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Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.

Chako · 26 · 8486

ca Offline Chako

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Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
on: June 04, 2014, 02:31:42 AM
Victorinox has been in the knife business for quite some time, starting in 1884, and supplying their military since 1891. This means that the company has plenty of experience in making knife based multi-tools. However, they only got into the plier based multi-tool in 1997. Prior to that, they bought Bear MGC a year or two prior so that they could use the patent for outside opening tools. Personally, I have always felt that Bear MGC, and present day Bear & Son lent the SwissTool more than the use of a patent. They both feature polished stainless steel exteriors, heavy construction, and durability. Mind you, Victorinox definitely added their many years of expertise in producing top notch tools, which equated to the SwissTool's industry leading fit and finish. Yes, there are a lot of refinements seen in the SwissTool, and the later SwissTool Spirit that aren't seen in the American Bear Jaws lineup...but I like to think that they built upon the Bear Jaws, and perfected it in their own Swiss fashion. This is to say they just didn't copy the Bear Jaws and slap a Victorinox label on it. They are two different tools, that share a common heritage to a degree.

So the SwissTool came out in 1997. Prior to that, Victorinox did try to couple a full sized pliers with a Swiss Army Knife (SAK). This strange combination is definately eye catching, if not a bit entertaining to use. The pliers in the following example feature extra wide plier handles (which makes using them a bit interesting) to accommodate one of their knives. The whole thing in packaged in a well thought out sheath that has a fairly large Velcro flap.









I like to consider the above the granddad of the SwissTool. I have no idea when they came out with the above combination, but I like to think it was prior to 1997.

Thus, in 1997, the SwissTool was born. It was Victorinox's first foray into the plier based multi-tool market...and what a splash it made. If you looking for something that oozes precision and quality, you can't go far wrong with this tool. Interestingly enough, the attention to detail is such that Victorinox splayed the top and bottom handles slightly outwards from each other in such a fashion that it fits your hands perfectly. Instead of having a thick squarish tools, it is subtly sculpted to be more ergonomic. Attention to detail just didn't stop there either. Vicrorinox has a rather innovative system of nail nicks that is logical and very well thought out. This makes access to any tool a simple matter.

With that said, Victorinox has not seen the need to update their SwissTool much over the years. The biggest change being that of the plier heads. I am not going to go into that as we have an excellent thread on that here...

http://forum.multitool.org/index.php/topic,2463.0.html

Therefore, for the collector, hunting down the different plier head versions can be fun. Most other people simply won't care. :D

As for model variety, Victorinox has kept that a bit simple in numbers, if not a bit confusing. All SwissTools outwardly look the same. What differs are a few tools inside.

SwissTool: Feature both a plain and serrated knife blade.
SwissTool X: Replaces the serrated blade with a pair of scissors.
SwissTool RS: Same as the X, but replaces the file found in both above versions with a curved serrated belt cutter.
SwissTool CS: Same as the X, but also includes a removable corkscrew with mini eyeglass driver.

The corkscrew fits into a slot on both sides of the Swisstool as seen in the next two photos.




To make things a bit confusing, there are also two additional kits that add a bit driver with a 90 degree bend...called the Plus, and a kit that adds a mini Ratchet...called the Plus Ratchet. Both of these versions include a cute red bit holder and some driver bits.

Much like other manufacturers, Victorinox also produces a black version of the SwissTool with a major difference. Most other manufacturers use black oxide (BO). Victorinox does not coat their tools with black oxide, but uses a different finish that is very very beautiful. More of an anodized finish than painted, but it shows depth, and is very striking to see in person. To be honest, I have no idea what the finish is...but I do know it isn't black oxide.

See these two SwissTools. They are the black versions, but differing in plier heads. The top is a 1998, and the bottom is a 2005 or newer model. You can tell this is not a black oxide coating. The photo does it no justice.



Not only are the black tool exteriors black, but so are the tools inside.


Speaking of black SwissTools, there is a variation out there of interest to collectors, the Nato branded version from Australia. All Nato issued SwissTools are black and have the standard Nato numbers inscribed onto one handle. The number does not vary from year to year...as I have two with different plier heads.


Here is a close up of the number.




You can tell they are standard SwissTools as they both have a plain and serrated knife blade.


