I waited long enough to get the Swiza D04 pocket knife. In fact, I never thought it would offer anything new. After all, Victorinox Swiss Army Knives (SAKs) already have everything that any pocket knife could offer, isn’t it? Well, I did change my mind after using the Swiza knife.
So how good is it?
First of all, let me make this clear. This is not a comparison of Victorinox with Swiza or any SAK with the D04. This is about my experience with a new pocket knife that I have been eying for long but got only recently. After using it for a few days, I think I can share with you my thoughts on it and my experience of using it so far.
Swiza is a Swiss company that is primarily known for making watches. The Swiza D04 is one of their popular pocket knife models. As the name suggests, Swiza also has models from D01 to D03, each having different sets of tools and functionalities. The Swiza D04 is the most popular one as it has a decent set of tools at a reasonable price.
Knowing that some of Wenger employees are with Swiza now, I naturally expected their pocket knives to be good. In case you don’t know, Wenger was the only other manufacturer of the Swiss Army Knife until Victorinox bought Wenger and merged it with itself.
Note that a Swiza knife cannot be called Swiss Army Knife, as Swiza was never the official supplier of pocket knives to the Swiss Army (unlike Victorinox and Wenger).
Build Quality, Looks, Fit and Finish
Being a Swiss-made product, the build quality surely does not disappoint. Every tool opens and closes into its slot smoothly and with precision. The tools are made of stainless steel with a high chromium percentage, so you can be sure that it won’t rust easily. The scales are made of good quality plastic which has kind of a matte finish and is quite grippy.
The Swiza pocket knives have a very distinctively look which I found quite attractive. The D04 looks very stylish and friendly. The body has a curved design that looks and feels very ergonomic.
The scale colors available are also very interesting. I got the red one, which is not a very dark red like what you get in Victorinox SAKs. In fact, it is slightly orangish.
Swiza pocket knives are also available in black, white, blue, orange, olive and moss.
I think apart from the black and olive which may look a bit tactical, all the other colors really stand out. I prefer colorful scales in pocket knives for every-day carry as they look harmless and don’t scare common people, especially when taking the knife out of the pocket.
Ok, now that we are done with the looks, let see what this pocket knife has to offer in terms of functionality. The Swiza D04 packs the following tools in its slender body:
- Can Opener, with small flathead screwdriver
- Bottle Opener, with large flathead screwdriver
- Philips Screwdriver
The tweezers are located conveniently in a slot behind the scales. It is hidden so well that you won’t even find it if you didn’t know that D04 also has a pair of tweezers.
All the tools work as expected. If you have ever used a Swiss Army Knife (SAK), then you already know what these tools do. So I won’t bore you explaining each and every functionality in the Swiza D04. However, there are a few things which I think are worthwhile to mention.
The knife blade in the Swiza D04 has a liner lock. This is in addition to having back spring supported slip joint like the other tools. All the other tools are held in place only by slip joints, just like a SAK.
The liner lock is easy to dislodge with a soft button (with a + symbol) on the scales.
Now, I know that some SAKs also have locking blades. But those are usually the bigger models which are difficult to carry comfortably in the pocket. The medium size SAKs which are comparable in size to the Swiza D04 do not have locking blades.
As a matter of fact, this might also make the Swiza a deal-breaker for people in some European countries where locking blades are banned. I have heard that Swiza also makes a non-locking version of its pocket knives.
However, I haven’t seen any non-locking versions being sold anywhere as of now.
The knife is fairly large compared to SAKs of similar size. It is 75mm in length.
Also, the knife when open is slightly curved downwards. The curvature is in line with the curve of the body, almost like a small arc.
I like this design, as it feels more comfortable cutting something while drawing the knife backward.
The awl has a peculiar design. It is short, has a triangular end, a sharp edge on one side, and a very tiny stitching hole. I think it will be very difficult to pass a stitching thread through that hole.
I tried creating a hole in a piece of wood with the awl. It did the job, but I was always afraid that the tip would break. However, it pierces leather and plastic very easily.
In fact, the awl looks and functions much better as a box cutter or package opener than an awl/reamer.
As of now, I do not have any performance issues with the Swiza D04.
The knife is sharp and cuts paper and paracord with ease. I also tried cutting a hard piece of cardboard and it did the job without any fuss. One thing I should mention is that I feel more comfortable stabbing on something with this knife than with a pocket SAK. It is comforting to have in mind that the liner lock will prevent the blade from closing on my fingers!
The bottle opener and the flat screwdriver at its top works as expected. I did not get a chance to use the can opener. However, I have found that the small flat screwdriver at the top of the can opener can sometimes work on small Philips screws as well.
The Philips screwdriver is robust. It also has a very strong slip joint and can be held in both 90° (half-open) and in 180° (fully open) positions.
The tweezers have beveled tips, which I think is better suited for more precision tasks.
I have been using the Swiza D04 for about a month. Being a SAK user, I am accustomed to using pocket knives for years, even decades. Will the Swiza D04 last that long? Only time will tell. But as of now, it is holding up well. There is no visible wear or tear.
Ease of Use
I think Swiza has put a lot of attention on ease of use while designing these pocket knives. The curved shape of the body allows you to hold it very comfortably. Add to it the soft tactile feel of the scales and you will have probably one of the best grips of any pocket knives.
The tools can be opened and closed very easily. In fact, the blade, the bottle opener, and the can opener, all have holes carved into them. Call it a nail-hole or whatever, but these holes make it very easy to open the tools!
The awl is also very easy to open as the top edge is slightly curved to get a grip with your fingernail.
However, do note that because of the curved design, the tools stick out a lot from the frame even in their closed positions. So while using the blade, if you hold it with a very firm grip, the other tools might dig into your palm or fingers a bit.
I like the Swiza D04 pocket knife. Being a Swiss-made pocket knife, comparison with the Swiss Army Knife (SAK) is inevitable. But this pocket knife is close in functionality to a SAK, and at the same time being significantly different from a SAK in looks and design.
It can be a very good gift item for your near and dear ones. If you know somebody who already has a SAK, you may give a Swiza as a gift to him just to be a little different from the rest. Well, a Swiza knife will be a good gift even if he hasn’t used a pocket knife ever in his life.
While I was testing the knife, my wife saw it in my hands and wanted to know what it was. When I showed it to her and all the tools in it, she was quite impressed.
This makes me think it may be a good gift option for the feminine gender too. After all, Swiza has so many colors that may appeal to a woman.
I think the Swiza D04 is one of the best pocket knives available in the market. The looks along with the built quality make it perfect for every-day carry. If you are hunting for a small pocket knife, you can definitely have a look at this model.