Swiss Army Knife maker plans model without a well-known feature

FILE - Red Victorinox AGs Swiss army pocket knives, one bearing the coat of arms for the Swiss canton of Bern, left, sit on display in a store window in the Swiss capital of Bern, in Switzerland. Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The manufacturer of the classic Swiss Army Knife is developing a new model that will be bladeless to address regulatory barriers hampering access to multitools with knives.

Victorinox CEO Carl Elsener, whose company owns the Swiss Army Knife brand, said in an interview with Swiss media outlet Blick, "We're concerned about the increasing regulation of knives due to the violence in the world."

"We're actually working on pocket tools without blades," Elsener explained. "For example, I have a cool tool for cyclists in mind."

"We already have a tool specifically for golfers in our range. Cyclists probably need special tools, but not necessarily a blade. The blade creates a weapon image in some markets," he said. The new versions of the tools are expected to complement, rather than replace, the classic Swiss Army Knives.


Elsener explained that a number of countries have restricted members of the general public from carrying pocketknives or other blades unless they're needed for work or outdoor activities. 

"In England or certain Asian countries, you are sometimes only allowed to carry a knife if you need to have it to do your job or operate outdoors," he explained. "In the city, however, when you go to school, to the cinema, or to go shopping, carrying pocket knives is severely restricted."

In the U.K., knives can only be carried if they have a folding blade less than three inches in length.


Restrictions on knives rose in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the U.S., and Elsener said the company's pocketknives sales plunged by more than 30% in its aftermath.

"9/11 painfully showed us that we must not become dependent on a single business area," he told the outlet.

Victorinox did not immediately respond to FOX Business' request for comment.

The company was founded in 1884 by Karl Elsener and began making the original version of what became known as the Swiss Army Knife in 1897.

Victorinox acquired Wenger, which made a competing Swiss Army Knife, in 2005 and continues to operate the brand with a greater focus on its watches and travel gear.

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