Since this model was the top-of-the-line for many years, it evolved with the changes to the tools. Over the years, the tools included in the knife, and the tool versions, changed, based on the current tools being manufactured at the time ... however it retained its name.
Another change to normal naming conventions was that models that included the backspring Phillips screwdriver, as well as those that included the corkscrew, were both, somewhat confusingly, referred to as a Champion. Typically models would have different names for this tool change.
The early models had six tool layers and included a long nailfile on the back. The Corkscrew/ Phillips versions are referred to as the 'Champion a/b' respectively in the SAKWiki pages.
The most significant change to the Champion was the introduction of a new tool layer in 1973, consisting of a magnifying glass and the in-line Phillips screwdriver. This model is referred to as the 'Champion c' in the SAKWiki layer pages, and Related Tools sections.
See also: Champion PlusDiscontinued Model.
Table of contents
Main Layer Tools
- Large blade
- Small blade
- Metal file with saw
- Wood saw
- Fish scaler
- Cap-lifter / Large slotted screwdriver - with wire-bender
- Can-opener / Small slotted screwdriver - that also works with Phillips screws
Additional tools: Seven-layer model
- Magnifying glass
- Phillips screwdriver - inline
Seven-layer Champion tool-guide post 1977
Seven-layer Champion tool-guide post 1985 - Note omission in diagram!
Back Layer Tools
Additional tools: Six-layer model
- Corkscrew -or- Phillips Screwdriver - The early square Phillips drivers include a file
- Long nail-file
Additional tools: Seven-layer model
- Fine screwdriver - Not on all knives, later addition ('77)
- Chisel - Not on all knives, even later addition ('85)
- Bail/Shackle - Only present on the older vintage six-layer models
Standard was red Cellidor, black Cellidor was also available.
Luxury versions with buffalo horn, stag, or mother-of-pearl handles were also available (Model 1.5793 and earlier).
The Champion was the top of the range 91mm Victorinox Swiss Army Knife, containing all the tools Victorinox produced at the time of manufacture, until it was replaced as the top model by the SwissChamp in 1985.
The six-layer models (Champion a/b) were introduced in 1952 and were manufactured up until 1974, following the introduction of the seven-layer model (Champion c) in 1973. The long nail-file was removed from the seven-layer model, and the scissors changed to pivot from the 'tail-end' of the knife. The six-layer models evolved into the Craftsman and Handyman, although neither of these models included the long nailfile.
Note: Initially models were just known by their product codes. Descriptive names such as Champion were introduced from the 1950s. In the mid-1970s Victorinox changed their model numbering convention and standarised model names across the globe. The six-layer Champions in the Identifiers section below have the old numbering format, the seven-layer models follow the new format.
Over the years the tools included on the Champion have changed and the tools themselves have evolved, so there are a number of slightly different tool configurations. Versions with the long nail-file are usually actively sought by collectors.
The Champion was still offered and updated after the release of the SwissChamp, it just did not have the same prominent position in marketing. The seven-layer model eventually evolved into the Champion Plus was still produced for several years - Although as of 2017 appears to be withdrawn.
Original format product codes - Victoria/Victorinox tang stamp - From the 1950s to the early 1970s – All models feature the long nail-file
- 146fma: Cellidor scaled, Phillips, no shackle
- 146fmaU: Cellidor scaled, Phillips, shackle
- 246fma: Cellidor scaled, corkscrew, no shackle
- 246fmaU: Cellidor scaled, corkscrew, shackle
- 246fmaU H: Horn scales, corkscrew, shackle
- 246fmaU HH: Stag scaled, corkscrew, with shackle
- 246fma P: Mother of pearl scales, corkscrew, no shackle
- 1.5793: 1973 - 1986: 16 implements, comprising 24 official functions; No long-nailfile
- 1.5793.JU: 1984 Victorinox centennial edition
- 1.6783: 1986-2001: Adds the chisel and updated fine screwdriver; Versions after '91 include the hook
- Handyman - Six layers with a corkscrew
- Craftsman - Six layers with a Phillips screwdriver
- SwissChamp - Adds the pliers, and later the hook, to the seven-layer Champion
- Champion Plus - The seven-layer Champion brought back to life with current tools and 'Plus' scales
- Delémont Evolution 28 - A similar Victorinox Delémont model
- Champ - A model made by Wenger with an equivalent toolset
For active discussions and images regarding vintage/older Swiss Army Knives, check out this thread, at the MultiTool.org Swiss Army Knights forum.