Classic Knife Review: Gerber Touché Belt Buckle Knife

Courtesy Chris Dumm for TTAK

Blackie Collins designed a lot of cool blades back in the day. In the case of the Gerber Touché, the day was 1981, and this discreet-carry daily folder made quite a splash across the pages of Soldier Of Fortune magazine. It’s a (theoretically) perfect escape tool for a kidnapped executive, but how well does it work as a functional knife?

The Buckle

Courtesy Chris Dumm for TTAKThe heart of the Touché is not its mirror-polished stainless 1.75″ drop-point blade: it’s the belt buckle that it folds into, and the ingenious-but-fragile cam screw that holds it all together. With a half-twist of its slim steel face, the Touché belt buckle unfolds into a small pocketknife as a precisely asymmetrical cam screw unclips and releases it into your hand.

Courtesy Chris Dumm for TTAK

Although I wore it nearly every day for several years, the buckle leaves something to be desired as a belt-tightening appliance. The whole thing weighs only 2.5 ounces, but like most plate-and-hook belt buckles it’s a little too thick to wear flat. I’m blessed with a non-muffin-top midsection, and I’ve always noticed that the Touché sticks out farther than I’d prefer. Maybe if I were chunkier I wouldn’t notice it so much, but I don’t ever plan to find out.

I’m right-handed, but I still couldn’t help noticing that the Touché buckle is aggressively non-ambidextrous. Even with a reversed belt, a southpaw must use an awkward movement to open it left-handed, and then the edge is still facing upward instead of downward.

The belt hook is made of ABS plastic like the rest of the buckle, and it has proven to be one of the numerous weaknesses of the Touché’s clever design. The hook tends to snap off, and once it does the buckle is essentially useless.

The Touché buckle had fresh, modern styling when it was introduced in 1981, but today it’s as dated as an 8-track tape of Dan Fogelberg’s greatest hits. If you can rock the whole outfit, it probably goes pretty well with bell-bottom jeans, a macramé vest and Birkenstocks.

The Knife

Courtesy Chris Dumm for TTAK

The Touché’s drop-point blade is made of an unspecified stainless steel, buffed to a mirror polish. The chromium content is probably sky-high, because it has suffered absolutely no corrosion even after two decades of neglect. It’s 1 3/4″ long by 3/4″ wide at its base, and is a mere 3/16″ thick at its spine. It can be sharpened to an outrageously fine angle, but it won’t hold such a sharp edge for very long. Cardboard boxes absolutely murder its edge in no time flat.

In all my years of carrying the Touché, I never once tried to open a can or pry anything with it. If I had, the thin blade would have snapped and I wouldn’t be writing this review. The whole knife weighs only 1.7 ounces, which isn’t much more than some skeletonized titanium-handled folders.

The blade is joined to the handle by the single screw. This design has none of the reinforcement of a typical folding-knife mechanism so it’s fairly weak. Adding insult to injury, the tension of the opened blade depends on an extremely precise alignment of the cam screw and its threads. My Touché cam screw threads have always been a little bit off, and as a result it’s always had a fairly floppy blade.

Courtesy Chris Dumm for TTAK

This picture shows the only way you can hold it to prevent it from folding closed on your finger. If you’re trying to do any serious cutting or whittling, the Touché’s handle becomes exquisitely uncomfortable. This shouldn’t be a surprise, because it only has three-inch length of brushed 7/8″ by 1/8″ stainless bar stock to wrap your hand around.

Why I Still Love It

It may have a delicate blade, a fragile mechanism and a craptastic handle. But in its day, the Touché was all but invisible as a discreet-carry knife. My own Touché was bought new in 1985, and it was my EDC knife decades before anyone had invented the term ‘EDC knife.’ By invisible I mean invisible: nobody ever noticed it during years of carry through high school and college, on dozens of airline flights, or even during an extracurricular trip to a police station.

Today, any of this could result in detention, expulsion, prosecution or even rendition to a black-site prison in Yemen, but the 1980s were a simpler time when the number ‘9/11’ was just a weird fraction. When I occasionally demonstrated the Touché for someone, they just chuckled at the clever James Bond gadgetry of it.

