Multitool.org Forum
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
+-

Hello Lurker! Remove this ad and much more by logging in.


Work Champ Review 498

Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,654
Work Champ Review
« on: July 10, 2021, 02:38:08 PM »

Victorinox Work Champ Review

Some historical perspective
When introduced in 1952, Victorinox assigned a special name to their flagship model. The Champion really lived up to its name with over 20 features across six, and later seven tool layers. For decades, the Champion remained their top-of-the-range model, only passing the baton to the aptly named Swiss Champ in 1985. Stretched to eight layers and 33 features, the Swiss Champ remains a popular model, but it tests the upper limit for what can be carried every day while remaining practical for use.


Original Swiss Champ

Soon after the Swiss Champ’s arrival, Victorinox stepped into a new size category with their 111mm range, offering larger, more robust knives that featured a locking blade. Initially limited to between one- and three-layers, in 1996, Victorinox decided it was time to unleash the champion of the 111mm range, the six-layer Work Champ.


Original Work Champ with Slide-lock blade

While a couple of layers shy of the Swiss Champ, the Work Champ nevertheless packs 21 features into a frame that is a little narrower, but nearly an inch longer. This extra length supports longer tools, with the blade, wood saw and file all benefitting from a little extra legroom.



While not intended to be a comparative review to determine a winner, I will refer to the Swiss Champ as it shares many of the functions and even some of the tools with the Work Champ, and is probably the more familiar of the two pocket knives among SAK enthusiasts.

Design Principles
The Work Champ is not pretty. At least not from an aesthetic perspective. There’s no symmetry with the contoured handle and uneven closed tool height. The matt nylon scales are unremarkable while the exposed aluminium liners at each end of the knife look like an engine’s cooling fins.



But open the blade and the Work Champ undergoes a visual transformation. The huge symmetrical drop point blade becomes a natural extension to the tapered handle, with the blade’s spine flush with the backspring. It’s clear that Victorinox used a fresh piece of paper when designing the 111mm range, building the handle around the blade as opposed to building a blade to fit the handle.

The name says it all, the Work Champ is a tool for work. Its beauty is in its function.



Size and Weight
While all Victorinox 111mm pocket knives are already large, the Work Champ is a beast. Weiging in at 228g, it’s one of the heavier pocket knives made by Victorinox. More than a Swiss Champ and even the Swiss Tool Spirit.

However, the weight is deceptive. The Work Champ feels light in the hand compared to a Swiss Champ, which has a tool density that packs more metal into a smaller space. And while the Swiss Champ’s broad width can sometimes prove awkward, the Work Champ’s proportions are a little less extreme. It still feels large in the hand, but for the most part, this extra size matches the larger tools, translating to faster use with less fatigue.



The Work Champ is too large and heavy for pocket-carry. Let’s face it, none of the 111mm SAKs are really pocket friendly. Like a full-sized multitool, this is a bag or toolbox SAK, with EDC options limited to a belt-clip lanyard in a generous pocket, or a belt pouch.

Functions
There’s no doubt that the star of the show is the Work Champ’s locking blade. At 3.4”, it’s longer than the blades found on most multitool, including the large Victorinox Swiss Tool and the Leatherman Surge. It even exceeds the legal carry length in some countries.


Swiss Tool, Work Champ and Leatherman Surge

If anything, opening the Work Champ’s blade can be a little intimidating. It demands attention and caution, yet instils confidence in the hand. But it also highlights a weakness of the Work Champ. There is no small blade that can be assigned to small jobs, so you are left with the mismatch and potential danger of using this large blade for all knife-related cutting duties. Sometimes less is more.

Originally using a slide-lock button in the handle, Victorinox switched all 111mm models to liner lock in 2017. A curious feature of the liner lock is that it is reversed compared to traditional liner locks, meaning that the lock must be pressed left to right to release, suggesting it was designed for left-handed users. This is certainly not the case, as Victorinox had the opportunity to reposition the tools and liner lock when they redesigned the knife. The reason for the reversed geometry is to force users to pause and concentrate on the action of releasing the lock, to reduce the risk of absent-minded accidents. It also makes it almost impossible to accidentally release the lock with the right thumb. Finally, we must remember that this is a pocket knife and not a tactical flipper.



Like the blade, the file and wood saw occupy the full length of the knife and are effective because of their size and design. The file is fabricated from hardened stainless steel with an aggressive cut, and is a good deal thicker than the earlier chrome-plated version or any of the current files found on the 91mm range. The wood saw is also beefed-up to match the extra length, although the teeth pitch and design are the same.



