Victorinox "Altimeter" model

Oct 14, 1998
Looking for something old that is new again? Looking for a neat gadget that isn't too hard on the old wallet? Need a good all purpose 'tool' that fits in your pocket better then a Leatherman tool?

The Victorinox Altimeter model may offer the solution you are looking for. Street price should be around $65-75(US) which seems like a decent price point in today's marketplace.

Since most people are familiar with the Victorinox brand of SAK, I won't go into much detail about the knife that is common with all the other models beyond the basics. This models is equipped with translucent scales, toothpick (no tweezers but, you could swap them out if desired ... time to rob my other SAK
), corkscrew with samll screwdriver attached, awl, large and small plain edge blades, scissor, bottle cap remover, can opener and, the electronics. Fit and function of these traditional SAK features are as expected.

The unique features of this knife lie in the translucent red scales. As noted above, one scale lacks the hole for the tweezers but, in exchange you get the electronics that make the little LCD panel work. This scale contains a small watch battery on one end with a large swiss cross on the other end with a small LCD panel the width of my thumb in the middle.

To activate the Altimeter/Thermometer, you must press the swiss cross about 4 seconds. Then the electronics pop to life. The LCD panel then displays the altitude. Pressing the swiss cross again will change the display to the current temperature. The units used are easily changed between metric and english.

The thermometer operates efficiently and gives very accurate readings based on my limited use and measurement tools for 'comparison'.

The alitimeter has proven much more useful for a use I never anticipated. Once the current altitude is calibrated to the current air pressure, this 'standard' is maintained across power cycles. In a perfect world, you would turn it off and on a bunch of times and never notice a change in altitude (assuming you didn't move). Needless to say, I was very surprised to see the altitude of bedroom dresser changing so often

Because of the sensitivity of the altimeter, this knife has become a steady companion and is used for weather prediction/confirmation when I go out and about in sunny Tucson, Arizona on local trails. Because of the sensitivity of this altimeter, minor changes of air pressure are easily and accurately measured. As the owner's manual states, when the altitude rises with no physical change in altitude, the atmospheric pressure has dropped and the weather will be getting worse.

When I go to local camping, hiking, sporting good stores, etc., I often run across electronic gadgets that measure altitude, direction, etc. but, none of them have the useful features found a traditional SAK. They also generally cost a lot more then this particular SAK. While looking at those gadgets on your next trip to the store, consider the Victorinox Altimeter model and your needs.

The only negative thing I have felt about this knife is more of a personal preference and bias issue then anything. I didn't really like the 'translucent' red scales this knife came with. My many years of using SAKs with plain opaque red scales has conditioned me to prefer them. After about a couple of weeks, this bias diminished. Now I enjoy looking at the 'guts' of this knife and would purchase other models with these semi-clear/colored scales in the future.

In summary, this knife is renewing my interest in SAKs in general with its lightweight, versatility, low cost and, practical features.

Stay Sharp,


Victorinox - English

[This message has been edited by Sid Post (edited 03-04-2001).]
Thanks for that review, Sid. What a cool little SAK. I believe I will need to acquire one of those.