Monday, June 30, 2014

REVIEW: Victorinox Midnite MiniChamp: My Every Day Carry (EDC)

I've been carrying a Midnite MiniChamp for close to two years now. It replaced my Classic and it has been in my key ring from the moment I got it.  It has all the tools that I need for quick fixes. 

Layer Tools:
     Pen Blade
     Cap-Lifter / Combo tool includes small Phillips screwdriver / wire stripper/bender
     Emergency Blade (small Wharncliff)
     Cut-and-Picker Blade with scraper
     Cuticle Pusher
     Nail File with nail cleaner tip
     Key ring

Scale Tools:
     White LED light

     Retractable Pen

But honestly, I mostly use only the half side of the tools and the two scale tools.

One of the most used tools is the retractable ball point pen.  I had signed important documents with it.  Although, I don't think it is good for writing a long note, but for instances where you need a pen to sign, it's a savior!
The ball point pen. It accidentally dropped a few months ago, never to be found but after a quick email to Victorinox Warranty, they sent a replacement at no cost.

The Pen Blade gets a lot of use, from opening letter envelopes, to opening carton boxes (cutting the tapes only) to cutting nylon ropes, fishing lines, etc.  It has remained sharp and I always clean it after each use, specially when I'm cutting sticky tapes.

The Combo Tool! I think this is one of the best single tool in the 58mm range.  I've used the cap lifter to open countless of beers and the small Philips screwdriver is perfect for opening the battery lids of my children's toys. Although, I think it would have been better if it opened away from the key ring . 

The Scissor gets a lot of tool time as well.  It's small but stays very sharp.  It's also pretty strong and can cut a board paper with no problems.  

The LED light can light up a pathway during this dark wintery nights.  It's like a regular flashlight on a key ring.  The small white LED bulb is pretty strong for its size. Definitely a good addition to the MiniChamp model.  The original battery is still strong even after two years of use.  No signs of it going low at the moment.

The Ruler with flat screwdriver tip gets an honorable mention. I've used the flat screwdriver but I haven't found the need to use the small ruler.  It's really not that practical to have a ruler that's only 35 mm long.  I think it would have been better to have the same nail file with flat screwdriver tip like the Classic SD.

For the other tools, well, let's just say that they're still in their unused condition.  Honestly, if I'll buy another SAK for my key chain , I'll probably buy a Midnite Manager - I think this SAK is bang for the buck! Has all the tools that I need without the added "fat". Lean and mean, cost a lot less as well.

Also, did you noticed the paper clip in the key ring?  I think what's missing in this tool is a pin!  I've been in some situations when a friend needed a pin to replace his phone's sim card and I did not have any!  After that, I added the paperclip on the key ring for emergency situations requiring me to have a pin. 

Overall, the Midnite MiniChamp has all the tools you'll need for those quick fixes plus more.  But, if you're like me and will most probably use only half of the tools, you'll be better of buying the less expensive Midnite Manager.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

COLLECTION: Victorinox Camper 91mm (pre-1971)

The model we now call Camper started as model 240KU. The old Camper model back in the 1960s through the 1970s did not have a wood saw. Its tool set was the same as the current Spartan. See photo below from a 1960s catalog.

The top model in the photo above was called "Camper" but did not have the wood saw that the current Camper had.  The bottom model was called 240KU which identified it with two blades and a saw.

Another 1970s catalog photo of the old Camper.

At the start of the 1980s, in the SMICO dealer catalog the 240KU model was renamed to the Camper and the old Camper was called the Standard.

From the SMICO dealer catalog showing the "switch" in the model names to what we now have (Note: the Standard model was later renamed again to Spartan).

My SAK is an early 1970s 240 model that still had the "+PAT" marking on the can opener and the "Victoria Officier Suisse" in the back tang of the main blade.

The photo was white balanced to the white background, notice a darker red color on the cellidor scale, not the kind of red we see in the current models.

Main blade tang marks.

+ PAT mark on the can opener.

The five looped-fluted corkscrew and the reamer without the sewing eye.

Nickel Silver metal shield inlay.

This particular knife might have been an economy model as it is without the tweezers and toothpick.

One reader, mentioned the mistake in the 240kU designation. I changed it accordingly to 240, as it is not a "k" (84mm) and it doesn't have the "U" (bail).  Thank you for the correction!

Victorinox 1960s Catalog
Victorinox 1970s Catalog
Victorinox 1980s Catalog

Friday, June 27, 2014

PRINTS: Wenger Lockheed Esquire

The Lockheed Corporation (originally Loughead Aircraft Manufacturing Company) was an American aerospace company. Lockheed was founded in 1912 and later merged with Martin Marietta to form Lockheed Martin in 1995.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

COLLECTION: Victorinox Vice-President or Small Climber 84mm (estimated 1968-1971)

One item off my 84mm list!  This was part of the "wonder" batch which netted me a 1970s Ambassador, an 84mm Golfer and this one.

The 84mm Climber has exactly the same tool set as its larger brother, the full size 91mm Climber.   In the 1980's Victorinox Catalog from the SMICO distributor, the 84mm Climber was listed as Vice-President with natural horn scales (0.3702.61).  I haven't found it in a 1970's catalog but most probably it existed as well during that time.  I've estimated the manufacture date to be between 1968 to 1971 mainly on the Tang stamps, see below details on the Age Marks.

