Swiss Army Knife Identification Guide (Company, Year, And Model) | GEAR PERSONAL (2023)

Victorinox has been in the business of making Swiss Army Knives for more than a century!

Considering how durable these are, SAKs are often passed on from one generation to another as a token of love and as a memento. As such, there is every possibility that you might get hold of a very old model. In case you are wondering how old your Swiss Army Knife is, or which model you got, you are not alone.

Identifying the manufacturing company is pretty straightforward. But unfortunately, the year of production or the model name is not marked anywhere in the body of the SAK.

The most effective way of dating and identifying a Swiss Army Knife depends on identifying the blade tang stamps, the logo, the number of tools, and the design of the individual tools. This, and the SAK catalog that Victorinox publishes are the only ways of identifying a SAK.

Of course, if you have the original box or packaging of the SAK, then it is far easier.

The model name, color, and date of manufacture or date of import are written on the original box or packaging.

Swiss Army Knife Identification Guide (Company, Year, And Model) | GEAR PERSONAL (1)

Identification of Manufacturing company: Victorinox or Wenger?

There are only two official manufacturers of Swiss Army Knives – Victorinox and Wenger. After Victorinox took over Wenger in 2005, it is now the sole manufacturer.

If you have a relatively newer model, then it’s most probably a Victorinox SAK. In the rare case that you got hold of a Wenger model, there are some pretty simple ways to distinguish it.

The most precise distinction is the logo or scale-cross printed on the handle.

While both resemble a shield, the Victorinox one is comparatively more stylish, whereas the Wenger one is somewhat squarish and simpler.

Swiss Army Knife Identification Guide (Company, Year, And Model) | GEAR PERSONAL (2)
(Video) How to date a Swiss Army Knife from Victorinox - Easy Tools - from 1884 - 2022

Here are some references of the scale -crosses used by Victorinox and Wenger over the years. Note that you can also date the SAK from the scales-crosses.

Swiss Army Knife Identification Guide (Company, Year, And Model) | GEAR PERSONAL (3)
Swiss Army Knife Identification Guide (Company, Year, And Model) | GEAR PERSONAL (4)

The second distinction is the marking on the tang of the main blade. These markings have changed a lot over the years as both companies are more than a century old.

But in the more recent models, Victorinox SAKs have the word ‘Victorinox‘ clearly stamped on the tang of the main blade.

Similarly, you will see the word ‘Wenger‘ stamped on the tang of the blade in Wenger SAKs.

(Video) The Best Victorinox Swiss Army Knives: Top 10 of All-Time

There are many other major as well as subtle differences between a Victorinox and Wenger Swiss Army Knife that are explained in detail here: Victorinox Vs Wenger SAKs: 16 Notable Differences.

Identification of Year of Production – Dating a Swiss Army Knife

Now that we know the manufacturer of the SAK, let’s try to find out how old it is.

Note that from the scale-cross design, we already have some idea about the age of the SAK. But in case the scales are damaged to the point that the logos are not visible, or we need more evidence regarding the age, we follow the next step of dating the SAK.

In case you have the model that is assigned to the Swiss Army (Soldier), then you are in luck.

(Video) Swiss Army soldier knife Model 1908

Usually, the tang of the blade has the year of issue stamped on it. This has been the case for virtually all ‘Soldier’ models.

Swiss Army Knife Identification Guide (Company, Year, And Model) | GEAR PERSONAL (6)

In case you have a different model, then you can anyways get the required information from the box or the packaging. The exact month and year of manufacture (or the year of import) are available in the original box of the SAK.

In case you don’t have the box, unfortunately, there is no standard way of determining how old a Swiss Army Knife is. At best, you will get a date range.

Let’s go through the process of dating a SAK from the various official as well as unofficial resources available to us.

Dating a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife with tang stamp

We again turn to the tang or shank of the blade for further investigation. Note that the stamp is on the tang of the main blade and can appear on both sides of the blade.

Newer models manufactured after 2008 have the words ‘VICTORINOX SWISS MADE STAINLESS’ (in 3 lines) written on the tang.

