Monday, March 17, 2014

Review: Victorinox Executive [Multi-Tool]

Victorinox has a rabidly-loyal fan base, and a few months ago I began purchasing a bunch of different models to see what the fuss is. The Executive was almost an afterthought because Victorinox is well known from Amazon for 28 bucks, which seemed a little pricey for a smaller model given that the Tinker was only 20 bucks and has more tools. But hey, it's for executives, right?
Victorinox Executive Multi-Tool Product Linkfor these multi-tools that put everything in but the kitchen sink, and the Executive is a much smaller model. My review sample was purchased

Product Description 


This is a smallish, fully functional multi-tool which Victorinox is well known and respected for. The Executive is bigger than their keychain models like the Classic, and smaller than models like the Tinker and Explorer, which are themselves smaller than some of the newer large models such as the Trekker or Rescue Tool.

The explorer features a large blade, small blade, orange peeler/flathead screwdriver, scissors and a file/philips screwdriver. Just the basics ... well, except for the orange peeler.

Official Specs (From Amazon)


  • Lifetime warranty against defects in workmanship or materials
  • Manufactured by Victorinox, manufacturer of the Original Swiss Army Knife
  • Contains 10 functions including scissors and large / small blades
  • All stainless steel implements
  • Measures 3" with unique orange peeler feature
Victorinox Executive Multi-Tool Product Image 1

Victorinox Executive Multi-Tool Product Image 2

Victorinox Executive Multi-Tool Showing Tweezers and Toothpick

Victorinox Executive Multi-Tool: Closeup of Logo

Initial Impressions


Unboxing the Executive, my first thought was how nice it looked in black. I know it's called the "Executive" but I guess I wasn't expecting it to be quite this sleek. The second thing I noticed was that it was all scratched up. Seriously scratched up. I even briefly thought about returning it, but it dawned on me that if I liked it as much as I thought I would like it, then it would be that scratched up from normal use after about a month, so I wouldn't really gain much by driving over the to UPS store to return it. Amazon is great about returns, so it's nice to know I had that option. I've read in a few reviews where people complained about getting scratched Victorniox products and blamed it on Amazon, so it's possible that this can't be pinned on Victorinox. I can say that after ordering a half dozen different models, this was the only one that had what I would consider abnormal fit and finish issues. A couple other models had tiny scratches, which I would consider normal due to the plastic being so glossy. 

Other than that, my initial impressions were very positive. The initial "wow, it sure is small" has turned into "wow, it sure is light" and the realization that this tool fits a niche between the keychain sized tools and the larger multi-tools like my Wingman.

Build Quality


The build quality on my sample is superb, as I would expect from a company with this reputation. They built the original Swiss Army Knife. Sadly none of the SAKs from my youth survived into adulthood, but the build quality is on par with what I remember. They use a proprietary steel that is much harder than the steel found in Chinese multi-tools. Your budget tool isn't saving you anything if it strips every screw you try to loosen. For that reason I don't settle for cheap steel on a multi-tool, where it's perfectly fine for an everyday carry pocket knife. 

Fit and Finish


Overall, good. I mentioned the scratches, which really stand out on the glossy black finish but are inevitable with any amount of daily use. Also, the tweezers do not line up flush when they are mounted in their little slot. But most of my SAKs have this issue, including a couple older models I have. So the tweezers not sitting flush seems to be a common problem.

The gloss black finish and the stenciled logo are absolutely stunning. Other than the couple issues I mentioned, the rest of it is nearly perfect. The scales fit perfectly and are well matched. The tools themselves all have a good finish to them. No nicks, scratches or tool marks are present on any of the tools. Both blades came with a scary sharp edge, which I expect from a company like Victorinox but it's always nice to see. The tools also center an line up like they should--nothing rubs where it isn't supposed to.

Victorinox Executive Multi-Tool: Closeup of Scratches
My sample came with a bunch of tiny little scratches


Handle


As I mentioned, the black glossy scales look great, though they do show the scratches a little more than the classic red. But not as bad as I thought; I really have to look closely to see them, and after a couple months of carrying it, the executive still looks brand new at first glance. 

Like all of my other SAKs, I can squeeze the scales together and hear a slight crunching noise. I assume it's normal since they all do it.

The logo is really sharp looking, and overall I'm glad I purchased it in black, which is a relief because I bought a bunch of different models all in black. 

Main Blade


The main blade is about 2 inches long and runs most of the length of the unit. It features a typical hollow ground, drop point blade design, which came with a scary sharp edge on it. The tip isn't as pointy as I would have liked, and this appears to be by design. In fact, one of the reasons people find tools like this one so appealing is that nobody in their right mind is going to mistake this for a weapon. But still, it would be nice to be able to use the large blade to easily take out a splinter. Or it could be a flaw I guess. It's in its own size class so I don't have a similar unit to compare it to.

