Victorinox developing knife-less Swiss Army Knife, CEO confirms

Victorinox developing knife-less Swiss Army Knife, CEO confirms

The head of Victorinox has suggested that the iconic Swiss Army Knife could soon lose its sharpness in future: the international company confirmed that a knife-less army knife alternative is currently in the works.

Swiss Army Knife to go without a knife in future

In an interview with Blick, Victorinox CEO Carl Elsener confirmed that the company was developing a new alternative product that would take the knife out of its Swiss Army Knife. First produced by ancestor Karl Elsener in 1891 in Ibach, Canton Schwyz, the multi-tool has become a well-known symbol of Switzerland across the world.

The Swiss invention - typically consisting of a knife, scissors, screwdriver, bottle opener and nail file, among a litany of other possible tools - is used by both the military and civilians throughout the world and has even made it to space, accompanying NASA astronauts since the 1970s. The name “Swiss Army Knife” comes from an American soldier during World War Two, who struggled to pronounce the German word “Offiziersmesser” (officer's knife).

Why is a knife-less Swiss Army Knife being made?

Despite its prevalence across the world, Carl Elsener argued in the interview that the idea of a pocket knife now has negative connotations in many places around the world, which hurts Swiss Army Knife sales to tourists in Switzerland and those living abroad. “The blade is a symbol for a weapon in some markets,” he explained.

Elsener noted that in the United Kingdom and some Asian nations, carrying a knife outside of work or during outdoor activities is heavily frowned upon by both the police and the general public. While the Swiss Army Knife’s blade is short enough to be legal to carry in public in the United Kingdom, the brand does not want to be associated with the prevalence of knife-related crime in UK cities.

Other useful tools set to be added to the knife

Elsener likened the new move to how the company adapted after the September 11 attacks of 2001, after which sales of pocket knives fell by over 30 percent in one night. “9 / 11 painfully showed us that we must not become dependent on a single business area,” he noted.

The CEO said that the alternative Swiss Army Knife would still be an effective multi-tool despite not containing a blade, suggesting that repair tools for cyclists could be a useful addition to the product. However, when the new knife-less knives will hit the shelves of stores and supermarkets in Switzerland remains to be revealed, and the original bladed version of the knife is expected to remain on sale.

Thumb image credit: Pavlo Lys /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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