I never used my Touché for anything more exciting than opening an envelope, sharpening a pencil, or stripping wire insulation. But for years it was always right where I needed it, and even after decades of desuetude my fingers still remember exactly how to twist it out of its buckle and choke up on it for a proper grip. It was probably always useless as a defensive weapon, but as a 1980s-modern version of a (right-handed) gentleman’s pocketknife it absolutely excelled.

The Touché has been out of print for almost 25 years, so if you want one you’ll have to find it on an auction site. Their rarity and relative fragility make them mildly collectible, and in mint condition they’ll bring 3-4 times their original purchase price of $40-50. Even a beater like mine would sell for much more than I paid for it in 1985, and that isn’t bad for a well-used pocketknife.

Ratings (Out Of Five Stars)

Styling: **** (retro)
But pretty dated now.

Blade: ***
Maintenance-free blade can take a sharp edge, but it’s too delicate and doesn’t hold an edge very long.

Ergonomics: **
It opens easily and quickly for right-handed users, but its floppy blade and tiny handle only deserve one and one-half stars once it’s open. Whatever.

Ruggedness/Durability **
The blade is very thin, the belt hook snaps off, and the mechanism is delicate.

Overall Rating: **
As a functional knife it’s an ingenious novelty, but basically a fail. As a collector’s item it’s pretty darn cool. You can have mine when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.


  1. SeaCreature says:

    This takes me right back to the 80’s. I was a teenager when these knives were introduced, and I thought they were the coolest thing ever. Unfortunately I lived overseas, and they were not available my neighborhood. Thanks for the review.

    1. Lablady says:

      I have 2 of these I would like to get appraisal’s on, any idea where?

      1. Chris Dumm says:

        I don’t actually have any resources for knife appraisals. From my short survey of Touche prices several months ago, I’d guess the used one might fetch $75, and the NIB scrimshaw perhaps $125. I might be aiming a little high, however.

      2. joe gautieri says:

        the buckles with knives are worth 150.00 each, as per old smokey knife store, tenn. I bought 2 there last year

  2. Brian O'Blivion says:

    Isn’t this the same knife used by Robin Williams in the 1983 movie “The Survivors”? He uses it to cut himself free after being tied to a chair, if I remember correctly…pretty cool!!

  3. AM says:

    Ever take it into a place with security that was looking for knives?

  4. Aharon says:

    That article brought back memories.

  5. Savage Dennis says:

    I was 10 in ’81. The not yet (they married years later) step dad was a Dect. Sgt with the local PD & came over with it one day. I nearly lost my mind over how cool it was. He wore that buckle out of uniform every day for 20+ years. One of the images that come to mind when thinking back, is him wearing that little piece. It’s long since disappeared, I wonder what ever happened to that little memory. I just might have to try & track one down for nostalgia sake.

    1. Mike says:

      I have a Gerber Touche Belt Buckle Knife (Black)….never used and in the original box (a little tattered but in pretty damn good condition).

      If your interested give me an offer. I know of others and they are very collectable these days. The going rate (I’ve done my homework) is around 90 to 130 $$$.

      Let me know.

      1. Teresa Humphries says:

        I may be interested in one of your knives. They are very cool. My son (18) was gifted a touché knife with mallard ducks in scrimshaw. He is SO excited!!! I’d love to get him one with a eagle on it as he just received his Boy Scout Eagle Badge. You may contact me at

  6. Mr. Ed says:

    My Dad has subscribed to Guns & Ammo since the 70s and once he was done with an issue, it came my way. (I still have a nearly complete set going back to 1980.) I remember seeing the adds for the Touche’ way back when (I’m in the same age group as SeaCreature and Savage Dennis) and I had to have one! The beauty of it is, I managed to save the money and get one – exactly as shown, none-the-less! Mine had the wood panels – no scrimshaw here! That was one of the coolest things I have ever owned and I so wish I knew what happened to it, as I would wear it proudly today. I’m praying it’s in a box of my kid stuff and I’ll find it eventually. It’s either that, or I’ll picking one up off of GunGroker for $150, or so. Better yet, I wish a talented knife maker would revive and improve the design. I’d pay several hundred for a modern design and better functioning Touche’.

    1. Mike says:

      I have one (7101), still in box and never used. If your interested email me at The box is a little worn but the blade is in brand new condition.

