Donatus has been making cigar cutters for an extremely long time, with examples of its products dating back at least to the 1950’s. The company is based out of the of Solingen, Germany, which carries the nickname “City of Blades”, due to the fact that it has long been known for the manufacturing of fine swords, knives, scissors and razors going back to medieval times. There are numerous famous cutlery companies based in and around the city, including WKC, DOVO, Wüsthof, Zwilling J. A. Henckels, Böker and others.

WHAT IS IT?

Essentially, the Big Cut is a pair of scissors with round blades that are specifically built to cut the caps of cigars. Measuring 155mm x 57mm and weighing in at 82 grams, the scissors are made entirely of surgical stainless steel, other than the small rubber bumper that stops the handles from touching each other when the blades are closed.

Unlike most cigar scissors, which are typically symmetrical, the Big Cut uses two distinct handles. One handle is made with a hole for the user’s thumb, while the other includes an opening for the user’s middle, ring and pinky fingers. Although the circular opening made by the blades can only fit a 56 ring gauge, it can actually cut cigars much larger, you will just need to extend the two blades past the point of creating a circle.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

$160-205.

There are currently six different versions of the Donatus Big Cut, all of which feature the same design. The only difference is the material covering the metal or how the standard stainless steel is treated.

The following prices are converted from Euros.

  • Donatus Big Cut Satin — $162
  • Donatus Big Cut Polished — $162
  • Donatus Big Cut Gold-Plated — $188
  • Donatus Big Cut Ceramic Polished — $192
  • Donatus Big Cut Ceramic Matte — $204
  • Donatus Big Cut Shot Blasted — $162

HOW DOES IT WORK?

No surprise here, but the Donatus work basically like a pair of regular scissors. I found that putting a bit of pressure against the cap helped to produce better cuts, but otherwise, this is a pair of scissors.

THE GOOD

  • Quality Materials — This cutter is made to last, something you feel from the first cut. It is obviously built with quality parts by people who know what they are doing.
  • Easy to Use — Do you know how to use regular scissors? Well, then you are already 80 percent of the way to knowing exactly what to do when using this cutter.
  • Amazing at Recutting Cigars — While not quite as good as the Fox Knives 749—which is the best I have ever seen at this particular function—the Donatus, like most cigar scissors, does a wonderful job at recutting cigars if that is something that you ever need doing.
  • Great Design and Balance — The first time I picked up the Donatus, I realized how nice the balance is, which not only leads to better cuts but also makes it that much more enjoyable to use.
  • The Sheath is Great Quality and Fits the Cutter Snuggly — The last thing you need when trying to figure out how to carry a cutter this size around is a sheath that adds unnecessary bulk or weight, but the included sheath is thin, light and fits the cutter like a glove. It is also really great quality. In addition, despite the obvious differences in size on each finger hole, the sheath fits the cutter perfectly no matter which way you put it inside.

THE BAD

  • The Price — There is no doubt that if you are thinking of buying a German-made cutter constructed of quality materials, it is going to come at a cost, and this cutter is no exception.
  • Not Exactly a Carry Around Cutter — While thin, It is long, it is heavy and it is awkward to carry around in anything other than a separate bag. This is not a cutter you can just throw in your pocket and forget about.
  • It’s a Fingerprint Magnet — This will probably not come as a surprise, but being made of shiny metal means it is extremely difficult to keep the cutter looking clean. While the metal did not show any major scratches or scuffs after a month of use, it does pick up dust and fingerprints with almost shocking regularity.

THE COMPETITION

There are probably more examples of cigar scissors than you might think, so the Donatus has no lack of competitors. The most obvious is the Zino Cigar Scissors, which is visually identical right down to the sheath and where the logo is placed on the cutter. I haven’t used the Zino, but the only thing that seems obviously different between the cutters is the price: at $215, the Zino comes in about $55 higher than the Donatus.

Additional Competitors

  • Davidoff Scissors Cutter ($470) — While the overall size, footprint and rounded blades are similar to the Donatus, the Davidoff differs in two major ways: its two finger holes are identically large due to a slightly different design and the price is more than double what the Donatus retails for.
  • Elie Bleu Cigar Scissors ($275) —  Sure, both the Elie Bleu and the Donatus open, close and cut cigars the same way, but that is essentially where the similarities end. Where the Donatus is round in most spots, the Elie Bleu is square or rectangular, including the finger holes and the blades themselves. The Elie Bleu also costs about $100 more.
  • XIKAR MTX Multi-Tool ($54.95) — The MTX scissors are one of the few items that everyone at halfwheel owns. Patrick uses them regularly, Charlie has them on his keychain and I review a different cutter every 30 days. The MTX scissors are noted for their ability to fold up, making them the smallest cigar scissors I’ve ever seen. Despite the size, it includes a bottle opener, a cigar poker and a screw driver to adjust flame height on lighters.
  • Visol Archibald Matte Black Stainless Steel Cigar Scissors ($39.99) — A very similar design to Donatus, but not as nicely made, which comes in at a much lower price point.
  • OH! VAL Katana Cigar Scissors ($563) — Quite a bit more expensive than the Donatus, but also made in Japan and the price includes a storage box made of paulownia wood.
  • Forge de Laguiole Cigar Scissors ($214) — This is in my que to review, but these are handmade in the village of Laguiole, France and feature exteriors made of different materials, including horn tip, thuya wood, briarwood and Juniper.
  • Swiss Army Cigar Knife ($70) — I haven’t tested the cutting abilities of the Swiss Army knife style cigar cutter, it includes both miniature cigar scissors and a punch cutter, as well as a knife.

SHOULD YOU BUY IT?

Yes.

There have been all sorts of cigar cutters introduced in all sorts of categories over the years: functional, artistic, innovative, utilitarian. However, I would put the Donatus into yet another category that is not utilized as often: elegant. Sleek and graceful, the Donatus also happens to actually perform its most important job with virtually no issues at all, i.e. cut the caps off of cigars cleanly, easily and quickly. Sure, it is a little bit of a pain to carry around, but the results you get will easily make up for that minor inconvenience.

Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.