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Many years ago I had a boyfriend who was obsessed with all things Swiss and one year for Christmas he bought me this little Victorinox Swiss Army Knife. I have carried it around, attached to my key ring ever since, not because it reminded me of him, but because its useful tools come in handy.
This pen knife is one of many made by Victorinox, a Swiss company whose origins began in the nineteenth century. In 1884 the owner, Karl Elsener, was tasked with producing a strong, compact, multi functional knife that could be used by the Swiss army. The Swiss Army Knife was born.
Since then the company has expanded its range and built on its reputation for quality and reliability. It not only offers pocket knives but has diversified into clothing, watches, luggage, fragrances and cutlery. All products have the Victorinox logo, a white cross on a red shield, (colourless on the cutlery) reminiscent of the Swiss flag.
Even though this knife is tiny, measuring just under 6cm and less than 2cm wide, it is robustly made. Its main body is constructed predominantly from steel, with red cellidor scales (handles) - cellidor is a hard plastic. This means that unlike other small gimmicky implements, that snap as soon as any pressure is placed on them, these will actually do what is required and live to see another day.
These knives have seven features - a pair of scissors, a small knife, a nail file that doubles up as screwdriver, a keyring attachment, a pen and either a pair of tweezers or toothpick. Mine have the tweezers which I think are more useful. The tools all do what you would expect them to. The scissors cut paper and thread - I have been known to use them for small craft projects in the past. I keep the nail file for emergencies - although its not the best I have used, its not bad enough to deduct a star and the screwdriver does its job well. My knife regularly gets used to sharpen eye liner pencils - I just wipe the blade clean with a paper towel and it is like new again. The pen doesn't work now, but it did for quite a long while - again that's reasonable so I wont deduct a star.
The tools all fold into the main body of the knife so that only 2mm of the edges are protruding. These edges have ridges on them that you grip with your nails in order to open the tools out. This means that you only need to have one tool in use at a time.
You can purchase the Signature Swiss Army knife online from Amazon for around £12. They also retail on Ebay for a similar amount. They can be purchased from many independent hardware and outdoor pursuits stores. John Lewis sells them too, but not online. My knife is red but they come in opaque (jelly) blue and red varieties.
As I said before, I have had mine for years and apart from the pen running out it is showing no sign of wear and tear. If I ever lost it I would definitely have to replace it!
Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Signature model
I wanted a multi-tool gadget I could carry around with me, in case I needed to do a bit of DIY like opening a parcel or cutting tape etc.
This particular Swiss army knife is very small. I am not good with measurements. That is why I ended up buying this, but I would say it is the size of a normal key. This makes it easy to stick on your key ring holding your main keys without being obtrusive. (It has a key ring holder ring). However, when using it, the small size makes it pretty useless / impractical. I wouldn't recommend this for most people but especially if you have large hands as you won't be able to hold it properly while using any of the tools.
The tools that it has are:
A knife - This was very sharp when I first got this about 2 years ago but now it is pretty dull. I haven't used it much. I mainly use it to slice through cello tape on parcels I get and it can struggle with that sometimes if it is quite thick.
A screwdriver with a nail file on the side. I don't know what size it is but it is the one with a straight line instead of the diamond shaped ones and it comes in handy when opening PC cases, as the screws used on them fit this exactly. I have never used the nail file.
Scissors - I never use these as the handles on these are too small when cutting paper. You can't manoeuvre it while you are cutting.
Tweezers - These are removable from the Swiss knife and can come in handy for pulling out a stray hair.
A pen - You need to push a switch on the knife to reveal the nib. I think this is a neat design for a pen but I never use this either. It could be handy for someone who forgets to carry a pen with them.
I think this cost me about £5 or so online. I also bought a leather pouch for it at the same time, which may have cost more than the Swiss knife itself but that was a total waste of money. You don't need a protective pouch for this.
== Summary and recommendation ==
I give this 3 stars. It is basically too small to be of any real use. I use the screwdriver the most for opening PC's but apart from that I don't really use many of the other tools on a regular basis.
It has lasted longer than I thought it would though, and the price isn't too high.