The stamped blades of Victorinox knives match the performance of more expensive forged designs but come up short on looks — unless you like black synthetic handles. If you’d prefer something nicer but with the same light, high-performance blades, consider this 3-Piece Chef’s Set featuring handle slabs of genuine tropical rosewood.
Of course the steel is more important, and there’s nothing to worry about in the blade quality of either the 4-3/4-inch utility knife, 8-inch carving knife, and 8-inch chef’s knife. Victorinox knives are uniformly well-made with a temper that allows easy sharpening and holds up to use without chipping. This is the type of temper most of us grew up with, and all our habitual skills — like smashing garlic cloves with the side of the blade — carry over to the use of these good knives. Compared to forged styles, there’s an increase in flexibility and a decrease in weight, both of which are good things for most prep work.
The big improvement, compared to the usual Victorinox knife with the black Fibrox handle, is the full tang riveted construction and a beautiful comfortable grip of polished rosewood. Rosewood has been my favorite material for knife handles for decades, and I’m not the only knife-lover with that opinion. Over-harvesting of prime timber in South American rain forests periodically results in an export ban and short supply, but even at more than $20 per board foot, rosewood is practical and economical for knife handles. Rosewood takes a high polish, and its rugged character holds up to hard use and high humidity without wearing away or changing shape. Like the stain-free blades, the handles would survive a trip through a dishwasher, but it wouldn’t be good for them over the long haul. Hand wash and dry the knives after use, and don’t leave them soaking in the dishwater for hours.