The Pioneer, however, has a few differences from the Soldier:
- It almost always includes the Keyring
- The logo on the scales is the Victorinox, not the Swiss, shield
- It does not have the year of production stamped on the tang of the main blade
- On the opposite scale to the logo (bottom scale), it has a small flat area available for engraving.
- Large blade
- Cap-lifter/Large slotted screwdriver - With wire bender
- Can-opener/Small slotted screwdriver - That also works with Phillips screws
Silver ribbed Alox scales are standard, but many other colours have been available/produced at different times.
- An official BSA version of the early red Pioneer was produced with the BSA (Boy Scouts of America) logo on top scale (SABI# 1067). These were available with and without the keyring.
- It is possible to find a Pioneer with the year stamped on the tang, these are thought to be repaired knives or units assembled with left over production of knife blades intended for the Soldier 1961 model.
- It is also available without the keyring, but this variation is harder to find since this version is nearly identical to the Soldier (1961 design) Swiss Army Knife which does not have the keyring.
- A variation with Victorinox shield, but without the engraving/printing panel on the bottom scale in black Alox. Some number of these, maybe all, also do not include the keyring.
- In 2008 Victorinox produced the Pioneer with both black and red Alox scales in some markets. Like the Farmer models with the color Alox scales, these were likely a limited run. In 2011 two additional runs of the black Pioneer were made for US dealers.
- In 2009 Victorinox produced a blue Alox scaled Pioneer in some markets (e.g. South Africa), the US and UK were excluded. There was also a special run of blue Alox scaled models for the Swiss Border Patrol, that have a laser etched blade as well as bottom scale labeling.
- New green and orange scaled models were produced in 2010. These were a special-run produced exclusively for the South African distributor Sharp Edge, along with regular red, black and blue colours, and were not offered in other markets.
- In 2010 April a special-run of brown Alox Pioneer models were manufactured for a Switzerland dealer. This was a limited run of less than 50 knives (need to confirm exact number). This is a unique color that was first debuted with this release, and includes the standard Victorinox shield with silver outline.
- 2010 June special-run of 52 pieces with yellow-gold scales.
- 2010 July special-run red/gold de Sax Pioneer. This version honors the Swiss de Sax family name that dates back to the 12 century. The main blade is also etched with the family crest, and the knife is produced with the family Red and Gold colors. The top scale is red, and the bottom one is a yellow-gold with 'de Sax' printed in black within the printing panel.
- 2010 November special-run of fifty sand-gold scaled Pioneer knives individually numbered 50/n on the blade. This is a new color that is closer to the rare vintage gold Alox knives.
- The Limited Edition 2010 Damascus Pioneer (0.8201.J10) is a Pioneer with black anodized Alox scales featuring a main blade made from stainless Damascus steel with a rated hardness of 60 HRc. This special issue was limited to 2010 pieces worldwide and was sold in a special presentation box with a clear window for viewing. The special steel used for the blade was supplied by Damasteel of Sweden. Roger Remund (founder of the 'Swiss Bianco' dealership) may also have been involved as an early insider and recorded some of the history and making of the first Damascus SAK in this document. This was the first Victorinox knife released to use a Damascus steel and led to an annual issue of limited edition Damascus knives.
- 2011 January dark navy blue anodizing on a knife commemorating the founding of Switzerland, with Confoederatio Helvetica imprinted on bottom scale, and a special crest with a Swiss shield etched on the main blade. This was a new color for 93mm Alox models. Limited to 50 pieces, and each knife is individually stamped on the main-blade with its unique number in the series.
- 2011 January all black model featuring black anodized scales with black-oxide coated tools, liners, springs, and keyring. This is the first occurance of black-oxide coated tools on a 93mm knife. Limited to 50 pieces, and each knife is individually stamped on the main-blade with its unique number in the series.
- 2011 January olive green; the return of a popular color appearing for the first time on a 93mm knife, and with all black tools (black-oxide coated). Limited to 50 pieces, and each knife is individually stamped on the main-blade with its unique number in the series.
- 2011 June violet colored Pioneers with both the year 2011 and a series specific serial number stamped on the blade. This is the first of the recent special-runs to include the year stamp, and this is likely to make it a nice collectible to commemorate special events of 2011. Limited to 50 pieces.
- 2011 September dark chocolate-brown Alox Pioneer also including the year 2011 on the blade. The dark brown is a new anodizing color for a Victorinox 93mm knife and appears for the first time on this special edition (color comparison with black). Limited to 50 pieces, each knife is individually stamped on the main-blade with 2011 and its unique number in the series.
- 2011 November - black Alox Pioneer promoted as dark-grey, but appears the same as black anodizing on several samples. This knife has 'Switzerland' in the four official languages of the country printed in silver on the bottom scale. Limited to fifty pieces, each knife is individually stamped on the main-blade with 2011 and its unique number in the series.
