I don't remember the exact year, but I saw my Leatherman when they first came out. I'm not sure if there were any alternatives with similar features. As soon as I saw the the thin needlenose pliers, I new I had found a valuable new tool. It saw daily use at work and at home. Having maintained postal sorting equipment, conveyor systems, battery powered vehicles, and myriad other equipment for over twenty years, it is my most used tool and often the first to be reached for. It must have saved me hundreds of miles of trips to my tool boxes. When my fellow maintainance men saw how quickly and efficiently I could accomplish many adjustments and repairs, they pushed management to issue multi tools to all three shifts of crews. I recently refitted a sloppily installed door latch plate with the very same knife. It rocks! Yesterday I was dismayed to think I had broken the tip off one side of the pliers. Whew, when I went to get my backup, I found that I had actually gotten them switched at some point. So, the backup is on it's way to be fixed and my trusty, old friend is back on my belt. Now, in my retirement, I still reach for it from one to a dozen times a day. Thank you, Leatherman! The only tools more essential to my work, hobbies and play are my hands themselves. Hubie, a most satisfied customer.