When I first saw an Alox Swiss Army Knife, I was dazzled by its brilliant looks. My initial thinking was that the Victorinox Alox SAKs do not offer much more than mere aesthetics!
How wrong I was! The Alox SAKs are a different breed altogether. You know it only after holding and using one.
Victorinox Alox is a category of Swiss Army Knives that has Aluminium scales instead of Cellidor scales. The scales are punched out of Aluminium and embossed with a design that not only enhances the look but also makes the handle very grippy.
The scales are further subjected to a process called ‘Anodic Oxidation’ which produces an oxide film over the material.
The oxide film acts as a protective layer against damage and corrosion. This process is also known as ‘Eloxal’.
The Eloxal process also allows adding color to the scales. As such, Victorinox produces Alox SAKs with scales of various attractive colors, like red, blue, green, orange, black, golden, etc.
Alox is coined from two words, Aluminium and Inox (meaning, stainless steel). In industrial terms, Aluminium Oxide is also referred to as ALOx.
The best way to learn about the Alox SAKs is to know how they differ from their non-Alox siblings. Let’s discuss some of these differences and how these make the Alox models better than the non-Alox models.
Advantages of Alox Swiss Army Knives
- Alox SAKs have better construction quality. Because of the Aluminium scales, they are more resistant to wear and tear. The Alox scales do not get scratched easily and do not break like the Plastic/Cellidor scales.
- The tools in the Alox SAKs are stronger. E.g. if you compare a 91mm SAK with a 93mm Alox SAK, you will notice that the blade in the Alox SAK is thicker and longer. The bottle opener/flathead screwdriver is bigger in the Alox SAK. The Alox SAKs also have bigger and stronger slip joint springs.
- The textured surface of the Alox scales provides a better grip. This is especially noticeable if your hands are wet.
- Alox SAKs are thinner. This is because the Alox scales are thinner than the Cellidor scales. Also, unlike Cellidor SAKs, the Alox SAKs do not use aluminum covering layers on the outside, as the outer layer is the scale itself. This also helps in reducing the thickness.
- Alox SAKs use nickel-silver liners between layers. This is unlike Celldor SAKs, which use aluminum liners (separators). Nickel silver liners are thinner and provide better resistance to corrosion.
- The reamer in the Alox SAK is better. The reamer opens up vertically inline to the body of the SAK and hence is easier to hold and work with.
- Alox SAKs look aesthetically pleasing. The textured scales along with attractive colors (like silver and golden) make Alox SAKs very aesthetically beautiful. Most people are attracted to these SAKs because of their looks.
The following images show how the design of the Alox Swiss Army Knife along with its tools provides some significant advantages over SAKs with Cellidor scales.
Above all, an Alox Swiss Army Knife just feels better in the hand than a normal SAK with Cellidor scales. Don’t get me wrong. All Swiss Army Knives have great built quality. But the Alox models are just engineered better.
Disadvantages of Alox Swiss Army Knives
But the Alox Swiss Army Knives do have their own drawbacks too, especially when compared to a Swiss Army Knife with Cellidor scales.
- Alox SAKs do not have the scale tools. The tweezers and the toothpick, available in almost all Swiss Army Knives with Celldior scales are not present in SAKs with Alox scales.
- The medium-size Alox SAKs do not have the back layer of tools. This reduces the overall number of tools in an Alox SAK as compared to a Cellidor SAK. As such, some of the tools like the corkscrew, Philips screwdriver, multi-purpose hook, chisel, or mini-screwdriver, are not found in Alox SAKs.
- The scales of the Alox SAKs are not replaceable. The Aluminium scales are part of the body of the SAK and cannot be taken off. As such, you cannot replace the scale yourself. This is unlike the Cellidor scales which can be taken off and changed/replaced at will.
- Alox SAKs are expensive. Compared to its Cellidor counterpart, a comparable Alox SAK costs significantly more. For example, the Victorinox Pioneer X costs almost twice that of the Victorinox Super Tinker in their respective Amazon listings. Both of these SAKs have 3-layers of tools with comparable functions.
