Friday, December 27, 2013

1980's Victorinox Director

This one is for quite some time in my collection and I must say that this steel patterned Guilloché design looks classy. Since I started pulling my 74mm collection out of the display cabinets, I started taking a second look at the bottom shelf... Too bad these beauties are stuffed in a place I can't see them. Maybe that's why I decided to give them some attention on the blog... The steel Guilloché design was a more select line, like the Deluxe Enameled 58 mm line, for the more, let's say upper class people... I was able to find this one New In Box for a very low price. It was the first victorinox knife I ever saw with this pattern and I loved it instantly... Victorinox released a list with all the special editions and the corresponding release dates on it, and that's why I was able to find out when they were made. According to this list, Victorinox produced this particular design from 1982 till 1985. Other patterns, as the one with two stripes in the middle, were made till 2006, but they all started production on the same year, 1982. Basically this knife's an Executive, but since they made a separate line with these steel scales they renamed it to the Director. Many collectors love this knife due to its short production "life" and the more durable steel scales.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

We wish you happy holidays and a good health for 2014!!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

1970's Victorinox Executive

The 74mm line isn't the most appreciated one, but offers a great size to weight ratio. Often the 58mm blade is just too small for the task at hand, but the 84/91mm knives are just too bulky or heavy, so the 74mm offers a great compromise. With only  a maximum of two layers, the 74mm line is also the one with the least models available. This one was bought as a "damaged" item, but after some repair it came out pretty good. Since the few models out there, it wasn't hard to find out which one it is... There isn't much known of the tool changes within these knives, but some of the tools changed around the same period as the 91mm knives, like the scissors... These changed from single spring with screw joint to double spring around 1975. If you look at the 1970's catalogs, you can see that this particular model first showed up early 1970 and since after 1975 the scissors changed, this one wasn't too difficult to figure out... This Victorinox Executive must've been made around the early 70's. A nice find for a few Euros...

Below you can clearly see the single spring in the scissors and the keychain-ring. This piece comes out of an early 1970's catalog...

Blue, bluer, bluest...

This is more a request than a post you've become used to... A few weeks ago I noticed that someone posted a picture of all the Translucent shades available, on the Victorinox Facebook page. I knew that there were orange, ruby, onyx, silvertech, sapphire and emerald translucent scales in 91mm knives, but I wasn't aware that brown and the lighter blue shade existed... So, that's that?.... Nope, when I started looking for the blue translucent scales with my regular seller my wife (once again) noticed three different shades of blue. I bought them immediately and here we are. Is there a possibility that translucent scales wear off in UV-light? Or was there a change of material/manufacturing method over the years? I don't know if you can see the different shades on the pictures, but there is a clear difference. Try to look at the structure you can see through the clear plastic. A is the darkest one, the more known one.... Sapphire... B is the mysterious one. C is the lightest shade, also the second I found on the picture I mentioned on Facebook.

Here's my Translucent collection so far... The Onyx ones are hard to find, and yet they are still mentioned in the 2013 catalog... strange... 

Victorinox Alox MiniChamp 0.6381.20

When this one showed up on the forum, everyone loved it. Alox is and will always be far more attractive than cellidor and since Victorinox had only released a few limited Minichamps with Alox scales, this was an opportunity to complete the collection. They come in three different colours, red, silver and black. I've seen them all in the Flagship store in Dusseldorf and must say that red pops out as the more "classic" Alox colour (see red Alox and the old cross). This little 58mm toolbox is stunning... It contains tons of tools in a size that's hardly noticeable thanks to the small size (58mm) and weight (40grams). Prices may vary around 40 Euro and they will be available from late 2013... 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Victorinox Flagship store Düsseldorf

About a month ago, C. Meyer, the Brand communications manager of Germany and Austria, contacted me with a, let's call it a very kind E-mail, regarding my blog. He invited me in the Flagship store in Düsseldorf to experience the personal knife assembly... I wanted to see the shop, ever since someone told me it was so huge, so this was actually a nice push in the back to go... I contacted Josef Hegemann, the shop manager, made an appointment, and after some mails regarding the new Commemorative Damascus Explorer everything went fast...

