Concept: 4 out of 5
Execution: 2 out of 5
Yeah, but: Emergency tools for very small emergencies.
The Long Version: It's hard to know how to rate the Victorinox Classic Swiss Army Knife. "Classic" is a deserved title, not just a marketing term, but despite being adorable they're not without their limitations. Yet they're ubiquitous, popular, inexpensive, available in a huge array of colours and patterns, and make great gifts. That's enough to make the classic Classic SD into the SAK of the Month for December.
The Classic is the definitive keychain knife. Small and light, it only has a few tools: very small blade, nail file with screwdriver tip – the 'SD' part of its full name – and small scissors. The models with plastic scales, either nylon or Cellidor, have a toothpick and tweezers; the aluminum-scaled Alox Classic has neither.
As barely a two-layer knife, the Classic is fairly thin to begin with, while the Alox models are practically wafers. That doesn't really impact their usability – it's not as if these are serious cutting or prying tools to begin with. But the removal of the toothpick and tweezers does significantly cut down on the number of functions of these tools, so I tend to carry the Alox model only when I'm also carrying a SAK that includes them. They're very handy for threading wrist-straps on little cameras, among other things.
The nail file is the typical SAK match-striker, not the nicer full-width cutter found on the Executive, which I prefer. The driver tip is good for small screws that don't need much torque, but nobody's going to mistake this for a hard-core tool. Light switch and power outlet covers may fall before its might, but not if they've been painted over.
There are actually three Classics in my household; in addition to my Stayglow and Alox models pictured, Penny has one with clear green scales on her keychain. None of them see much use, but they're all appreciated. Mine mostly helps prevent me from losing my keys, especially the glow-in-the-dark version, since I almost always have at least one larger Swiss Army knife nearby. But they're nice to have, and can be useful in a pinch, which is all the excuse I need to own a few of them.
last updated 13 dec 2013