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®Thierry Vallier

For 125 years “the Opinel” has remained the same… it has become a timeless object, which is passed on and travels, from pocket to pocket, through centuries and generations and accompanies the handyman, the craftsman, the hiker, the fisherman, the lover of nature… It is a fair, simple and noble object, made of wood and steel. Adopted by all French families, quoted in a multitude of books and songs, the Opinel is elevated to the rank of cult item and made out to be eternal, it is an integral part of French heritage. It is loved by the greatest artists and adventurers, and is regarded as an unavoidable reference by the greatest designers. The Opinel knife has been selected by the Victoria and Albert Museum as one of the 100 most beautiful objects in the world to appear in “The Good Design Guide”, it is also mentioned in the catalog of the MoMa of New York, and was added in 1989 In the Larousse dictionary as a trademarked name. The Opinel has also been chosen to be part of the “Phaidon 999 Design Classics”, an exhaustive collection of objects that is authoritative in the field of contemporary design. 

®Thierry Vallier

Opinel, a French saga – The history of Opinel begins in 1890 in Savoie, in the heart of the French Alps. That year in Albiez-le-Vieux, a small mountain village, Joseph Opinel works in the family forge alongside his father and brother, and makes sharp tools. At a very young age, Joseph decides to create a small pocket knife. This knife would feature a round handle in solid wood and a pointed blade, it is simple, robust, comfortable and very effective. It would soon be adopted by the peasants of the region and then by the whole of France. A few years later, in 1897, Joseph Opinel expands his range of knives in 12 sizes, from the small N ° 01 with a 3.5 cm blade to the big N °12 used for work in the fields. By the middle of the 20th century, the development of innovative specific machinery made it possible to produce large quantities of high quality, 100 % made in France products at very affordable prices. Around the same time, in 1955, Marcel Opinel invented the rotating safety ring which made it possible to lock the blade in the opened or closed position. This ring, called “Virobloc”, is one of the most recognizable features of the Opinel knife and has greatly contributed to the success of the brand in France and abroad. 

Today, Opinel is a global and international brand of cutting tools and knives for the kitchen and dining table, garde ning, do-it-your-self and outdoor activities. Since 1890, about 360 million Opinel knives have been sold in more than 70 countries. With the same concern for simplicity and reliability, Opinel has imagined other lines of knives and tools for the adepts of an effective cutting edge for the garden, the kitchen, the dining table… They symbolize the right balance between design and authenticity, an attachment to ancestral knowhow and the will to always offer the tool best suited for a specific use. They all celebrate a certain French art of living. In pocket knives the collection includes multiple specialty offerings: traditional knife declined in a range of colors, corkscrew knife, mushroom knife, oyster knife, small saws, pocket knife for children, home improvement and do it yourself knife, etc.

With 100 employees workforce including 65 people in production, the company generates 20M euros turnover. 45 % of income is coming from export sales. 4.5 million knives are manufactured per year. The Opinel style in the kitchen and on the table The kitchen knives incluses 4 collections: “Les Essentiels du Cuisinier”, “Parallèle”, “Intempora” and “Le Petit Chef” for kids. The dining knives  incluses 2 collections : “Bon Appétit”, “Bon Appétit +” and “Table Chic”. Opinel has a wood tradition. For the first time the new « “Bon Appétit +” collection features a polymer handle and a micro-toothed blade, and is available in 4 colors. Practical and effective, these knives are dishwasher safe. All these collection are presented in a nice packaging.

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