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WILLIAM OPTICS : AN OVERVIEW
William Optics Corp. was founded in 1996 as "Optical technology Limited" by brothers William and David Yang for the purpose of making astronomical telescopes for use by the more demanding amateur astronomer and birder. The company is based in Tapei, Taiwan, with optical production of their telescopes in Taiwan. William Optics has established offices and distributors overseas including in the USA. Unlike many other companies based in China or Taiwan at the time the Yangs set out to develop telescopes that are more refined in terms of performance and durable, with features that appeal to the more demanding amateur. The William Optics company subcontracts their designs for production by other companies, and also resells products that are sometimes marketed by other companies too. They have introduced a number of highly perfected specialized products that is making them more and more appreciated by the most demanding amateur astronomer and birder.
Right: The objective lens cover of a William Optics FLT 110 Telescope, as is typically provided with their better telescopes.
William Yang is an experienced amateur astronomer who has been a customer of Astro-Physics having owning models including the 105 Traveler up to the 180mm that he still admires. However, William Optics initially did not set out to rival the top performing fast refrator lenses in the market such as those by Carl Zeiss, Astro-Physics, Takahashi, TeleVue, and TMB. But over the recent years William Optics diversified their selection so that they span from good to damn good, with great versatility and with hardware and matched optical accessories for visual and photographic applications. These are handy and unpretentious telescopes with mechanical features that rival more costly alternatives, and they are priced within the grasp of most of the more demanding amateur. The FLT's are nipping at the heels of those whom they did not set out to compete against. And maybe best of all, these are replaceable: one can buy an FLT 110 or 132 for example and travel the world without fearing knowing that if it is lost or damaged then it can not readily and affordably be replaced or repaired. We at Company Seven find a number of those who seek these telescopes from us are established customers looking to step up or to buy a more handy telescope that complements something larger they already own.
C7 & WO: First Try
By August of 2000, Company Seven began to hear about these new telescopes including a 105mm Triplet Apo, and we were being prodded by several customers to look into this new recent introduction to the USA. But it was after more experienced observers (including Richard Orr an experienced observer who also owns several fine telescopes including an Astro-Physics 155 EDF) suggested we should look into these that we first contacted William Yang. As we explained to Mr. Yang on 17 August we were interested in evaluating his telescopes:
Soon afterwards William Yang replied that William Optics was then being distributed in the USA by a retailer and were invited to work through that retailer if we wished to offer the product line. But we did not wish to have our good name affiliated with the owner of that retailer and we replied:
"Company Seven chooses to avoid subordination to, or association with controversial figures. Some people find no logic in the fallacious argument of guilt by association - but there can be some measure of truth....Mr. XXX is likely to do well for himself with your product line, and almost certainly will sell more than Company Seven ever would have - he is after all an experienced salesman. We wish you and William Telescopes success as there is certainly room for new good telescopes in the market."
And so in 2000 we at Company Seven thought that would be the end of that. We sat by and watched as the product line expanded its offerings and impact on the hobby.
They came to understand how some optical designs that produced a good telescope were found to not be practical to make and stay within the intended levels of cost and performance, while others can offer a good balance of cost and performance. Hence some models were discontinued including the 105mm Triplet Apo, and new designs were introduced. To bring in some additional design talent into their fold William Optics entered into a limited partnership with Thomas M. Back of TMB Optical (an old customer of Company Seven) to produce some telescopes. These are made under the William Optics in Asia name with a design royalty paid to Mr. Back for each telescope sold. Among the successes of this joint effort:
* The term "fluorite" is in our view rather recklessly bandied about, the lens actually contains a fluorocrown element and not Calcium Fluorite as some telescopes made in past decades do. The modern state of the art fluorocrown glasses (ED, SD, etc.) provides similar optical properties but with greater mechanical resistance to breakage in production and to stain resistance.
Fast Forward To 2007
By mid 2006 Company Seven and William Optics had again entered discussions about having the product available to our clientele. After evaluating the products and feedback from some of our staff and customers who were provided an opportunity to use these telescopes and some of the WO accessories, Company Seven officially welcomed William Optics into our showroom environment. And in January 2007 the first instrument on the floor was the handy FLT 110, a "carry on luggage" portable apochromat telescope that can do serious damage on the night sky visually and photographically.
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