It seems to be one of the most popular threads on the web: someone posts “I would buy a ‘model XYZ knife’ but it is priced too high! I think it would be a very good knife for $$ but I would never pay $$$.” A debate then starts that can go on for weeks about whether the maker in question is price gouging on that particular knife. It really doesn’t appear to matter what the suggested price is; anything from $10 to $1,000 is fair game for the accusation with these “experts.” What especially amuses me is when a “web-pert” announces he knows all about what it costs to make a given knife because he worked part-time in a tool and die shop one summer while he was in high school. I might be more impressed if he could state he actually ran a manufacturing business. It wouldn’t matter if the product being produced was baby buggies or kitchen cabinets; having to turn a profit to just keep your doors open gives you a radically different perspective on pricing items.
For some reason, the maker that catches the most flack is Chris Reeve and his Sebenza folder. Okay, the Sebenza is a luxury folder. I checked the factory suggested retail price today and found it runs around $385 for a standard model. The first argument against this price is always that the Sebenza is a “production knife” rather than a true “custom.” Why that should determine the cost of anything is never really explained. Given the number of variations and limited editions produced, I would even argue the custom versus production point. If you don’t believe me, go to www.truenorthknives.com and count up how many Sebenza models they offer. I counted 131 variations!
After years of wearing Timexes and Casios, I recently developed an interest in more upscale watch models. While I would like to own a Rolex, I really can’t justify that kind of investment on something to tell time. But understand, I’m not saying Rolex is price gouging, I’m just pointing out I personally choose not to spend that much. My every day watch is a Bathy 100 Fathom and my “dress-up” watch is a Ball Hydrocarbon. I’m sure that most Casio wearers would say I’m an idiot for spending that much on a watch and that either timepiece should not cost more than “whatever” dollars. I’m equally sure Rolex wearers would think something like, “too bad you can’t afford to buy a real watch.” What I have are two watches that cost me more than what is really needed to simply tell time, but as much as I was willing to expend to have high-quality items I personally enjoy owning.
The same can be said of the Chris Reeve Sebenza (and I own two). If the knife wasn’t selling at the current price, they would either have to find a way to lower the cost or discontinue the model. In actual fact, there are enough people out there that can afford a Sebenza and enjoy owning a finely made knife, and that the price hasn’t been a problem for Chris Reeve. If you really want one, you make that expenditure. If you either can’t afford it or don’t see the value, then there are plenty of other knives available to fill your needs. Just quit whining about the Sebenza being too expensive.
If you’re ready to spring for Chris Reeve quality, contact Chris Reeve Knives, 11624 W. President Drive, #B, Dept. TK, Boise, ID 83713; 208-375-0367 www.chrisreeve.com.
—Steven Dick, Editor-in-Chief
It seems to be one of the most popular threads on the web: someone…
by Eric Poole / Jul 1, 2008