"Zeiss Experience" Lenses

Discussion in 'Optometry Archives' started by Andy-J, Apr 2, 2007.

  1. Andy-J

    Andy-J Guest

    What the devil are these? It seems unlikely (to me) that Zeiss would
    retool just to do a lens for Walmart. But I see all kinds of
    speculation that lenses sold by WM are just renamed existing lenses -
    some of which are high end.

    So does anyone know what these are? Renamed Gradals? Renamed duds
    from the discontinued bin? Essilor ovations? (that's a joke -- I
    Andy-J, Apr 2, 2007
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  2. Andy-J

    Mark A Guest

    I am not sure about the Zeiss Experience, but the NikonEyes Customized sold
    by Walmart is really the Essilor Accolade Freedom, which is the Essilor
    version of the Varilux Physio 360 (Essilor owns Varilux). Essilor obtained
    the marketing rights to the Nikon brand in the USA through a joint venture
    with Nikon.
    Mark A, Apr 2, 2007
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  3. Andy-J

    Andy-J Guest

    Yeah, that's a good case in point. I have seen this information
    posted many times, but only once has someone cited their source, and
    it was a Walmart "buyer" on a car phone--which leaves me pretty
    unconvinced. The "Essilor owns Varilux" appears alot too, but that
    doesn't mean anything in itself. Of course, it makes it more likely
    that there could be a relationship between products if the companies
    are part of the same parent, but often it is cited as evidence that
    they work together--and separate corporations owned by the same parent
    are often (actually, VERY often) competitors just like everyone

    By the way, none of this is to question you or your sources personally
    -- it is just an illustration as to why I brought it up: I saw it
    posted somewhere the the Zeiss Expereince is really the Gradal Top
    (can't remember the rationale) -- same thread a little later, someone
    says it is a lens specically made by Zeiss for WM, and cites a
    telephone call with a Zeiss exec.

    So is everyone guessing, or is there a way to find this out for sure?
    Andy-J, Apr 2, 2007
  4. Andy-J

    Mark A Guest

    Since I am the one who personally spoke to the Wal-Mart buyer on the car
    phone (call was transferred from the headquarters in Bentonville AR), I can
    tell you that the information posted was correct. I spent a fair amount of
    time talking to the buyer, and he knows what he is talking about. In fact,
    the lenses are made in the Essilor Avisia lab in Dallas instead of the
    normal Walmart lab (I believe in Indiana). Even your local Walmart store can
    verify the lens comes from the Essilor lab in Dallas.

    Anyone in the optical business will tell you that the Essilor Natural is the
    Essilor version of Varilux Comfort. The technology in the Varilux does
    trickle down (on some lenses) to the Essilor brand. There may be slight
    differences, but it is basically the same. One reason for keeping the brands
    separate is the Varilux is sold through independent opticals and the Essilor
    lenses are sold by the large national chains. The reason for this is that
    independents do not like to directly compete against the large chains or
    otherwise they would not agree to carry the Varilux brand.

    It may be that Zeiss is trying to follow the same dual branding strategy to
    expand in the big box opitcals, and they have a new model name for the one
    sold in Walmart that is different name for the same lens sold by independent
    opticals. Or the Zeiss Experience could actually be a Sola or AO lens
    instead of Zeiss, since Zeiss bought Sola (and Sola previously bought AO).
    Zeiss (like Nikon) is a more well known and prestigious brand than Sola or
    AO (because of their long association with camera lenses).
    Mark A, Apr 3, 2007
  5. Andy-J

    Mark A Guest

    Let me clarify one thing. I spoke to him on his regular cell phone, while he
    was driving in his car traveling between cities. It was not a "car phone".
    Mark A, Apr 3, 2007
  6. Andy-J

    Andy-J Guest

    Thanks for the clarification, Mark. Like I said, my little diatribe
    wasn't intended to be directed at anyone in particular since I don't
    know one way or the other -- and the WM buyer on the carphone/cell
    phone is a bad example, it turns out -- but it is similar to what is
    sometimes posted, and then directly contradcited, etc. etc. So that
    leads me to wonder if there is some objective source, and I tend to
    think there is not. Looks like you gotta know somebody, like you
    apparently do in the case of NikonEyes.
    Andy-J, Apr 3, 2007
  7. Andy-J

    Mark A Guest

    I did not know him. I contacted several Walmart stores to find out what the
    NikonEyes lens really was (not listed on any Nikon website). After a few
    days, one of the regional optical mangers gave me a number at Walmart
    Headquarters to call. After exchanging a few phone calls with people in the
    optical purchasing department at Walmart HQ, they finally transferred me to
    the guy on his cell phone who knew all the answers.

    As I recall, the NikonEyes Customized costs about $375 at Walmart just for
    the lenses. That is not exactly cheap, so I have reason to doubt his story.
    The Varilux Physio 360 normally costs about $500 at independent opticals
    (depending on material type), and the price difference is about what I would
    expect for Walmart.

    BTW, I am not sure what contradiction you have seen. Let me know and I will
    clear it up.
    Mark A, Apr 3, 2007
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