Getting back to the stainless steel SwissTool, there is a BSA marked version found in the United States.


This has "Boy Scouts of America" laser etched onto one handle.


Like the black SwissTools, I have a few of the same model in stainless steel. The big difference is the plier head variation denoting what year it was made.

Here is a SwissTool X. Note the addition of scissors instead of the serrated blade.


Here is a SwissTool RS. Along with the scissors, the file was replaced by that curved belt cutter. By the way RS stands for Rescue and Security.


Another SwissTool RS with a different plier head.


Here is a SwissTool.


Here is an other SwissTool, but with a different plier head.


And another SwissTool with a different plier head.


Another SwissTool with the newer 2005 plier head.


Of interest to collectors, this SwissTool Peace Support Plus kit.


Here is an example of a Plus sheath with added bit driver and bits.


One one side, Peace Support Switzerland.


And on the other side, a little symbol with the usual SwissTool markings.


Of interest to collectors, there is a black SwissTool Plus kit that came with a black bit holder for some German motorcycles. Likewise, there is also a cap crimper blasting cap version of the SwissTool out there.

In 1999, Victorinox added a series of tools called "Lifestyle Series", which was a bit adventurist for Victorinox. Many of the tools in this series did not achieve high success, such as the Ratchet tool, and the next addition to this article...the Auto Tool.

The Auto Tool has got to be one of the wierdest plier based commercial ventures ever undertaken by any multi-tool manufacturer. The fact that Victorinox produced this tool in the first place is amazing. That they made two versions of this tool, even more amazing.

The Auto Tool is just that, a plier based multi-tool aimed at well, anyone with a car. I won't get into details with the Auto Tool, but I will link to SAkWiki as they can say it better...

http://www.sakwiki.com/tiki-index.php?page=AutoTool

The original Auto Tool came with a can opener. The later version replaced that can opener with a small flat screw driver.




The Auto Tool is a must have for collectors in my opinion as it was never a popular tool, and well, props for having one of the wackiest Victorinox tools on the market. Bonus points if you also have the Ratchet tool. :D

In 2004, Victorinox added to their SwissTool line with the SwissTool Spirit. The Spirit is a smaller tool with curved handles, but equally exhibits superb quality. There are also multiple models of the Spirit.

SwissTool Spirit: Features the serrated butter knife with a pair of scissors.
SwissTool Spirit S: Replaces the scissors with a standard knife blade, but also retains the serrated butter knife.
SwissTool Spirit X: Features a pair of scissors, but replaces the serrated butter knife with a standard knife.

Like the older and larger SwissTool, you can also get these in Plus and Plus Ratchet versions.

Here is a Victorinox SwissTool Spirit. Note the shape of the handles. Whereas the original and larger SwissTool had some impressive subtle engineering to make them more ergonomic, the Spirit went straight for an in your face approach to ergonomics.


Here is a SwissTool Spirit X.


Here is a SwissTool Spirit Road Tour. You can't tell in this photo, but the Road Tour is a gray colour with the logo on the blade.




Here is a Black SwissTool Spirit S.


You can see the serrated butter knife well in the following photo of a black SwissTool Spirit S.


Here is a stainless SwissTool Spirit.


And a SwissTool Spirit S.


As you can see, Victorinox has two basic models, each with a few sub models based upon tool variations. If you don't have one or both models, you owe it to yourself to see what these are all about. I strongly suspect you will be a convert once you have one in your possession.  :D

A bonus shot of my Victorinox SwissTool collection drawer.


« Last Edit: June 04, 2014, 02:40:16 AM by Chako »
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nl Offline Reinier

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #1 on: June 04, 2014, 09:41:46 AM
Excellent post, Dan! :tu:
BTW, older SwissTools lack the hole for the corkscrew.
You should seriously visit vicfan.com. All the hoopy froods are doing it.


nl Offline bmot

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #2 on: June 04, 2014, 09:44:21 AM

Here is a stainless SwissTool Spirit.




