Wenger Minathor … the small watch workshop

Watch accessories are something that most watch enthusiasts also have in their collection. At the least, they’ll more than likely have a couple of straps as options for their watches. The last thing you want to do is go and visit a watchmaker every time you change straps. So the humble spring bar tool.

There are many other tools that you may have and some people have a vast array of different tools for different purposes. Tools, like watches, can also become collectable. Tools that are hard to get or perhaps no longer made.

This is where I’m presenting today. A multi-tool for Watchmakers and enthusiasts alike. I’ve spent a few years scouring online sources like eBay, Chrono24, Gumtree, etc and I’ve seen this piece a few times second hand in reasonable condition at 2-3 time the new value. Then one day on Google I found a NOS item. What am I talking about … A Wenger Bergeon Watchmakers Knife!

Wenger is a Swiss Army pock knife maker. Most people thinking of Swiss Army knife think Victorinox. Both are Swiss in origin, both made the famous Army Knife, both supplied Swiss Armed Forces. While one used the motto, “Genuine Swiss Army Knife”, the other used the motto, “The Original Swiss Army Knife”. Eventually, Victorinox bought Wenger in 2005 and continued to make and sell both. Then in 2013, Wenger branded products stopped being made altogether and logos were replaced with the Victorinox moniker. Interestingly for Wenger, the death knell came after the 9/11 attacks in the United States. After this event, airport security no longer allowed passengers to carry pocket knives aboard planes and Duty-Free sales plummeted. More recently though in 2016, VIctorinox began to release a couple of products with the Wenger label.

Wenger knives are among the first multi-tools.

Both makers made almost identical knives and of the same Swiss quality. They can easily be identified by slightly different logos.

Both these companies made a vast array of different pocket knives for various purposes. One of the most famous and widely made being the Swiss Army Officer’s Knife. One such specialty knife made by Wenger was in partnership with Bergeon, a long established and highly regarded horological tool maker. Today, Bergeon make some of the finest (and most expensive) tools available.

The Wenger logo The Victorinox logo

This work of partnership produced the Bergeon Watchmakers Knife Tool. Otherwise referred to as the Wenger Watchmakers Knife and sometimes the Minathor.  (French Acronym for MIN(iature) AT(elier) HOR(loge) Miniature watch workshop) Watchmakers Knife. This particular edition came with 14 different watchmakers tools and room to add several more so as to customise the piece to the desire or needs of the user. Try searching for one on the internet and you’ll likely find one along with the text “no longer available”.

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Most online retailers no longer have in stock.

I have seen them sell second hand online occasionally at Rolex like markups. But the important thing in hunting down watches and accessories is always, keep looking. You don’t need to spend all your time doing this but you need to maintain your interest if you are going to find what you are after.

So one day I was sitting at the notebook and somehow managed to stumble onto a site in the US that traded in watch parts. It wasn’t a surprise to see the item on their site, I had seen them many times before. This one was a little different. It was listed as IN STOCK! Ok, this is a mistake, it’s been years since these were made and the likelihood of me finding a NOS part beckons belief. So, I played the game and clicked the add to cart thinking that once I did this the stock would update and I’d be informed that the item was no longer stocked.

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Expecting to see the picture above, I was surprised to see the knife added to my shopping cart. Excitement building I entered my payment details and a few weeks later …

The tools are well made as you would expect being branded Bergeon. In the table below are some of the features of this unique piece.

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The photos here show that Bergeon tools tray pivots in the knife as any other tool would. The tray is loaded with tools on both sides and while these are easily removed, the tweezers are designed with a tool bit remover on the end, as pictured. The tool handle slides out and tools are loaded to it as required. In the standard configuration, there are four empty tool slots on the tray so that the user can configure extra tools suiting the needs of the user. These are still available on various online sites.
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It really is an amazing find and I’m super excited to own this pretty rare piece. On the forum boards, I’ve heard of people that have been looking for years trying to get one of these. So, to find one and NOS is just incredible.

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