Something a bit different today, by guest reviewer James. A review of the service on his trusty Victorinox knife.
Swiss Army Knives… yeah yeah, I know all the arguments: the Leatherman has better pliers, a locking knife blade isn’t going to fold up on your thumb and all the rest.But, for gentlemen of a certain age, the red and steel pocket knives hold a certain place in our hearts and we just don’t like to let them go.
My favoured item is a Victorinox Swiss Champ bought for me aged about 9 or 10 by my father during a family ski-trip in Austria. The memories alone meant it never left my pocket for something like 12 years and it was my first port of call for all sorts of jobs: hundreds of plugs, masses of wire-stripping, holes made in things, branches cut, wood whittled, bottles and cans opened… you name it, my Champ did it!
But all that usage meant that even a quality product like this was going to wear in places. The tweezers eventually disappeared, the toothpick was chewed into something resembling a deep-sea worm, and the scissors lost first their spring, then the moving arm, the pliers were bent, the screwdriver twisted. The sorry looking knife was relegated to a drawer, and replaced with the occasional cheap, unsatisfactory Leatherman clones. Until that is, a friend mentioned that he’d recently had his S-A-K repaired. I was intrigued – is the lifetime warranty THAT good?
To test it I contacted the UK importer (Burton McCall Ltd, in Leicester), and they replied back that “yes, we’d be perfectly happy to repair your knife, or send it back to it’s ancestral home in the mountains, and all for free”. Score!
I duly packaged up the Champ (paying for postage would be a darned site cheaper than buying a new model!), and sent it off. Burton McCall contacted me a few days later to say that although the knife was beyond UK-repair, they could replace it for free – or send it off to Switzerland. A turn around time of 8-10 weeks was promised. I thought about it, and the lure of a free, new Swiss Champ was strong, very strong, but I couldn’t let the old faithful down and opted for the repair.
Roughly 12 weeks later (a little later than expected), a package was handed to me at my desk. Old Faithful was back, and like new! The vast majority of the tools have been replaced completely, all the “loose” items are refreshed and fit tightly into the new plastic sides. The only evidence that this isn’t a new item is a couple of original fitments (eg the magnifying lens is the same – or at least it’s the same older style!) and the presence of some small dabs of grease in the crevices obviously from the rebuild (new items tend to be grease-dab free in my experience).
Despite the extra couple of weeks wait, I am overjoyed to have my favourite pocket tool back, and in such great shape, and would have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending the rebuild service for tired Victorinoxes (I don’t know if Werner offer the same service, but wouldn’t be surprised), it is genuinely like having a totally new knife in my hands. The service from Burton McCall was also very good, much more than I was expecting from a company that doesn’t normally deal with the great unwashed public.