Our History

Victorinox was founded in 1884 and we haven’t stopped evolving ever since. Here are the most important milestones in our company’s history.

When our founder Karl Elsener opened his cutler’s A in 1884 in Ibach, Switzerland, little did he know that the Swiss Army KnifeTM he would soon create would become a global icon of preparedness, not only finding its way into everyday life but even into outer space.

Living up to our legacy as Makers of the Original Swiss Army KnifeTM, we’ve been making well-thought-out products with precision and care for more than 140 years.

Today, Victorinox is a global company with five product categories: Swiss Army Knives, Household and Professional Knives, Watches, Travel Gear and Fragrances. Here are the important milestones in the history of our company.


Karl Elsener I opens a knife cutler’s workshop in Ibach-Schwyz. His mother Victoria actively supports him in his endeavors.


Karl Elsener I establishes the Association of Swiss Master Cutlers and delivers the first major supply of soldier’s knives to the Swiss Army. The association still exists today.


The "Original Swiss Officer’s and Sports Knife" is patented. It’s known around the world today as the "Original Swiss Army Knife™".


In memory of his mother, Karl Elsener I chooses her first name Victoria as the brand name, and registers the Cross&Shield emblem as a trademark. Today it is a registered trademark in over 120 countries.


Carl Elsener II takes over the management of the workshop.


The invention of stainless steel (Inox) is a highly significant development for the cutlery industry.

The combination of the two words "Inox" and "Victoria" results in today’s company and brand name – Victorinox.


Carl Elsener II introduces automation. In 1931, Brown Boveri is commissioned to set up the world’s first all-electric hardening plant in Ibach. This guarantees that all knives are of consistently high quality.


The US Army orders a large amount of Swiss Army Knives for their Post Exchange stores.

The pocket knives become a popular souvenir for soldiers stationed in Europe after World War II to take home.


Carl Elsener III takes over the company management.


The Original Swiss Army Knife™ is displayed in the permanent design collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


Nasa orders 50 Master Craftsman knives, which was one of our most popular Officer’s Knives at the time.


The "Messerfabrik Carl Elsener" becomes the family-owned company "Victorinox AG".


The company doubles its manufacturing and office space.


Market entry for "Watches" under its Swiss Army brand in North America with its former U.S. sales partner.

Charitable endeavors


Victorinox opens its first sales subsidiary in Japan.


Establishment of Carl and Elise Elsener Gut Foundation with the mission to support national and international charitable projects.


Market entry for "Travel Gear" with the American TRG Group as licensee.

Start of the new Millennium


Establishment of the Victorinox Foundation which holds 90 % of the share capital of Victorinox AG. The remaining 10 % belongs to the non-profit Carl and Elise Elsener-Gut Foundation.


Launch of a clothing line in the U.S. and opening of the first Victorinox store in Soho, New York.


Acquisition of the long-standing Swiss knife and watch manufacturer Wenger SA in Delémont. Victorinox still operates the Wenger brand, focusing mainly on watches and travel gear items.

Becoming a multi-Product brand


Carl Elsener IV takes over the company management and further expands Victorinox as a global multi-product brand. Establishment of Victorinox Swiss Army Fragrance AG.


Opening of the first European Victorinox flagship store in London.


Integration of the Wenger knife business into the Victorinox brand.


Acquisition of the travel gear business from previous licensee and establishment of the new business unit Victorinox Travel Gear AG.

Opening of our flagship store in the heart of Zurich’s city center.


Construction of the Watch Competence Center in Delémont, Switzerland.


Production of 500-millionth "Original Swiss Army Knife™".

Discontinuation of Apparel to focus on the core product categories.


Opening of the new European distribution center in Seewen, Switzerland.

Acquisition of Zena Swiss AG, traditional Swiss manufacturer of the economy peeler.

Opening of the first European Victorinox franchise Store in Vienna.


125th Anniversary of the "Original Swiss Officer’s and Sports Knife"

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