When Victorinox bought Wenger in 2005, the main goal was to protect and to guarantee the Swiss Army knife heritage in Switzerland. Since the 19th century, Switzerland developed an amazing know-how in the production of Swiss Army knives and 2 main companies were proudly representing what Switzerland had to offer at its best: Victorinox and Wenger. Two parallel stories, two companies family owned, Victorinox established in Schwyz since 1884 and Wenger in Delemont since 1893.
After some unfortunate business developments, Wenger sales drastically dropped in the beginning of the years 2000. In 4 years it went from CHF 40M to CHF 23M. This leaded to 29 jobs suppression. Victorinox decided then to buy Wenger and the deal was concluded in 2005.
The communication and how Victorinox would handle the deal were crucial as the Swiss Army knife business is a very passionate one. The aim for Victorinox and the Elsener family was to protect Wenger, its business and its people. From the beginning of this new story, Carl Elsener Jr., Victorinox CEO and owner, saw the tremendous opportunity for both companies to join forces.
From 2005 and 2013, the 2 companies remained operationally independent. Victorinox over 8 years invested consistently in the Wenger Delemont factory in order to secure all jobs and to improve productivity yet with uncompromised quality and respect of the people working there.
Of course at one point some decisions would need to be made as by maintaining 2 Swiss Army knives catalogs in parallel, Victorinox was finally competing with itself. So the idea was to keep the best of each company by integrating the Wenger knife catalog into Victorinox once and for all. The news happened in 2013. Most of the fans of Wenger and Victorinox said “finally” and others of course had some concerns by being afraid of not finding the knife reference they used to love.
Victorinox worked in a clever proposition that would please both companies fans and that is how the Victorinox Delemont collection was born. This settles the aim of Victorinox to keep investing in the Delemont factory and secures all jobs. They have chosen the best of the best at Wenger and created a very interesting collection. Fans will recognize their Wenger knives that were slightly revamped with some interesting features, mainly the replacement of certain tools shape by Victorinox ones. One example to highlight would be the replacement of the Wenger can opener by the one from Victorinox .
Another point of detail is the addition of the T&T in the knives scales. T&T stands for Tooth-pic and Tweezers. Of course the logo also changed yet the anatomic overall design remains. A very beautiful detail is the inscription on the main blade with the reference to Delemont. The Victorinox Delemont collection represents 50 Swiss Army knives presented for some of them in different colors. Most of the great iconic innovations created by Wenger are part of the collection like the famous nail-clipper knife called Nail Clip 580.
Some of the highlights in the collection are the Rangergrip and the Evo lines which are a big thing for all Wenger fans.
The clarity of Victorinox strategy is very interesting as by finally integrating the Wenger catalog into the Victorinox one, it will allow to better secure the company interests and positions, especially worldwide. Foreigner competition is always looking for a way to get a piece of the market and China was always seen as a threat. Now with an unified catalog, Victorinox will be able to keep moving into the future of the Swiss Army knife business. The Elsener family commitment to the Wenger story is coherent since 2005.
If you want to see more about the Victorinox Delemont collection, please visit the official Victorinox website, the Swiss Army knife category: http://www.victorinox.com.
The Swiss Army knife is part of Switzerland heritage and it is an iconic symbol in the world for Switzerland. In many ways it describes perfectly Swiss ingenuity and taste for perfection. It is important to maintain this legacy like an important piece of history.
Info sourced at Victorinox and Wenger communication releases, Victorinoxblog, RTS and 20minutes. Images from Victorinox and Bladeforums. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available.