Should you ever expect to encounter Cutlery Shoppe‘s Jeff Loffer: be prepared. The founder of one of the leading knife dealers in the country prefers a pocket dump to a fist bump or hand shake when greeting. If you hope to dodge a quick-witted jab, he had better like what he sees.
“They are the #1 selling knife brand for a reason. Victorinox Swiss Army Knives transcend any apprehensions that a person might have about knives,” says Loffer. “They don’t look threatening. They come in a variety of colors and when people see someone using one they don’t think of it as a weapon. If you brought one to work, you’re not going to raise too many eyebrows,” he said. Along with other knives, Loffer carries several Victorinox SAKs on him at all times.
You can buy an authentic Swiss Army knife pretty much anywhere on the planet. But if you’re looking for something unexpected, you’ll need to keep your eyes open and your wallet at the ready.
Cutlery Shoppe is one several dealers who have partnered with Victorinox to sell dealer exclusives. The knives are patterns from the Victorinox archives dressed up in colorful aluminum ‘Alox’ handle scales. “They sell very, very quickly,” said Loffer. “Some people collect them, others use them, some buy them to resell them – they are made in very limited quantities and once they’re sold out – good luck trying to find one.” And if you miss scoring one first hand, your only recourse is the secondary market where prices can quickly double. “We were selling our exclusive Farmer in blue for $40 and last I checked some are going for as much as $150 on eBay,” Loffer says.
Every year, Victorinox also releases limited edition knives, widely distributed but made in very limited quantities. 2015 will see two LE releases. The first, which is still in stock in a few stores online, is a special version of one of their largest knives, a 130mm “RangerWood” locking knife with walnut handle scales and a damascus blade. The second release – which according to Victorinox should be hitting stores any day now – will see their Classic SD, Cadet, and Pioneer knives dressed in dark blue ‘Alox’ scales.
If you’re looking to collect them all, you’ve got your work cut out for you. According to Renee Hourigan, Director of Marketing at Victorinox North America, they’ve been making limited edition knives “for well over 30 years.”
If you have your own design in mind, you could submit your creative concept into in the annual Global Design Contest (this year’s submissions are due in 4 days). “We invite consumers to design a Limited Edition Swiss Army Knife which is then sold globally,” explains Hourigan. “This is the fifth year of the contest, and some past designs have been so successful we have made them part of our permanent offerings.”
Through a new but rapidly-growing custom printing program called “B3,” any business can print a logo, slogan, or full-color custom design onto a cellidor-handled SAK. With a minimum order of just 10 pieces, it’s an attractive marketing option for businesses small and large alike. The B3 manufacturing process is stereo-typically Swiss: efficient, but never rushed – each knife is hand-assembled and inspected before it leaves the factory floor.
Jeff Loffer sums up the importance of Victorinox to the knife carrying community: “Victorinox Swiss Army Knives are like a gateway drug to a knife addiction and stepping stone to becoming a knife person – you can’t be into knives and not own at least one Victorinox.”