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Victorinox AG
Founded 1884; 134 years ago (1884)
Founder Karl Elsener
Headquarters Ibach, Canton of Schwyz, Switzerland
Area served
Key people
Carl Elsener Jr.
(President, CEO & Chairman)
Products Swiss Army knives, cutlery, watches, travel gear, apparel, fragrances
Revenue CHF 510 million (2014)[1]
Number of employees
1,850 (2014)[2]
Divisions Victorinox Swiss Army Watch SA, Biel/Bienne, Switzerland
Victorinox Travel Gear AG, Ibach-Schwyz, Switzerland
Victorinox SA Apparel LLC, New York, USA
Victorinox Swiss Army Fragrance AG, Ibach-Schwyz, Switzerland
Victorinox India Pvt. Ltd.[3]

Victorinox (/vɪkˈtɒriˌnɒks/[4]) is a knife manufacturer based in the town of Ibach, in the Canton of Schwyz, Switzerland. It is well known for its Swiss Army knives. The Swiss Army knives made by Victorinox are made of Swedish steel from Sandvik. Since its acquisition of rival Wenger in 2005, it has become the sole supplier of multi-purpose knives to the Swiss army. It is the biggest manufacturer of pocket knives in the world; in addition, the company licenses its logo for watches, apparel, and travel gear.


A Victorinox SwissChamp, one of the most functional Swiss Army knives
Swiss army knife open 20050612 (cropped).jpg

The company was founded in 1884. Since 1891, the company has delivered knives to the Swiss army. Their emblem—a cross in a shield—has been used by Victorinox since 1909. That year, the mother of founder Karl Elsener died and he named the company "Victoria" in her honour. In 1921, with the addition of "inox" (abbreviation for acier inoxydable, the French term for stainless steel) into their products, the brand and name of the company became the present "Victorinox" ("Victoria"+"Inox").[5]

In 1972, the Forschner Butcher Scale Company of New Britain, Connecticut became the exclusive Victorinox distributor for the United States. In 1981, the company went public and Charles Elsener, president of Victorinox, acquired a significant percentage of its shares. In 1983, it was renamed the Forschner Group, Inc. In the 1980s, Forschner registered the Swiss Army name as a trademark in the USA. In 1992, Precise Imports Corp., U.S. and Canadian importer of Wenger knives, sued and Forschner retained the rights to use the trademark on its compasses, timepieces, and sunglasses, while Precise could use it in marketing other non-knife items. In the mid-1990s, Forschner changed its name to Swiss Army Brands, Inc. (SABI).

In 2001, Victorinox teamed up with SABI to create an international watch company Victorinox Swiss Army Watch AG. In August 2002, Victorinox acquired all remaining shares of SABI to gain control of the Swiss Army trademark. Previously, SABI had sold the Swiss Army branded watch in North America and - under the license - the Victorinox branded watch outside North America. But afterwards, the combined Victorinox Swiss Army brand has been marketed worldwide.

On 26 April 2005 Victorinox acquired Wenger, the other official supplier of the Swiss Army knife,[6] announcing that it intended to keep both brands intact.

In 2006 the company had a workforce of 900 employees and produced about 34,000 Swiss Army knives, 38,000 multi-tools, and 30,000 household, kitchen, and knives per workday. Approximately 90 percent of its production is exported to more than 100 countries. Victorinox has claimed never to have had to lay off an employee. To avoid this they set aside profits during boom periods to supplement recessionary periods, as well as temporarily contracting employees to other companies as outsourced labour during recessions.[7]

On 30 January 2013 Victorinox announced that the company will merge Wenger's knife product lines with the Victorinox brand to strengthen its competitive position internationally.

In 2014, Victorinox acquiered the TRG Group from Centric Group. For several years, TRG Group was the Victorinox licensee for the manufacturing of luggage and travel oriented products. Victorinox integrated TRG Group in the company as the Victorinox Travel Gear division.[8]

In 2017 Victorinox decided to close the apparel division with the purpose of focusing in other core product lines.[9]


Swiss Army knives[edit]

Victorinox "Officer's Watch" (basic design)
A SwissCard Lite, so named for including a flashlight with replaceable battery.
Victorinox "Huntsman" Swiss Army knife with knife chain and belt clip

The Swiss Army knife is the best-known product by Victorinox. Originally the sole supplier, Victorinox has shared the contract with Wenger since 1908. A compromise between the two companies gave Victorinox the right to advertise as the Original Swiss Army Knife, while Wenger laid claim to the title of Genuine Swiss Army Knife. Victorinox took over Wenger in 2005.[6]