- In 2011 a special run of black Alox models without the keyring was done for a Switzerland based reseller, these are not numbered.
- 2012 January black Alox with red shield Pioneer. It is uncommon to have the red shield background on any Alox knives other than with silver or red anodizing. The red shield background with the black anodizing creates a nice contrast that highlights the shield more than just the regular silver outline. Limited to 50 pieces, numbered and dated, the engraving on this model runs parallel to the length of the blade, and appears on the reverse of the blade, which is different from the previous numbered special-runs.
- 2012 February rosa Alox Pioneer. This might be the first time a rosa anodized 93mm knife has been produced. Limited to fifty pieces, the knives from this special run for collectors are numbered with an etching on the main blade that includes the year 2012.
- 2012 March United States of America Commemorative Pioneer limited to fifty units. The color is hard to describe, it has a light greenish tint - think of it as a light chartreuse. The main blade has a special USA map and text laser etching, and the reverse is numbered 50/n for the series serial number and the year.
- 2012 May blue Alox with red shield Pioneer. It is uncommon to have the red shield background on any Alox knives other than with silver or red anodizing, but some recent special runs have been using this design. Limited to fifty pieces, numbered and dated, the engraving on this model runs parallel to the length of the blade, and appears on the reverse of the blade.
- 2012 July - red/blue bi-color United States of America Commemorative Pioneer. Limited to fifty units this special run features the same USA map and text etching on the main-blade as the earlier March USA Commemorative model.
- A sunset orange Pioneer without keying was produced in in small quantity in August 2012 for US dealer Swiss Bianco. This shade of orange is not known to have been used before, but several other models were produced at the same time with this new color. Swiss Bianco advertised this model as a Soldier, but this is not generally accepted by collectors.
- A copper Pioneer without keying was produced in in small quantity in December for US dealer Swiss Bianco. Several other models were produced at the same time with this copper colored anodizing and red anodized shield. Swiss Bianco incorrectly advertises this model as a Soldier.
- In 2012 Victorinox produced a limited number of 500 red Pioneers to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Swiss Association for the Study of Arms and Armor. The main blade has a picture of a dagger and the reverse has the years 1962 - 2012 between two Swiss crosses. The can opener has CHnnn/CH500 etched on its front side. A similar number of red Spartan models were produced at the same time with somewhat similar markings.
- A 2012 special run of red Pioneers without keyring was made for US reseller Swiss Bianco. He called them 2011 Soldier models, but this is not generally accepted by collectors since there is already an official 111mm 2011 Soldier knife supplied to the Swiss Army.
- 2013 February USA Logo version featuring silver scales, with the Victorinox shield having a grey outline and silver background. This special run of fifty knives, features a main blade with laser etched text 'USA' numerous times in a streaming pattern, and the reverse engraved with an individual issue number 'nn/50' and date 2013. The panel on the reverse scale depicts the US flag in color, and a short black lanyard was attached to the keyring.
- The April 2013 hunter-green Pioneer with red shield has a color scheme that matches Victorinox Bantam and Cadet models sold in Denmark. These Pioneer models are from a special-run for collectors and enthusiasts, limited to fifty knives, each knife is numbered n/50 and dated with 2013.
- 2013 May saw the production of a model with red and black scales, with the German flag and DEUTSCHLANDon the engraving panel and a black Victorinox shield on the reverse. The blade had Deutsch Germany printed numerous times in a streaming pattern across on one side and 2013 n/50 on the reverse.
- 2013 September saw the production of two Limited Edition models both with green and yellow scales with pink Victorinox shields and 2013 n/50 on the blades. One model had various peace symbols on the other side of the blade.
- Late 2013 saw the production of what would probably be the last special edition numbered 93mm alox models: the Kingfisher, with blue and orange scales, silver Victorinox shield and a picture of the Kingfisher bird and Kingfisher on the engraving panel; the blade is engraved n/100. A similar Solo model was issued at the same time.
- Starting in 2015 Victorinox released an Alox Pioneer as a part of an Annual Alox Limited Editions set, consisting of three coloured Alox knives: A Pioneer, Cadet and Classic. Each year's limited edition comes in a different colour. In 2021 the Pioneer was removed from the series, disappointing many Pioneer and Alox collectors! However, the Pioneer X was added to the set, for other changes see the linked page.
- Between 2016 and 2019 the Victorinox and Nespresso companies collaborated on a collection of Pioneer Nespresso pocket knives with Alox scales crafted out of Nespresso coffee aluminium capsules. These Pioneer models did not include the keyring. Each year’s limited edition came in a different colour reflecting a Nespresso capsule flavour.
- A 2020 special run of four colors was made for South African distributor, Sharp Edge, that featured the outline of the African continent in the engraving panel. Called the Africa Edition, it was released in four different colours inspired by the South African Flag; black, red, green and blue. The special run was not offered in other markets.
