Words By: Sam Kessler
Unless you’re a wilderness trailblazer, a pocket knife doesn’t seem like the practical necessity it once was. It’s rare in this day and age that we need something other than perhaps a pair of scissors on a daily basis. But there’s still something intrinsically intriguing about the archetypal tool, something which appeals to a kind of innate masculinity.
William Henry take that ethos even further. Their knives are not just knives, though they work better than most at their job. Their exquisite blades are works of art, expressions of artisan skills and creativity coming together to elevate the humble pocket knife into something altogether more refined. In no collection is this more apparent than the Lancet.
The Lancet is quite possibly the most famous pocket knife in the world. It was the first design from William Henry and remains arguably their definitive creation, its sleek elegance granting it an unassailable position as the ultimate gentleman’s folder – as it’s plethora of awards can attest to.
A blade the width of the handle gives the entire silhouette a smooth shape, one which feels good in the hand, particularly with the satisfying heft of the steel. But like any William Henry piece, the overall design is just a starting point. Indeed, with editions kept exclusively limited, each Lancet knife has to be considered its own unique entity.
The amount of variation that can be found within the Lancet collection itself is sublime. The Voton’s gold inlays by gun engraver G.S. Pedretti for example are a world away from the exquisite natural woods of Orchid and Penza. Indeed, that dichotomy of natural materials and hand-forged steel is part of what makes William Henry unique. However, possibly the most eloquent expression of what sets the Lancet apart from any and all other knives is the Golden Age.
First of all is the blade; the most important thing a blade needs to be is sharp. Like all William Henry knives, the secret to that edge is Damascus steel. The material is essentially layer upon layer of steel folded together into one, immensely strong metal. For William Henry, that means no less than 300 individual layers forged into one, the very number needed for a blacksmith to become a Master Smith.
Aside from strength and the ability to hold an edge like no other metal – the main reason for the technique’s historical use in sword making – it’s utterly breath-taking. The pattern which emerges from the steel is entirely up to the Damascus artist and has an incredible range of versions.
Here metal artisan Mike Norris has used ‘hornet’s nest’, a mesmerising swirl of different layers like a meandering river. That said, ancient as the centuries old technique of Damascus steel is, it still pales in comparison to the handle of the Golden Age knife. In fact, it’s younger by more than nine millennia.
Though the striped, layered look could be mistaken for some kind of sedimentary rock or petrified wood, the Golden Age handle is in fact inlaid with mammoth tooth, a fossil William Henry have a particular fondness for. At roughly 10,000 years old, the material’s use alone turns a humble – if expertly forged – knife into a collector’s item and historical relic both.
The mammoth tooth is carefully inlaid into a sterling silver frame, one which has been beautifully worked at the blade end with a curling golden plant over textured metal. If there’s one single piece which illustrates William Henry’s signature combination of the natural and the man-made, it’s this. As a final touch, the innovative one-hand button lock and thumb stud are both set with black diamonds.
Exquisite materials both modern and ancient, artistry and engineering in equal measure and a wonderfully masculine aesthetic, the Lancet is the definitive William Henry knife for good reason. It elevates the archetypal tool to new levels, transforming it into a work of art that marries creativity with practicality like nothing else. The Golden Age shows that a William Henry knife is not just a knife; it’s so very much more.
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The Monarch 'Prosper' features a beautiful bolster in 24K gold koftgari, inlaid with black-lip pearl. The blade is hand-forged 'Hornets Nest' damascus by Mike Norris; the one-hand button lock and the thumb stud are set with spinel gemstones.PRODUCT DETAIL
The Morpheus is the world’s first luxury pendant knife, created to be worn on the neck or carried in the pocket. The 'Fire' is a bold sterling silver pendant, inlaid with 10,000 year old fossil mammoth tooth, featuring a hidden, state-of-the-art blade made from 'Boomerang' damascus steel, hand-forged by Chad Nichols from hund...PRODUCT DETAIL
The Cabernet 1102 is a mesmerizing rollerball pen featuring a barrel in 10,000 year-old fossil Woolly Mammoth tooth, and a light structure in aerospace grade titanium and aluminum. The accents on the carbon fiber cap are in Mokume Gane and rose gold; the pocket clip is set with diamond.PRODUCT DETAIL
The Cabernet 'Ivy' is a beautiful rollerball pen featuring a full body in 24K gold koftgari, titanium, and carbon fiber. Koftgari is the ancient, and almost forgotten, Indian technique of inlaying gold and/or sterling silver in tool steel.PRODUCT DETAIL
The Cabernet 'Imperial' is a mesmerizing rollerball pen featuring a barrel in rare green fossil dinosaur bone ((from an Apatosaurus that walked the Earth 100 million years ago), and a structure in aerospace grade titanium and aluminum.PRODUCT DETAIL
The Gentac ‘Snakewood Gold’ features a stunning frame in 24K gold Koftgari (the ancient Indian technique of inlaying gold and/or sterling silver in tool-steel), inlaid with snakewood. The blade is hand-forged 'Raindrop' damascus steel by Mike Norris; the one-hand button lock, thumb stud and lanyard beads are set with white topaz...PRODUCT DETAIL
The Spearpoint 'High Desert' features a beautiful frame in William Henry's signature (and patent pending) 'Wave' Mokume, inlaid with a stunning scale in desert ironwood. The blade is 'Wave' damascus steel with an extra sharp core in ZDP-189 steel. The one-hand button lock and the thumb stud are set with citrine gem stone...PRODUCT DETAIL
The Spearpoint ‘Africa’ features mesmerizing hand-engraved bolsters with 24K yellow gold and 18K green gold inlays by Aleksey Saburov, inlaid with a stunning piece of 10,000 year-old fossil Woolly Mammoth tooth. The blade is hand-forged 'Hornet's Nest' damascus by Mike Norris; the one-hand button lock and the thumb stud are...PRODUCT DETAIL
The Spearpoint ‘Horses’ features hand-engraved bolsters with 24K gold inlays by Bottega Incisioni, inlaid with a stunning piece of 10,000 year-old fossil Woolly Mammoth tooth. The blade is hand-forged 'Hornet's Nest' damascus by Mike Norris; the one-hand button lock and the thumb stud are set with smoky quartz gems.PRODUCT DETAIL
The Spearpoint 'Mercury Dime' features a light and resilient frame in aerospace grade titanium, inlaid with beautiful hand-carved sterling silver scales inlaid with authentic 'Mercury Dimes'. The blade is 'wave' damascus steel with a core in extra-strong ZDP-189 steel; the one-hand button lock and the thumb stud are set with...PRODUCT DETAIL
The Lancet 'Golden Age' features a beautiful frame in hand carved sterling silver, overlaid with gold, inlaid with mesmerizing 10,000 year-old Woolly Mammoth tooth. The blade is hand forged 'Hornet's nest' damascus by Mike Norris; the one-hand button lock and the thumb stud are set with black diamonds.PRODUCT DETAIL
The Ventana ‘Neolithic’ features a beautiful frame in Mike Sakmar's 'Raindrop' Mokume Gane (the ancient forging technique once used to decorate the hilts of Samurai swords), inlaid with a mesmerizing piece of 10,000 year-old fossil Woolly Mammoth tooth.PRODUCT DETAIL