Is this award-winner the most innovative vice on the market?
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When you’re tying somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 flies per year, the quest for ultimate comfort in your vice is fully understandable. Can’t find anything to fit the bill? You might like to design and make your own. And while you’re at it, why not incorporate an array of unique design features including, for the first time, the ability to tie both standard and tube fly patterns from the same head with the simple addition of a special mandrel? Double hooks? No problem. In fact anything from a tiny size 32 to a jumbo 9/0 iron can be gripped securely on the Swiss-vise, the innovative new tool which brought professional fly tier Marc Petitjean’s three-year vision to reality on its launch last year. “I spent three years designing the piece, first of all by hand. I have had no special training in technical drawing, but I have heard it said that left-handed people have an ability to think in three dimensions so perhaps that was the case for me,” said Marc, founder of Swiss company Petitjean Fishing Equipment. “On the market already are some very good vices from US companies HMH, Regal, Dyna King and Renzetti. I made up my mind to deliberately not copy any of their features, but to form my own. I hate to copy and to be copied. If something is not perfect in a product I will strive to make it so.” Adds Petitjean: “As a pro fly tier, I wanted a barrel which provided comfort to my palm, which I very often rest there for hours at a time. If this shape is not right then believe me, you feel it. My Swiss-vise barrel has flattened sides and a rounded top which is best for comfort.”
Other features on Swiss-vise – or more accurately vises, as there are three different models plus a range of useful accessories – include a rotation breaking system, easy parallel grip with lever, removable two-position indexed handle and double material clip. Having satisfied his own professional requirements, Marc was ready to offer the product to the worldwide angling public.
“I was thinking to sell 300 a year. But it’s been more than double that amount,” he says. Where are his customers? “From all over the world. I am known worldwide and have always experienced good customer loyalty. There is strong following in the USA. In fact the owner of Regal watched me five a customer demonstration and afterwards congratulated me on my vice, which was pleasing.”
In its launch year, the Swiss-vise won Peche Mouche magazine’s Moulinet d’Or award and was second in EFFTEX’s Best New Accessory Category. “In my time in the trade my products have won 14 awards,” noted Marc, who moved from his native France to Fribourg in Switzerland 20 years ago and previously worked as an agricultural engineer and in industrial research and development.
“I employ three people full time, but up to 25 may be working for me some days on tooling, tying and packaging,” he reveals. “This is because I participate in a Helvetic Confederation scheme which employs disabled people at seven fabrication workshops. It is important, I think. I train them with specifics. Sometimes they work a little slower, the government pays the difference.”
The Master Useable in table, C-Clamp or pedestal formats. Stem and special locking nut allow extension arm positions to horizontal, allowing thorax weaving immediately. Four accessories support thread positions. Weight 623g. Price €430. Accounts for 70 per cent of current sales.
The Base Heaviest at 1,395g, ideal for home tying with four storage recesses in base. Two thread positions for accessories support. Price €350. Represents 25 per cent of sales.
The C-Clamp Perfect for taking on travels at 475g. Single thread accessories support position. Price €330. Accounts for around five pre cent of all Swiss-vises sold thus far.
Materials A combination of hard anodised aluminium and special stainless steel.
Extras as standard Tube fly mandrels of 1x30mm, 1.5x40mm and 2x50mm. Supplied in soft travel case with instructional DVD in French, German and English.
Optional accessories Profile plate 55Eu, Trash Bin 42Eu, Bobbin Rest 35Eu, Accessories Support 9Eu.
Mission Statement “Our ideology of industrial design is to create technical, functional, practical and aesthetic products.”
Marc’s Wish “Each Christmas I put waders rather than shoes under the tree and write a letter asking St Nicholas to give me three weeks to go fishing in May, two weeks in June and two weeks in September. But he never seems to bring me the gift of time.”