"This mark here," Desmond says, pointing to a faint blemish on his own gorgeously broken-in lighter, "that was from a trip to Copenhagen." With the main components made of raw, solid brass – the lighter experiences an ageing process and develops its own patina. "Each one is unique," Jessica adds. "Depending on how you use it, it will change. Desmond’s is the original prototype and you can see how the brass has developed with time." Indeed, it has. The proud owner is relating each scratch and blemish to a time and place, as if the hand-polished face of his light is a map marked by life itself. It’s a nice thought, particularly for something that you may, one day, decide to hand-down.
Before you’ve laid your own hands on the lighter, however, the personal experience begins. "When you open the box, each piece is laid out for you to assemble," he grins. "Cool, isn’t it?" Like the individual components of a military-grade gun, the brass, wicks, flints, and stainless-steel hex tool are lying there for your itchy fingers to put together. "By doing the process yourself, you get an idea of what each piece does to produce the flame," adds Jessica. Yes - you make the fire; inviting a sense of primal delight as each component slots together, and the first sign of a flame gracefully flows from the brass. Knnox are so sure of the quality of their materials, that each lighter comes with a Lifetime Warranty.
But why can’t your lighter be as cared-for, or personal, as a favourite watch? Both serve a utility that can be afforded cheaply after-all; you can check the phone for the time (or find one of those flimsy disposable lighters we mentioned earlier). Nothing competes with wearing a watch, however, and some may even hold sentimental value. Lighters are very much the same, and with vaping becoming more prevalent today, people are looking back to timeless tools that deliver not only a purpose, but a ritual.
Knnox are gearing for a future as the go-to brand for light and flame accessories. "We were blown away by the reaction we got," smiles Jessica, "so we’re designing the lighter in new finishes, like matte black and silver." There will also be a butane-compatible edition of their flagship lighter, for cigar smokers, and a variety of lifestyle products such as ashtrays and cigar cutters. The duo insist that whatever happens, they will be leading on the design (Jessica being a designer herself) and manufacture. "It’s important that we keep that small studio spirit," adds Desmond, with a knowing smile.
Knnox’s brass lighter is more than just the sum of its parts. The Wares have worked tirelessly to deliver a tool durable enough to be relied upon throughout our lives; from lighting the cigarette of a captivating stranger (on a whim) to the candles in our honeymoon suite some years later. We’re reminded how necessary lighters are. As we go through life, the world leaves marks on us. With Knnox’s special brass ageing process, we can now trace those marks… Try doing that with a Clipper.