Vienna is the well-known world capital of classical music. Not so well known is the fact that Vienna has for more than 150 years also been one of the few world capitals of high end optical manufacturing.
Being world’s oldest riflescope manufacturer KAHLES’ strong position is rooted not only in history, but also in geography. KAHLES remains as one of a handfull of optical brands that – contrary to all international trends towards label manufacturing – is still creating all products on its own. Each and every KAHLES product is assembled and quality assured in the parent plant in Vienna, Austria. The KAHLES plant in Vienna also hosts R&D, mechanical and optical workshops and all related logistical services as well as the entire overhead. More than 70 employees - among them technical designers, opticians, watchmakers, toolmakers and fine mechanics just to name a few – are crafting optical products to tightest tolerances and highest industry standards. It is precisely for this reason that the factory regards the need to ensure a qualified succession in the manufacture of optical products as both a commitment and passion.
The craft perfection, the training of its specialists, the renunciation of mass-market products: all of these are keeping with the old-established values of KAHLES.
1898 - Karl Robert Kahles merged the Simon Plössl Company and the Opto-Mechanical Workshop of Karl Fritsch in Vienna and found the KAHLES Company.
1900 - KAHLES introduced the legendary TELORAR riflescope in five different magnifications. Precise and reliable, these early KAHLES riflescopes soon became highly respected by hunters everywhere. At the same time, KAHLES offered binoculars and telescopes for astronomic viewing.
1908 - Following the founders sudden death, the second generation - Ernst and Karl Kahles - took charge and expanded the product range. Some of the MIGNON scopes produced during this time are still used by hunters.
1926 - Kahles introduced the first HELIA-series riflescope - a brilliant scope with a wide field of view.
1939 - An economic regime is imposed on KAHLES to produce military products for the ‘Wehrmacht’. KAHLES products of that time are marked with the military code ‘CAD’.
1945 - Following severe damage during the World War II, Friedrich Kahles III undertook the task of rebuilding the company. This skilled physicist, specialized in rifle scope production led the company to new levels of success again.
1949 - KAHLES developed one of the first variable power rifle scopes.
1960 - Kahles as the first optical manufacturer introduced the waterproof rifle scopes by utilizing O-rings for
sealing (a KAHLES-patent). Soon KAHLES improved the HELIA-model further presenting the legendary HELIA SUPER-series.
1972 - KAHLES was the first rifle scope manufacturer implementing multi-coating on all air-to-glass surfaces in
series production. The new KAHLES-AMV coating (Achromatische Mehrschicht Vergütung) for the very first time, allowed light transmission of more than 90% which is a standard for fine rifle scopes up till now. The new generation of HELIA scopes continues to set higher standards for precision optics, even under extreme conditions.
1998 - On the occassion of their 100 year anniversary, KAHLES again set a new milestone in rifle scope history, presenting their new HELIA COMPACTS. With high optical performance, and incredible wide field of view, advanced compact design and typical KAHLES-Ruggedness, hunters everywhere quickly make KAHLES their first choice.
2000 - A new line of KAHLES binoculars once again reestablishes the long tradition of precision optical performance, rugged construction and a strong price value relationship that many have come to respect on Kahles products.
2003 - The new HELIA CSX-line with digital dimming control sets new standards in optical performance and ergonomic design.
2005 - The new HELIA CS-line with the innovative multizero™ elevation adjustments opens a new era in ballistic drop compensation for hunting. The new HELIA CBX-line with digital dimming control for night hunting is the specialist on the edge of physics.
2006 – The new HELIA CL-line with serially parallax adjustment and optional multizero™ micromechanics allows the shooter to zero the riflescope in up to five different shooting distances.
2007 – The new innovative on- and off-automatic mechanism for all HELIA CSX and CBX models.