Victorinox just released a limited edition tribute to the legendary Officer’s Knife in celebration of its 125th Anniversary. The Replica 1897 has the same toolset as its venerable predecessor, but targets hardcore collectors, with a correspondingly steep price.
The Swiss Army knife concept is universal now, and there are so many different models in circulation. It all began with the production and release of the Solider Knife in 1891, produced for the actual Swiss army, but evidently it was the was the follow-up to that knife in 1897, the Officer’s Knife, that really laid the groundwork for Victorinox. The company was not in a good place financially (even with the military contract), and the Officer’s Knife, which was not contract work and available for anyone to purchase, brought them off the brink of bankruptcy.
The Replica 1897 has the exact same toolset as the original Officer’s Knife. There’s a main blade and screwdriver on the ‘front’ end, a pen drop point pen blade and old-school can opener on the other , and, finally, the reamer and corkscrew on the back side (the Officer’s Knife marked the first-ever appearance of the corkscrew on a Victorinox model, by the way). Of course, these implements are made from 1.4116 stainless instead of carbon steel like that 125-year old original, and come with their individual serial number cut into spacer between the layers.
Compared to its modern siblings, the Replica 1897’s handle scales are a bit interesting. The very first Officer’s Knives were produced with wood scales, followed by fiber ones – and it’s this second material Victorinox implemented on the Replica, a fiber with a reddish-brown hue and a grain reminsicent of wood and machined synthetics like Micarta.
The Replica 1897 is a collector’s edition, limited to 9,999 pieces worldwide, and it is available now. The downside? Grabbing one will cost you a cool $500.
Knife in Featured Image: Victorinox Replica 1897