Age Marks: Estimate 1968-1971
Corkscrew (5 loops fluted): Pre-1985

Reamer with cutting edge, no sewing eye: 1961-1985

Nickel Silver Metal Inlay Shield: Pre-1980s

Tang Stamps: Victoria Officer Suisse 1968-1974

Clip Point Small Blade: Pre-1973

+ PAT: 1951-1971

Victorinox 1970's Catalog
Victorinox 1980's Catalog
Victorinox Tang Stamps on Pocket Knives from 1884-2014 by Ulli
SAAM's 91mm Tools Evolution
Victorinox Evolution from

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Victorinox Lifetime Warranty

I got a pleasant notification from Australia Post that a package is waiting to be collected at my Parcel Locker yesterday afternoon.

It was the package from Sheldon & Hammond, distributors of Victorinox in Australia.

About three weeks ago, I sent several of my saks for repairs. One included was a Master Craftsman with broken scissors and stuck tools.  I was informed that it is unrepairable and they will replace it with a SwissChamp since the former is not available anymore.

There were several other saks that were replaced as well. They even replaced saks with chipped or broken scales.

The repair department assured me that Victorinox honors their Lifetime Warranty promise irregardless if you have acquired the sak second hand, from eBay or from a flea market.  As long as the damage is covered under the Lifetime Warranty, they will repair or replace the sak.

Also, here in Australia, you only pay the postage cost of sending the sak to the repair department.  They will send back the repaired sak for free!

One more thing, I also received a complimentary Classic from the latest collection series as a "thank you" for my effort in reporting the fake Victorinox Rescue tools that were being sold in eBay Australia a couple of months back.

Thank you Victorinox and Sheldon & Hammond.

Monday, June 23, 2014

COLLECTION: Victorinox Soldier Year 2003 (1961 Model) 93mm (2000s)

As I was thinking on what to focus on the Swiss Army Knife collecting, I decided that one of the model series I want to collect is the Soldier's Knife series, the knife that started it all for the Victorinox brand.

The Soldier model is being produced by Victorinox and Wenger (SI) for the Swiss Army every year since 1891. There has been four models so far, the original 1891, the 1951, the 1961 and the 2008.  You can read more about the model changes at

Since collecting all of the Soldier's knife for every year that it has been produced will be cost prohibited, I've decided to just collect the Soldier's knife produced in every year of my family members' birth years.

This is the first of my "Birth Years Collection" series.  2003 is my eldest son's birth year. The 2003 is part of the Soldier 1961 model where the Alox scales were first used for the Soldier's knife.

This particular knife was part of a big lot I purchased from one of my favorite ebay sellers. I got another Soldier's knife in this lot that I will post in a later date.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

COLLECTION: Victorinox Electrician Silver Cross 93mm

This is one of the popular variant in the Alox Pioneer series.  As per the catalogs, back in the 1970's the Alox range had just four major model ranges, the Junior, the Cadet, the Souvenir and the Pioneer. Under these major ranges, Victorinox used model numbers to identify the different variants (different tool sets).  The Alox Electrician had an initial model number of 2212 (Tool list: Klinge-Blade, KabelKlg.-Cable Blade, Scraubenzieher - Screwdriver, Bohrahle - Awl).

In the 1980's the model number changed to 0.8120.27 and received the model name of Electrician.

I got this in another ebay deal of one lot with two Alox Electricians, one Signature lite and a Wenger Traveler.  Apart from some tarnish in the tools, the condition was great! A little bit of cleaning and some metal polish did the trick.

By the way, the Alox with the Red Shield started replacing the Silver Cross in the 2000s. 

Victorinox 1970's Catalog
Victorinox 1980's Catalog
Victorinox 2000's Catalog

Thursday, June 19, 2014

COLLECTION: Victorinox Ambassador 74mm (1970s)

This SAK came as a nice surprise when I received a recent ebay lot.  The item was described as "7 Assorted Victorinox Swiss Army Knives Airport Confiscation Lot".  Looking at the photo I saw five Executives and two "classics"-looking bigger knives.  I did not mind it then as I was buying this lot to fill the weight for my package.  This purchase was only a "filler" to my main purchase which was also an "Airport confiscation lot" but I saw an 84mm Golfer.  But that's for another post.

Back to the "7 Assorted... lot", I inspected it immediately after I received it as I usually do for all of my eBay purchases.  Amid the Executives, there were two Ambassador models and one in particular had a different tweezer.  I remembered reading it from SAAM's website where he indicated that before 1978 Victorinox used Aluminum tipped tweezers. Bingo!  

It also had the old style crosscut nail file and brass spacers.  Another thing to note which will further date this SAK to about 1975 and earlier was the use of single spring and screw joint Scissors. Score!  Not bad for a $3.50 buy.   

I'm not sure if my dating process is correct as most of the reference websites use mainly 91mm models.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.

So I have my first 74mm SAK for collection... before storage, I cleaned the knife thoroughly.  I gently removed the scales as the tweezers will not come out.  It had a lot of gunk and a sticky-glue like substance underneath the scales that prevented the tweezers from being pulled out. I also polished the scales to a like-new shine finish.

Nickel-Silver Victorinox Shield 


Aluminum-tipped tweezers

Single spring-screw joint Scissors

Crosscut Nail file