Victorinox – Rebuild Service for Swiss Army Knives

Something a bit different today, by guest reviewer James. A review of the service on his trusty Victorinox knife.

James' knife, looking good!

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.

  • Philip

    Awesome! I too have a soft spot in my heart for my trusty SAK. In a throwaway world, it’s good to know they can be repaired. I would never have thought of it if I hadn’t read this.

  • James BB

    I should add as well, that prior to the review being published (and after I sent it off to Andy), I received a totally unsolicited email from Burton McCall apologising for my having to wait a bit longer than expected. I hadn’t said anything about the wait whatsoever in my thank you email to them.
    In my book that’s yet another bit of very good customer service!

  • MartynG

    An excellent article. I have a swiss army knife that has been lying at the back of a drawer for 7 years or so as it got a bit mangled in a motorbike accident – I was carrying it a pouch on my belt).

    I bought a replacement at the time, but came across the old one the other day (I’ve had it for about 40 years) and have been considering whether or not to have it repaired.

    On the basis of this article, I’ll be in tough with Burton McCall.

  • Tony

    Great write-up and very informative!! I have a Swiss Champ I have been carrying, and using on a daily basis,for over 11 years now. I love this knife and it has tremendous sentimental value to me!! As a kid, I drooled over this knife for years (was a big McGyver fan growing up), before I finally got one, in 2001. As the article mentions, despite the great quality of this knife, mine is pretty well worn out, as well. I was really debating hard, after talking with Swiss Army Customer Support, on whether or not to send it in for repair, because I just was not sure if I wanted a new replacement, if that’s what they wanted to do. This article helped me make my decision. I will now be sending it in for repair only, with replacement not a preferable option. Thanks for the great article!! You have made a very very difficult decision, not so difficult!! 😉

  • Darren Ward

    Excellent article, Ive had my champ for around 20 yrs now and will certainly be having it repaired.


  • RCWhiting

    Just received mine back from Leicester. Only eight weeks.
    Blades sharpened, scissors repaired. The whole thing buffed and polished so that it could be a new knife.
    Charge: nothing, not even postage.
    Brilliant service.

  • Noel Speers

    Thank you for the article which has gladdened my heart. Recently I damaged my S A K in a road traffic accident. I found your article whilst searching for the best place from which to purchase a replacement.

  • bne_kiwi

    but what will I do for 8,9,10,11,12 weeks without my Champ

  • Paul

    Wenger (not Werner, though) gives you only 5 years warranty for their SAK (at least my friend got it).

    My Victorinox Camper is worn out slightly, but I can’t figure it out what would I do without my SAK even for a week…

  • D Cruickshanks

    could you replace a blade on a single bladed pocket knife which I have had for twenty odd years and as a gardener always kept it very sharp which included thinning down th blade until inevitablely the blade snapped, it is wooden handled and the blade was not spear pointed,cannot find another Victorinox with wood and it has worn into my hand over the years and seeing you website gave an option to repair,it would be cheaper to go for the Solo but this knife ” feels right “

  • I purchased the same knife from Amazon in 2009, its been carried in my victorinox pouch ever since. The tip of the main knife blade snapped off the other day! After reading this post and subsequent replies ive decided to contact Burton McCall. I hope im as fortunate as James.

  • Sent my knife off to be fixed. Its been 30 days, so far nothing back from Burton McCall. They did say it could take as long as 8 weeks though!

  • Rachel

    I gave my husband a SAK thirty years ago. When it ‘gave up’ last year he sent it to Burton McCall and when he refused the offered new replacement, it went back to Switzerland. He now has it back again, and is never without it. Real service!

  • Jeff Orton

    I recently sent two Swiss Army knives, that I had damaged by excessive use, to Burton McCall. I half expected to be told they were beyond repair or that the cost would be prohibitive. The service I received from Burton McCall was wonderful. They acknowledged receipt of the knives immediately and returned them to me in perfect condition within three days, and at no charge. So, in my experience the Victorinox ‘lifetime guarantee’ is genuine, and Burton McCall are a delight to deal with.
    Jeff, Colchester

  • Ken Callow

    I have owned many Victorinox knives over the last 50years and find them to be the most useful tool in my kit I am retired now but still use them on a daily basis I have just bought the new cyber tool lite the torch is superb for all those situations when you need a light I own the Centenary Swiss Champ which is over 20years I returned them for repairs to Burton McCall who expedited there repair and had them returned to me in as new condition ready for another 20years.Thank you Burton McCall

  • darren raistrick

    How do you go about getting a knife servicode?

  • Peter MacCabe

    I had to send my Swiss Champ back to Burton McCall back in 2012. I was amazed when I received a brand new replacement for absolutely free. As I lived in Leicester at the time I didn’t even have to pay postage just had to make a 4 mile round walk which I was going to do anyway. Delighted with their service.