If the knife is older, you may see a different tang stamp.

Here are some examples with the approximate year of usage of the particular stamps. Note that this information is based on the discussion and research done by SAK enthusiasts and collectors over many years. These may not be very accurate, but the conclusions are very near to the truth.

Tang StampDate Range
Elsener Schwyz1884 – 1931
Gesetzlich Geschützt1891 – 1901
Armee Suisse1891 – 1945
Victoria logo with a crossbow1923 – 1930
Inoxyd and the letter E1923 – 1930
Victorinox Switzerland Stainless1993 – 2009
(Video) SasView - A 'Swiss Army Knife' for SAS Data Analysis

From the above table, you might have noticed that many of the date ranges coincide. That is correct, Victorinox probably used more than one tang stamp at various periods. In fact, SAK enthusiasts have found more than 100 different stamps used by Victorinox over its more than 100 years of history of making Swiss Army Knives.

The forums at have a lot of interesting discussions on dating Swiss Army Knives. Here is a collection of Victorinox tang stamps with their respective date ranges compiled by one member of the forum.

Swiss Army Knife Identification Guide (Company, Year, And Model) | GEAR PERSONAL (9)

I hope the above information will give you a fair idea of the age of your Victorinox Swiss Army Knife.

Dating a Wenger Swiss Army Knife with tang stamp

Wenger has also produced Swiss Army Knives for more than a century till the company got acquired by Victorinox. For Wenger SAKs too, the information has to be derived from the tang stamp of the main blade of the SAK.

For newer Wenger SAKs, you will see “Wenger Delemont Switzerland Stainless” stamped on the tang of the main blade. For the older models, it is a bit difficult to estimate the date range, as, unlike Victorinox, there is not much information available on the history of this company.

But the guys at have come up with a similar compilation of Wenger tang stamps along with the date ranges.

Swiss Army Knife Identification Guide (Company, Year, And Model) | GEAR PERSONAL (10)

Dating a Swiss Army Knife with tool evolution

This is another way of identifying the age of a SAK. With time, Victorinox has brought in a lot of changes in the design of the Swiss Army Knife, including the materials used in the handles and scales. Most of the tools of Swiss Army Knives have evolved with time. Also, newer tools have been introduced or old tools have been redesigned to add more functionalities to the knife.

E.g. If the blade of your SAK is made of carbon steel, then it is probably older than 1923, since Victorinox switched to using stainless steel around that time. That is an important milestone in the history of Victorinox. Here are some more examples which may help you identify your SAK’s age.

Body with exposed rivetsprior to 1957
Aluminium tweezer tipsprior to 1978
Awl without a sewing eyeprior to 1978
Corkscrew with 5 loopsprior to 1975

SAAM’s website provides an awesome resource on the evolution of tools in 91mm models of Swiss Army Knives.

Identification of Swiss Army Knife model

The model name is not available on the body of the SAK. If you do not have the original box, then there are two ways of knowing the actual model name.

Check the Victorinox catalog

The catalog published by Victorinox has all the information on the current models along with the pictures and the tool list. You can identify your SAK by looking at the layout of the tools it has and consulting the catalog. Another excellent unofficial resource is Sakwiki.

Seek assistance from SAK enthusiasts

Many SAK collectors and enthusiasts can identify a lot of the older models of SAK that are not currently in production. You need to share clear pictures of your model with all the tools in the open position, and they will probably be able to identify the model.

The best way to approach this method of identification is to become a member in or

You can also get some help by posting a question on Reddit or Quora.

Final Thoughts

The dating and identification of a Swiss Army Knife is not a very straightforward process, especially since a lot of older models are still in circulation. But with some effort and using the various resources available all over the Internet, it is possible to identify most of the models, as well as the approximate date of production.

The good thing is that the popularity of Swiss Army Knives along with its century-long history has made SAK collection a hobby to many.