As with all SAKs, the openers occupy a side layer. While the can opener with flat screwdriver tip is borrowed from the 93mm range, the cap lifter is even bigger and features a liner lock, making this tool a very capable large flat screwdriver that is even suitable for light prying. Only the Work Champ’s cap lifter and blade are locking, sharing the same stainless-steel liner that is sprung at the ends in opposite directions to lock each tool independently. Sharing this locking liner meant relocating the blade to be next to the opener layer when Victorinox switched the Work Champ from slide lock to liner lock.


Original slide-lock and new liner-lock Work Champ cap lifters compared

Victorinox reuse tools whenever possible, and the Work Champ’s pliers and scissor are the same as found in the 91mm series, with just the addition of a nail nick to aid extraction of the pliers. Some have complained that Victorinox missed an opportunity to scale these tools up in size and this may be true for the scissors, but the pliers would have needed to scale considerably in width, to the detriment of the overall size and weight of the knife. Instead, Victorinox applied some Swiss ingenuity to add a pair of inline Phillips drivers, that stow below the pliers and scissors, pivoting from the opposite end of the knife. This does introduce the extra step of lifting these tools halfway to get to the drivers, but once deployed, they are hugely capable, one longer with a fine 0/1 head, and a stubby one about the length of a modern Swiss Champ’s, with a larger size 1/2 head. As a bonus, these drivers align close to the center of the SAK, allowing a more natural wrist action when in use.



Back layer tools are limited to a stock corkscrew and awl, although the awl s a little wider to take up the extra thickness of the opener tools, and strangely, is missing the sewing eye. The Work Champ ships with a mini-screwdriver stowed in the corkscrew, and the scales feature a standard toothpick and tweezers combination. There is no Plus scale option, so pin and pen are not available.


Liner-lock Work Champ awl has no sewing eye

When redesigning the Work Champ to be a liner lock, Victorinox also took the opportunity to move the key ring attachment to the awl side of the knife, using the stainless-steel liner lock as the attachment point. This new position removes it as a palm hotspot (for righthanded users), and is a great example of the detailed analysis Victorinox does when making a change to a product.


Repositioned key ring location does not dig into your palm

Conclusion
As a pocket workhorse, the Work Champ delivers. The longer blade, file and saw all make a tangible difference, and the extended size, even with the extra girth, make it easy to hold and manipulate.

But it does have its weaknesses. The extra bulk acts like an anchor when using the scissors for delicate work, and the lack of a small blade means defaulting to the large locking blade for even the most innocuous cutting tasks. And there’s no escaping that the size of the Work Champ places it in direct competition with full-sized multitools.

In the end, the Work Champ stands a little in the shadow of its smaller and older brother. The Work Champ has a slightly sterile character that many modern products seem to suffer from, delivering better performance in a more reliable, efficient way – but lacking a little of the historical affection that other Victorinox models enjoy.

I can certainly recommend the Work Champ for anyone looking for a more robust multi-function pocket knife, with the only real issue being its bigger size. If you’ve carried a Swiss Champ on a short belt clip, the Work Champ can carry this way too, but it does need a bit of pocket space. Just be prepared for some comments about what’s in your pocket.


2021 Victorinox Work Champ, supplied by Sharp Edge, South Africa
« Last Edit: July 10, 2021, 04:05:04 PM by Max Stone »

Education is a journey that starts when you realize that knowing a little about something opens the door to the universe.
Hero Member Posts: 558
Re: Work Champ Review
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2021, 02:49:29 PM »
It's an example of ideal review.
Thanks!
Zombie Apprentice Posts: 18,133 Bon Journee!!
Re: Work Champ Review
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2021, 02:57:30 PM »
Excellent!!

Barry
Global Moderator Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 25,302
Re: Work Champ Review
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2021, 03:04:54 PM »
 :hatsoff: well done.  Having somewhat recently getting a Workchamp and being a longtime user and lover of the Swisschamp I agree with what you've written. 


Esse Quam Videri
No Life Club Posts: 2,818
Re: Work Champ Review
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2021, 03:33:45 PM »
Nice review!

The one thing I would point out is ... In discussing the liner lock, it's important to note (I think) that the more likely reason for the orientation is the use of one liner lock on two tools


But I tend to agree that "human factors" plays in to their safety mechanisms, as seen in the Evo S locking mechanism. Slow and steady keeps the fingers.
Global Moderator Absolute Zombie Club Posts: 25,302
Re: Work Champ Review
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2021, 03:41:08 PM »
I have the slide lock version.  Seems Vic may have accomplished both of what you suggested 11 quite elegantly.   

