Friday, May 6, 2016

Swarovski CL Pocket 10x25 Binoculars Review

Update (June 30, 2016)

After some additional phone calls with Swarovski Service they agreed to expedite repair on both our pocket CL's. We've been hiking with them since the end of May and have traveled over 400 trail miles. I'm happy to report that so far everything is great. Their reported new hinge bushing design appears to be holding up very well. If this keeps up we will likely change our recommendation to buy. A few more months and 1500 more miles will tell the final story. We're encouraged!


As we have some time, I thought I'd put together a couple of gear reviews.  

Swarovski CL Pocket 10x25 Binoculars Review

The good – Swarovski glass and light weight

The bad – Mechanical design, durability, repair

Bottom line:  Do NOT buy

Let me start out by saying, I really hate giving a do not buy recommendation, but based on the problems I have had, and the problems Bob’s pair is developing, this product just isn’t robust enough for continuous field use and Swarovski repair isn’t up to the task.

First, the good.  Swarovski glass is the finest on the planet, bar none.  Yes, I have looked through all the major binoculars, and let me just say these small binoculars have such amazing glass I have used them while leading field trips for festivals.  The glass is simply that good and it measures up nicely with all the large binoculars out there.

The other big plus is that these binoculars weigh so little I can have them around my neck for 12 hours a day and not feel a thing.  And that is why I bought them.  I spend hundreds and hundreds of hours in the field a year walking and hiking and my large heavy binoculars were killing me.  Not a problem with the Pocket 10x25.

Now for the other side of the story.  Swarovski mechanical design leaves something to be desired – usefulness and durability.  My pair is on its way to be repaired for the second time, leaving me in the lurch on the PCT, and no amount of money or cajoling can get Swarovski to repair them in a timely manner.  My lesson learned here is that if Swarovski sends back your optics as “repaired” and they are only partially “repaired” send them back immediately.  Putting up with substandard service is ridiculous.  Too bad it took me so long to learn this lesson.

So, what mechanical problems are there:  the right side of my binoculars flops around like a fish on the bank (second time to try and fix this -- they came defective from the factory with this problem).  During the first “repair” Swarovski played with the diopter adjustment and now that the right side is swinging freely again, the eye pieces no longer can be made to focus together.  This is not a small problem, but a huge disaster.

Based on my initial enthusiastic reaction to these binoculars, Bob also bought a pair.  His left eye piece is starting to slowly sag out of place.  We are hoping they will make it for the rest of the PCT, but are not optimistic based on my experience.

Bottom line on Swarovski CL Pocket 10x25 Binoculars is “swear off ski” – save your hard earned money for a more robust and long lasting design. 


  1. I sent this to a friend who sells Swarovski. Maybe he can help. Doesn't hurt to try.

  2. Oh great. Chris and I both have a pair.

  3. I had similar problems with my 8.5x42 pair. The loop for the strap broke and they fell off my neck and got bent up. When the loop broke, the argon gas leaked and my eyepiece got bent so I could no longer adjust it. Swarovski charged me $150 (I talked them down to $100) and took over a month to repair them (they expedited them only after I paid the ransom). I thought repairs were free but I guess if you use them for a year or two before sending them in, they won't cover the repairs. And then they fixed only one side, not fixing the dent in the end of the other barrel.

  4. Weight being an important factor, is a monocular an option? Seems no other binocular close to 12.3 oz while the mono styles run 3-4 oz. Just curious.

    1. My binoculars have basically been a monocular and I have serious problems closing one eye and seeing anything.

  5. This is great information. I wish it could be made more widely available in order to warn prospective customers, and to put pressure on Swarovski to treat their high paying customers better.