It’s no exaggeration to say that the knife world would be very different without Chris Reeve. The fact that he is no longer heading up Chris Reeve Knives (CRK) will come as a surprise to most people, even though industry insiders have known for some time. There was simply no public confirmation from the company, until now. What changes can loyal fans of the brand expect to see without Chris Reeve?
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As it turns out, the answer is not a whole lot. In fact, Chris hasn’t been in command of CRK for quite some time. “He’s completely out of daily operations and has been for the better part of two years,” says Anne Reeve, Chris’ ex-wife who now oversees company operations. Anne has led the company through Chris’ transition into semi-retirement without a hitch. CRK just picked up another Manufacturing Excellence Award at Blade Show and dealers continue to fight to get as much CRK product as they can get their hands on.
Though Chris no longer maintains a leadership role, he is still involved as the company’s sole designer, at least for the time being. “He has an enormous amount of talent and we’ll continue to use that talent,” says Anne. “We don’t have plans to go with any other designer but that isn’t to say we won’t if it’s suitable.” Not only did Chris Reeve invent the frame lock, still one of the most ubiquitous and popular designs on the market, he was instrumental in the development of two of the only steels ever made specifically for cutlery, Crucible’s S30V and S35VN.
Anne Reeve has been involved with CRK since the very beginning, when she and Chris started the business in their native South Africa. “I’ve been in the business from the get-go, since January of 1984 – part-time at first but full-time since January 1987,” she says. She saw the company through its move to the United States in 1989 and its steady growth ever since. While she’s very much aware of Chris’ legacy, she wants to ensure that CRK and the excellence it represents will outlive its namesake. “We’re planning on growing, not dramatically but consistently as we have done over the last 30 years,” she says. “In terms of where the company is going, we’re moving from strength to strength. We’re putting out more product, better product, we will be coming out with innovative new product.” She attributes much of the continued success of CRK to her staff. “We’ve got an awesome team, and the future is incredibly bright.”
That team now includes Anne and Chris Reeve’s son Tim, who Anne is thrilled to have working in the business. “He came on board a little over a year ago. It’s fabulous having him along,” says Anne. The tenets of purpose, elegance, and excellence that Chris Reeve Knives represents seem secure. After all, says Anne: “Goodness knows his name is still on the door!”
Knife featured in image: Chris Reeve Knives Large Inkosi Limited Edition