Ceramic blades are a relatively new invention and are often very expensive. Basically, they're made out of a high-purity zirconium oxide powder that is compressed at very high pressures and heated in a furnace at temperatures over 2700°F. This results in an extremely-hard blade, nearly as hard as diamonds.
Ceramic knives are famous for superior edge retention which means that the edge will maintain its razor sharpness and will be resistant to wearing. The extremely smooth, non-porous surface resists staining, odors and acidic materials, and is considered to be more sanitary than regular steel blades. Also, ceramic is much lighter than steel at almost half the weight.
The Victorinox knives come equipped with their signature Fibrox handles, making them extraordinarily lightweight and agile: lean, mean indeed! I recently had the privilege of taking a 6" ceramic chef's knife through its paces in my kitchen and it did not disappoint.
As mentioned, the knife was extremely lightweight and practically danced in my hand as I sliced the thinnest shavings of roast pork, the barest whisper of red onion half moons. It held it's own chopping denser vegetables like winter squash and rutabagas and went on to cut thin, fragile slivers of raw fish for ceviche. This knife is a beauty, feather-light and refined, more of a well-trained ballet dancer to her punk rock steel-bladed cousins.
Its slick white blade cleaned up easily, as promised. My only challenge was where to store it, as its non-metallic blade would not stick to my wall-mounted knife strip. (Speaking of which, most manufactures now add a percentage of metal to ceramic blades, making them possible to pick up on metal-detectors.)
There are some considerations: As with all ceramic blades, the Victorinox knives can shatter if misused and should not be used to cut through bones or frozen items. Also, because the blade is so hard, it can only be sharpened with a diamond sharpener, which you will either have to purchase or find a professional knife-sharpener who will do it for you. Finally, the ceramic knives are much more expensive than the Forschner, coming in at approximately thrice the cost. Ah well, beauty and refinement seldom come cheap.
Victorinox offers three sizes of ceramic knives:
• 4 3/4" utility ($80.00)
• 6" chef ($110.00)
• 7" Santoku ($120.00)
as well as a diamond sharpening tool. The line will be released on May 1, 2010 and can be found on the Swiss Army website.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Image: Swiss Army Victorinox)