  7. PJinSC says:

    I got mine in ’85 and wore it proudly for years on a Safariland gun belt until the belly made it face down more than up and the belt is cracked but still serviceable. Now it sits in a place of honor next to my Glock bug out piece. No, you can’t have it.

  8. Bob says:

    I’ve still got mine. I took it to The Blade Show last month and was offered $150 for it. Turned it down of course. I was thinking I got it in high school, but it must have been a little longer than that if it was the 80’s.

    1. Mike says:

      How much would you offer for the 7101 black still in the box (tattered a little) and in brand new condition?

  9. Jerry says:

    Really nice buckle.I bought one in the early eighty’s and wore it on dress jeans till my jeans fell on the floor and some how I stepped on the buckle and broke the hasp that hooked on the belt.I was down for weeks.Started to shop around and very luckily found a few and bought a few even one sealed in the box all others in box’s with paper work.I still ware one almost every day.No one notices it,police,court house security and the like.Love it.

  10. Lablady says:

    I have 2 of these I would like to get appraisal’s on.
    1 is like the one pictured above.
    The other is New, with box and is a scrimshaw of a Bull Elk

  11. spidaman says:

    In 1983, I was working in Caracas, Venezuela for an international non-governmental organization. I was wearing this belt buckle every day, and wasn’t thinking about it when I went to a meeting at the US Embassy. The USMC Embassy Guard spotted the blade right away. After being relieved of my blade, I went on up to my meeting. Fortunately, the Guard was kind enough to return the blade when I left after the meeting. That was the only individual who ever recognized the blade/buckle. I still wear it every now and then, with jeans and a T-shirt.

  12. tim says:

    i bought mine in LA in the very early 80’s. it is plain with a fake pearl instead of wood panels. the blade does handle does not have a patent number like the ones shown. i wore it on and off and then put it in my tool box where it sat until a year or so ago when i showed it to my daughter. kinda cool.

  13. Frank Jimerson says:

    I have one of these, new in the box, but it has a solid brass base and hook, not ABS.
    Did they make different versions, or was this a custom order? My Uncle worked in the Lumber Broker business for 40 years, and so rubbed elbows with alot of big businessmen. This was given to him as a gift from one of them, but he never wore it.
    It has the initials DW on the front, but these aren’t his initials, so they might have been for the company that was giving them away as promo’s.
    I would be interested in selling this, if anyone is interested.

  14. Don says:

    I have three, interested in purchasing them?

    1. Rick Boyd says:

      Don I am interested in purchasing the 3 Gerber Touche belt buckle knifes if they are still available. And if anyone has any for sale let me know.

      1. I will fire him an email, and with his OK, will pass his email onto you.

        1. Rick Boyd says:

          I have not heard anything from either one of you. Were you able to contact him?

        2. Nothing Yet,

          I will let you know


      2. sanman says:

        I have a Gerber Touche, unused in case (some very slight scratches on case). It is brass with the 2 ducks landing on water design. Email if interested. Thanks

      3. james brown says:

        still looking for the gerber Touche buckles. i have three

        1. Curt D says:

          Text me 623-521-1199

    2. Teresa Humphries says:

      I am interested in one if it has a eagle on it. My 18 year old son just got his Boy Scout eagle badge. Please contact me. Teresahumphries@

  15. Doug Schmidt says:

    Hi Rick. I have a one never used with the deer on the front.
    Email me at if interested.
    Thank You

  16. Ken says:

    I have a Gerber with 2 ducks on it landing n water. I wish i knew what it is really worth in the box never used? ? Thsnks Ken

    1. Martin Lowe says:

      I have one of these with a hunting dog engraved on it but the backplate and hook is all brass. I live in the UK and simply ordered it, and the version with a smaller backplate almost the same size as the knife, from a magazine in the early 80s. I have them both still but they have to remain locked away as we are no longer allowed these in public in the UK as they are classed as a concealed weapon.

    2. Teresa Humphries says:

      My son was gifted one. On the internet I have seen them for sale for $125 to $155 .on the internet.