The original Pioneer had red Alox scales with the plain silver cross emblem (Swiss Cross) - not the Victorinox shield - on the top scale until around 1999 (see picture above). From 1957 until about 1984, the liners and keyring spacer/attachment was brass. Starting from 1984, Victorinox changed this to nickel silver, although production samples with brass liners can be found after this date. The original version of the Pioneer also did not have a panel on the bottom scale. On the first version of the Pioneer, the awl is very visible and triangular in shape. The bottom and inner surfaces are flat, while the outer face is rounded to conform to the scales. The inner edges are not sharpened, but they are not rounded either.
The Pioneer name was used to identify a series of knives (see Related). The early model was also known as the Pioneer Sturdy Boy. The Sturdy Boy name may have been attached to several models (e.g. the series) as they where known to be very robust knives.
The Pioneer was used as the basis for the new design of the Swiss Soldier's Knife in 1961.
The Pioneer Range was introduced the first time to the market in 1957. This range had led to the development of the soldier knife (model 1961) with red aluminium handles and was delivered the first time to the Swiss Army in June 1962. However, there was no shipment to the Swiss Army by Victorinox in 1960 and 1961 whereas Wenger produced the former model during these two years.
Special advertising versions had a large panel on the top scale. Later models featuring the Victorinox Shield on the top scale typically have a small panel for engraving or printing on the bottom scale. Limited production information is available, but some black anodized models with the Victorinox Shield on the top scale were manufactured without the panel on the bottom.
Several special-runs of Alox scaled knives in very limited quantity (typically 50 or 100 pieces), started being produced in 2010 for the collectors market each knife being individually numbered n/50 with a stamp on the main blade. Many of these special knives were Pioneers. These models have the standard silver outlined shield and were offered for sale online though some US dealers or agents, as well as through various channels that extended distribution internationally. In 2011 more special runs started off with the release of three new Pioneer variations in January. Each of these were limited to fifty pieces, and each of them is individually stamped on the main-blade with its unique number in the series.
In 2015 Victorinox stated that they would reduce the number of limited edition (LE) alox Swiss Army Knives, and just issue one LE per year. These editions are not limited in number - only by year! Each year a Pioneer, a Cadet and also a Classic SD are released in a matching colours. (Note: Individual dealers still appear to be creating dealer specific colour ranges - eg for the Pioneer X).
See Variations section above for more details.
- Length: 93mm
- Width: 11.6mm
- Height: 23mm
- Weight: 70.1g
- 0.8201.26: Standard silver Alox model with Victorinox shield and keyring
- 0.8200.20: Red Alox with cross, no keyring
- 0.8201.20: Red Alox with cross, with keyring
- 0.8201.20R4: Red Alox with cross, keyring; South African Limited Edition
- 0.8201.22R4: Blue Alox with cross, keyring; SA LE
- 0.8201.23R4: Black Alox with cross, keyring; SA LE
- 0.8201.24R4: Green Alox with shield, keyring; SA LE
- 0.8201.79R4: Orange Alox with shield, keyring; SA LE
- 0.8201.28R4: Yellow-gold Alox with shield, with keyring
- 0.8201.J10: Damascus Pioneer, 2010 Limited Edition in Black Alox
- 0.8201.Lyy: Annual Alox Limited Edition Pioneer; Year yy; - See Variations and link above
- 0.8200.NESxx: Nespresso Alox Pioneers with shield; Edition xx;, No keyring - See Variations and link above
- 0.8201.20AFR: Africa Edition Alox Red; South African Limited Edition
- 0.8201.22AFR: Africa Edition Alox Blue; SA LE
- 0.8201.23AFR: Africa Edition Alox Black; SA LE
- 0.8201.24AFR: Africa Edition Alox Green; SA LE
US Model Numbers:
- 1067: BSA logo, red Alox, silver cross (US SABI number)
- 53841: Red Alox with Swiss Cross, keyring. - a.k.a Sturdy Boy
- 53960: Silver
- 54967: Red
- 54968 Black
- Soldier 1961 - Almost the same knife without the keyring, other minor differences
- Electrician - Replaces the can-opener with the electrician's blade
- Pioneer Pruner - Single layer knife with a large drop-point and small pruning blades
- Pioneer Apprentice - Single layer knife with a large drop-point and small electrician's blades
- Pioneer Settler - Single layer knife with a large and small drop-point blade
- Pioneer Rancher - Replaces the can-opener with a pruning blade
- Pioneer X - Adds an extra layer with scissors
- Pioneer Harvester - Adds a wood saw and exchanges the can-opener for a small pruner blade
- Farmer - Adds an extra layer with a wood saw
- Multitool.org-Swiss Forum Thread: Victorinox Alox Pioneer - knowledge book, March 14th, 2010 [Compilation; Historical]