Cutting Edge Design
It’s not often that you find pocket knives featured in a luxury lifestyle magazine.
I would agree if they were “run-of-the-mill” and “common-or-garden” knives, as if I could possibly use any more clichés!
This set of 2 folding pocket knives “Elle & Lui” brings cutting edge design and traditional craft together as a result of the meeting between illustrious designer Eric Giroud and two Master Cutlers, France’s Best Craftsmen (MEILLEURS OUVRIERS DE FRANCE) Jean-Michel Cayron and Jérôme Lamic, from the “VENT D’AUBRAC“ company in Laguiole.
1, Place Patte d’Oie – 12210 LAGUIOLE
The MEILLEURS OUVRIERS DE FRANCE is an award presented by the government to the best exponents of their craft such as chefs, chocolatiers, cheesemakers, and even knife makers. They get to wear that snazzy tri-coloured collar on their tunics! 🙂
Laguiole is traditionally the best region for knife making and master cutlers.
Under the direction of the three Best Craftsmen of France and the best blacksmiths, “VENT D’AUBRAC“ keeps an ancient tradition alive: the art of handmade custom knives.
Eric Giroud, born in Switzerland, was immersed in the world of art and culture from a very young age. From music, which he studied until the age of 20, to architecture, which he pursued professionally until his thirties, his career is nurtured by the arts. In 1990 he opened his own architecture studio before two years later embarking on a year-and-a-half-long trip to Dakar in Senegal. This life-changing personal adventure accentuates his desire to experience the world. As soon as he returned, he dabbled with graphics, packaging and product design, working with design agencies in Switzerland and across the world. He established his own design agency in 1998 and continued to fuse artistic universes to create designs which would earn him the highest accolades. The world of watchmaking became his favourite field of expression; collaborating with some of the biggest names in the watchmaking and luxury brands.
Elle & Lui Knife Set €540 / $630
Eric Giroud was inspired by the beautiful region of Aubrac with its rich variety of impressive landscapes. Images of the famous Pont des Nègres over the Pleches river, filled his head and fueled his imagination. This geological curiosity are volcanic basalt columns that were polished by the passage of a glacier to an appearance of cobblestones across the river.
The hexagonal rivets on the knives is a testimonial to the basalt stones.
Designer: Eric Giroud
Cutler(s): Vent d’Aubrac Team
Blade material: 14C28N
Blade thickness:3 mm
Handle material: Polyacetal
Lock: Central pump locking system.
These are knives with an all-purpose drop point shaped blade. The back unsharpened edge of the knife runs from the handle to the tip of the knife in a gentle curve. The drop point is very popular because the point is very controllable to avoid accidental nicks and it has a large slicing area (“belly”).
The forged Sandvik 14C28N steel is an excellent and expensive choice for the blade. Chosen by custom-knife makers, this Swedish steel allows easy edge retention and re-edging sharpening. It is resistant to micro-chipping, rolling or folding of the edge with a 55 – 62 HRC hardness rating. Its chemical structure is highly resistant to corrosion.
I have not yet tested the Elle et Lui knives but know of another knife in my collection made of Sandvik 14C28N steel that was placed in a bucket of salt water for 4 days without visible corrosion!
The use of a central pump locking system (or mid lock) allows the knife to have decorative handle inserts on both sides. Pushing on the lock spring in the middle of the spine of the handle releases the blade for folding.
Whilst the Master Cutlers at Vent d’Aubac can make you a truly custom made knife with damascus forged steel and handles carved from mammoth teeth, they could cost $3,000 each.
The Elle et Lui set allows a novice collector, the luxury of owning a brace of His & Her knives that are still substantially handmade, using amongst the best of steels and imbued with the impeccable design motifs of Eric Giroud; all for a most affordable (relative) price.
I don’t own any knifes from Vent d’Aubac (yet) but Eric Giroud is an old friend from my passion for wristwatches. I know his attention to design detail and due diligence for craftsmanship; so I trust his collaboration with Vent d’Aubac.
Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He is also a moderator on PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).