Isn't this a Spirit X? :think:




Besides that, excellent post indeed :tu:



IT'S SO SHINY I WANNA DIIIEEE!!! :ahhh :ahhh :ahhh :ahhh :ahhh
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gr Offline kkokkolis

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #3 on: June 04, 2014, 11:45:35 AM
Bravo again for sharing.


nz Offline RimfireNZ

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #4 on: June 04, 2014, 12:00:07 PM
Great post. I'd love to get a Swisstool Spirit one day. I've never seen one over here.


ca Offline Chako

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #5 on: June 04, 2014, 12:17:31 PM
Yes it is...and I can't fix it either.  :facepalm:

I did press the X but it didn't seem to register, and I didn't catch it on my read through. Ah well.

With that said, I just noticed I failed to post a basic SwissTool Spirit. So here is the newly minted this morning image.



So if someone with mod powers could substitute the above photo for the wrong one in the article, I would be much obliged.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2014, 12:26:14 PM by Chako »
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nl Offline Reinier

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #6 on: June 04, 2014, 12:55:49 PM
Just in case anyone is interested: here is a pic of that black bit holder that Chako mentioned:

You should seriously visit vicfan.com. All the hoopy froods are doing it.


nl Offline bmot

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #7 on: June 04, 2014, 01:08:50 PM
I'm not sure... But I think I remember my hex bit wrench was shaped differently...  :think:
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de Offline HankSolon

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #8 on: June 04, 2014, 01:25:37 PM
Just in case anyone is interested: here is a pic of that black bit holder that Chako mentioned:

(Image removed from quote.)

A Black bit holder? OMG That would be very sweet for my BO-Spirit :gimme: I mean  :drool: I mean  :twak: Why do you post such things here? Don't you care about us fools?  :D



us Offline Singh

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #9 on: June 04, 2014, 01:28:30 PM
 :tu: Great post, Chako!


nl Offline Reinier

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #10 on: June 04, 2014, 01:31:44 PM
Hah, sorry about that :)
I did post it here before and I think I even tried to sell it here.

By the way, I bought it from a German seller. I think you may still be able to order on of these from a BMW motorcycle dealer.

You must like the box and pouch it came in too:





You should seriously visit vicfan.com. All the hoopy froods are doing it.


de Offline HankSolon

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #11 on: June 04, 2014, 01:38:42 PM
Hah, sorry about that :)
I did post it here before and I think I even tried to sell it here.

Well I don't allways look at the sales thread. It's very dangerous.  :D


ca Offline Chako

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #12 on: June 06, 2014, 01:28:28 AM
I never go there.  :facepalm:
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ca Offline CanadianLMfan

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #13 on: June 06, 2014, 01:34:53 AM
So many tools! :ahhh :ahhh :ahhh
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au Offline Huntsman

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #14 on: June 07, 2014, 12:47:25 AM
Nice Post - Thanks Chako  :D

I was trying to work out the difference between the models and it's much easier here than on the Vic website !! :think:

Even the tool comparison does not work well on the Vic site as they give the same tool a different name. Eg the awl is called an 'awl' on two of the tools but an 'awl/punch' on one of the others - so comes out as a difference - when I am pretty sure it's the same tool. Similar I think on the chisels/strippers.
Oh, and rarely, even the SAKWIKI is not too clear on the model differences!!

So MT.o rocks as usual.

One other point - On Victorinox.com the Swisstools now seem to be called the Swisstool I, II, III as opposed to  Swisstool, Swisstool X, Swisstool RS? Is that right?

Hey was intersted in this:
Prior to that, they bought Bear MGC a year or two prior so that they could use the patent for outside opening tools. Personally, I have always felt that Bear MGC, and present day Bear & Son lent the SwissTool more than the use of a patent.
Do you, or anyone have any photos of these Bear tools? - It would be good to see them   :D

And of course the STs are real beauts.  :gimme:


nz Offline zoidberg

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #15 on: June 07, 2014, 01:14:05 AM
Prior to that, they bought Bear MGC a year or two prior so that they could use the patent for outside opening tools. Personally, I have always felt that Bear MGC, and present day Bear & Son lent the SwissTool more than the use of a patent.
Do you, or anyone have any photos of these Bear tools? - It would be good to see them   :D
Lets look at Bear & Son Cutlery.


ca Offline Chako

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #16 on: June 07, 2014, 01:17:48 AM
This must not have been seen by a mod...as nobody fixed that one wrong photo yet.  :think:

Where is that bat signal? :D


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au Offline Huntsman

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #17 on: June 07, 2014, 01:41:39 AM
Lets look at Bear & Son Cutlery.
Aha - Thanks Z - I should have known (and searched before asking) - Silly me!!


gb Offline greenbear

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #18 on: June 07, 2014, 08:38:03 AM
Top post Chako - I'm a big swiss tool fan and have learnt a lot here - thanks  :salute:


au Offline Huntsman

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #19 on: October 22, 2014, 02:49:34 AM
Here's a wee ST tool guide I put together when a friend's ST arrived without any paperwork and he was a bit be-dazzled by the mass array of tools!!  :o

Probably not needed by us MTo freaks - But you may find it useful.

