Wray Defiant 10x35 binoculars
Wray Defiant 10x35 binoculars (1950s). These binoculars offered useful magnification and a compact size

(*) In 1949 catalogue

In the 1950s Wray offered a wide range of binoculars from the cheap end of the market up to the most exclusive. In 1954 the Clearvu 8x30 retailed for £13 9s 3d; the range-topping Brystar 8x60 for £47 10s. Rivals Ross and Barr & Stroud concentrated on the top end of the market only.

Clearvu 8x30

This was Wray's entry level binocular in 1954. The version without bloomed (coated) lens sold for £13 9s 3d.

For this price you only got a fibreboard case instead of a leather one. Field of view was also less then Wray's other 8x30 binoculars, the popular Magnivu and the expensive Raylite.

Price 1954: £13 9s 3d (uncoated lenses), £15 11s 3d (coated lenses)

Crystar 6x30

Crystar was a civilian version of the binoculars Wray produced for the RAF in the Second World War. It was significantly lighter than the military version. It weighed just 15½oz.

Wray made both eyepiece focusing and central focusing models.

Price 1954: £19 2s 6d (eyepiece focusing), £21 15s (centre focusing)

Magnivu 8x30

The Magnivu was made in the popular 8x30 size. It was aimed at horse racing enthusiasts and anyone who wanted general purpose binoculars.

Price 1954: £18

Raylite 8x30

Weighing just 15½oz and having a field of view of 8.6° the Raylite was a useful binocular. It retailed for £26 4d in 1952.

Price 1954: £25

Flight 9x35

The Flight had 'bloomed' or coated lenses. It was like to the Ross Stepruva. This proved a popular size. It was a bit more powerful than the standard 8x30 glasses and offered better vision on dull days due the slightly larger objective lenses. However, it was still a compact size and easy to carry.

Price 1954: £25

Defiant 10x35

The Defiant, introduced in the early 1950s, was a more powerful version of the Magnivu. It was available both with bloomed or non-bloomed lenses. The 10x35 spec offered a high magnification in a compact binocular. The Defiant with bloomed lenses cost £21 10s in 1954. It was in the middle of Wray's range.

Price 1954: £19 (uncoated lenses), £21 10s (coated lenses)

Wrayvu 9x40

The Wrayvu 9x40 was aimed at the popular sporting market. It had combined powerful magnification with a larger objective lens. Field of view as less good compared with other Wray binoculars. In 1960 the Wrayvu 9x40 cost £18 18s.

The Wrayvu 9x40 competed with the Ross Solaross 9x35 which offered similar performance and similar weight. The Ross 9x35 sold for a similar price - £19 9s 9d. The Which? report for June 1960, 'Prismatic Binoculars', rated the Ross as better on optical and mechanical quality.

Price 1970: £19 9s 9d


Brystar was Wray's best binocular.

It was a larger Zeiss-style binocular offered in 7x50 or 10x50 form. By 1954 it was also available as an 8x40 and an 8x60. The 7x50 glass was meant for night vision or nautical use. The 10x50 was increasingly popular for general use.

The Brystar was the most expensive of Wray's range in the 1950s. The 8x60 cost £47 10s

Prices (1954)

Wray binoculars - data

ModelField of view at 1000 yardsExit pupilWeight
Crystar 6x30142 yards5mm17oz
Brystar 7x50126 yards7.1mm30oz
Wraylite 8x30148 yards3.75mm15½oz
Magnivu 8x30126 yards3.75mm21oz
Clearvu 8x30110 yards3.75mm21oz
Flight 9x35132 yards4mm18½oz
Wrayvu 9x40100 yards4.3mm22oz
Defiant 10x35104 yards3.5mm23oz
Farvu 10x40115 yards4mm20½oz
Brystar 7x50126 yards7.1mm30oz
Brystar 10x50112 yards5mm30o½oz
Brystar 8x40148 yards5mm25oz
Brystar 8x60148 yards7.5mm40oz

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Robert Gregory

The Wray Brystar 8x60 had a field of 99yds at 1000yds - probably a "slip of the pen" in your list above.

Hello I have a pair of Wray Tristar 6x30 binoculars Numbers on them are - 199447 Or 1240-99-960-6903 Can you tell me value and a bit about hem please . I have thd original leather Homa case
My Brystars Are 15x60, One to add to the list
Hello, I have the Wray & London Wide Angle Coated "Tower" 6 x 30 binoculars (# 102038). Do you know the value?
Howard Smith
I have a pair of 7x50 Wray binoculars. Serial no. 205010. Can you tell me when they were made. Thanks Howard
Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles

Retrowow - vintage, retro and social history

★ Mid Century ★ Facts & Figures ★ Collectibles ★