The Pioneer X, the latest Victorinox Swiss Army Knife was announced earlier this month. The new SAK takes the existing Pioneer model and adds scissors, making one of their most popular and broadly useful tools even more versatile. CutleryShoppe Founder and Owner Jeff Loffer, who possesses one of only three prototypes of the Pioneer X currently in the country, is excited for them to arrive on his shelves. “I think [Victorinox] had a lot of demand for this,” he says. “There’s always room in the marketplace for more innovations, more tools.”
The existing Pioneer is based on the ‘true’ Swiss Army Knife: the Soldiers’ Knife, issued to Swiss Army troops from its introduction in 1961 until 2008 when the army adopted a modern redesign. The civilian and military knives are only different cosmetically, as they share a common set of tools – awl, bottle and can openers/screwdrivers, a main blade – and the same durable aluminum scales. With the addition of scissors, the new Pioneer X will be slightly thicker and heavier, but will remain otherwise unchanged from the storied original.
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Over Victorinox’s 125-year history the company has introduced countless knives with seemingly endless tool combinations. There are limited-editions, dealer exclusives, and even designs originally submitted by customers through their Global Design Contest. But despite the breadth of fine Swiss Army knives that Victorinox makes, there are many tool combinations that the company does not offer. Luckily for choosy Victorinox fans, the same efficient Swiss manufacturing that relies on minimal parts for quick assembly at the factory has allowed a cottage industry of Swiss Army Knife modders to flourish.
Knife makers like Bob Lessard of SAKModder have built everything from the most minimal to the most outlandish combinations, restricted by little but the space constraints imposed by the tools themselves. Until the launch of the Pioneer X, the only way to get scissors on a Pioneer was to have someone like Lessard craft the combination for you. “There will always be someone who would like a tool added, a tool taken away, or some modification made to the ‘standard’ offerings from Victorinox,” says Loffer. He counts himself among those people, having enlisted Bob Lessard to build his ‘perfect’ SAK. “As a fellow addict, I could not help myself either and picked up a beautiful orange Alox.”
What prompted Victorinox to offer the new SAK now? “The Pioneer X is not so much a result of the modded knives we’re seeing, but the consumer suggestions that Victorinox has been getting from aficionados,” says Loffer. In fact, he already sees room for more new knives based on the Pioneer in the future: “I’ve already begun pestering, for lack of a better word, for the addition of the saw and the file blade.”
Knife featured in image: Victorinox Pioneer X Swiss Army Knife