H
* Swisstool tool guide.pdf (Filesize: 170.89 KB)


ca Offline Chako

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #20 on: October 22, 2014, 03:45:14 AM
Nice work Huntsman.  :tu:
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au Offline Huntsman

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #21 on: October 22, 2014, 04:51:03 AM
Nice work Huntsman.  :tu:
Thank you Chako
- My little guide kinda pales into insignificance when you look at all the great work you do for this forum - eg this post  :D
- However your comment is much appreciated, and I hope people find it useful.

Although my guide is way better than what is on the Vic website re the Swisstool tools
That is a really badly structured list - and it is not even correct...
- eg inconsistent names for tools; duplication; the woodsaw seems to be missing; no clarity whether a feature/function is a separate tool, or part of another tool; no sequencing/grouping at all etc etc !!  >:D
I sent feedback to Vic telling them this!!   ;)
« Last Edit: October 22, 2014, 04:52:56 AM by Huntsman »


au Offline Huntsman

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #22 on: October 23, 2014, 01:16:00 AM
Wow - What great customer service from Victorinox - As always, it seems  :)

Within 24hrs of posting a comment via their website contact service re the Swisstool tool description problem
- I have received a very pleasant reply from non other than a Robert Elsener, who's email sign off says he is the Quality Manager at Vic.

Wow - What an honour to receive a mail from one of 'the family'  :2tu: :woohoo:

He says they are aware of the problems and it will be fixed when the website is completely re-vamped next year.
Although I would have thought they would fix just the list now ??? - as it shows incorrect information
Can't be that difficult - although RE did say they had some tech problems with the website.

Anyway we can all look forward to a brand new Vic website  next year :D


au Offline Huntsman

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #23 on: September 26, 2016, 06:32:44 AM
Interesting found this old post of mine here ......
................................
Oh, and rarely, even the SAKWIKI is not too clear on the model differences!!
................................
One other point - On Victorinox.com the Swisstools now seem to be called the Swisstool I, II, III as opposed to  Swisstool, Swisstool X, Swisstool RS? Is that right?

.......But ....... Not anymore it's not!

Mwah hah hah - The power of the editor  >:D

Although Vic did not help things with the Swisstool I, II, III renaming - Which seems to have gone away again
- And also renaming the Spirit models (the letter designation)  :rant: - I tried to be clear on this!!  :-\

Hey Chaks (and everyone)  - Can I put a link to this thread in the WIKI ??

Oh and PS .....
................................
Anyway we can all look forward to a brand new Vic website  next year :D

What a disappointment that was - Even more confusing ......
« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 06:41:15 AM by Huntsman »


hr Offline styx

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #24 on: September 26, 2016, 12:30:33 PM
I'd really like to hear the thought process on redoing their site. Seems to take ages now to find anything
Solving problems you didn't know you had in the most obscure way possible

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scotland Offline Sea Monster

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Re: Lets look at the Victorinox SwissTools.
Reply #25 on: October 30, 2016, 01:20:50 PM
Quote
Speaking of black SwissTools, there is a variation out there of interest to collectors, the Nato branded version from Australia. All Nato issued SwissTools are black and have the standard Nato numbers inscribed onto one handle. The number does not vary from year to year...as I have two with different plier heads.


I think I've mentioned it before, but still - FUN FACT:

The Nato number that is actually used to catalogue and manage this item is not the one imprinted into the handles.

Doesn't change the function of the tool, obviously, but if you're a military collector, you can be proud knowing you're carrying around proof that any government agency would be battling to find its backside with both hands (and that you probably shouldn't contract to have specific details put on something for no reason at all  :D )


 

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