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Swiss Advance Multi Tools: Crono N5, Crono N3, Crono Key

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Nothing beats the versatility of everyday carry multi tools, especially lightweight multi tools that you can carry in your pocket or clipped to a key chain. After all, if the multi tool gets left at home it won't be useful when you need it the most!
Weight should, definitely, be a critical factor when selecting an everyday carry multi tool and, they don't get more lightweight than the pocket multi tools by Swiss Advance, namely Crono N5, Crono N3 and Crono Key.
Starting with the lightest of them all - the Crono Key - which weighs just 10 grams and, it's able to perform as many as 10 functions.
These functions include flat tip/cross tip screwdriver, ID tag, wingnut spanner, scale inch/cm ruler, parcel opener, bottle opener, reset button tool, wire stripper, nail puller, mini saw and hex nut screwdriver for driving hexagon-headed nuts (hex nut M5 and hex nut M3).
The Crono Key is made of stainless steel and it's styled after a house key; hence it has similar dimensions to a house key, measuring 22mm wide, 57mm long and 1mm thick.
The key ring that comes with the Crono Key has a similar diameter to a regular key ring and, aside from holding the Crono Key, the ring has the additional purpose of providing extra leverage when handling the Crono Key.
The Crono Key ring is made of brass, which gives the ring a gold-like appearance. The weight of the Crono key ring is 3 grams.
The Crono N5 leather and Crono N5 multi tools are, essentially, the same multi tool with the only difference, being the leather handle, which makes it 10 grams heavier than the non-leather Crono N5 version.
The Crono N5 nicely compliments the Crono Key as the Crono N5 integrates a fork and knife, as well as a screwdriver, bottle opener, fish scaler, wire stripper / staple remover, scale (cm), sewing awl, M5 wingnut opener and hex nut screwdriver for driving various nut sizes (8mm, 7mm, 5.5mm and 4mm).
The Crono N5 multi tool is made of stainless steel and 54 HRC blade hardness, making it a soft steel type blade. Most everyday carry knives are in the 54-56 HRC (Rockwell Hardness Scale) range. The higher the number, the harder the steel.
Surprisingly, axes and even machetes are within the soft blade range (52-55 HRC) too and, that is because soft blade is easier to sharpen and less likely to chip than hard steel. Hard steel blades are typically used in premium pocket knives, which have a blade steel hardness between 59 HRC and 64 HRC.
For regular use as an everyday day folding knife, the Crono N5 54 HRC blade hardness is up to the job because of the thin edge bevel, which is very easy to sharpen. Anything below 54 HRC would make the folding knife too soft/bendable and not as practical.
The Crono N5 leather, Crono N5 and Crono N3 multi tools are held together via a brass pivot that allows the tools to fold into place. The pivot on the Crono N5 and Crono N3 is punched-in so, it has a hollow eyelet that you can use to thread a key ring.
The pivot on the Crono N5 leather version though, has a punched-in screw design so, there is no eyelet. The backside of the pivot has a flat head screw shape, while the front has a cross head shape. That said, the pivot screw appears non-removable.
The dimensions of the Crono N5 leather are 98mm long, 16mm wide and 8mm thick. Total weight is just 47 grams. The leather handle is made of cow leather that has been processed with vegetable tanning, which is a healthier, more eco-friendly process compared to chrome tanning, which uses chemicals, acids and chromium sulphate to dye the leather.
Both the Crono N3 and Crono N5 have the same 54 HRC blade hardness with the key difference, being he shape of the blade. The Crono N3 has a pointy drop-point style blade for stabbing, while the Crono N5 has a blunt, curved tip, similar to the tip of a butter knife, making the Crono N5 better for prying things open such as clam-shells.
As a pocket knife multi tool though, the Crono N3 feels like the better choice out of the two because of the sturdier construction, thanks to having less attachments than the Crono N5.
The dimensions of the Crono N3 pocket knife are 95mm long, 16mm wide and 4mm thick. Total weight is 38 grams so, it's similar in weight to the Crono N5 non-leather version but doesn't feature a fork.
The Crono N3 pocket knife features a screwdriver, bottle opener, knife, saw (sawing/scaling fish), wire stripper /staple remover, scale (cm) ruler, M5 wingnut opener and hex nut screwdriver for driving number 8, 7, 5.5 and 4 size hex nuts.
In terms of performance and depending on the application, the Crono multi tools perform well for most tasks. As a screwdriver though, you can't put a ton of leverage for getting tight-fitted screws because the Swiss Advance Crono multi tools don't have a solid frame around the body to grip on.
Out of the three, the Crono N5 leather multi tool performs better because of the leather handle, which provides grip even with sweaty hands. The Crono N5 leather multi tool also integrates more attachments, giving you more surface area to grab on to.
As far as safety features, the pocket multi tools (Crono N5, N5 leather and N3) have a self-locking mechanism that keeps the tools straight without folding onto the opposite direction. This is extremely handy and useful, especially when using the knife for peeling and cutting. As far as quality assurance, these Swiss Advance multi tools are made in Switzerland. That said, there doesn't seem to be any warranty offered other than a 30-day money back guarantee.
The Swiss Advance multi tools are made of recycled materials through and through, including the packaging, which is made of PEFC certified cardboard, 100% recycled paper and water-based printing. An illustrated user manual is included with each multi tool, showing you each and every function you can carry out with the multi tool.

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