Victorinox and its ubiquitous Swiss Army Knife date back to the 1890s. It was then that Karl Elsener, responding to a production call from the Swiss Army, created a folding pocket knife with additional tools like an awl and corkscrew. Since then, that little tool (then called the Swiss Officer’s and Sports Knife) has become an icon, and Elsener’s company has moved on to create hundreds of variations of it as well as luggage, watches, fragrances and more. But never, curiously, a fixed-blade knife. Until now.
Recently, Victorinox revealed the Outdoor Master, its newest knife and its first fixed blade. (Technically, the company’s kitchen knives are fixed blades, but this is its first utility-driven multi-purpose tool.) The knife comes in two sizes — one with a 3.4-inch blade and another that measures out to a smaller 2.8 inches — but the construction remains the same in both.
The knife has a full-tang, drop-point blade made of 1.4116 stainless steel, which is the same tough, corrosion-resistant, easy-to-sharpen stuff Victorinox uses in its classic Swiss Army. Its handle is black and blue Micarta, which keeps the shorter knife at 2.8 ounces and the longer at 7.8. Both versions come with a Kydex sheath with a cinching paracord attachment system (the longer model also includes a firestarter). Clearly, Victorinox imagines the Outdoor Master as a survival-oriented blade (its name says it all), but its understated looks aren’t overtly “outdoorsy.” And while it’s a significant departure from Elsener’s first knife, it also gets right at that tool’s core value: reliable utility.