Hi everybody, I am a bit of a Victorinox fanboy and collector, but nowhere near as knowledgeable as I know many are here.
I have owned and used SAKs of various sizes for many years, but always wanted to pare the knife down to (what I feel are) the essentials. I've finally worked out what they are, for me, and I thought I'd post them for the sake of conversation and, more importantly, to see if such a beast exists. I know there have been custom runs etc, so you never know, I might get lucky.
You could probably call it a Scientist Plus, with file.
On the list:
Blade: one is enough.
Combo tool: it's a can opener, bottle opener, screwdriver and pry bar. What's not to love?
Magnifying glass: IMHO, the most underrated tool in the SAK lineup. Small print is everywhere (ingredients, serial numbers, fuse and lamp ratings etc). Remove small foreign objects from the human body. Study tiny insects. Start a fire.
File: tidy your fingernails, make something fit properly, clean the corrosion off of something electrical. Cut metal. Cut plastic. Cut wood. It's an extra layer, but it's a thin one, and extremely versatile. Up there with the magnifier in terms of startlingly useful things to have that most models overlook.
Phillips-head screwdriver: it's amazing how many things need a PHS just to swap a battery or make an adjustment. The Vic PHS is a good one and worth carrying.
Awl: minimal size or weight penalty, darn useful to pierce a hole or clean under nails.
Plus accessories: why wouldn't you? Tweezers and a ballpoint are handy things (although Alox scales are nice too...)
In, but only just:
Back-mounted fine screwdriver: just because it fits behind the file.
Corkscrew: maybe I drink cheaper wine than you, but the chances of my wine-drinking ambitions being stymied by a cork these days are slim to nil. However, replacing it with a Phillips-head would leave a gap next to the magnifier, and I prefer the inline Phillips anyway. So I'll put up with it. It does provide a place to store the mini screwdriver, and it can help to unpick knots. Plus I just know that one day I'm going to find myself unexpectedly staring at some amazing Belgian ale with a cork under the crown seal, and I must be ready for it.
Can opener, bottle opener: See corkscrew. It's 2014. Cans have ring pulls, bottles twist off. Exceptions, meet Combo.
Small blade: a sharp spare is always nice, but I've NEVER broken a blade or found it so dull it wouldn't cut. Take it away, give me the combo instead and lose a whole layer.
Scissors: if I had to, I'd take them. But I don't particularly like the Vic scissors, and I rarely use them even when I have them. Packets can be opened with a blade, and nails can easily be fixed up with a blade and a file. Lose another layer.
Pliers: the Vic SAK pliers are handy if you've got absolutely nothing else, but they are really just oversized tweezers. I tend to have a SwissTool (or Spirit, or any of about 10 Leathermans) somewhere nearby if I'm in a situation where actual tools might be needed. IMO the SAK is about pocket convenience, and maybe emergency survival, and the pliers just don't pull their weight.
Wood saw: just not that useful to me. I have one on the 111mm I take car camping, I use it rarely for notching a pot rest etc. In a survival situation, I reckon most things a 91mm wood saw can cut, I can probably snap.
Multi-purpose hook, fish scaler: I have never used them. Ever.
The only other thing I'd like to see is an LED flashlight built into one of the side scales. IMO Vic's LEDs leave a lot to be desired, and once they are 'built in' they age rapidly as technology improves around them. Hell, by the time the model hits the market the LED component is already obsolete. Building the flashlight into a modified side scale would allow Victorinox (and the user) to upgrade it independently of the knife and to retrofit it to any model.