The Yearning to be Able to See into the Distance
The human desire to see clearly beyond the limits of the naked eye and to be able to see into the distance is as old as humanity itself. In no small part, it was a fascination for the stars and planets that led to the development of mathematics and geometry in the days of antiquity. Early in the modern age, these principles were applied to the lens systems used in the very first telescopes. Most notably the first simple lens systems were built by the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei and his Austrian counterpart Johannes Kepler. Today, binocular optics are still based on Kepler’s invention of 1611. Frequently regarded as merely a convenient, everyday device, this instrument born out of humankind’s reach for the stars in fact made the age-old human dream of achieving a near-to godlike power of vision a reality.
The Hour of Swarovski’s Birth
The story of Austrian entrepreneurial history also began in 1895 when, after inventing the world’s first electric grinding machine for jewelry stones, Daniel Swarovski established the family-owned company in the province of Tyrol. Since then, the name Swarovski has become synonymous worldwide with clearest crystal, precision grinding and a brilliant spirit of innovation, as the original enterprise continued branching out into additional lines of business. Today, the companies of the Swarovski Group supply the world with polished jewelry stones and crystal products, grinding and cutting tools, as well as sports optics. Even if at first glance the product range seems quite diverse, all companies in the Group share an important unifying link, namely the formidable production and engineering knowledge that has grown out of the Swarovski family’s quest for ever higher precision.
The Founding of SWAROVSKI OPTIK
In 1935, Wilhelm Swarovski, son of the original founder, was 17 years of age. Already an avid hobby astronomer, Wilhelm’s passion “to be closer to the stars", as he himself described it, awakened his ambition to build his own, improved binocular. With access to the specialized glass production and finishing technologies already used to manufacture jewelry stones in his father’s factory, Wilhelm managed to develop a novel prism fabrication and grinding process that he applied in constructing his first 6x30 binocular. Wilhelm went on to found SWAROVSKI OPTIK KG in Absam, Tyrol, in 1949 thus laying the foundation stone for a sport optics company with a global reputation. His company’s first serial product, the Habicht 7x42, is still an industry standard in the field of hunting optics and continues as ever to be produced by SWAROVSKI OPTIK in the best tradition of its founder.
Progress and Innovation From a Historical Point of View
Progress through precision and technology is a philosophy ingrained in the Swarovski family’s genetic code, and their companies have remained true to this day to this shared principle and the values of the founders. After the legendary Habicht, SWAROVSKI OPTIK introduced its first rifle scope in 1959, its initial extendable spotting scope in 1967 and, in 1971, the world’s first rubber-armored binocular. In 1976, another worldwide premiere saw the launch of a rifle scope equipped with a proprietary shock absorber for preventing recoil injuries to the eye. In 1994 SWAROVSKI OPTIK introduced the first telescope. And, in 1999, the SWAROVSKI OPTIK EL binocular with the world’s first wrap-around grip captured Field and Stream Magazine’s Best of the Best Award, making it the development of the decade. Since 2007, the Z6 rifle scope range with the first 6x zoom has received international acclaim among the world’s hunting fraternity. In all, over 30 national and international awards pay tribute to the company’s innovative strength, the superior precision and uncompromising quality and also to the elegance and the innovative design that go into the SWAROVSKI OPTIK brand.