Part of complete coverage on
Swiss Army Knife makers sharpen brand
September 27, 2012 -- Updated 0832 GMT (1632 HKT)
- The makers of the Swiss Army Knife, Victorinox, are expanding into more "can't leave home without it" products
- A strong Swiss franc has forced the penknife maker to innovate and produce a range of consumer goods
- The company is now selling socks, time pieces and fragrances
(CNN) -- The creators of the Swiss Army Knife are expanding into more "can't leave home without it" products.
This time, the company behind the much-loved pen-knife is turning its design skills to socks.
Victorinox is expanding into new areas as it seeks to combat the pressures of Switzerland's strong currency. Alongside socks, time pieces and fragrances are on offer.
While the products may seem diverse, there are commonalities, Victorinox chief executive Carl Elsener told CNN's Richard Quest.
"They are a companion for our customers, and they all are inspired by the values, and the heritage, of this little red knife. And these values are high quality, functionality, innovation and iconic design," he said.
Elsener said the strength of Switzerland's currency, the franc, had eaten into margins, forcing the company to be "more innovative than our competitors in the rest of the world."
Last year Switzerland's central bank pegged the franc to the euro in attempt to stabilize the currency. The Swiss National Bank's move meant the franc would not drop below 1.20 to the euro.
Elsener said this tactic extinguished the fear among Swiss companies that the franc would go to parity with the euro. He said "This was a big relief for most Swiss companies who depend on exportation."
The Victorinox dynasty was founded in 1884 by Karl Elsener Sn. and the company -- famed for its cross in a shield emblem -- has been handed down through generations.
Elsener said corporate sustainability rather than quarterly results were of paramount importance to the group. He said: "Our family has always really considered the company not just our own, but as something that has been entrusted to us.
"The goal of the foundation is to try to keep Victorinox, in the long term, financially independent, and to make sure that during an inheritance the company is not financially weakened," he added.
CNN's Oliver Joy contributed to this report
Part of complete coverage on
April 12, 2013 -- Updated 1246 GMT (2046 HKT)
Turkey is a "source of inspiration" to show how Islam and democracy can go hand-in-hand, the country's deputy prime minister has told CNN.
April 5, 2013 -- Updated 1257 GMT (2057 HKT)
Bright, shiny and emblazoned with names like Ferrari and Lamborghini -- these brakes are almost as stylish as the cars they're hidden within.
March 21, 2013 -- Updated 1723 GMT (0123 HKT)
EasyJet's new London to Moscow route is an opportunity to attract more business travelers, according to the low cost airline's chief executive.
March 21, 2013 -- Updated 1745 GMT (0145 HKT)
If you're a business traveller in Europe, you'll no doubt have complained at length about the regions' airlines, be it the cost of a plane ticket or the quality of the food or the delays.
March 8, 2013 -- Updated 1032 GMT (1832 HKT)
European demands for the steel industry to cap emissions by 2020 are "unachievable" with current technology, according to an ArcelorMittal executive.
March 7, 2013 -- Updated 1851 GMT (0251 HKT)
At Oknoplast's production site outside Krakow, Poland, windows of all shapes and sizes are stacked up ready for delivery.
February 22, 2013 -- Updated 1647 GMT (0047 HKT)
We receive them almost on a daily basis; text messages alerting us that our taxi is outside or our dentist appointment is tomorrow.
February 22, 2013 -- Updated 1645 GMT (0045 HKT)
What happens when you mix detergent, cosmetics and a bucket load of adhesives? You get a multi-billion dollar German corporation called Henkel.
February 7, 2013 -- Updated 1824 GMT (0224 HKT)
It is said that the devil would never dare cross the River Tamar into Cornwall for fear of ending up as a filling in a Cornish pasty. The legend, it seems, could just be true.
February 7, 2013 -- Updated 1839 GMT (0239 HKT)
Europe needs to cut back on its red tape and be more competitive if it is to succeed on a global stage, according to Diageo's chief executive.
January 17, 2013 -- Updated 1735 GMT (0135 HKT)
Booms, busts and bubbles are all jargon you might associate with today's troubled Irish economy. But now you can add "beans" to that list.
January 17, 2013 -- Updated 1734 GMT (0134 HKT)
Multinational companies see Ireland as the "gateway" to investing in Europe, says the boss of the country's largest food company.
January 25, 2013 -- Updated 1155 GMT (1955 HKT)
UK Prime Minister David Cameron's voiced his intentions to let the British people vote on Europe. The mayor of London says it's all part of democracy.
January 11, 2013 -- Updated 1326 GMT (2126 HKT)
It started with one man peddling lavender and rosemary oil at local markets -- now it's a business valued at $4.8 billion.
January 10, 2013 -- Updated 1845 GMT (0245 HKT)
Jaeger LeCoultre CEO Jerome Lambert talks about the benefits of being part of a larger group.
December 27, 2012 -- Updated 1507 GMT (2307 HKT)
CNN's Richard Quest explores how European business leaders have dealt with the financial climate in 2012.
December 27, 2012 -- Updated 1451 GMT (2251 HKT)
CNN's Richard Quest looks at how European businesses have performed amid a cold climate of austerity.
Click here to read more of the top business stories from across the continent brought to you by the Marketplace Europe team.
Today's five most popular stories