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Interview

The Only Name to Know in Soldier’s Knives – Victorinox AG

Sales Director Public Entities, Victorinox AG, Paul CAMENZIND discusses the company’s 30-year commercial market in Turkey, their successful history of providing Swiss Army Knives to military forces around the world. The famous pocket knives are a survival tool: multitaskers that deliver in any situation. At their most basic they are a blade: a precision cutting tool. At their most evolved they have pioneered space travel and restarted engines

Defence Turkey: Founded in 1884, the company Victorinox AG has been supplying the soldier’s knife to Armed Forces since 1891. How would you best describe Victorinox AG today? Could you please provide some key facts about the company for our readers?  

Paul CAMENZIND: When I started with Victorinox 26 years ago the company was purely dedicated to producing cutlery, amongst others the world-famous Swiss Army Knife. Nowadays we have extended our product range also to wrist watches, travel gear and fragrances. This with the aim to strengthen Victorinox brand awareness worldwide and also to offer the consumer an overall Victorinox shopping experience in our own flagship and brand stores. 

Defence Turkey: Can we please get an analysis of 2018 from Victorinox’s point of view and could you elaborate on your targets for 2019? 

Paul CAMENZIND: Talking from my position as market coordinator for the international public entity business at Victorinox, I can say that 2018 showed for this segment typical business development. Certain long expected sales did not happen or were postponed. Other projects which nearly were forgotten could now mostly be concluded. Now we hope and expect that certain deals budgeted for 2018 will be finalized in 2019.

Defence Turkey: While the term Swiss Army Knife has become synonymous with designs from Victorinox, the company’s greatest source of revenue still comes from commercial sales. Could you please comment on the respective percentages of your turnover that are generated by institutional and by commercial sales?

Paul CAMENZIND: Victorinox is represented in more than 130 countries worldwide. It is quite obvious that probably in all these markets our partners generate business with public entities without even reporting back to Victorinox headquarters in Switzerland. Projects with Armed Forces and other public institutions handled from Switzerland only reach approximately 5 % of the pocket-knife and pocket tool business of Victorinox. 

Defence Turkey: What could you tell us about the international presence and market position of Victorinox in the soldier’s knife sector? How many Armed Forces around the globe use your products?

Paul CAMENZIND: When it comes to pocket knives Victorinox holds a very strong position. There are of course also cheap copies of far eastern production that are seen around which try to penetrate the market. We had cases in which armed forces procured such fakes……usually single experiences due to the big quality difference to our products that are “Made in Switzerland”. When it comes to the multipurpose plier tool business our “SwissTool” finds itself in a more competitive market.  

As I mentioned before you will find Victorinox pocket-knives and tools probably in nearly every army of the world. We would however name armed forces of approximately 20 countries as main and regular customers.

Defence Turkey: What kind of new products do you see a demand for in the coming years in the soldier’s knife sector? What can the industry expect to see on the horizon as new products and services from Victorinox AG?

Paul CAMENZIND: There is a wide demand for products that are easy and quick to operate. Victorinox is working on that. When it comes to novelties: Victorinox launched last year a new product for the Navy: A pocket knife based on the Swiss Soldier Knife hosting a heavy-duty marlin spike: The “Skipper Pro”. At IDEF ‘19 we will highlight this new product. 

Defence Turkey: What can you tell us about Victorinox AG’s approach to Turkey as a market for the sale of its products?

Paul CAMENZIND: Our partners for Turkey, Messrs. EYÜBOGLU, Istanbul, have established a very solid commercial market for Victorinox in Turkey over the last three decades. 

Defence Turkey: What can you tell us about Victorinox AG’s participation at the IDEF ‘19 Exhibition? What are you expecting from the exhibition?  

Paul CAMENZIND: Victorinox’s 6th participation at IDEF clearly aims to widen the business with the Turkish Army. The final goal is that one day every Turkish soldier will receive a “Turkish Soldier Knife” made by Victorinox as part of his personal equipment. 

Defence Turkey: Would you like to add anything by way of a message our readers?

Paul CAMENZIND: We kindly invite readers of Defence Turkey to visit our stand 2 / 225 in the Swiss Pavilion at IDEF ‘19 and we will show you our range of products specially designed for the needs of a modern soldier or members of police and firefighters. See you soon in Istanbul. Thank you