Victorinox Flagship Store Düsseldorf
Königsallee 88, 40212 Düsseldorf, Germany
Tel.: +49 211 54473450

Opening hours:
Mo - Sa: 10.00 - 19.00 hrs

I was used to the "smaller" sized shops, but when I saw the huge front of this one, I was pretty curious for the interior... Once inside I noticed the wide array of knives. The largest part of the shop is clothes, perfumes, watches and travel bags, but the knife part is definitely worth mentioning. They use the same wall-display as every other Victorinox shop, but add a nice "personal assembly" area to the knife-part. Josef Hegemann, the shop manager gave me a warm welcome and pointed me to their assembly-specialist. This lovely woman told me step by step how to add every tool, spring and rivet. After a first mistake (my mistake), my "guide" offered me to try it a second time, and this time with success... This shows once more the Swiss perfectionism you find in every knife... After the kind explanation and engraving of my "personal companion" I took some time to look around. I bought the new Minichamp in red Alox and I was very tempted by the Cheese knife with cow horn handles, but with a price tag of 230 Euro, I had to make a choice and I'm still waiting for the Damascus Explorer, so... Even after the knife assembly,they offered me a nice giftbag, filled with books and a Düsseldorf Spartan. This shop is certainly worth the visit! If you're a knife collector, this shop offers more than enough to keep you busy while your wife tries out every garment out there... :) 

In case you guys should read this... Thank you for this great experience and warm welcome! This is how every shop should be!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Victorinox 1902/03 model nr. 235

Here's a piece of history...  I love old, VERY old Victorinox knives. These knives bring me closer to the roots and show how a pocket knife of over 100 years old (antique) still works like if it was made yesterday. That's the power of a Victorinox! When I saw this one for sale on Ebay, I was afraid for the final bid. This knife is a real collectable, since they didn't use stainless steel back then and were more fragile than the more recent ones. These knives were also very expensive! The guy who helped me with my Spartan construction in Brunnen, told me that the old Victorinox knives costed a fortune back then. They were completely hand made and prices could compare to 200 Euro these days. That's why they used them till they gave up. A lot of these knives died of extensive use and that's why they are made... To make a long story short... I was very lucky to find this one... Just to give you an idea... In 1909 Victorinox consisted of 22 employees  and let's say that they produced a few hundred knives for each model, depending on sales... That means that my knife is pretty scarce right now... Hehe...I can't hide it... I'm pretty proud about this one...

UPDATE : Wellllll, my wife took a second look at the knife and the 1903 catalog simultaneously... She noticed that the scissors are on the wrong side compared to the one in the catalog. That makes age dating a bit more difficult, but.... hold on.... Scissors, wood saw, and other "special" tools were integrated in 1902. That makes this knife an early prototype, made in 1902 and was redesigned in 1903, or it was an original 1903 design, but repaired afterwards with a wrong setup. On the other hand this might be a problem, since the spring wouldn't work 100% when you change directions... Pfffff.... This is a difficult one... My final tought would be .... manufactured between 1902 and 1903....

When I saw that the final bid ended far within a reasonable price, I took my chance and went for a "Sniper" bid in the last 10 seconds... At first glance it looked ok, but when it arrived I was a bit disappointed. The scales had some "gaps" between the liners and some tools were more sharpened then I expected. I did a great job (even if I say so myself) on the restoration, replaced the spring for the scissors, removed the dirt inside the tools and went for a complete lubrication. I'm not gonna lie... It still looks old and (ab)USED, but that gives it a certain charm... I could remove the rivets and rebuild it with donor-parts, but that would damage the originality... About the age... Almost all the tools are used in the early 1900's and since I found the knife in the 1902 Elsener Catalog, this was an easy one. Back then you could choose between a knife with or without the Victorinox shield. The shield costed a bit extra. This one showed up as model nr. 235 and is more recently named the Traveller. The Traveller is discontinued since with the invention of the parcel hook, the Climber was born... One thing was a bit off on this knife... I've never seen Elsener Schwyz stamped in the large flathead screwdriver before... Anyway I love this knife and within the next few weeks, It will get a nice lucite display so time won't have anymore effect on it!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Victorinox Signature 0.6225.T

