointed when I held it for the first time. It is shorter than the Ranger and I really think that the 130mm from the Ranger is the bare minimum for an edc. The blade shape is known from my Vic Soldier, and makes it a great tool, but the "scare" factor is lost by this type of blade. The handles are the known nylon type, but miss the rubber inlay like with the soldier. The thumbhole is perfect! Easy opening, even with gloves on... The liner lock is another story. Victorinox has the "strange" habit of placing the unlocking feature in the opposite direction. It makes closing the knife rather dangerous when the thumb is placed in front of the closing blade. The strength of the lock is awesome! It snaps open and you have an instant feel of a blade that won't move anymore. Safety is here guaranteed! Blade length is 86mm and the weight is approx. 71,8 gr. Overall is this knife a very light, razor sharp, functional knife with a very safe construction and strong first impression!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Old Settler

I just love Alox knives. The first vintage Vics I bought were some nice alox ones, the Pioneer Harvester to be more specific. But this one is in near mint condition and has a shackle I've never seen before. It got me interested, when I was looking at the sales-page from Marios K. and after some hesitating, I bought it. There were some small flakes of paint missing on the bottom of the knife, but the overall condition was better than you would expect from a alox knife. The alox scales are more scratch sensitive, then the celluloid ones, because the celluloid can be polished over and over again, but the alox ones are doomed to show their true underground... bare aluminum. Here's what I've found so far.....

Age - marks :

* Small blade : The small blade has a clip point. These blades were used till 1973.
* Blade stamp : The main blade stamp says ELINOX with the crossbow in the middle. This one was used from 1957 till 1975.
* Bail / Shackle : ???

Conclusion : 

This is a beautiful knife, but one of the low-budget series called ELINOX. The low budget series was made till 1975. After 1975, it all became Victorinox on the main blade. The difference is in the grade of blade finish. Mine has a brushed steel look, while a Victorinox would have been polished. There isn't much info about these knives, and this leaves me with a rather large time window from 1957 till 1973. If you have any info about this or other knives, don't hesitate and contact me at !