Swiss army knife stays Swiss

September 8, 2008 12:00 am

, GENEVA, September 8 – The Swiss army will keep getting its Swiss army knives from a Swiss manufacturer, after Victorinox beat Chinese and other foreign rivals to retain the contract.

"Victorinox will produce the new soldier’s knife for the Swiss armed forces" after offering taxpayers "the best price-performance ratio," the Swiss defence ministry’s technology department said Monday in a statement.

The right to supply Swiss army knives — standard issue to all Swiss soldiers since 1961, and perhaps the most famous pocket knife in the world — was opened to tender in February, in a move that stunned many Swiss.

They felt that such a national symbol must not be made outside Switzerland, and Alois Kessler, a politician from Canton Schwyz where Victorinox is headquartered, launched a petition to keep manufacturing local.

In the end, seven manufacturers in Switzerland and abroad, including China, submitted bids.

The order for 75,000 knives — the Swiss military favours an aluminium-handled version with a large blade, can opener-cum-screwdriver, leather punch and bottle opener — is worth 1.38 million Swiss francs (865,000 euros, 1.23 million dollars).


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