U-Boat 7×50 Binoculars

SKU 062321-4546 Category
062321-4546 (5)5

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Formally classified as the Doppelfernrohr 7X50 für U-Boote or more simply as U-Bootglas 7X50, these binoculars were only issued to U-boat for use by watchmen and commanders. Carl Zeiss (blc code) produced almost all these binoculars and only a very limited number are found with the wartime code cxn for Emil Busch, Rathenow. Sources also refer to these binoculars as 7x50H, the H, meaning Helligkeit, or brightness, refers to the increased view brightness in low-light environments. Because of the need to see the slightest details along the horizon or in the air during any possible light or weather conditions, this model is the best low-light capable binocular produced by the Germans during WWII, making them highly sought after by collectors, optics enthusiasts, and outdoor hobbyists alike (ads for them can be found in vintage, post war surplus catalogs). Manufactured from 1941-45, three variants were produced – all specifically for use on U-Boats. The first variant, from 1941-43, had folding Bakelite eyecups and no rubber armoring. The second, likely made only in 1943, had rubber armoring without the Bakelite eyecups. Both models are incredible rare due to heavy use and losses during the war. More commonly seen are the third model, made from 1943-45. These have rubberized (synthetic) armoring and larger diameter eye lenses. The binoculars are of extremely sturdy construction that is weatherproofed (desiccation cartridges are installed in each barrel) to withstand both the damp environment inside the U-boat as well as the obviously wet conditions on the conning tower. The focus is fixed and can only be adjusted with a special tool inserted into the nut under the rubber armor, near the ocular. As such, these binoculars were likely issued to individual sailors and U-Boat commanders (focus being set in port at time of issue) for use during shifts at watch or surface operations. To my knowledge, no model variant has a strichplatte (reticle) as their primary purpose was for finding threats/targets quickly upon surfacing, without visual distraction.

The pair for sale here is a very rare example of the third model variant with rare multi-coated lenses. These coatings were only applied in limited quantities in 1944 only and are identified by the different colors of the ocular lenses (one red and one blue). The standard heavy duty rubber armoring around the oculars and objective lenses remains flexible and is not cracked. The finish is the late, smooth olive non-textured paint. Original leather neck strap is present and broken. Service wear reveals underlying red priming paint and bare aluminum is some small spots – this pair went to sea! No fungal growth is visible in the barrels. The view is excellent with a clarity of 1 on a hazy scale of 1-10 (10 equaling pea soup fog). See pictures for overall condition.

Additional information


Carl Zeiss (blc code)