Both Victorinox and Wenger have designed Swiss Army Knives specifically for collectors. Victorinox Swiss Champ XAVT is one such model. In fact, the model Wenger Giant got featured in the Guinness World Records for being the largest Swiss Army Knife ever produced.


What is on my Swiss Army knife? ›

The simplest Swiss Army knives may include only a knife blade, toothpick, tweezers and nail file. Larger models of the knives may include more features, like a regular screwdriver, bottle opener, can opener, awl and corkscrew.

How many different models of Swiss Army knives are there? ›

Although there have been more than 100 models issued since Swiss Army knives were invented, the Swiss army itself has used just eight of them.

How old is the Swiss Army Knife? ›

Swiss Army knife, multibladed pocketknife that evolved from knives issued to Swiss soldiers beginning in 1886. Although the knives were originally produced in Germany, Swiss cutler Karl Elsener began making soldiers' knives in 1891, equipping them with a blade, reamer, screwdriver, and can opener.

Can you check a Swiss Army knife? ›

Checked Bags: Yes

Except for plastic or round bladed butter knives. Any sharp objects in checked bags should be sheathed or securely wrapped to prevent injury to baggage handlers and inspectors. For more prohibited items, please go to the 'What Can I Bring?' page.

What is the most iconic Swiss Army Knife? ›

The Swiss Champ is essentially the most popular “do-it-all” Swiss Army Knife model but the sacrifice is clearly in it's size and weight. The Swiss Champ measures a fairly standard 3.6″ long but weighs a whopping 6.5 oz.

What is the original Swiss Army Knife model? ›

The original model, called the Soldier Knife, was made for troops who needed a foldable tool that could open canned food and aid in disassembling a rifle. The Soldier Knife included a blade, a reamer, a can opener, a screwdriver, and oak handles.

Is there a difference between Swiss Army and Victorinox? ›

Timepieces. In 1989 Victorinox entered the timepiece business in the United States under the brand name "Swiss Army". Victorinox has various collections of watches which range from luxury dress watches to rugged dive watches. They feature mechanical and quartz movements.

What is the most versatile Swiss Army knife? ›

Once you start keeping a Swiss Army Knife on hand, you will never again want to be without it; these classic multitools are as useful in everyday life as they are far afield. I strongly recommend The Victorinox Ranger pocketknife because it features 11 tools that you will find uses for in the course of everyday life.

What model Swiss Army knife did MacGyver use? ›

This customized Victorinox SwissChamp knife was given to cast and crew as a Christmas present during the season 1 run of the reboot. The knife has the new MacGyver title along with the season engraved on the front panel replacing the iconic Swiss flag logo the knives are known for.

What is the oldest knife brand? ›

The Camillus Cutlery Company

Are Swiss Army knives worth? ›

In years of usage and testing, now compared against the best of the best, this tiny, multi-purpose knife has earned its perch as a top-ranked pocket knife. The rest of our test team agrees. Even when compared to much larger and much more expensive knives, it fares very well.

What are the two brands of Swiss Army knives? ›

Technically, the term "Swiss Army Knife" is a registered trademark that refers only to products manufactured by two Swiss-based brands, Victorinox and Wenger (Victorinox recently purchased Wenger, but some models bearing the Wenger name are still available).

Is a Swiss Army knife a concealed weapon? ›

This includes a “pocketknife” or “Swiss army knife,” box cutter, or “utility knife.” According to California Penal Code Section 17235, all folding knives are legal in the state and may be concealed as long as they are in the folded position. There is also no restriction on the blade length of a folding knife.

Can you bring a Swiss Army Knife on a cruise? ›

Prohibited items: Firearms & Ammunition, including realistic replicas. Sharp Objects, including all knives and scissors. (Note: Personal grooming items such as safety razors are allowed.

Can you fly with a pocket knife in your carry-on? ›

In general, you are prohibited from traveling with sharp objects in your carry-on baggage; please pack these items in your checked baggage. For more prohibited items, please go to the 'What Can I Bring?'

