Swiss Army Knife makers sharpen brand

Swiss Army Knife maker sharpens brand
Swiss Army Knife maker sharpens brand


    Swiss Army Knife maker sharpens brand


Swiss Army Knife maker sharpens brand 05:25

Story highlights

  • The makers of the Swiss Army Knife, Victorinox, are expanding into more "can't leave home without it" products
  • A strong Swiss franc has forced the penknife maker to innovate and produce a range of consumer goods
  • The company is now selling socks, time pieces and fragrances

The creators of the Swiss Army Knife are expanding into more "can't leave home without it" products.

This time, the company behind the much-loved pen-knife is turning its design skills to socks.

Victorinox is expanding into new areas as it seeks to combat the pressures of Switzerland's strong currency. Alongside socks, time pieces and fragrances are on offer.

While the products may seem diverse, there are commonalities, Victorinox chief executive Carl Elsener told CNN's Richard Quest.

"They are a companion for our customers, and they all are inspired by the values, and the heritage, of this little red knife. And these values are high quality, functionality, innovation and iconic design," he said.

Elsener said the strength of Switzerland's currency, the franc, had eaten into margins, forcing the company to be "more innovative than our competitors in the rest of the world."

Last year Switzerland's central bank pegged the franc to the euro in attempt to stabilize the currency. The Swiss National Bank's move meant the franc would not drop below 1.20 to the euro.

Elsener said this tactic extinguished the fear among Swiss companies that the franc would go to parity with the euro. He said "This was a big relief for most Swiss companies who depend on exportation."

The Victorinox dynasty was founded in 1884 by Karl Elsener Sn. and the company -- famed for its cross in a shield emblem -- has been handed down through generations.

Elsener said corporate sustainability rather than quarterly results were of paramount importance to the group. He said: "Our family has always really considered the company not just our own, but as something that has been entrusted to us.

"The goal of the foundation is to try to keep Victorinox, in the long term, financially independent, and to make sure that during an inheritance the company is not financially weakened," he added.

      Marketplace Europe

    • spc marketplace europe latvia valdis dombrovskis_00021207.jpg

      Latvia's economic prospects

      CNN's Nina Dos Santos visits Latvia to speak to the country's outgoing Prime Minister and the prospects for the eurozone's 18th member.
    • spc marketplace europe malta immigration africa_00002118.jpg

      Asylum seekers in Malta

      Malta is the gateway to Europe and on the frontline of the immigration flows. Isa Soares reports from a detention center on the Mediterranean island.
    • spc marketplace europe malta immigration vox pops_00001419.jpg

      Maltese concerned over migrants

      CNN's Isa Soares speaks with people on the streets of Valletta who say their country can't cope with more migrants from Africa and the Middle East.
    • spc marketplace europe malta george vella_00032005.jpg

      Malta's migrant struggle

      Malta cannot afford to continue supporting migrants from war-torn countries in its over-crowded detention camps, the country's foreign minister has told CNN.
    • spc marketplace europe 2013 what went wrong_00020426.jpg

      What went wrong in 2013?

      Slow recoveries, bailouts, and youth unemployment. Richard Quest speaks to Europe's top CEOs about the issues of 2013.
    • spc marketplace europe 2013 defining moments bob parker intv_00010826.jpg

      2013: The year of tapering

      CNN's Richard Quest speaks to economist Bob Parker about defining moments of 2013 and about what to expect in 2014.
    • spc marketplace europe estonia energy_00000923.jpg

      Estonia's dirty energy drive

      The Baltic nation of Estonia is developing its oil shale energy reserves in a bid to become energy self-sufficient.
    • spc marketplace europe nani beccalli falco_00041005.jpg

      GE Europe exec's jobs warning

      Europe must stop being nationalistic if it wants to help a lost generation of workers, the regional boss of U.S. conglomerate General Electric says.
    • spc marketplace europe greece petros christodoulou_00002025.jpg

      Is Greece on the mend?

      Greece is on the way to economic recovery as investor faith returns to the recession-ridden eurozone nation, an executive at Greece's largest bank has told CNN.
    • spc marketplace europe euro jim cloos_00012617.jpg

      Don't blame euro, says pioneer

      One of the masterminds behind the euro says Europe would have suffered a far worse fate if the single currency had never been created.
    • spc marketplace europe maastricht eu_00002401.jpg

      The birthplace of the euro

      Nina Dos Santos visits the Dutch city where the European treaty carrying the city's name came into force 20 years ago.
    • spc marketplace europe spain working hours_00010525.jpg

      Spain may turn clocks back

      As Spain continues its drive to slash budgets and cut spending, one of the nation's favorite pastimes is under threat as ministers look for ways to boost productivity.