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Victorinox gained fame after World War II when American soldiers returned home with their multi-use tools as souvenirs. Since 1989 Victorinox produces wrist watches based on the same principles as the Swiss Army Knife: quality, reliability, functionality, innovation and iconic design.
Most people associate the name Victorinox with high quality Swiss knives which is not surprising because therein lies the origins of the brand. Karl Elsener, a cutler from Ibach-Schwyz opened his workshop in 1884 and became the first supplier of cutlery and ‘Offiziersmesser’ to the Swiss Army in 1891. He went on to develop the Swiss Officer’s and Sports Knife in 1897, which developed into what we today know as the iconic Swiss Army Knife. The famous white cross in a red shield emblem has been used by Victorinox since 1909.
Following the death of his mother in the same year, Karl Elsener re-named the company ‘Victoria’ in her honour. With the introduction of acier inoxydable, or ‘ínox’ - the French term for stainless steel - in 1921 he adapted the brand name to Victorinox (Victoria + Inox).
Victorinox is the original manufacturer of the iconic Swiss Army Knives, but what most people don’t know is that there used to be two Swiss Army Knife manufacturers: Victorinox and its rival Wenger. In 2005, Victorinox took over Wenger who continued to operate as a separate company.
Since this merger Vicorinox became the sole supplier of multi-purpose knives to the Swiss army once again and is the largest producer of pocket knives in the world. Besides knives, Vicorinox also produces and licences lines of (luxury) Swiss watches, clothing, and travel gear. Victorinox is still the only manufacturer of the official Swiss Army Watches. The company is today managed by the fourth generation of the Elsener family and celebrated its 130th Birthday in 2014.
Victorinox Swiss Army is one of the best-known brands in the world. Like brand names such as Aspirin, Hoover and Stanley their registered brand Swiss Army Knife has become the generic term for multi-purpose pocket knives. It is synonymous with high-quality, finely crafted and versatile tools.
Even though the Vicorinox Swiss Army Watcheshave only been around since 1989, they are subjected to the same rigorous standards of utility, aesthetic design, durable quality and precision as the knives. All Victorinox watches are Swiss Made and have to pass over 100 quality test before they are deemed suitable to wear on your wrist.
Because of their high quality and perfect balance between performance and elegance, Vicorinox watches are durable and appropriate for every occasion from the office to a hike in the mountains.
When Victorinox started producing watches they were relatively inexpensive watches, built to withstand the rigors of active use by the army. These original models –the Swiss Army Original collection, which is still available today – have sturdy nylon, leather and rubber straps, composite and metal cases, highly legible dials and great water resistance.
Other styles and types of watches by Victorinox range from specialty dive watches to ladies and gents dress watches and watches with mechanical movements. In particular, Automatic and hand-wind mechanical Victorinox watches are the popular choice for those who are looking for a good quality Swiss Made watch without the big price tag.
When Karl Elsener opened his original workshop in 1884, the Ibach-Schwyz region of Switzerland was still amongst the poorest regions in Europe. From then on, Elsener has worked to combat poverty and unemployment by creating real jobs. Today, his spirit of solidarity, and commitment to values and regional roots still shapes the Victorinox company philosophy. As an independent family company, 90% of the shares are held by a Foundation. The remaining 10% of shares are held by a non-profit foundation that supports charitable projects.
All processes at Victorinox production plants and their suppliers have been optimized as much as possible on a sustainable basis. Through these technical innovations Victorinox’s environmental footprint has been significantly reduced.
In recognition of their efforts to preserve the environment, Victorinox in 2008 received an award from the Swiss Environmental Foundation.