How much is a good Swiss Army knife? ›

Priced at around $30, the Tinker pocket knife is a great starter option by Victorinox Swiss Army. It has the brand's timeless design and a robust selection of essential tools, including different blades, a bottle and a can opener, and a set of screwdrivers.

What knife did Pablo Picasso use? ›

Pablo Picasso used an Opinel knife to carve his sculptures. 8. Apart from folding pocket knives, Opinel also make kitchen cutlery and garden tools.

What is the blade with a hole in it on a Swiss Army Knife? ›

And yet, have you ever stopped to think what purpose that little hole in the middle of it serves? It turns out that particular aspect makes it not only an awl, but also a sewing needle. It doesn't work quite like a traditional one, of course, because there's no way to push your entire knife through a piece of material.

What does the symbol on a Swiss Army Knife mean? ›

The logo was intended to differentiate the Elsener knives from the competitors and copycats who sprang up in the wake of his early success, many of which came from Germany. For us, the Victorinox Cross & Shield is a very meaningful symbol: the cross represents strength and positivity, the shield represents protection.

Who makes Genuine Swiss Army knives? ›

Today, Victorinox produces and sells unique, high quality products worldwide which are of practical use in differing areas of life: Swiss Army Knives, Cutlery, Watches, Travel Gear and Fragrances. The head office of the company is in Ibach, Schwyz, in the heart of Switzerland.

Are Victorinox knives made in China? ›

The Victorinox knives are all made in Switzerland.

What is the famous Swiss knife brand? ›

Today, Victorinox produces and sells unique, high quality products worldwide which are of practical use in differing areas of life: Swiss Army Knives, Cutlery, Watches, Travel Gear and Fragrances. The head office of the company is in Ibach, Schwyz, in the heart of Switzerland.

Is Wenger the same as Swiss Army? ›

Founded in 1893, it was best known as one of two companies to manufacture Swiss Army knives. Based in Delémont, Wenger was acquired in 2005 by Victorinox and partially absorbed. Since 2013, Wenger Swiss Army knives are integrated in the Victorinox collection as the "Delémont collection". Wenger & Co.

What knife do Navy SEALs have? ›

The Ontario MK 3 Navy Knife is standard issue for the United States Navy SEALs.

What knife do special ops use? ›

Ka-Bar. The Ka-Bar encapsulates exactly what U.S. Special Forces seek in their knives. It is a classic weapon which was produced during World War 2 because none of the other weapons met the needs of these forces. The armed forces use their tools for a variety of purposes besides fighting.

What knife does the KGB use? ›

The NR-40 has a 152 mm blade with a clip point, a large ricasso, a black wooden handle, and an S-shaped guard. The guard is "inverted" (unlike most S-shaped guards, it curves towards the edge) because standard Soviet Army grips called for holding the knife with the edge upwards.

Which Swiss Army knife has a magnifying glass? ›

The Explorer Swiss Army Knife by Victorinox is packed with 16 functions - from magnifying glass to Phillips screwdriver, providing you with everything you need to take things apart, take a closer look, and piece them back together.

What knife does Walt Longmire carry? ›

In the television show Longmire, Sheriff Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor), Sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming carries a Buck 110 Folding Hunter which he uses in almost every episode.

Where was the first 15000 Swiss Army knife? ›

But the first 15,000 ones were produced in Germany, where John S. Holler had invented history's first multipurpose knife, consisting of a hundred or so tools including a cigar cutter, a razor and a mini-shovel.

What knife brand stays sharp longest? ›

“For my beater knives — the ones I use regularly and roughly — I really love Victorinox,” she says. “They tend to last the longest and keep a sharp edge, even when being used daily on heavy projects. The blades are stainless steel, which makes them easy to maintain, and I love the rosewood handle for grip comfort.

