Yes, I know … it is a blatant design rip-off and ethically is not the right thing to buy one. Mea fucking culpa. However, considering that I never would have bought an original Esee 3 anyway (full flat grinds and blades under 4 inches are just not my thing in fixed blades), I did not take away money from anyone. Besides, the Cima says “CIMA” on the knife and not “ESEE”, so there is no intention on marketing it as the real thing by the Chinese makers. And, after seeing some YouTube-reviews on the thing, I was just plain curious !
So, to get things straight, what you do NOT get : The 1095 carbon steel and heat treat of an ESEE made in the United States, the great warranty, the performance record built over many years, the super-tough textured powder coat finish, the prestige or any kind of resale value.
WHAT you get is : A nicely shaped, compact full tang knife made out of 7cr17mov stainless steel (tough and comparable to 440A, with limited edge-holding qualities) having very good workmanship and a very useable sheath for roughly 20 dollars including shipping from overseas.
The CIMA comes in a very attractive cardboard box with an ambidextrous sheath and an all-metal-belt-hanger-clip-affair. Did I mention it is all-metal ? Well, the clip thing weighs 93 grams ! The tightly fitting plastic sheath alone is only 40 grams. The knife itself is 207 grams. So, I actually never used the clip and just mounted the sheath with paracord on my indestructible Bundeswehr pants belt. The rivets on the sheath did not seem to fit my large TekLok.
So far, I have only carried and used the CIMA once, on a small hike with some “recreational cutting”, nothing more. I brought my CS Finn Wolf along. The CIMA performed as expected (after some stropping of the nearly-shaving sharp factory edge) for a knife of this length, width and blade height featuring a full flat grind. I did not baton with it, but I´m sure it would stand up to it without any issues. The YouTube guys have already put the CIMA through some tougher testing. The Finn Wolf with it´s scandi grind bit deeper in wood, as expected.
From my limited experience with it, I would not expect the finish to hold up to any kind of rough use. I ´ll probably have the knife sandblasted to give it some personality, maybe some grooves on the micarta handles would help, too.
The CIMA should make a good knife for the glovebox of your car, for a get-home-bag in your trunk, or just as a trial-and-error knife in case you want to find out if this size-range in knives is right for your needs and tasks. A serrated edge version is available.