- The color sometimes scratches off the scales in Alox SAKs. This is especially noticeable in dark colors, like red, black, and blue Alox scales. This does not happen or is not noticeable in silver Alox scales.
To know about the history of Victorinox and the origin of the Swiss Army Knife, do read this article.
Which was the first Alox Swiss Army Knife?
The first Alox Swiss Army Knife is the Victorinox Pioneer. It was introduced in 1957. The Pioneer belongs to the 93mm series of Swiss Army Knives. The tools in the Pioneer consist of a blade, a bottle-opener/flathead screwdriver, a can-opener/small screwdriver, a reamer/awl, and a split-ring attachment.
The Pioneer is the base model of 93mm Alox Swiss Army Knives. The first Pioneer model was made with silver scales. Subsequently, other colors were introduced in later versions.
What is the Victorinox Soldier Alox model?
The Victorinox Soldier Alox model is a 93mm Swiss Army Knife first introduced by Victorinox in 1961. The Soldier Alox has been used as the standard-issue by the Switzerland armed forces from 1962 till 2007. After that, the 111mm Soldier 2007 model replaced it as the standard issue for the armed forces.
The Soldier Alox is also known as the Model 1961. It was inspired by the Victorinox Pioneer that was introduced in 1957. It had the same tools as the Victorinox Pioneer, but it lacked the keyring attachment. In fact, the Pioneer is often known as the civilian model of the Vcitroinox Soldier Alox.
The first model of the Soldier Alox was made with red scales, but later on, silver scales became the standard.
If you want to know more about the Victorinox Soldier and it’s over 100-year-old history, don’t miss this article.
What are the different sizes of Alox Swiss Army Knives?
The different sizes in which Victorinox Alox Swiss Army Knives are found are 58mm, 84mm, and 93mm. Of these, the models in the 93mm range are the most sought after and are often compared to the 91mm Cellidor models of Swiss Army knives.
In the 58mm category, the most popular models are the Classic Alox and the Mini Champ Alox.
The 84mm category includes the Bantam Alox and the Cadet Alox.
The 93mm category has a number of Alox models, the most popular being the Pioneer, the Pioneer X, and the Farmer.
Apart from these, Victorinox also makes an Alox variant of one of their larger 130mm knives, the Hunter Pro. It is called the Hunter Pro M Alox.
What is Victorinox Annual Alox Limited Edition?
Annual Alox Limited Edition consists of three Alox Swiss Army Knives that are released by Victorinox in different colors in different years. These Limited Edition Alox models were first launched in 2015 in steel-blue color. Since then, Victorinox has continued releasing this set of three Alox SAKs featuring a new color each year.
In all Annual Limited Edition models, the year of production is engraved on the back scale of the SAK. these Limited Edition SAKs are sold in special packaging.
Initially, the Alox Limited Editions consisted of the Classic (58mm), the Cadet (84mm), and the Pioneer (93mm). From 2021, the set has been changed. It now has the Classic (58mm), the Pioneer x (93mm), and the Hunter Pro (130mm).
What is Victorinox Classic Precious Alox Collection?
Classic Precious Alox Collection is a set of Victorinox Classic Swiss Army Knives with Alox scales having a tactile woven pattern. These are available in five different colors, viz. Red, Brown, Pink, Grey, and Yellow. The toolset in the SAK is the same as in a Victorinox Classic SD or Classic Alox, the only difference being the pattern and the texture of the Alox scales.
The Classic Precious Alox Collection got the Red Dot Design Award in 2022.
The Alox Swiss Army Knives occupy a special place in the heart of many SAK lovers and collectors.
The aesthetics and design are exceptional, both to the eye and to the hand.
What the Alox models lose due to the absence of the scale tools and the back layer tools, it more than makes up in its top-notch built quality and stronger tools. An Alox SAK is one of those pocket tools that can last a lifetime while looking exceptional throughout the journey.