Wiha SAE nut driver set handle color, size markings (Wiha 34390 7-Piece)

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Wiha's '7 PIECE SOFTFINISH HOLLOW SHAFT NUT DRIVER SET', as received by yours truly, as shown on Amazon.com, and as shown on Wihatools.com.
Wiha’s 34390 7 PIECE SOFTFINISH HOLLOW SHAFT NUT DRIVER SET, as received by yours truly, as shown on Amazon.com, and as shown on Wihatools.com.

Yesterday, a set of Wiha inch-size nut drivers (34390 7 PIECE SOFTFINISH HOLLOW SHAFT NUT DRIVERS) that I’d bought on Amazon.com arrived . They didn’t match the product photo (red-and-black instead of yellow-and-black), which was no big deal. The other issue isn’t earth-shattering either, but it is interesting. One might expect the butt of each nut driver handle to be marked somehow with its size, but most (not all, but most) of these weren’t.

The sizes of the two largest tools (1/2″ and 7/16″) are printed on their respective handle-ends. The rest, though, either have blank solid white circles or an empty white circle, in the case of the 5/16″ nut driver.

Looking, post-purchase naturally, through the non-five-star reviews on the Amazon product page, specifically the three-star ratings, I found that one customer (J Ward) had pointed out that thse SAE nut drivers came in red, like Wiha’s metric nut drivers, in 2021 and that another (Fred Z.), along with his 2016 review, had posted photos showing the then-still-yellow-and-black tools had similar (yet mostly different) odd and completely uninformative circular markings on the handles. At that time, the circles hadn’t been solidly white. The 5/16″ tool handle butt seems to be a bit of a hand-tool coelocanth, however, and even then was emblazoned with an empty black circle. Like yours truly, Fred had wanted to know why each nut driver hadn’t been size-labeled instead of being given the colored-circle treatment. Weirdness with the color and size labeling has evidently been an issue for years.

Here’s a screencap of Fred’s review for reference:

Three-star Amazon.com review of Wiha's 34390 inch-size nut driver set showing different, but still odd, handle-butt markings.

Again, these issues are hardly earth-shattering or crimes against nature that makes one’s heart cry out, but strange enough and mildly disappointing enough to merit a brief mention here.

I’ve emailed a version of the photo-collage that tops this post to the American contact email address on the Wihatools.com site along with a query about the handle-end markings. If they reply, I will likely update this entry. I’ve also submitted a short review to Amazon, but the post-form-submission message informed me that *air-quotes*processing*air-quotes* my review might take several days, so here we are.

Update [20230816]: Wiha responded (politely and reasonably) to my email

I’ve been going back and forth with Wiha about the wacky handle-butt markings on this set, making it clear that I wasn’t seeking replacements or a return or any sort of refund. The representative who fielded my inquiry was polite and reasonable. Here’s the explanation they provided for the mismatched markings:

Each nut driver is manufactured in batches. Between batches, manufacturing changes were made including the type/style of stamping/labeling. One batch had the white circle as part of the specs, another batch had the open circle at part of the specs and, most recently, the sizing label at part of the manufacturing specs. This has led to sets being assembled with mixed stock until all stock is changed over to the newest manufacturing specs.

The Wiha rep said their company’s web team was working on updating the photos on the Amazon product listing and, when I asked how Wiha would deal with a dissatisfied customer who (unlike YT, who is content to Sharpie the tool size onto each handle-end) wanted replacements or some other sort of action taken, they wrote:

In answer to your question, Yes, typically we would pull our newest stock and provide replacement(s) to the customer to have a matching set.

At the time I’m writing this update (August 16th), the yellow-and-black photos are still up on Amazon, but I expect them to be switch out for currently-accurate red-and-black photos soon.

The sets being assembled from existing stock of each size of driver isn’t surprising and makes sense in that it dodges the possible issue of wasted time, effort, cardboard boxes, and label-printing in the event they over-estimated demand for sets versus individual tools bought separately. Similarly, I can grasp the possibility of certain sizes selling faster than others, resulting in a slight glut of some nut driver models due to lower relative demand. But how many leftover blank-white-circled nut drivers would a tool company have to have sitting around for a decision-maker to rationalize intentionally slipping them into sets along with sensibly-labeled tools, given the irritation it was bound to cause to at least some purchasers? And why, to begin with, would they have ever made nut drivers with blank white circles printed on their handles instead of their sizes?

Tt’s been interesting.