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Service Experience - Leica Switzerland (1 Viewer)

Canip

Well-known member
I think to be fair, we ought to report not only the negative events and situations which we encounter when dealing with binocular service and repairs, but also the positive ones, and I promise not to forget to do so after my next positive experience!

But first, I have to report my current experience with the Leica Customer Service, and it is unfortunately not so good.

Here is the chronology of events:

- On July 29, 2019 I sent my Ultravid 7x42, serial number 1596540, to the Swiss Leica Service Center. The Ultravid is 4 years old and suddenly exhibited internal fogging (of a nature I have not seen before, lots of little dots on the internal optical surfaces). I attached the purchasing documentation / warranty certificate. The binocular arrived a Leica’s service center on July 30.

- After not hearing anything for a month, I emailed the service center on August 29 and asked for news.

- On August 30, the “head of technical customer service” replied by email that they had contacted Leica’s “Main Office” and been told to send the Ultravid there “since this is a special case of leakage. The Quality Department would like to inspect the glass in order to prevent this kind of leakage in the future”.

- I replied the same day, Aug. 30, by email that this seemed to mean that the repair would take long, and asked whether it would not make sense if Leica just exchanged the glass for another one, as Zeiss had done in a similar situation (faulty focuser)

- Leica Switzerland replied forthwith and informed me that they could not arrange for an exchange, but they could offer me a temporary replacement for the duration of the repair, but it would be an 8x42 and not a 7x42

- Still on Aug. 30, I replied and said ok to the replacement glass.

- On Sep. 2, I received the 8x42 replacement Ultravid together with an invoice over CHF 2’690.00 and a note “on loan for the duration of the repair. The Ultravid came in its case and with the neck strap, but no eyecups nor objective covers

- On Sep. 6, I received a letter in the mail from Leica Switzerland, informing me that unfortunately the repair, which normally would take just a few days, would this time “take considerably more time”.

- On Sep. 24, I emailed Leica Switzerland again and asked about the state of affairs. I also asked I should contact Leica Wetzlar directly to get further information, since they had sent the binocular there

- In the m morning of Sep. 25, Leica Switzerland replied by email and informed me that “sports optics are being produced and serviced in Portugal since quite some time. The factory in Portugal had had a reduced staff working during the summer holidays which leads to delays. We have asked Portugal about this matter and will inform you once we get an answer from there”.

- On Sep. 25, afternoon, I got another email from Leica Switzerland: “The parcel with the repairs dispatched to Portugal unfortunately got stuck at the customs, and for a long time nobody became aware. We hope things will now proceed.”

-----

So: it will soon be 2 ½ months and I don’t even know whether my Ultravid has already arrived at its destination, Leica Portugal.
It took already a full month for the Swiss service center to find out that they could not repair the binocular themselves.

I plan to email them again in the second half of October to ask about news. I still don’t understand why Leica did not just exchange the binocular against a new one.

And: I am being told all sports optics, including the Ultravids, are being made in Portugal for some years now – on the box of my Ultravid, there is a clear note “Made in Germany” (I know, one should not believe such declarations of origin too much, but still …)

Canip
 

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tenex

reality-based
Thanks for sharing this story, and please keep us informed... also of the nature of those spots!

I was puzzled about customs until I discovered that Switzerland isn't in the EU... (Congratulations.) This is a perfect kind of foul-up because busy people have to notice that something has simply never appeared. The question would be, was it only a delay or was someone at Leica notified of a problem that they did nothing about? I just went through that last year with a transmission from England, which was held up for weeks in New York because some necessary form hadn't been supplied.

By the way, our Trinovid BR 10x42 (about 5 years old now) is marked "Made in Portugal", as I believe the pocket ones also are. But Ultravids do say "Germany"... one wonders what the difference could be.
 
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Pileatus

"Experientia Docet”
United States
I think to be fair, we ought to report not only the negative events and situations which we encounter when dealing with binocular service and repairs, but also the positive ones, and I promise not to forget to do so after my next positive experience!

But first, I have to report my current experience with the Leica Customer Service, and it is unfortunately not so good.

Here is the chronology of events:

- On July 29, 2019 I sent my Ultravid 7x42, serial number 1596540, to the Swiss Leica Service Center. The Ultravid is 4 years old and suddenly exhibited internal fogging (of a nature I have not seen before, lots of little dots on the internal optical surfaces). I attached the purchasing documentation / warranty certificate. The binocular arrived a Leica’s service center on July 30.

- After not hearing anything for a month, I emailed the service center on August 29 and asked for news.

- On August 30, the “head of technical customer service” replied by email that they had contacted Leica’s “Main Office” and been told to send the Ultravid there “since this is a special case of leakage. The Quality Department would like to inspect the glass in order to prevent this kind of leakage in the future”.

- I replied the same day, Aug. 30, by email that this seemed to mean that the repair would take long, and asked whether it would not make sense if Leica just exchanged the glass for another one, as Zeiss had done in a similar situation (faulty focuser)

- Leica Switzerland replied forthwith and informed me that they could not arrange for an exchange, but they could offer me a temporary replacement for the duration of the repair, but it would be an 8x42 and not a 7x42

- Still on Aug. 30, I replied and said ok to the replacement glass.