What is the best knife brand in America? ›

This list features 10 of the Best American Made Knives and a long-term carry review for each. We'll look at what they're made of, how they work and what makes them great.
  • Buck 110 Elite Auto. ...
  • Microtech Ultratech. ...
  • Spyderco Paramilitary 2. ...
  • Chris Reeve Sebenza. ...
  • Kershaw Launch 4.
Jul 2, 2020

What is a high end knife brand? ›

Then, as you step up a notch into the world of high performance folding knives you should check out offerings from great brands like Chris Reeve, Shirogorov, Microtech, WE Knife, Reate, Todd Begg, Kizer, Hogue and Rike. You can read more about all these brands on my brand page. Yup, it's a great time to be a knife fan!

Does the US Army use Swiss Army Knife? ›

For the first time in the history of the iconic Swiss multitool, Victorinox's soldier knife is on the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency's order list.

Why carry a Swiss Army knife? ›

More often than not a Swiss Army Knife will incorporate not just one but many screwdrivers into its design. They often include nail files, awls, bottle and can openers and picks. You will often get the added utility of a pick and tweezers in a Swiss Army Knife along with add ons like scissors and corkscrews.

Does the US military use Swiss Army Knife? ›

In a move that represents a rare exception for the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife was added to the official order list for the U.S. Armed Forces. The DLA is the Department of Defense's combat support agency that supplies the military with weapons, parts and materials.

What is the difference between Swiss military and Swiss Army? ›

The Swiss Army and Swiss Military watches are not the same. Swiss Army watches are a brand of watches produced by the Swiss company Victorinox, which is best known for its line of Swiss Army knives. Swiss Military watches, on the other hand, are a brand of watches produced by the Swiss company Hanowa.

Is SwissGear the same as Swiss Army? ›

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. SwissGear is a Swiss clothing, luggage and accessory company that is branded as part of the maker of Swiss Army knives. The company is owned by Wenger SA and its products are licensed in North America by Group III International Ltd.

Are Swiss Army knives guaranteed for life? ›

Lifetime Warranty

Victorinox AG guarantees all knives and tools to be of first class stainless steel and also guarantees a life time against any defects in material and workmanship (save for electronic components 2 years). Damage caused by normal wear and tear, misuse or abuse are not covered by this guarantee.

What is the best pocket knife on the market? ›

Best Pocket Knives — 2023 Edition
  • The Best Overall Pocket Knife: SOG Terminus XR LTE [Buy]
  • The Best Pocket Knife on a Budget: CIVIVI Elementum [Buy]
  • The Best Traditional Pocket Knife: Buck The 55 [Buy]
  • The Best Tactical Pocket Knife: Ontario Knife Company Rat II [Buy]
Jun 13, 2022

Do pocket knives count as weapons? ›

Section 16470[2] of the California Penal Code states that: “a non-locking folding knife” or “a pocket knife” can be used as a stabbing weapon “only if the blade of the knife is exposed and locked into position.” This means that you may carry a folding pocket knife or utility knife if it closed or if the blade cannot be ...

Can you wear jeans to dinner on a cruise? ›

On formal nights, proper attire includes tuxedos, suits or slacks (jackets required) for men and evening gowns, cocktail dresses or dressy pantsuits for women. Jeans are welcome in all dining venues during the day, but they're not appropriate in any public venues for dinner or cocktail hour.

Do cruise ship captains carry guns? ›

Under the Law Enforcement Safety Act, officers cannot carry firearms on cruise ships.

Can you take a Swiss Army Knife in hand luggage? ›

In accordance with airline luggage regulations, dangerous objects are generally banned from carry-on and checked-in luggage on flights or are subject to restrictions. However, these regulations vary depending on the airport, airline and country.

What happens if TSA finds a pocket knife? ›

If caught with carry-on contraband, the unwary usually have four options besides surrendering it: Put it in a checked bag, give it to a relative or friend who's seeing you off, take it back to the car, or ship it home.

What is a Death Star knife? ›

The Sith dagger was designed to show a person the location of Palpatine's Sith Wayfinder - and it led Rey to the planet Kef Bir, one of the moons of the gas giant Endor. It pointed Rey to the wreckage of the second Death Star, to a hidden chamber where the Emperor had secreted this treasure.

