We’re firmly in the age of odd, frivolous, aesthetically-pleasing things selling for lots of money — late capitalism, as some call it, or a “product renaissance” according to others. And this pocket lighter from UK startup Knnox is absolutely a product of our time. It comes with a neat story, though — it’s the first lighter to be made entirely within the UK for more than 50 years.
So in spite of it being a seemingly-simple and stripped-down design, this isn’t the most no-nonsense lighter you could buy. In fact it’s far from it; a cheap plastic BIC, while it has a very short lifespan, only costs a couple dollars, and a Zippo that could last you decades can be had for under $20. If you’re looking purely for function, you’re not looking at the Knnox, although it does come with a lifetime warranty, and a design that allows for replacing parts if they get worn out. On top of that, because it’s solid brass, it’s sure to acquire a unique and gorgeous patina with regular use. Pretty tough to get that out of your $3 BIC.
In a world where beautiful things exist alongside the purely functional, we’re sometimes just driven to go for beauty and form — it’s part of our nature. And if you want to appease that nature, well, you’re going to get a lot further with this spirited little piece of panache than you would with something more run-of-the-mill. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.