We Knife Co. is debuting the Uli Hennicke-designed Bullitt, a rare collaborative effort from a company that until now has almost exclusively designed its knives in-house. The Bullitt also stands out with an unusual, mechanical pocket clip design. It’s an early offering in what promises to be Hennicke’s biggest ever year as a designer, with multiple collaborations and a new business plan in the works.
The in-house style at We Knife Co. is technical and futuristic, but Hennicke tapped into old-school American cool for this collab. The Bullitt, named after the 1968 Steve McQueen movie, was drawn up to bear a resemblance to the classic “fastback” Ford Mustang that McQueen drives in the film’s famous car chase. Like the Mustang, the Bullitt looks trim and fast, with milling around the pivot just like the flared wheel well on McQueen’s ride in the movie. That muscle car look is translated into mid-size EDC practicality with a racy 3.5” modified wharncliffe blade, pocketable size, and a ball bearing flipper. “For the Bullitt I wanted to create a fast, slim, good looking flipper folder for EDC,” Hennicke tells us.
Hennicke incorporated a thrust bearing at the tip of the pocket clip that is more than just a gimmick. Other knives have rounded clips, but the Bullitt’s bearing actually rolls to smooth its transition in and out of the pocket, and because it acts as the retention point against the fabric of your pants, it causes less wear as well. Similar ideas have been seen on high-end customs from the likes of Todd Begg, but they are rare at the production level and Hennicke says he came up with the thrust bearing clip independently.
The Bullitt will join other new for 2017 Hennicke designs like the Kizer T1 and Spyderco Opus. He will also reveal a collab with Real Steel in May, and has two Kizer fixed blades and two lines of TUO Cutlery kitchen knives on the way. In addition to licensing his designs, he’s expanding into consulting work for knife companies and like Jens Ansø, Hennicke plans to turn his website into an outlet for production knives he personally curates.
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After 20 years of professional knife making, Hennicke attributes this year’s rapid expansion to experience and learning from his mistakes. “This was a long and hard way to learn, but it opens so many new possibilities I never had seen before,” he says. “Maybe I am just getting older and wiser.”
The shipping date and price of the Bullitt is still to be determined.
Knife featured in image: We Knife Co. Bullitt