Q&A with Ben: Servicing Old Swarovski Binoculars

Ben Lizdas

Posted on April 22 2019

A Bird Watcher's Digest reader wrote in with a question about his old Swarovski Optik EL binocular. Keep reading to get Ben's advice and insights on sending Swarovski binoculars in for servicing.

I read your review on the new Vortex Viper in the September/October 2018 issue of Bird Watcher's Digest, and I agree for the money they are sweet. On another subject, in Pete Dunne's tips on page 74 of the same issue, he advises new binocs for a pelagic trip if what you have are 10 years old or better. So here I sit with first generation Swarovski ELs from 2000. Should I be expecting problems in the near future?

Thanks for your inquiry! So, Pete makes a pretty valid point that after 10 years or so, seals that keep the moisture out of our binoculars can begin to get compromised due to age. This is the kind of thing that a lot of fair weather birders never notice, but those of us who get outdoors regardless of the weather can bump up against. The quality of the materials (not just the glass!) used in high-end binoculars gives them the best odds of beating a waterproofing failure.

Your ELs should probably get sent into Swarovski for some basic service at some point. What they will do is clean the internal lenses, replace seals, re-purge the binoculars with nitrogen, and evaluate/replace the rubber armor among other things. This is all done for a super modest cost. Swarovski's customer service and their ability to perform this maintenance for customers make them the best of the best in my opinion!  

The only reason to consider actually replacing your ELs would be for the benefit of the better optical system on the current generation (or if you wanted to go to a different magnification). Flouride glass and field flattening lenses give the current generation of ELs the best view a birder could ever ask for. Compared to the first generation models, the new ones have better color contrast and light transmission, and panoramic edge clarity which is pretty astounding. 

If you want to get in touch with Swarovski to inquire about a binocular tune-up, give them a call at 1-800-426-3089. You'll want to ask them about turn-around time and cost. I would expect them to have pleasing news on both those counts for you.

If you have questions about your own birding binoculars, feel free to contact us at 833-262-1568, or at sales@redstartbirding.com.

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