Swiss Army knives are widely used outside the army (and civil sales represent most of the turnover[10]). They are multi-functional tools, and many sizes and functional combinations are produced. NASA astronauts have a Victorinox knife as standard equipment.[11] Victorinox knives have also been taken to Mt. Everest and the Arctic. The "Champion", Victorinox's model flagship prior to the introduction of the "SwissChamp" in 1986, is in the New York Museum of Modern Art's Permanent Design Collection.[12]


The SwissCard is roughly the size of a business card, typically with a small pair of scissors, a short non-folding knife, a small file with a screwdriver point, a plastic toothpick, tweezers, a slim ballpoint pen, and a straight pin, housed in a hard plastic case of 82 × 54.5 x 4.5 mm in size, with an inch ruler on one side and metric measurements on the other. Victorinox produces three types of SwissCards, the Classic, the Quattro and the Lite model. All three models differ in the number of functions they provide, ranging from 10 (Classic) to 13 functions (Quattro and Lite).[13]


Victorinox has long produced other kitchen cutlery under their own name and the Forschner brand name. In 2011 Victorinox stopped using the Forschner name and produces the same knives with the Victorinox name.

Professional knives[edit]

Bread Knife and Standard Cooking Knife

Victorinox make an extensive range of chef's knives. They have been manufacturing them for many years and have made significant advancements in their design over the years. Their standard cook's knife uses a soft metal which may go blunt quicker, but allows easy and quick sharpening of the knife. They are also made very thin, allowing a better cut through many large food items, and minimises food splitting before it is cut. They also have no ricasso – the flat section of the blade located at the junction of the blade and the heel.

Currently they have been making more ergonomic style design knives, thus changing the way the user handles the knife and for comfort, minimizing stress on the body. They are also using ceramic material as a blade on a range of their knives. Victorinox also allow for a choice of handles on their knives, you can choose between a plastic or wooden handle.[14]


Victorinox also produces the bayonet for the Swiss Stgw 90 assault rifle. The bayonet has an overall length of 310 mm and a muzzle ring diameter of 22 mm. The 177 mm long blade is single-edged and it has no fuller. The bayonets were manufactured exclusively for the Swiss Army by Wenger and Victorinox (before the two companies merged).


In 1989 Victorinox entered the timepiece business in the United States under the brand name "Swiss Army".[15]

Victorinox has various collections of watches which range from luxury dress watches to rugged dive watches. They feature mechanical and quartz movements. Collections include Infantry, Divemaster, Airboss, I.N.O.X. The timepieces are produced in Switzerland.


In 2012 the manufacturing of a Swiss Army Knife was featured on a season six episode of the Ultimate Factories (aka Megafactories) television series.

Victorinox has licensed its name to TRG Group to produce branded travel gear and business accessories.[16] Further, a number of Emissive Energy Corps products have been redesigned and rebranded as Victorinox LED flashlights. Most are available with a knurled aluminium body, similar to Swiss Army knives. Similarly, SwissTools are Victorinox's multi-tools, i.e. a pair of pliers with other tools folded into the grips.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ „The 100 biggest employers in central Switzerland“, Neue Luzerner Zeitung, 22. October 2014
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "Victorinox launches airport security friendly laptop bags". Indian Express. Retrieved 9 January 2016. 
  4. ^ Victorinox AG - YouTube
  5. ^ Ingram, Frederick C.; Stansell, Christina M. (2015). "Victorinox AG". Reference for Business. Advameg, Inc. Retrieved 10 December 2015. 
  6. ^ a b "Cut down". The Guardian. 5 July 2005. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  7. ^ BBC (2012-04-06). "Revealed: The Swiss Army knife". BBC News. Retrieved 2012-04-08. 
  8. ^ Jason Morris (5 August 2014). "Swiss Victorinox buys TRG Accessories from Centric Group". American City Business Journals. Retrieved 25 April 2018. 
  9. ^ Stephen Garner (17 February 2017). "VICTORINOX TO CLOSE APPAREL DIVISION". MR Magazine. Retrieved 25 April 2018. 
  10. ^ (in French) "Les couteaux Victorinox proposés au catalogue de l'armée américaine", Radio télévision suisse, 10 July 2017 (page visited on 10 July 2017).
  11. ^ NASA. "NASA confirm use of Victorinox knives" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  12. ^ MoMA. "Victorinox Swiss Officers' Knife Champion (no. 5012)" (pdf). Retrieved 2010-06-20. 
  13. ^ "Swisscard - The Swiss Army Knife Flat As a Creditcard |". Retrieved 2016-01-22. 
  14. ^ "Victorinox Watches, Knifes and Travel Gear". 2016-08-26. Retrieved 2016-08-26. [permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Victorinox: History",, Victorinox corporate website
  16. ^ TRG Group. "TRG Group, About Us". Archived from the original on 25 January 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 

External links[edit]