- On Sep. 2, I received the 8x42 replacement Ultravid together with an invoice over CHF 2’690.00 and a note “on loan for the duration of the repair. The Ultravid came in its case and with the neck strap, but no eyecups nor objective covers

- On Sep. 6, I received a letter in the mail from Leica Switzerland, informing me that unfortunately the repair, which normally would take just a few days, would this time “take considerably more time”.

- On Sep. 24, I emailed Leica Switzerland again and asked about the state of affairs. I also asked I should contact Leica Wetzlar directly to get further information, since they had sent the binocular there

- In the m morning of Sep. 25, Leica Switzerland replied by email and informed me that “sports optics are being produced and serviced in Portugal since quite some time. The factory in Portugal had had a reduced staff working during the summer holidays which leads to delays. We have asked Portugal about this matter and will inform you once we get an answer from there”.

- On Sep. 25, afternoon, I got another email from Leica Switzerland: “The parcel with the repairs dispatched to Portugal unfortunately got stuck at the customs, and for a long time nobody became aware. We hope things will now proceed.”

-----

So: it will soon be 2 ½ months and I don’t even know whether my Ultravid has already arrived at its destination, Leica Portugal.
It took already a full month for the Swiss service center to find out that they could not repair the binocular themselves.

I plan to email them again in the second half of October to ask about news. I still don’t understand why Leica did not just exchange the binocular against a new one.

And: I am being told all sports optics, including the Ultravids, are being made in Portugal for some years now – on the box of my Ultravid, there is a clear note “Made in Germany” (I know, one should not believe such declarations of origin too much, but still …)

Canip

Question...
Did you see these "dots" from the objective side only?

My 7X42 Ultravid (2004) had "speckles" inside both tubes but they were only visible from the objective side. I did not see anything from the eyepieces, though some degradation could have been occurring. After many years I sent them in for repair. They came back refurbished and optically upgraded in like-new condition. Since the hinge was brand new I thought maybe it was just a replacement. In any case...service was perfect.

Good luck with your repair.
 

chill6x6

Well-known member
Mercy....The right hand of Leica truly doesn't know what the left hand is doing. Loaner binoculars however, is a very nice gesture!
 

Canip

Well-known member
Question...
Did you see these "dots" from the objective side only?
.....
.....
.....

Yes, I did not see the speckles (I was looking for that word ;)) from the eyepiece side - yet, but I had the feeling they were growing into sort of a layer over time, that‘s what made me send the bino in (and, as I learned, Leica seems to think it has to do with some leakage problem).
 

Binastro

Well-known member
Is it small oil droplets from grease depositing on the glass surface forming a layer?

Although I thought Leica doesn't use grease in the focus mechanism.

Maybe not from outside the binocular.

Regards,
B.
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
Thanks for sharing this story, and please keep us informed... also of the nature of those spots!

I was puzzled about customs until I discovered that Switzerland isn't in the EU... (Congratulations.) This is a perfect kind of foul-up because busy people have to notice that something has simply never appeared. The question would be, was it only a delay or was someone at Leica notified of a problem that they did nothing about? I just went through that last year with a transmission from England, which was held up for weeks in New York because some necessary form hadn't been supplied.

By the way, our Trinovid BR 10x42 (about 5 years old now) is marked "Made in Portugal", as I believe the pocket ones also are. But Ultravids do say "Germany"... one wonders what the difference could be.

If Leica's camera and lens manufacturing history is anything to go by i.e if there is some overriding philosophy or policy about manufacturing parity between different countries, there should be no difference. For years the eminent optical scientist Dr Walter Mandler who designed a number of breakthrough lenses such as the Noctilux f/1 50mm, Summilux f/1.4 35mm, Summilux f/1.4 75mm and many others worked from Leitz's Canadian operation in Midland, Ontario. In terms of quality and workmanship there is no difference between the Canadian-made photographic equipment and identical cameras and lenses earlier or later in Wetzlar or Solms in Germany. Collectors however often prefer the German-made items. I have several Canadian-made items and can vouch for their reliability. For the record I think the Midland factory is still in use as part of the Raytheon concern. (I believe the Midland plant was called the ELCAN factory, being Ernst Leitz Canada.)

All I can say is perhaps this policy carried over to binocular manufacture too. Certainly Portugal has also been a location for Leica production for about 40 years now, with the Leica R system being produced there.

Tom
 
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Canip

Well-known member
I think the Leica facility in Portugal has proven over the years that it is capable of producing very good instruments, with a quality indistinguishable from anything made in Germany.
If what Leica Switzerland told me is true and all Leica sports optics are actually made in Portugal, what I just don‘t understand is how Leica can mark the Trinovids and all pocket binoculars „Made in Portugal“, while the Noctivid, Ultravid (except x20 models), Geovid and Duovid are still labelled „Made in Germany“. Of course, „Germany„ still sells well. But at least it should be true.
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
I think the Leica facility in Portugal has proven over the years that it is capable of producing very good instruments, with a quality indistinguishable from anything made in Germany.
If what Leica Switzerland told me is true and all Leica sports optics are actually made in Portugal, what I just don‘t understand is how Leica can mark the Trinovids and all pocket binoculars „Made in Portugal“, while the Noctivid, Ultravid (except x20 models), Geovid and Duovid are still labelled „Made in Germany“. Of course, „Germany„ still sells well. But at least it should be true.