Can you carry-on a fork? ›

But did you know other utensils are just fine? If you're planning a picnic straight off the plane, feel free to bring along metal or plastic forks and spoons.

What are the 10 tools on a Swiss Army Knife? ›

10 Swiss Army Knife Tools That Are Actually Worth It
  • Scissors.
  • Nail Clippers.
  • Screwdriver.
  • Corkscrew.
  • Flat Head/Prybar/Wire Stripper.
  • Toothpick/Tweezers.
  • Pliers.
  • Stainless Pin.
Aug 27, 2019

What is the black stuff on a knife? ›

Black oxide coatings appear on a variety of products—most commonly on drill bits, folding knives, and other cutting accessories.

What are the dots on a knife? ›

The Case blade tang dating system allows you to identify your knife with a year or era in which the knife was manufactured. The dating symbols are found on the tang stamps at the base of the knife's main blade. In 1970, Case added ten dots beneath the “U.S.A” on all knife tangs. Each year a dot was removed.

How do I know what model Swiss Army watch I have? ›

To determine what Swiss watch band fits your timepiece, look on the back of your watch and find the engraved model number. It will have a combination of numbers ex: 241403.

What is the little hole for on Swiss Army Knife? ›

And yet, have you ever stopped to think what purpose that little hole in the middle of it serves? It turns out that particular aspect makes it not only an awl, but also a sewing needle. It doesn't work quite like a traditional one, of course, because there's no way to push your entire knife through a piece of material.

Is Victorinox the same as Swiss Army? ›

Timepieces. In 1989 Victorinox entered the timepiece business in the United States under the brand name "Swiss Army". Victorinox has various collections of watches which range from luxury dress watches to rugged dive watches. They feature mechanical and quartz movements.

What is Blackwashing a blade? ›

BlackWash™ is a name given to a specific knife blade finish. This is a variation of the Stone Wash blade finish which has become very popular over the past few years. BlackWash is accomplished by first coating the blade black and then adding the stonewash finish.

Can you put a knife in vinegar? ›

Submerge your knife in a glass of vinegar and soak for 15-30 minutes for minor rust, and overnight for more damaged blades. Remove from the vinegar and scrub with a soft sponge to remove rust spots. Once the rust stains have been removed from the knife, wash with soap and water and dry thoroughly.

Is a little rust on knife OK? ›

Rust is not a food safe material so it should not be ingested. If you see rust on the surface of a utensil such as a cast-iron skillet or knife, remove all the rust before using it.

What does the number on a knife mean? ›

This number tells you exactly what kind of knife you have. The first number indicates the type of material used to make the handle. The second digit gives the number of blades. The last two or more digits indicate the factory pattern number. Handle Materials.

What is a 3 star knife? ›

An old South African favourite, the Okapi 3 Star is a sturdy pocket knife ready for carving biltong or whittling away at a piece of doringboom. Enquire about: Okapi 3 Star. In compliance with the POPI Act, we take the responsibility of protecting your personal information submitted via this platform.

What is a bunny knife? ›

During the pioneering and settlement years of Australia, the thousands of imported English-made pocketknives with 6-cm clip-point blades became generally referred to as ˜bunny knives, because they were used to skin & gut millions of rabbits.

How do I find out what year my watch was made? ›

To determine the age of your watch, you will need to open your watch and find the serial number on the watch's movement. This crucial figure will indicate the manufacture date. (Unfortunately, you cannot rely on the number stamped outside on the watch case which is largely used only for identification purposes.)

What does a watch serial number tell you? ›

The watch serial number will tell you the estimated date of production of a watch and help trace authenticity. Therefore when it comes to estimating the value of your watch or buying a pre-owned luxury watch, the serial number is the most important of the two.

How do you read a watch serial number? ›

How to Find the Serial Number of the Watch
  1. If you have documents from the watch, the serial numbers should be there. ...
  2. See if there is an online database of company serial numbers. ...
  3. Check the case back of the watch. ...
  4. If the watch is a Rolex, check between its lugs.
Nov 30, 2020


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