Swiss army knife maker innovates to meet global blade restrictions

Victorinox is working on a pocketknife without blades. The increasing regulation of knives due to the violence in the world has prompted the Swiss company to re-think, CEO Carl Elsener said in an interview.

“The blade gives rise to a weapon-like image in some markets,” said Elsener in an interview with “Blick” published online on Monday. In England and some Asian countries, only those who need a knife for work or outdoor activities are allowed to carry one.

In cities, the carrying of pocketknives is severely restricted. Instead, Elsener has in mind a multifunctional tool that can be used by cyclists, for example.

This is not the first time the company has been confronted with the fact that the blade of the pocketknife is seen as a potential weapon. After the terrorist attacks in the US on September 11, 2001, sales of pocketknives plummeted by over 30% overnight, said Elsener.

“9/11 painfully showed us that we must not become dependent on a single business area,” he said.

The company, headquartered in Ibach in canton Schwyz, exports 80% of the pocketknives, kitchen knives, professional knives and watches manufactured in Switzerland, said the CEO. Some 20% of its products are sold in Switzerland.

I understand the point of diversification, especially having learned the lessons of 9/11.  That said, I agree with those that think they have gone a little too far into the lifestyle brand stuff.

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