Kahles is celebrating its 125th anniversary and has a special anniversary offer from September 1 to October 31, 2023, for all purchasers of a Helia riflescope

Also from our side, congratulations to Kahles and all who work there. It's great that you exist! And keep up the good work, of course! We would like to take a brief look at the history, but also the milestones and current technology features of Kahles optics. Probably one of the most remarkable milestones in the company's history and at the same time a distinction for the technical achievements of the company: after the immense success of the riflescope business, Swarovski Optik from the Swarovski Group acquired Kahles, a competitor at that time, in 1974. As a pioneer in riflescope technology, the Kahles brand has strengthened Swarovski's riflescope technology ever since.

Let's start our anniversary tour: based on 7 questions and the corresponding answers from the manufacturer, we want to give you the most important facts about the Kahles brand.

This characterizes Kahles's 125-year success story:

Did you know that Karl Robert Kahles is the inventor of the modern riflescope?

Karl Robert Kahles laid the foundation for the success of the optics company. 

Karl Robert Kahles – this is the man behind the well-known optics brand from Austria. He was one of the pioneers who opened the way to the further development of the riflescope, which was emerging around 1900, and made it a worldwide success. He replaced the hitherto simple lens design with achromats, i.e. lens combinations that were cemented together using Canada balsam, a tree resin that dries out transparently. Such lens pairs, installed in the eyepiece and in front of the reticle, allowed much better color rendering, a wider field of view, and a larger eye relief. In addition, this also made it possible to design the riflescope to be significantly shorter.

That was the birth of the riflescope as we know it today. His pioneering spirit and passion laid the foundation for a 125-year success story of the Kahles company. From the very beginning, this was characterized by great successes and unchanging milestones in long-range optics.

The letterhead from before World War 1 shows the Kahles factory in Vienna.

This company description, which probably also adorned the company's letterhead, was designed in the years shortly before the First World War. The historic factory building in Vienna can also be seen on it.

What are the defining milestones in the development of long-range optics at Kahles? 

Kahles received a patent for riflescope waterproofing using O-ring seals in 1960. 

Among the historical milestones that still characterize modern riflescopes today are the first waterproof Kahles riflescope from the Helia Super series with patented sealing by means of O-rings (1960), or the achromatic multi-layer coating (1972), which for the first time allowed a light transmission of over 90% through the entire device.

All these technical cornerstones taken together form the technical and design basis for high-quality optical riflescopes and are still used today in the manufacturing of high-quality riflescopes for hunters, sport shooters and law enforcement/military use.

What makes Kahles products stand out, what is the brand's formula for success?

This is what Kahles itself has to say about it: "To this day, our formula for success includes a detailed understanding of applications, a wealth of knowledge accrued over 125 years of practical experience, innovative flair, openness to new solutions and the courage to uncompromisingly implement even new ideas. But most importantly, the ability to consistently focus on the essentials. This ability sets us apart, guides our thoughts and actions, and is an integral part of a corporate culture that has been passed down through generations. It is this mindset that allows us to continuously provide intuitively simple products and services offering a perfect experience."

After about 30 years, this lost rifle was found again. The Kahles scope on it is said to have been still operational.  

Long-term test under real environmental conditions: this Kahles Helia Super 6x42 mounted on a Mannlicher luxury rifle is said to have been lost by a hunter after retrieving a chamois at an altitude of about 2,500 meters in the late 1970s, in the high mountains. Almost three decades later, another hunter happened to find the rifle with the Kahles scope, which, despite some external rust, is said to have still been perfectly serviceable in terms of optics and mechanics. 

What is characteristic for the current products of Kahles?

Here, too, we were curious about the manufacturer's answer: "We devote a lot of time to understanding our customers’ expectations and work every day to develop solutions designed to help them focus fully on themselves and their actions in every hunting situation or in sports competitions. Many of us are active hunters and sport shooters ourselves and, with the support of various international team members from the hunting and sport worlds, we know precisely what is relevant in each individual application.

We hone in on the truly relevant functions that make that crucial difference in practical use. Our aim is to isolate these requirements and develop the best possible response – with no compromises! Rather than technical data and supposedly useful extra features, what matters to us is noticeable differences in practical use. Only when our products are a joy to use do we feel satisfied that our objective has been reached.“

Kahles stands for innovation. Which features are typical for Kahles?

Kahles also concentrates on the essentials with the current K525i DLR for the dynamic long-range shooter. The parallax adjustment wheel patented in 2014 is located below the elevation turret, and the Twist Guard protection system on the left side of the windage adjustment turret prevents accidental movement. 

"One more recent notable example of a KAHLES’ smart invention that has become a market standard is the Automaticlight function (2007), the intelligent on/off switching function for illuminated reticles. Thanks to a tilt sensor, this detects whether or not the rifle scope is in a shooting position and transmits this information immediately to the illumination unit. This unit automatically switches the illuminated reticle on or off when not in use, in order to save valuable energy.  This is now a standard feature in high-quality hunting riflescopes. 

Innovations currently still protected by our patents include the innovative positioning of the parallax wheel below the elevation turret (2014), allowing the windage adjustment to be placed on the left or right of the main tube. It can be found in various scopes of our K series. Innovative features also include the novel Twist Guard, a unique protection system that uses a freely rotating end cover to prevent accidental movement of the windage."

What are the demands of Kahles optics in today's top sports?

The manufacturer positions itself as follows: "Ambitious sport shooters and professionals appreciate the precision and reliability of our K series riflescope models. As well as developing high-performance riflescopes, we are also actively involved in different shooting disciplines such as PRS, IPSC and F Class, and promote shooting competitions at an international level. Our own series of competitions offers keen shooters an opportunity to compete in cross-border events reflecting our values of safety, fairness and mutual respect."

Kahles products are especially appreciated by hunters. Why?

Here, too, Kahles provides a clear answer: "Under the Helia brand, we at Kahles offer a streamlined range of binoculars, rangefinders, red dot sights, and thermal imagers in addition to rifle scopes. They all convince through uncompromising concentration on what is really important: functionality, reliability, handling and aesthetics. So that hunters can concentrate on the essentials in every hunting situation."

This is the 2023 anniversary offer from Kahles:

During the period from September 1 to October 31, 2023, every purchaser of a Kahles Helia riflescope will receive the Ballistic Turret (BT) as an anniversary gift at no extra charge.

Anyone who buys a new scope from the current Helia series will receive a ballistic turret free of charge for the anniversary. 

Kahles' anniversary offer applies to the complete Helia range with 5x zoom factor.

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