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Sometimes, the original solution to a problem is the most powerful one. Such is the case with Leatherman's new limited-edition release, the Mr. Crunch, a modernized update of one of the company founder Tim Leatherman's very first prototype multi-tools.
The original design concept, initially introduced in 1975, featured a unique double-pliers feature in which blunt-nose pliers could transform into needle-nose pliers. Ultimatley, the dual-action feature was deemd too expensive and too complex and Leatherman scrapped it in favor a more straightforward design for his debut product, the Pocket Survival Tool, which released in 1983 and took off shortly thereafter.
Now nearly 50 years later, with the launch of The Garage, an in-house design hub paying homage to Tim's early days spent prototyping in his own garage, the company's engineers have brought the feature back from the prototype graveyard in the form of Mr. Crunch, one of Leatherman's most advanced multi-tools to date.
Manufactured in Portland, Oregon, the stainless steel Mr. Crunch packs 21 features into 8.7 ounces. There are five types of screwdrivers, hard and soft wire cutters, slip-on pliers, and a folding knife, among other tools. Leatherman's magnetic FREE technology allows for quick, one-handed access to each tool, and it all fits neatly into a calssic brown leather pouch, with "MR. CRUNCH" stamped across the front in gold lettering.
The Garage engineering lab is another sharp example of an established brand experimenting with a smaller, in-house team dedicated to creating unique products with an emphasis on creativity over customer and business demand. As in Burton's Mine77 or Patagonia's FleeceLab, Leatherman's Garage has the resources and knowledge of a far larger company but the freedom and flexibility of a much smaller brand. And it's doing well to embrace the trials of innovation: "Sometimes you find an answer, and other times you leave with more questions," a brand spokesperson explains.
In keeping with that skunkworks spirit, Leatherman is disregarding its established retail production model and opting to design and release Garage products in small batches only, typically around 500 units.
Update: Mr. Crunch tool is now sold out... but there's always eBay, if you can stomach it
Price: $199 LEARN MORE