Victorinox has been famous for more than a century as the world's biggest producer of pocket knives. Victorinox’s reputation for producing Swiss Army products and automatic timepieces has cemented the brand’s legendary status. But Victorinox is also so much more, with lines of cutlery, travel gear, bayonets, timepieces, and fragrances.
Victorinox uses technology and implements exacting standards that can be traced back well into the last century. Its history of making multi-tools and rugged watches like I.N.O.X. has made Victorinox a beloved brand for outdoor enthusiasts and serious adventurers.
Karl Elsener founded the company in 1884 in his workshop in Ibach, Switzerland. Elsener was also the co-founder of the association of Swiss knife manufacturers called Schweizerischer Messerschmiedverband, which was established in 1891. By this time, Elsener and his colleagues supplied knives to the Swiss army, fashioning them from a proprietary blend of steel originating from Germany and France. By 1892, however, the majority of Elsener's colleagues had left the business because of competition from German company Solingen, which could make more affordable knives. But Elsener pressed on despite financial losses.
By 1897, Elsener’s persistence paid off when the Schweizer Offiziers-und Sportmesser was patented. It was later sold internationally as the Original Swiss Army Knife. The business took off based of this success. Elsener ultimately renamed the company and introduced a new logo showing the Swiss coat of arms. By 1921, the company came to be known as "Victorinox," The name is a portmanteau of Elsener’s mother’s name, "Victoria," and "inox," a shortened form of the French word for stainless steel: acier inoxydable.
Victorinox began producing timepieces in 1989, building on more than 130 years of experience with metal and mechanics. To check how receptive the market would be to its new products, Victorinox watches were first marketed in the United States under the "Swiss Army" brand name. Needless to say, the Swiss Army watches immediately gained a loyal following.
As evidenced by Victorinox’s automatic timepieces and Alliance watch collection, the brand’s focus on design, technology, and quality reflects its extensive horological heritage. Victorinox’s vast watch collection now ranges from luxury dress watches to timepieces designed for diving, sailing, walking, and flying.
Victorinox is famous for producing timepieces engineered for a life of adventure. The I.N.O.X. collection exemplifies the best of Victorinox, with mechanical and quartz models, and features a range of strap materials: stainless steel, leather, paracord, and rubber. Of special note is the paracord strap that was developed in partnership with Swedish company Naimakka. The handwoven strap is made of the same nylon cord used for parachute suspension lines, which can be unraveled and used in various emergency situations.
Victorinox's rugged sports watches are subjected to a battery of tests to ensure they can withstand pressure, vibrations, and falls. Today Victorinox’s timepieces continue to exemplify their relentless pursuit of mechanical perfection, precision, and accuracy, married with the finest aesthetics.