Hi Canip

There is a legal definition of what 'made in Germany' means and if your product accords with this definition then this how it must be labelled. For example fitting the eyepiece to the binos may be sufficient for it to fall within the definition of 'made in Germany'. Clearly Leica reserves this accolade for its top line binos.

I have no inside knowledge about this but, I think it is reasonable to suggest that the one group of people one might expect to have observed binocular production at the new Leitz-Park are Leica bino dealers. I know several dealers who have been invited to visit Leitz-Park. I don't know any dealer who has witnessed binocular production there.

Personally I don't find this disturbing in the slightest as Leica Portugal has proved years ago that it makes good kit.

Lee
 

Canip

Well-known member
Hi Canip

There is a legal definition of what 'made in Germany' means and if your product accords with this definition then this how it must be labelled. For example fitting the eyepiece to the binos may be sufficient for it to fall within the definition of 'made in Germany‘........
.....
.....
.....

Hi Lee,
No, under German law, fitting the eyepieces would clearly not be sufficient to justify the „Made in Germany“ label (I have also handled trademark and competition law cases during my active time so I should know;)), but maybe we return the discussion to what this forum is about and hope that German and Portuguese optics will give their owners equal pleasure |:d|
 

Troubador

Moderator
Staff member
Supporter
Hi Lee,
No, under German law, fitting the eyepieces would clearly not be sufficient to justify the „Made in Germany“ label (I have also handled trademark and competition law cases during my active time so I should know;)), but maybe we return the discussion to what this forum is about and hope that German and Portuguese optics will give their owners equal pleasure |:d|

Thank you Canip.

Lee
 

Binastro

Well-known member
I don't know whether the Leica Canadian factory was called Elcan, but the lenses made there are called Elcan.

For instance, the lenses in 1.5 inch, 1.75 inch, 3 inch, 6 inch and 12 inch focal length were called Elcan for the Vinten F95, taking 70mm double sprocket film.

These cameras also used Wild 98mm f/1.4 lenses made in Switzerland.

Earlier, the lenses used were made by Taylor Hobson and then Rank Taylor Hobson in the U.K.

Nowadays it is difficult to know where things are made.

B.

P.S.
The Leica R system was originally a tie up with Minolta, being based on the Minolta XE cameras.
Several Leica lenses were actually made by Minolta, albeit going through Leica quality control.

Some of the Leica and Minolta rangefinder cameras are basically the same also.
 
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Gaz Shilton

Well-known member
Was thinking of sending my Duovids in for service. After reading this thread I might forget about them and buy Swarovski instead!!
 

dries1

Member
Regardless of where they are made, hopefully Canip will his glass repaired as new. This sounds like Leica customer service is a bit confused, perhaps if it were a HD+ a newer glass, there would be no issues with parts.
Hope it works out Canip.

Andy W.
 

SeldomPerched

Well-known member
I don't know whether the Leica Canadian factory was called Elcan, but the lenses made there are called Elcan.

Binastro,

Interesting point. Certainly the company was called Ernst Leitz Canada and in various articles about Leitz' setting up production in Canada the concern is called ELCAN, though personally I tend to associate the name more with lenses.

As you will know, other names such as Elmar, Elmax, Elmarit were used for certain focal lengths or designs of lenses and do not refer to a factory or region.

My favourite story is the the Elmax was named after Max Berek's dog (not after him) as was the Hektor, another of his dogs.

Tom
 

Canip

Well-known member
Regardless of where they are made, hopefully Canip will his glass repaired as new. .....
.....
.....

.... and here is the "end of the story":

I got my UV back today from Leica Switzerland, who seem to have gotten it back from Leica Portugal last week.
So the bino's journey has overall lasted over 11 weeks, a bit long for essentially a cleaning job.

All seems well now.

The accompanying note says "24 months warranty on spare parts used and work performed" (which is interesting, since the original warranty period is still running ... maybe the 2 years are on top of the main warranty period, but just on the affected parts ;)

The note further mentions the following work performed (tentative translation):

"General inspection and cleaning
Replacement of designated parts ((since none are mentioned, I don't know which ones))
Function control
Reassembly of body
Inspection on optical bank
Cleaning and repair of optics ((?))
Optical adjustment
Overall adjustment"

Total time spent on all of this according to Leica's note: 1.5 hours.

Leica asked me to rate their work, which I will do.

Pinac
 
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dries1

Member
Canip,

I will second what TXdefender stated. Like you I am curious what parts were replaced. ..anyhow, hope they are in good working order. Better late than never.

Andy W.
 

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