Monday, December 29, 2014

COLLECTION: My First Victorinox Plus 84mm (2010s)

This is another variant of the My First Victorinox model with an additional saw layer.  It is still marketed for the kids and is often packaged in a box and a lanyard included.  

This Translucent Red model is item number: 0.2373.T.  It is also available in Translucent Blue (Item Number: 0.2373.T2) and Translucent Pink (Item Number: 0.2373.T5) cellidor scales.  It is also available in Nylon red scales (Item Number: 2.2373).

Friday, December 26, 2014

COLLECTION: Victorinox Signature I 58mm (1990s)

The original Signature (dubbed Signature I in is the precursor to the current Signature with retractable ball point pen (usually blue ink).  The original Signature model has the removable ball point pen like what the 91mm with plus scales model have.

I'm still researching when exactly did the change between Signature I and II happened but it is sometime in the 1990s.  By 2001, the Signature model already features a retractable pen.

There's also another model called the Stylus which has a touch screen stylus instead of a retractable pen.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

COLLECTION: Wenger EvoGrip 18 Handyman 85mm (2000s)

This is my Wenger EvoGrip 18, it is an 85mm model with 4 layers and ergonomic handles with rubber grip.  The Evo lineup was first introduced in 2005 and two years later, in 2007, Wenger updated it to EvoGrip, essentially it has the same ergonomic shape but with black rubber grips embedded to the red cellidor scales.

Current EvoGrip 18 model

The EvoGrip 18 is based on the Handyman model.  The Handyman model has been produced since the 1960s (*disclosure: I only have a 1963 Wenger catalog, this model most probably existed before that but I don't have concrete proof, hopefully I can get some older catalogs to trace it back further. When I get this, I will update my Wenger posts).  

In the 1960s, Wenger has not given names to its knives, only Model numbers existed.  For this model, it was Model Number: 776.  Back in 1963, this model cost USD 5.95!  It has the same toolset as Model Number 716 but it has toothpick and tweezers, and it has a philips screw driver in the place of the corkscrew.  The 1963 model still has the bail (or the Lanyard Shackle as what Wenger wants to call it) included as well.

Model Number 776 from the 1963 Wenger US Catalog

In the 1970s, the Model Number was changed to 16933 and it was also first given the model name, Handyman.  It was basically the same model as the 1960s one.

1970s Catalog with the updated model number

Late in the 1970s, a lot of changes were made to the Wenger SAKs, so in the 1980s catalog these changes were very evident.  The nail file has changed, lanyard shackle was replaced by a key ring and chain, the scissors was changed to the single lever type and the can opener was changed design as well as changed places with the bottle opener.

The 1980s model represented the radical changes happened in the late 1970s.

The 1993 model was roughly the same as the 1980s model except the bottle opener has the "Patent" engraved on it.

Photo from the 1990 Wenger Catalog

In 2005 Wenger introduced the Evo model lineup.  Basically it took the most popular models and changed the scales into ergonomically shaped ones.

2005 Catalog showed the introduction of the Evo models.

Finally in 2007, they again updated the Evo lineup to embed rubber grips and named it EvoGrip (surprise!).  This is essentially, the EvoGrip models still being sold today until supplies last.  The new Delemont Collection just released will finally fold the Wenger saks to the Victorinox brand.

More photos:

1960s Wenger Catalog
1970s Wenger Catalog
1980s Wenger Catalog
1990s Wenger Catalog
2005-2006 Wenger Catalog
2007 Wenger Catalog

Friday, December 19, 2014

COLLECTION: Victorinox Classic New Zealand National Flag 58mm (1990s)

The New Zealand national flag is based on the Blue Ensign flag of the United Kingdom with four red stars to the right with white border representing the Southern Cross (Constellation of Crux). This flag was designed and adopted for restricted use in 1869 and became the national flag in 1902.  There is a two-stage binding referendum on a flag change and is expected to take place in 2015 and 2016.  This current flag might be replaced soon!

My flag collection as of 19/12/2014.

NZ Ministry of Culture and Heritage accessed 9/12/2014
First steps taken towards flag referendum accessed 9/12/2014

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

REVIEW: Victorinox Executive 74mm (2000s)

The Victorinox Executive brings all the SAK goodness in a compact, not-too-small, not-to-big, just-right- 74mm package.  It has a main blade, small blade, orange peeler with flat screwdriver tip, scissors, nail file with pointed tip that can be used as a nail cleaner or philips screwdriver, tweezers and toothpick.  

I think the only thing missing in this set-up is a removable or retractable ball point pen and LED light (or not); and it will be a perfect key-chain EDC tool. Victorinox - please, remove the toothpick and tweezers on this model and make it more relevant by adding the removable ball point pen and the white LED light.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

COLLECTION: Wenger Master Fisherman 85mm (1970s)

Wenger has been producing Swiss Army Knives since 1886 and together with Victorinox, they were supplying the Swiss soldiers with folding knives since 1893.  They are known for releasing unique models with unique tools.  Recently, they were acquired by Victorinox in an apparent move to keep the Swiss Army Knives manufacturing in Switzerland.

Actual photo from my collection dating back to early 1970s.

The Master Fisherman has been in production since the 1960s (earliest Wenger catalog available online).  It might have been in-production earlier, but I don't have a catalog available from the 1950s and earlier to verify.  The 1960s model does not have a name yet and is only indicated by the Model No. 967.  It was USD 7.75 back then which is roughly USD 76 in 2014 value.  This is comparable to the Wenger Fisherman 19 currently on sale at (USD 65).

From the 1963 Wenger Catalog, the asterisk in the model number denoted a Philips screwdriver in place of the corkscrew

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the can opener was changed to the "V" shaped or the dog leg-style from the old-style can opener (similar to what Victorinox used in the 1950s).  They later changed this again to the current/modern curved-shaped design in 1975.

From the 1970 Wenger catalog.

The scissors design with the single leaf spring similar to the Victorinox design was changed to the lever-type design after 1972.  

This particular SAK in my collection can be dated to pre-1972 based on the scissors design in the tool set.

More photos:

Wenger company history
1963 Wenger Catalog
1970s Wenger Catalog

Thursday, December 11, 2014

REVIEW: Victorinox Climber and Super Tinker 91mm (2010s)

The Victorinox Climber and Super Tinker are two of the most versatile 3-layer SAK currently in production today. Apart from the standard main blade, small blade, can opener and cap lifter on the front layer, it has the scissors which is very handy in any environment.  They also have the awl with sewing eye and parcel hook in the back layer.

Both are virtually the same except for that the Climber has the corkscrew and the Super Tinker has the philips screwdriver in the back layer.  

Personally, my choice will always be the Climber aka Super Spartan (get it?) in the 3-layer SAK category (considering only the models currently still in production).  I feel the philips screwdriver in the back layer is awkward to use.  I prefer the inline philips screwdriver as it feels like a normal screwdriver design (long handle, inline).  Also, the can opener tip is small enough to be used in place of the philips screwdriver.  Having the corkscrew in the back layer also enables you to carry the mini screwdriver that is very useful in many situations (like fixing eye glasses, small toys, etc).

Anyway, whatever you prefer, you can't go wrong between these two amazing SAK models.

Comparison Photos: Climber (left) and Super Tinker (right)