  17. cal miller says:

    I have a numbered Touche’ ABS buckle, with what appears to be a polished front/handle. It don’t think it’s been sharpened yet is still quite sharp. If interested, message me @ or give me a call @ 386 4786202…I really like this little Gerber but I am not in LOVE with it…

  18. James says:

    I have two Gerber Touche Belt Buckle Knives numbered ABS with tropical wood inlays if anyone is intereted. They are brand new in their box. Email, text, or call. 956 220 9949

  19. Mike says:

    I have a Gerber Touche’ Belt Buckle Knife still in original box (90 to 95% good condition) and the belt buckle itself in flawless. Never used and in brand new condition.

    Email me if interested. Thanks

    1. Mike says:

      The knife is Black\Silver & it’s the Touche’ 7101 Belt Buckle Knife. NEVER USED & in the original box.

    2. Teresa Humphries says:

      I am interested in one if it has a eagle on it. My 18 year old son just got his Boy Scout eagle badge. Please contact me. Teresahumphries@

  20. Kyle S says:

    I have 2 NOS Touche’s for sale. A Trout with plastic buckle ($75) and Deer with brass buckle ($125) . Email me at for details if interested.

    1. C.Dubs says:

      Have you sold either of your Gerber Touch’s?

  21. Curt D says:

    I have owned and used my Touche’ for decades. If you own one wear it. You need to wear your belt wrapping clockwise starting on your right , around back then around to the front on your left side. This keeps the knife secure when lose. 2nd, if your knife is without the plastic panel and it is lose, you can place it on a heavy steel anvil or vice, face down, and LIGHTLY tap the screw to make it tighter. 3rd. The Stainless Steel handle is perfect for opening paint can lids. 4th, the picture of holding the knife is absolutely wrong, wrong and dangerous. Your thumb should be on the screw with the blade able to close without your fingers in the way. THe blade will close on bare fingers. I have worn and used mine for 35 years. If yours is broken or not in perfect condition. If you think it is too dangerous, I might buy it. definitely email me. I cant pay top dollar.

    1. Teresa Humphries says:

      Can you tell me where I can find a belt for my sons buckle? I’m not sure how to place it on a belt. ANY help would be greatly appreciated.

  22. Les Decker says:

    I still have mine, one of the wood inlays has fallen out, but the buckle and knife are in excellent shape. It has a scrimshaw of an eagle on it.

    For Sale

    1. Curt D says:

      ok what do you want for it ? text 6235211199

    2. Teresa Humphries says:

      I am interested in one if it has a eagle on it. My 18 year old son just got his Boy Scout eagle badge. Please contact me. Teresahumphries@

  23. Steve freeman says:

    I have two of these. One Army one Air Force. Both still in box. One with instructions. Are the ones with military worth anything?

  24. John Walker says:

    I have a scrimshaw that has a whitetail buck on it. I have had it since 1985. I wore it all the time. I was in a jewelry store once and the lady that was helping me complimented the buckle, so I showed her that it held a secret and produced the knife. She wanted to know where she could get one. Told me that she had been looking for a special Christmas gift for her husband and now she had found it. Mine is still in very good condition. It is made out of brass with wood inlays. I had problems with it when I first bought it. It was to loose and as stated in the article it was hard to fully unfold. I found a way to adjust the cam and it is a very tight fit in the buckle and when it is deployed it stay open. I just found it in a drawer the other day I hadn’t seen it in years. Great memories great article

  25. Jake blarson says:

    This is a very cool design actually i guess i missed out on this in the 80s.
    I recently bought something like it actually. there is an artisan who MUST have been inspired by this because they make a gerber knife belt buckle using the modern EAB knife.
    its on etsy and ebay and goes by RT Fabrications.

    its heavy welded stainless steel but honestly inspired by this Touche!

  26. Ken says:

    I sent my vintage Antelope scrimshaw Touche Belt buckle knife back to Gerber customer service to repair the worn friction pin that holds the blade in.
    They sent me a credit for $63.50 . After 20 minutes of trying to get a real voice, I was informed that they don’t have any blade smiths in Oregon that can fix things since they went off shore.
    When I asked that they return it I was told that they threw it into the recycle bin.
    This is really poor customer care.

  27. Burt soss says:

    Does anyone know of any one who can repair this knife

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Classic Knife Review: Gerber Touché Belt Buckle Knife

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