This is a Victorinox Classic (Aries Capricorn) from the (original) Zodiac series. Knives from these series all have one of the zodiac signs inlaid on the front scale. They come in a red gift box with the same sign on the top and have a small key chain attached.
I don’t know when Victorinox made these knives. The scissors have a screw, rather than a rivet, so they are pre-1991. They are not extremely rare, but they are not very easy to find either.
Update: this is not Aries, but Capricorn ;) Thanks to stressmaster5000 ;)
There is also a newer Zodiac series, the Zodiac Passion knives. Those were made for the Chinese market.
I got a nice little Victorinox knife in the mail a couple of days ago. It’s an Excelsior in silver alox. It’s a pretty basic 84mm, single layer knife with only a large and a small blade. It has the old Swiss cross on the front scales and it looks like the knife has never been used, carried or shapened. It’s in mint condition which is what I prefer ;) It came without the box, unfortunately.
Victorinox still make the cellidor version of this Swiss Army Knife, but the ribbed alox versions have been discontinued since I think the 1980s.
Update: I think this knife is actually pretty new after all. The old version of this knife (model 2070 s) did not have a Swiss cross on the front, and this one does. Also, Victorinox is written with a bigger capital V which indicates it’s post-1984… still a bit of a mystery, this.
Victorinox use an odd naming scheme by the way. The silver alox Excelsior comes without a keyring, while the cellidor knives do have the keyring. So if you ask me, the alox Excelsior should have been named Pocket Pal. And to make matters even more confusing, the alox version in red was called Popular and did have the keyring ;)
There is a thread on the MultiTool.orgforums about black Swiss Army knives, with lots of great pictures. I happen to like black cellidor scales a lot. In fact, it’s one of my favorite scale colors, along with green and any kind of colored alox.
Here are some of my black Victorinox SAKs. I have some more, including a black Compact (awesome EDC knife!), more Classics and a black SwissCard:
A little info on the knives in the picture:
The knife on the left is a black Sentinel from the 111mm liner lock range. It’s the non-one hand opening version and only has one large blade;
A black alox Classic SD. The Classics are the most common Swiss Army Knives out there, but the alox scales make it a little bit more special. It does not have the tweezers and toothpick;
A soft touch Climber RT. This is a regular Climber but with soft touch scales. It also features a laser etched “Your companion for life on the road” logo on the large blade. This knife was part of the 2010 Victorinox On the Road tour;
Top center: a nice onyx Voyager. The Voyager is basically a Climber with an electronic timepiece and alarm in the front scales. It also has a nailfile on the multi purpose hook. The back scale contains a small pair of tweezers since there is no place for the tweezers in the front scale. The scales are of a different material, it feels more like translucent nylon than cellidor;
In the center of the picture there is a Michel Jordi Spartan. It has a gold plated corkscrew and keyring, the famous Michel Jordi cow logo on the blade, a flower print on the front scales (not shown) and a gold-colored insert on the back scales;
Below the Jordi is a 2010 Victorinox Pioneer Damascus. It’s a regular Pioneer model, but with a Damascus steel blade. The edging on the blade makes it a very pretty knife. It’s limited to only 2010 knives worldwide and comes with a certificate of authenticy;
In the upper right corner is a regular black alox Pioneer. Like the Damascus knife but with the normal stainless steel blade. I really like the 93mm (alox) series, including the Soldier model. The blade is a bit thicker than the blade on 91mm models and the knives have a “sturdy” feel;
Between the Pioneers there is a SwissChamp. For a lot of people, the Victorinox SwissChamp is the Swiss Army Knife. It has a ton of tools in a relatively small package. It’s an all time favorite;
In the bottom right corner there is another Classic SD. This one is from the National Flag series and has the Canadian flag on the front scales. I bought this nice little knife on our honeymoon in Canada, july 2009 ;)
I will get into more detail on some of these Victorinox knives soon :)
I am thinking about joining the Victorinox Swiss Army Knife Collectors Society. While I am a big fan of online forums, communities, blogs, etc., I think it would be nice to be a member of a “traditional”, offline society. Actually, they do have a website, but there is not much happening there.
The VSAKCS offers a quarterly newsletter (yes, on paper: the Victorinox Blade) and they bring out a special VSAKCS club knife every year. Membership is only $35…