I have a Victorinox pocket knife, God knows for how long now. I have bought it from Preppers in London, during the early 90’s, and it was pricey, I can tell you that. Money well spent, for it served me loyally up to this moment. I believe this will go to my daughter, when she’ll grow older, for her scout trips and such.
Anyways, my post here is about endurance, well-made tools and long term brand commitment to its clients. These all belong to gone generations, that’s why the cameras from the 40’s are still with us and working. Can we safely say the same for, I don’t know, a digital gizmo of the latest fashion? I believe not.
Same as Walter Zapp, the famed Karl Elsener started with a novelty and an invention which the then market lacked: a reliable, strong, no-nonsense tool for Swiss army. Him and his mother, Victoria, who actively supported his endeavor, presented the world with the first Swiss knife of Victorinox in 1891, thus entering the history.
Currently, the company is still owned, managed and run by the Elsener family, at its 4th generation. This is what I would call dedication, brand commitment and loyalty to your customers.
Not unlike Minox I would say. Walter Zapp invented the smallest camera because he wanted such an item to exist, and on the market there was none. He probably never envisaged the heights and fame his Riga and subsequent line of cameras and accessories will rise. But he had the resilience to put up with major difficulties in designing it, build it, market it and moreover, developing it.
Nonetheless, once he felt the way and manner of how his invention will re-shape the world of photography (and much more), he went on designing a path for these products which will endure over generations, each camera being a commitment to its buyer that it will endure, and a dedication to photographers round the world.
In other words, built for life. And indeed, we marvel at these small machines and tools, with incredulity, even after so much time. If used properly and not abused, both my Swiss Army knife and my Minox IIIs will endure time, so they will be used by my own family after my leaving. And I am talking here about items which are already 2 or 3 generations old.
Now that’s what I call endurance, brand commitment and the pride of a job well done!