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. Victorinox has used the famous white cross in a red shield emblem 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.
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 Victorinox Swiss Army Watches have has 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 through 100 quality checks before they are deemed suitable to wear on your wrist.
Because of their high quality and perfect balance between performance and elegance, Victorinox 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 rigours of active use by the army. These original models –the Swiss Army Original collection, which are still available today – have sturdy nylon, leather, and rubber straps, composite and metal cases, highly legible dials and excellent water resistance.
Other styles and types of watches by Victorinox range from speciality 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 choices for those who are looking for a high-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 amongst one the poorest areas in Europe. Since then, 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 to this day. As an independent family company, 90% of the shares are held by a Foundation. The remaining 10% of shares are owned by a non-profit foundation which supports charitable projects.
All processes at Victorinox production plants and their suppliers have been optimised 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.