Ok, let's start off with... FINALLY!!! It took me about twenty mails to three different countries, two visits to the Flagship store in Dusseldorf, almost an insane trip to Switzerland in two days and oh, two months of waiting.... After a few negative reviews of the early releases I was having second doubts and with prices online, going from 160 Euro to 250 Euro, I had some mixed feelings about this release. On the other hand... This is a milestone in collecting Victorinox knives. I was always impressed by the way that Carl Elsener sr. ran his company and there is no more respectful way of commemorating his legacy as with a knife like this...So.... after some hesitation I went to the Flagship store in Dusseldorf and made a reservation in december for the knife, that hopefully arrived in january. A few days ago I received the mail I was waiting for. Josef Hegemann, the Dusseldorf shop manager mailed me that the knife arrived and two days later I was drooling on the display model in the shop... At the counter, the woman who gave me instructions on making my own Spartan during the last visit, showed me the model they kept aside. I wasn't really impressed, mostly because I already knew the small imperfections, mentioned on the negative reviews and I noticed rough edges on the scales, so I asked if she had some others, just to compare. I could choose from three knives and there was a lot of difference, especially in the wooden scales. One of the small details is that they didn't sand the oak scales smooth. There are some pores in the wood and this gives the knife some rough feel to it. Not something "bad", just something we aren't used to by Victorinox, and some do have this more "expressive" then others. I choose for the more even surface. Other imperfections, the other reviews mentioned, weren't visible on the ones they showed me. The scales were well fitted on the outer liners and the shield fitted perfectly in the wood. This is one impressive knife. It looks good, feels good and the Damast... well... is quite unique. I love it!
Here's some technical details :
The knifes actually a standard Explorer with the addition of a Damast main blade. Damasteel, or the pattern used on the main blade found its origin in ancient India, where sword smiths used a unique way to forge this beautiful steel. Real Damasteel should be almost indestructible and was a source for some of the greatest legends, claiming that a Damasteel blade could split a hair and so on. Victorinox uses a more chemical technique and puts a layer on the blade. I don't know the details of this technique, but I do know that it isn't real Damasteel through and through. This should make the knife far to expensive for the average consumer. Nevertheless the blade looks stunning!!!
It weighs 105 Grams , has Oak scales, a width of 27mm and a length of 91mm. It comes in a beautiful display box with a snap-closed lit and a small lucite window on top. On the front scale, the signature of late Carl Elsener sr. was laser burnt in the Oak. Behind the Corkscrew you'll find the year of production (2013), your unique production number and total produced (7000pcs).
Available Swizerland /Austria : December 2013
Available Germany : January 2014
Available USA : ?March? 2014
Retail PRICE (Germany) : 215 Euro
Conclusion : If you're looking for the tools, buy a standard Explorer, but if you're a collector, or just someone who likes to show off with a unique piece, this is the knife you should buy! With 7000 pieces available worldwide, they probably will be around for some time, but don't wait too long, since the prices will rise over the years! I started off with doubts, but after holding this one in your hands, you just know Victorinox has released another gem...