The Swiss Army Knife is the quintessential multi-purpose tool. Since 1891 these miniature marvels have been produced in Switzerland and issued to all military personnel. After World War Two came to an end, American forces fell in love with the technological masterpiece and bought millions of knives before returning home, helping to make the implement popular on a global scale. Today the design is so iconic that it has been induced in several museums, including The Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Although for over a century two companies produced Swiss Army Knives, nowadays a single company, Victorinox, owns the rights to its rival brand, Wenger and is the sole producer of genuine Swiss Army Knives. Here is our top of the ten best and strangest Swiss army Knives.
10. The Victorinox Swisstool
Although this type of design is also popular with companies like Gerber or Leatherman, the Swisstool brings its own distinct spin to the utility tool design. Featuring a wide array of tools from eyeglass screwdriver to a pair of full sized pliers the Swisstool can almost replace an entire toolbox. The larger version even includes interchangeable screwdriver heads and a small socket wrench.
9. The Wenger Heritage 1893
This solid wood handle masterpiece is a accurate reproduction of the very first model made by Wenger, over 120 years ago and is available in a limited edition of 1893 knives in total. It features a basic assortment of tools: knife, can opener, bottle opener/flat head screwdriver and a reamer. Where’s the corkscrew, you might ask. Well, it’s not there. The basic army knife model never had a corkscrew as it was, apparently, deemed ‘non-essential for survival’. The officers thought otherwise and bought models with added corkscrews, which is why the model that everybody knows is known as the “Schweitzer Offiziersmesser” – The Swiss Officer Knife.
8. The Victorinox Swisscard
Perhaps you don’t need knives. After all, a pocketknife, even a small one is a tool for people who regularly need one and carrying a knife can be cumbersome. How about one that fits in your wallet? The Swisscard is a strange but useful multitool packed inside a neat plastic square about the size of a credit card. Featuring a small knife, small screwdrivers, a pen, a pocket light and a magnifying glass the Swisscard is perfect for the office environment.
7. The Wenger EvoGrip
If you’ve ever tried using a pocketknife to saw a branch in half you’ll know it’s hard on your hand. Well, with the new Evolution line’s handle design Wenger have solved the problem of grip problems. Now only does the new Swiss Pocket Knife feel good in your hand but you can also buy a more eco-friendly version with a wooden handle.
6. The Victorinox Traveller
This classic form Swiss Army Knife comes with a bonus: A led display on the side that shows altitude, time, air pressure and temperature. It can also be used as a stopwatch. The tool array is pretty general: the knife has two blades, two screwdrivers, bottle and can openers, a reamer, corkscrew and scissors.
5. Victorinox Cyber Tool Lite
Both Swiss Army Knife companies produce watches as well. With this complex tool you can now repair, maintain and clean those watches. You can also use it for electric and electronic equipment. It includes everything from a flashlight to specialty screwdrivers, a watch cap tool, crystal magnifying glass and everything else you might ever need.
4. Wenger Sterling Silver Esquire
Here’s a knife for a true gentleman. The Esquire does not include any serrated saw blades or cable strippers and is in fact a very limited tool. It consists of a small blade, a nail cleaner file and a pair of scissors. It does not even include a corkscrew or a toothpick because the true gentleman uses a proper corkscrew for his fine wine and a single use toothpick after his steak dinner. What is the appeal of this knife then, you ask? Why it is made out of sterling silver, or rather its case is. A sterling silver, mirror finish pocketknife for the gentleman in all of us
This knife does not include too many tools but the one it includes is quite unique. The Ranger Grip 75 features an ergonomic handle with a rubber grip and a large lockable blade amongst its tools but its defining tool is a pair of ingeniously integrated pliers. It is easy to integrate a full set of pliers in a multitool but a rare thing to be able to do the same with a pocketknife, particularly one that is required to stay light and easily usable.
2. Victorinox Swiss Soldier’s Knife ‘08
Since 1893 two companies have always share d the task of supplying the Swiss military with knives. That is, until 2005 when Victorinox acquired Wenger and, despite keeping both brands, became the sole supplier for the Swiss Military. The Swiss Soldier ’08 is the knife now used by the Swiss Army. A ruggedly built model with a lockable blade, wood saw, hole punch, can and bottle openers and screwdriver it is a simple weapon whose sole purpose is survival. And yes, this one doesn’t have a corkscrew either…
1. Wenger Giant
The Wenger Giant is an oddity. It is the largest pocketknife ever built, certified by Guinness yet it is too big to fit in any pocket. It has over eighty different tools and functions yet it is so big that it cannot be used at all. It is so big that the Swiss company has included a Wrench with it. The oddest thing ever is the price: at over two thousand dollars, the Wenger Giant is possibly the most expensive useless utility ever built.