I already discussed the Signature Lite, so this one isn't very different, except for the missing Led-light. I can't remember exactly which documentary, but in one, Mr. Carl Elsener said that he likes to carry the Signature and that he already signed a lot of important contracts with it. Coincidence wants that with my recent factory visit, Mr. Wyss gave my wife and me a Signature as a gift. I'm honestly afraid to use it, because it means a lot to me and this was one of the few knives, missing in my collection. One thing that I liked very much about this knife was that it contains one scale tool (tweezers) and that the other tool is separately included in the box, since one scale has the pressurized ballpoint included. This knife is based on the 58mm Classic design and has actually the name Signature 2. The original Signature had a removable pen and that gave some problems with handling due to the small size. The original one isn't manufactured anymore... 

1990's Victorinox Secretary

This smooth Alox 84mm knife was designed for the lighter desk-tasks and came in beautiful red smooth scales. There were three different colours available, red, silver and blue. The red one was discontinued in 1999 and was first developed in the late sixties, early seventies, but with a Victoria or Elinox blade stamp. Mine has the more recent Victorinox Swizerland Stainless Rostfrei. This stamp was used from 1975 till 2005, but since the white Victorinox shield popped up in the eighties (SMICO catalog), this one should be from the late eighties, or even nineties... None of these designs had the keychain-ring. This is my first smooth alox Secretary with the Victorinox shield and I was able to buy this one in near mint condition. All it took was some warm water and soap to clean it...

Friday, November 29, 2013


*Check out my poll on the right side of this blog. I'm curious to see which one wins... ;)
*Updated my Alox collection... & added my 108mm collection!

Once again a big thanks to all the people for the mails and kind messages I received! It surprises me that after being a year online, the blog had over 40.000 visits from all over the world and this shows that I must be doing something right... ;) I'll keep the regular posts up to date and try to answer all your questions as good as I can. In a few weeks I'll be visiting the Flagship store in Dusseldorf and next year I'll be visiting west-America. This gives me the opportunity  to visit some Victorinox sellers in the good old USA... If someone has addresses I should check, please let me know... So.... there will be more than enough to write about... ;)

DAK (Dutch Army Knife) model 2010

The civilian model of this rather difficult to find DAK is called the Dual Pro. The Dual Pro has a corkscrew instead of a philips head screwdriver and nylon scales with rubber inlay, like the Swiss Soldier knife model 2008. The model 2010 was the first 111mm model with a One hand Opening serrated blade. It was next in line of the model 1993, discussed earlier on this Blog. This particular knife has three layers, nylon heavy duty scales and the Dutch Army -lion logo embedded in the scales. This knife is ideal for a rough environment, just like any other 111mm knife, but this one has, to my opinion, one tool too much. The seatbelt-cutter or emergency blade is a tool, far overrated in a knife that should serve an average field-soldier. If you look at the Swiss soldier knife, you can clearly see that the layer filled with the wood saw adds more functions, more possibilities... The emergency blade makes certain actions far more easy then with a plain blade, but the functions stay the same, so to make a long story short... Two blades with one set of functions... I'm sure there are Soldiers out there with a lot of experience with this one and I hope someone corrects me here, but until then.... ;)

Red alox and the old cross...

These knives first popped up in the 1970's catalogs as "Sturdy Boy" and lasted till the late Nineties. The only thing that changed were the blade stampings, some tool-marks and their names. These knives look beautiful, but have one major disadvantage compared to the newer silver alox.... the red paint fades away after rubbing against keys or other metal in your pocket. That's why I try to keep them away from use and nice and shiny in my display case... Yesterday I managed to find a Farmer and two Solo's in mint condition... The Farmer is made between 1985 and 1991. The cap lifter has a 90 degree lock (made after 1985) and the keychain-ring is attached to a brass spacer instead of the backspring (before 1991). Both Solos are made somewhere between 1975 and the nineties. I can't find a shorter time window, since there's only one tool and no keychain-ring. My red alox-collection starts to get crowded... :)

Below : blade stamp of the Farmer

Below : blade stamp of the Solo

Below : blade stamp of the Solo