In a relatively short time, William Optics has established itself and its products as one of the world leaders in short-tube, highly-portable refractors, and has achieved quality recognition for many accessories such as the well celebrated WO Diagonals.
We plan to keep producing fine instruments both for the entry-level and the top-end segments. In the coming year, you will have many pleasant surprises: on top of a whole new range of larger Apochromatic telescopes, we will begin marketing new accessories and binoculars for all pockets.
Far from limiting ourselves to astronomy, in accordance to the founders’ passion for nature in all its aspects, we will increase our efforts to produce superior products for the bird-watching enthusiast and the casual observer alike.
Our reputation for high-end but affordable telescopes and accessories has been expanding constantly on the five continents. There are now few countries where a serious stargazer cannot appreciate the optical and mechanical excellence of a William Optics telescope.
With more than 70 Authorized WO Dealers in 35 countries, and a production base in the most advanced countries for optical and mechanical technologies (USA, Germany, Japan, Russia, Taiwan), we can guarantee a prompt customer service and prices no other high-quality brand can afford.
William Optics’ cooperation with some of the most famous companies, both as our suppliers and partners and as OEM clients, our established international presence and a growing market response and appreciation, testify to our commitment to deliver only the very best to you.
We are totally focused on offering you premium optics paired with unrivalled mechanics, all for an outstanding final value!
Our philosophy of “More quality for Less money” is aimed at making instruments outside the reach of the average pocket, such as apochromatic refractors, affordable and easy to get hold of for anybody who wants to.
We look forward to your emails at any time.
Cloudynights' interview to William Optics' president William Yang
The Proud History of ‘William Optics’
By William Yang
My interest in astronomy started when I was a third grader in elementary school because I enjoyed following my Dad while hunting wild ducks during the night. I vividly remember one winter twilight in 1978 when I noticed a very bright star twinkling madly in the sky. It had the most amazing blue color, and I was obsessed with its beauty, so I wanted to learn more about the stars. When I found out it was Sirius, our brightest star, I started falling love with the mysteries of the Universe!
I remember one time in 1979, when I borrowed my grandma’s glasses and used a cheap eyepiece from my school’s old retired microscope to make my first telescope. It was a really crude design, but it was a start.
I rolled a newspaper as my main tube and inserted my grandma’s single lens from his glasses, taped the eyepiece in the rear and that was it. I had made my first real telescope! It had huge coma and looked a little rough, but it worked, and I was stoked!
A Change of Direction
In 1982 my family moved from Taiwan to California. My parents wanted me to have a better education and the chance to experience the benefits of the western culture. My life and vision has totally changed since then. I grew to love the Californian night sky, and really enjoyed it, because it’s so much better than what we saw from our home in Taiwan.
1986 was a very special astronomical year for me. I was 18 years old and I was excited about what I was hoping to see in the night sky. The most amazing comet in history, Halley’s Comet, was swinging by in a few months’ time and I wanted to be ready for it.
I got prepared by working as hard as possible to save enough money to buy myself a good refractor telescope. I bought an orange Celestron 80mm F9 refractor, with a black NP mount. It was my dream scope back then.
How WO (William Optics) was Born
In 1993 I finished my BA degree and returned to Taiwan. I attended one of the world’s most famous Star Parties in Japan and saw many beautiful astronomical instruments, which were quite different from the equipment being used in the USA at the time. Asian astronomers were much more interested in Astro Imaging than the backyard observers in America were.
I also visited Takahashi, Showa and many famous telescope retail stores in Japan. I was so amazed and inspired by the CEO of Takahashi when he took me on a tour of the factory, and showed me how they make their beautiful top quality[D1] telescopes! I vowed that day to make my dreams come true.
A Humble New Beginning
Over the next 2 years I worked very hard, finally starting my own company “William Optics” in 1996. The goal was very clear - to produce affordable, top quality refractor telescopes that people would be proud to own. My first short tube model refractor was a golden trim model in 2001. Known as the Megrez 80F6, it was favorably reviewed in a following edition of Sky &Telescopes magazine.
In early 2000, I met Mr. Tony Hallas, the renowned Astrophotograper, and gained so much valuable knowledge from him. At the time I was an AP (Astro Physics) enthusiast. I owned many AP Refractors including the 105mm, 130mm, 155mm and 180mm f7 models, as well as their German Equatorial Mounts, the AP 1200 and 900 GTO. In fact, I’m still using the 1200 mount today!
After studying the quality and performance of the Takahashi and AP scopes, I knew that I could make a high-quality APO (Apochromatic Refractor) myself. I visited some of the top companies including TEC, TMB, APM in Germany and LZOS in Russia. I searched for the best materials available and for the best designs for an APO, and gained a great deal of information about making our own APO refractors.
Creativity & Invention Leads the Way
One important characteristic about me is that I’m an artist, and I love art. I love Frederic Chopin and Mozart, and play their music on my piano whenever I can. I admire their sheer genius, and their music inspired me to make a refractor that mimics their art.
I succeeded in my goal so well that others started copying my ideas. I was the first person to invent the retractable dew shield on a refractor. The idea came from my Dad’s Japanese fishing pole. I figured, if a 12ft fishing pole can be retracted into a compact 2ft length then a telescope dew shield could be done the same way, and I did it! This design is still used today.
The William Optics Signature Mirror Diagonal
The development of two triangular carbon plates for the diagonal sides was inspired by seeing the cutting of Sushi. This is the truth! The carbon plate looks just like a Sushi skin, which makes it a perfect and precise creation for our production. It’s truly a great diagonal and very affordable. My vision always includes making a piece of art, not just an ordinary accessory.
The diagonal was patented in the US and China and quickly became so successful that copy-cat versions appeared. The copiers didn’t respect my copyright and to this day, copies are still turning up, which is a shame!
On the World Stage
In 2005, I was invited by the originators of the UK Astro Show to take part and present my new ZenithStar 66 telescope to the famous UK astronomer and broadcaster Sir Patrick Moore for his educational use. It was an honor to have met and known him.
In 2007 William Optics joined in a venture with Ferrari, the world-renowned supercar manufacturer. WO and Ferrari collaborated to invent a fashionable, carbon fiber, light weight refractor, for telephoto lenses known as the ZenithStar 70 F430. This joint venture also led to the F1 binoculars. William Optics graciously donated the product for a charity fundraiser, with the scope raising a whopping $5000 Euros! I’m proud to say that WO was the first carbon fiber tube refractor on the market!
Back to the Future.
William Optics never stops in our mission to provide quality, affordable products. Service has been our goal for the past 20 years, with a growing number of customers and friends, enjoying and sharing in our success.
Creativity and usability are always a priority for our designs. Our dream is now a reality, and we not only want to continue inspiring people to get excited about astronomy, we also want to continue helping them make their own astronomical memories.
Finally, I want to thank to all of our happy customers from the past 20 years, and look forward to new relationships in the future!
Let’s enjoy the night sky together and a happy life as one family. Thank you again for your long and valued support.
- William Yang (2017)