Our History

Originating from inside a cutler's workshop in 1884, Victorinox stands for quality, functionality, innovation and iconic design, and has done for more than 130 years.

Today, Victorinox is a global company with five product categories: Swiss Army Knives, Household and Professional Knives, Watches, Travel Gear and Fragrances.

1884
Karl Elsener I opens a knife cutler’s workshop in Ibach-Schwyz. His mother Victoria actively supports him in his endeavours. 

1891
Karl Elsener I establishes the Association of Swiss Master Cutlers. As a result, he is able to deliver the first major supply of soldier’s knives to the Swiss Army.
 
1897
The original Swiss Officer’s and Sports Knife is patented. It is known around the world today as the “Swiss Army Knife”.

1909
In memoriam of his mother, Karl Elsener I chooses her first name Victoria as the brand name and registers the emblem with the cross and shield as a trademark. Today it is a registered trademark in over 120 countries.

1921
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.
 
1931
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 a consistent high quality.

1945
US soldiers stationed in Europe after World War Two buy it in large quantities and it is a popular souvenir to take home.

1950
Carl Elsener III takes over the company management.

1977
The Original Swiss Army Knife becomes an exhibit for design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

1978
NASA orders 50 Officer Knives Master Craftsman 

1979
Transformation of sole proprietorship “Messerfabrik Carl Elsener” into the family-owned company “Victorinox AG.”

1984
The company doubles its manufacturing and office space.

1989
Market entry for “Watches” under its Swiss Army brand in North America with its former U.S. sales partner.

1992
Opening of the first sales subsidiary in Japan.

1994
Establishment of Carl and Elise Elsener Gut Foundation with the mission to support national and international charitable projects.

1999
Market entry for “Travel Gear” with the American TRG Group in St. Louis as licensee.

2000
Establishment of the Victorinox Foundation which holds 90% of the share capital of Victorinox AG. The remaining 10% belong to the non-profit Carl and Elise Elsener-Gut Foundation.

2001
Launch of a clothing line in the U.S. and opening of the first Victorinox store in Soho, New York.

2005
Acquisition of the long-standing Swiss knife and watch manufacturer Wenger SA in Delémont. Wenger remains an independently operating subsidiary of Victorinox.

2007
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.

2008
Opening of the first European Victorinox flagship store in London.

2011
Opening of the Swiss Knife Valley Visitor Center in Brunnen, Switzerland.

Carl Elsener III gets inducted into the BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall of Fame.

2013
Integration of the Wenger knife business into the Victorinox brand.

2014
Acquisition of the travel gear business from previous licensee and establishment of the new business unit Victorinox Travel Gear AG.

Opening of a store at a prime location in the city center of Zurich.

Carl Elsener gets inducted into the BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall of Fame

The BLADE Magazine Cutlery Hall of Fame® is the highest honour on the planet for individuals who demonstrate exceptional contributions to the world of knives. Only one or two people are inducted annually during a ceremony at BLADE Show.

Brandstore and Museum, Brunnen
Flagship store Zurich

2016
Construction of the Watch Competence Center in Delémont, Switzerland.

2017
Discontinuation of Apparel to focus on the core product categories.

Production of 500-millionth “Original Swiss Army Knife”.

2018
Ground breaking for a new distribution centre in Seewen, Switzerland.

The investment of some CHF 50 million represents a clear commitment to the Schwyz location.
 
125th anniversary of Wenger.