Monday, May 14, 2012

Carl Wetzlar binoculars

I have two pairs of this make of binoculars:

I bought them assuming they were of German manufacture.  Nope.  They're made in Japan.  "Carl Wetzlar" was simply a made-up marketing name or "Confuzaname" intended to imply German quality.  It seems based on Carl Zeiss' first name and the German city of Wetzlar where the real German Zeiss company has a facility.

If you look carefully at the front of these Japanese-made binoculars, you'll find a symbol which is actually a J combined with an L (for Light Machinery of Japan) followed by an E number which tells you where the body was made and a B number (which tells you which tell you the manufacturer of the finished instrument.  These were frequently different companies.  In fact, there were 345 Japanese companies in this business at one time!

My binoculars have the following information stamped on them:

If you visit the Japanese Manufacturers' Codes for Optical Products,  you can find out that:

JE-30  indicates that the body was made by Kofu Kogaku Kogyo Co. Ltd.  (maker of metalwork)
JB-31  means they were assembled by Muraki Koko Co. Ltd.  (maker of finished binoculars)

As I said, I've got two of these binoculars.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice...


Peter said...

Thanks for sharing these results of your research. Though I am still wondering - are you happy with these binoculars or not?

The Duke said...

For their price point (often $5 or so at thrift shops and yard sales) they're very good value for the money. I only use them to watch birds at my feeder and I find they perform this function very well. Clear images, good focus, although they tend to be heavy in the hand.

Anonymous said...

Oddly enough, the
Carl Wetzlar Imperial 7x35
Extra-wides are at the top of my
collection. Uncanny sharpness
for extra-wides.

I only have that one pair though.
The Carl Wetzlar Imperial moniker
occured at K-Marts in Canada.