Victorinox Executive Multi-Tool: Large Blade 1

Victorinox Executive Multi-Tool: Large Blade 2

Victorinox Executive Multi-Tool: Large Blade 3


Small Blade


Unlike the large blade, the small blade has a sharp point on it. Other than that, it's just a smaller version of the large blade. Being new to the SAK world, at first I saw the smaller blade as redundant, but now I like it. The small blade is usually the first thing I go for when I'm opening up a box, where I might use the larger blade to open an envelope.

Victorinox Executive Multi-Tool: Small Blade 1

Victorinox Executive Multi-Tool: Small Blade 2


Orange Peeler


Ok. I admit it. I'm not an important executive. Every day I carry this thing in my pocket, and every day I have a WTF moment about the built in orange peeler. I'm not saying that it's not cool looking. Maybe it's just that I don't eat many oranges and I just don't see the point of an EDC orange peeler. But if you're into EDC and oranges, this is probably the ultimate multi-tool.

I'm in the North, so fresh oranges are out of season, but this looks like it would work great if I had an orange to test it on.

This tool also serves as a flathead screwdriver, though I wished they would have just gone all out and made it a much better screwdriver. But I guess if you're a busy executive, you're not turning a lot of screws.

Victorinox Executive Multi-Tool: Closeup of Orange Peeler



Scissors


Most of the SAK models I own all have these same scissors, which are awesome and much better than the ones on other tools like Leatherman. I should hope so since they have been making them so much longer than everyone else. The scissors on mine came with a good edge. I don't use them much, but it's nice knowing they are there if I need them. Another thing I like about the SAK scissors is that they use the same spring, which can be bought separately for a reasonable price, just like the tweezers and toothpicks.

Victorinox Executive Multi-Tool: Closeup of Scissors


File / Philips


This model has a fingernail file with a Philips-ish tip on the end, which can also double as a fingernail cleaner. I use both the nail file and the screwdriver all the time, and this tool definitely excels as a file, but as a screwdriver, not so much. But it's passable as a screwdriver because of the hard steel. When I turn a screw, I usually have to angle the shaft to get a good fit on the screw. But it works, and often saves me a trip to the toolbox. It's not like I don't have drawers full of high quality USA made screwdrivers, but like the old saying goes: "The best tool is the one you have on you."

Victorinox Executive Multi-Tool: Closeup of File 1

Victorinox Executive Multi-Tool: Closeup of File 2


Tweezers / Toothpick


These are the same tweezers and toothpick you will find on all their other models. It's a great feature, and one of my favorite things about Victorinox is that they don't overcharge you for the replacements. All the replacement parts are reasonably priced. This is a company that knows how to make friends.

Keyring


I won't mince words: I hate the keyring on every single Victorinox model. Only a couple in my whole collection are even keychain sized to begin with. There is no reason I can see to have this obnoxious thing rubbing in my pocket, which is where this thing is supposed to live. 

At least they could follow Leatherman's lead and make the keyring fold out so that you the customer can decide. I'm sure there are plenty of people who use it and find it useful. Heck, I will probably end up using it to attach one of the larger models like my Explorer to my disaster bag, but for the most part, the keyring is an eyesore that just gets in the way. 

Usability


The Executive hasn't left my pocket since the day I got it. I love the Tinker, but it's just a little too heavy for EDC. But something funny happened. I used to carry either a pocket knife or small multi-tool, but when I bought the Executive, I found that I couldn't part with either. So now I generally carry the Executive alongside a larger pocket knife.

After a couple months of carrying it, the new scratches have blended into the old scratches and it probably looks the same as if I would have returned it in the first place because of the scratches. But if I were a genuine executive who only wears as suit and doesn't abuse his possessions like I do, then I probably would have returned it. But in day to day use, most of the time I don't even notice all the little battle scars, and my Executive routinely gets compliments.

Victorinox Executive Multi-Tool Shown With Ray-Ban Wayfarers and Tag Heuer Link Watch
Shown With Ray-Ban Wayfarers and Tag Heuer Link Watch

Victorinox Executive Multi-Tool Shown With Smith and Wesson Tactical Pen and Victorinox Explorer


Conclusions


As often happens collecting as many things as I collect, the gems like this one usually come unexpected. Collectors collect, and this model was purchased mainly to fill out my new collection and be used situationally for when I dress up and other times where a larger knife or multi-tool isn't needed or appropriate. I don't carry a large knife to a job interview or dinner with the missus. But what happened is that it just worked its way into my pocket, and I'm seldom without it ... ever. That doesn't mean I've stopped collecting. It just means that the Executive is the current reigning EDC champ.

Gallery


Victorinox Executive Multi-Tool: Box 1

Victorinox Executive Multi-Tool: Box 2

Victorinox Executive Multi-Tool On Scale
The Executive is very light for the functionality you get

Victorinox Executive Multi-Tool Next To Ruler





1 comment:

  1. I found this page looking for Swiss Army knives similar to my Executive, and I think you've confirmed that there's just nothing to compare to it. I don't know exactly why, but I love my Executive more than any other Victorinox knife I've carried.

    I'm curious - what's the purple pen in the second photo in the Usability section?

    ReplyDelete