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Takin' the Blog for a Walk

Join Waukesha resident Brien Lee and his blog, Sir Fido, as they explore the city and report on the interesting things they find.

Email Brien at howlinblog@yahoo.com.

not a knife, a way of life

8) my favorite things, Victorinox

I've kept a masterpiece concealed in my pocket nearly every day for the last 13 years. SwissChamp has been called Victorinox's flagship model and the daddy of Swiss Army knives, but I call it by far the handiest, most reliable and well-made tool kit I'll ever own. 

I obviously can't do everything with the knife, but SwissChamp gives me an awful lot of options. I don't use every feature, but better to have it and not need it . . .  I would be happy with just 8 functions: scissors, tweezers, both long and short knife blades, pen, magnifying glass, flat blade and phillips screwdrivers. I use the magnifying glass so often in my work that I will never again buy a knife without one.

185 grams, 64 parts assembled in a 450 step process, 33 functions in 8 layers I feel my knife is unquestionably safer than most others for two reasons: more possibilities mean I usually wouldn't need try something other than for which the tool was designed. I'll never need to use the knife blade as a screwdriver for instance. And Swiss craftsmanship using indestructable stainless steel components make this knife a reliably safe one.

I recently shopped around for a new knife after sending this one in for warranty. Swiss Army knives are lifetime warrantied. I've become so dependent on having a wide selection of quality tools close at hand that, without it, felt I could no longer do everything I wanted to do. Even though I got good service the one other time I sent it in, this time I wasn't sure how long it would take, or even if it'd be covered.

I tried to find a substitute while waiting for it's return and ended up with an unsafe pocket-full of junk. Not hearing anything from Victorinox for several weeks I shopped 5 local stores then went online. Victorinox wanted nearly a hundred dollars for the SwissChamp! Well, maybe I don't need all those features (see above). The selection was beyond imagination and available features unbelievable. As much as I'd like an altimeter, alarm clock, thermometer and barometer, all I really needed was blades, screwdrivers, magnifying glass and scissors.

After comparing models, prices and websites I literally chanced upon the perfect knife at a pretty darn good price at Amazon, though there was no mention of the model on the Victorinox website. Was it genuine? After so many trouble-free years of service from Swiss Army I will never again buy a look-alike. I quickly researched the model and found a rather interesting story, which also explained the low price. Champion Plus is everything the SwissChamp is minus the pliers. For $30.00 versus $100.00 I can live without the pliers, and if I'm willing to wait a week for delivery Amazon will pay that too.

My Champion Plus arrived on schedule and I was happier than heck to again be able to do all the things I wanted to do. It's so sharp, in both senses! I'd been sharpening the SwissChamp for so many years that I once again had to get used to the blade's full width.  

A week after my shiny new toy arrived I got another surprise. My SwissChamp was returned! I was so happy to see something from Victorinox, but was it repaired? I didn't send in the required $5.00 to cover shipping it back. I was expecting additional charges and figured they'd let me know. I ripped open the envelope, and of course it was repaired good as new. Not only did they clean, fix and oil it, but they gave me two new blades, a new pen and toothpick!

My reason for writing: A high quality tool with so many uses it's hard to live without, backed by a company that invests as much in quality customer service. I had to share that with you.

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