Esse Quam Videri
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,841
Re: Work Champ Review
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2021, 04:01:02 PM »
I enjoyed your thorough review of the Work Champ, Max!  :cheers:
Beautiful photos too.  :like:
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,654
Re: Work Champ Review
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2021, 04:10:07 PM »
Thanks everyone.  :hatsoff:

Education is a journey that starts when you realize that knowing a little about something opens the door to the universe.
Global Moderator No Life Club Posts: 3,706
Re: Work Champ Review
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2021, 05:19:08 PM »
Love your work Max!!   :tu:
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,654
Re: Work Champ Review
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2021, 08:29:56 PM »
Thanks R/H  :hatsoff:

Education is a journey that starts when you realize that knowing a little about something opens the door to the universe.
Full Member Posts: 187
Re: Work Champ Review
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2021, 09:45:15 PM »
Many thanks for your time and trouble - great review!

I love mine.
Hero Member Posts: 956
Re: Work Champ Review
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2021, 10:37:32 PM »

Victorinox Work Champ Review

In the end, the Work Champ stands a little in the shadow of its smaller and older brother. The Work Champ has a slightly sterile character that many modern products seem to suffer from, delivering better performance in a more reliable, efficient way – but lacking a little of the historical affection that other Victorinox models enjoy.


Very nice review, Max! The above sums up the Workchamp precisely - it's a great tool, but it has a problem: it's not the Swisschamp. Unlike you, I like it's design (it's functional, but so is the Swisschamp's) and I do think you can carry it in a (jeans) pocket (at least the liner lock version), but I fully agree that once you have grown accustomed to the small blade, it's hard to go back to just one large blade. That said, I believe its biggest flaw is the fact that knives with lockable blades are illegal in many countries, which is why 91 and 93 mm SAKs simply make more sense in many parts of the world.
No Life Club Posts: 1,145
Work Champ Review
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2021, 01:37:25 AM »
I wish I could have this article handy when I’ve considered buying a Work Champ - I’d surely have bought it sooner

One way or another it has become my favorite pocket tool and my EDC

Keep up the great work, it’s a pure joy to read

Dream. Wish. Leave nothing undone. Repeat.
Hero Member Posts: 813

EMZ nl

*****
Re: Work Champ Review
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2021, 08:21:40 AM »
Thanks for this excellent review!
I was in doubt, but now I'm pretty sure I'm not going to buy the Work Champ. For me it's too big, too heavy, and I don't need scissors and multiple Philips screwdrivers.
The Swiss Champ is in fact a multi-tool with a large blade and small pliers, while the Spirit has large pliers and a small blade.
The Spirit packs more power and tools in about the same weight class (except for the blade).

IMHO the best all round 111 mm multi-tool was the Tradesman, which unfortunately is obsolete since many years.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,654
Re: Work Champ Review
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2021, 11:04:39 PM »
Thanks EMarkM, Simon, alexanderre, EMZ  :hatsoff:

Education is a journey that starts when you realize that knowing a little about something opens the door to the universe.
No Life Club Posts: 3,106
Re: Work Champ Review
« Reply #15 on: July 13, 2021, 12:06:22 AM »
Great review Max.

Here is one other fact to add to your stats.The WorkChamp slide lock weights in at 204 grams.

This makes it almost and ounce lighter than the liner lock version.


"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."  **Edmund Burke**

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."    **Benjamin Franklin**
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,654
Re: Work Champ Review
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2021, 11:01:32 AM »
Thanks toolguy  :tu:
I expect this difference is the stainless steel liner (to lock the blade and cap lifter), the fine Phillips driver and the slightly larger cap lifter. In a blind test I can just distinguish the 10% difference.

Education is a journey that starts when you realize that knowing a little about something opens the door to the universe.
No Life Club Posts: 1,145
Re: Work Champ Review
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2021, 11:08:46 AM »
Thanks toolguy  :tu:
I expect this difference is the stainless steel liner (to lock the blade and cap lifter), the fine Phillips driver and the slightly larger cap lifter. In a blind test I can just distinguish the 10% difference.
That fine Phillips though

Dream. Wish. Leave nothing undone. Repeat.
Absolutely No Life Club Posts: 5,654
Re: Work Champ Review
« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2021, 11:34:28 AM »
it is nice  :iagree: They did add it to the slide lock before switching to LL in 2017.

Education is a journey that starts when you realize that knowing a little about something opens the door to the universe.

 

Donations

Operational Funds

Help us keep the Unworkable working!
Donate with PayPal!
July Goal: $300.00
Due Date: Jul 31
Total Receipts: $98.19
PayPal Fees: $6.07
Net Balance: $92.12
Below Goal: $207.88
Site Currency: USD
31% 
July Donations

Community Links


Powered by EzPortal
SMF 2.0.17 | SMF © 2020, Simple Machines
Page created in 0.048 seconds with 33 queries.
© 2018 Defender Web & Tool