Another addition to Spyderco’s proud Ethnic Series of knives, the Watu traces its history back to an earlier Spyderco model, the Chokwe, and the traditional ethnic knife that inspired it. Like all members of the Ethnic Series, the Chokwe was created to recognize and pay tribute to an iconic cultural cutting tool, while at the same time pushing the limits of modern knife design and engineering. It faithfully captured the distinctive profile of the traditional fixed blade of the Chokwe people of Central Africa but expressed it in a folding format crafted with state-of-the-art materials and manufacturing methods.
Released in 2009, the Chokwe featured the signature triangular blade shape of the African ethnic blade, rendered in premium CPM S30V stainless steel. The full-flat-ground, satin-finished blade was paired with a coffin-shaped handle constructed with a stainless steel liner and peel-ply-textured G10 scale on one side and a solid titanium scale on the other. The titanium scale formed the foundation of the knife’s sturdy Reeve Integral Lock (R.I.L.) mechanism and provided mounting platform for the pocket clip, which offered a choice of tip-up or tip-down, right-side carry.
The Chokwe’s unique design translated the shape and form of the ethnic knife of the Chokwe people into a modern, practical, and extremely functional cutting tool that was ideal for everyday carry. Although it enjoyed a devoted following for a number of years, it was ultimately discontinued. The allure of this remarkable design, however, never faded. Many users of the original Spyderco Chokwe expressed an interest in a newer version that was smaller and even more pocket-friendly. Spyderco enthusiasts who had missed out on the original version chimed in to strengthen the calling to resurrect and refine the design. Based on that customer demand, Spyderco founder Sal Glesser, the designer of the Chokwe, went back to the drawing board and refined the design to create the Watu.
Like its predecessor, the Watu (which means “people” in Swahili) accurately reflects the distinctive profile of the traditional Chokwe ethnic knife that inspired it; however, it distills it into a more refined package that is approximately an inch shorter than the original Spyderco Chokwe.
The Watu’s iconic clip-point blade is crafted from CPM 20CV, a high-chromium, vanadium-enriched, particle metallurgy steel that offers an excellent balance of edge holding and corrosion resistance. Its full-flat grind and nearly straight edge give it exceptional edge geometry and point utility, while its fully accessible Trademark Round Hole allows convenient one-handed opening with either hand.
The coffin-shaped handle profile and two large holes of the traditional Chokwe fixed blade allowed it to be securely lashed to a pole to fashion a makeshift spear. The Watu’s handle retains these classic design features but expresses them with high-tech materials and flawless workmanship. Its full stainless steel liners provide structural strength while allowing a lightweight, easy-to-clean, open-backed construction. They also serve as the foundation of the knife’s high-strength Compression Lock mechanism, which locks the blade securely open in use and allows it to be safely closed with only one hand. The liners are capped with stunning carbon fiber/G10 laminate scales that have a subtle peel-ply texture to enhance grip security. To allow discreet, convenient carry while keeping the Watu instantly accessible for use, its handle also includes a deep-pocket wire clip that is reversible for left or right-side, tip-up carry.
The Watu is a remarkably practical folding knife that proudly maintains the tradition of both its predecessor and its ethnic inspiration. It also supports a noble cause, as Spyderco donates a portion of the sales of every Watu to Keep a Child Alive, a charitable organization dedicated to providing life-saving treatment, care, and support services to HIV/AIDS-affected children and their families in Africa and the developing world. Spyderco is very proud and excited to add the Watu to their ever-evolving family of Ethic Series knives.
Blade Length: 3.26″
Closed Length: 4.17″
Overall Length: 7.35″
Cutting Edge: 2.88″
Blade Thickness: 0.100″
Blade Material: CPM-20CV Stainless Steel
Blade Style: Clip Point
Blade Grind: Full-Flat
Blade Finish: Satin
Blade Edge: Plain
Handle Material: Carbon Fiber/G10 Laminate
Handle Colors: Black
Locking Mechanism: Compression Lock
Pocket Clip: Wire (Tip-Up, Right/Left Carry)
Model Number: C251CFP
Model Name: Watu
Weight: 3.0 oz.