AN UNIQUE HUMAN, INDUSTRIAL AND BUSINESS ADVENTURE

Essilor is the result of a unique and nearly 170 year human, industrial and business adventure, which has seen the transformation of an artisanal spectacle maker, established in Paris in 1849 and which rapidly expanded in the Meuse region, into a Group of 69,000 people across the world. Our story is built on strong foundations that nourish Essilor’s culture even today: innovation, partnerships, international openness, entrepreneurial spirit and human values.

2018

EssilorLuxottica

Essilor and Delfin successfully complete the combination of Essilor and Luxottica by creating EssilorLuxottica, a global leader in the eyecare and eyewear industry.

Vision-R™ 800

Essilor’s Instruments introduces the Vision-R™ 800 phoropter thereby re-inventing the eye exam to make refraction more precise, more comfortable for the patient and easier to perform for the practitioner.

Crizal® Sapphire™ 360°

Essilor innovates for clearer vision from every angle. Essilor’s Crizal® Sapphire™ 360° lenses bring a new approach to tackling light reflections indoors and outdoors for a better clarity of vision.

2017

Essilor and Luxottica

Essilor and Delfin sign an agreement designed to create, with the combination of Essilor and Luxottica, a global integrated player in the eyewear industry dedicated to visual health and delivering a superior consumer experience.

Varilux® X series™

Essilor launches Varilux® X series™ its breakthrough innovation for presbyopes which extends the volume of vision within arm’s reach so people can enjoy all the details of everyday life without having to tilt or angle their head.

Essilor and FIA partnership

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and Essilor announce a 3-year partnership to raise awareness on the importance of good vision for road safety.

2016

Eye Protect System™

Essilor launches a breakthrough innovation: Eye Protect System™. This new embedded technology enables the lens to selectively filter blue-light on fully transparent lenses. The lenses protect the retina against blue-violet light while letting essential blue-turquoise light through. With this major innovation, to be progressively deployed on all Group products, Essilor contributes to improving the visual health of a greater number of people.

Our Children’s Vision

Vision For Life co-founds a global coalition with the Brien Holden Vision Institute to focus on children’s vision care. “Our Children’s Vision” brings together governments, development agencies, the private sector, eye health practitioners and communities with the goal of screening 50 million children worldwide for vision impairments by 2020.

The Special Lens Lab

Essilor’s SL Lab makes a record-breaking -108 diopter lens for a photographer living in Slovakia with a complex combination of eye conditions. The Special Lens Lab at Ligny-en-Barrois, France has over 90 people whose skills help provide personalized lens solutions for customers across the world.

2015

Vision for Life, to combat poor vision

With Vision for Life, Essilor creates the largest strategic giving fund in visual health. Objective: to develop, quickly and effectively, access to good vision for underprivileged people worldwide who are not yet equipped.

Accelerating consumer brand recognition

With an investment of more than €200 million, Essilor strengthens its consumer communication.

Technology for connected life

With its Eyezen™ lenses, Essilor demonstrates its ability to anticipate and support changing lifestyles. This innovation meets a new consumer need: protecting eyes from visual fatigue linked to new digital behaviors.

2014

Transitions® joins the Essilor Group

Essilor accelerates its growth strategy. The Group acquires 100% of Transitions Optical Inc, with the aim of expanding the photochromic lens activity.

Essilor grows presence in sunwear and online

The Group strengthens its position in sunwear with the acquisition of strong consumer brands like Costa®, Bolon® and Molsion®, as well as in the sale of optical equipment online with the acquisition of Coastal.com.

A new visual identity

To embody the Group and its mission, Essilor adopts a new visual identity.

2013

Crizal® Prevencia®: protecting the eyes from harmful blue-violet light

Essilor launches Crizal® Prevencia®, the first preventive lenses protecting against harmful blue-violet and UV light. Crizal® Prevencia® was voted one of Canada’s products of the year in 2014.

A Group driven by a mission

True to its values, the Group puts its corporate mission at the heart of its strategy. Recognising the Group’s responsibility as a leader to meet the challenges of good vision across the world, Essilor establishes a corporate and social responsibility board committee and its Mission Division to coordinate, support and stimulate Group initiatives around its mission to improve lives by improving sight. In the same year, Essilor creates the Vision Impact Institute and its social business division 2.5 New Vision Generation.

2012

Inauguration of the first Center for Innovation & Technologies

Innovation is central to the Group’s leadership. In the US Essilor inaugurates its first Center for Innovation and Technologies.

Varilux S Series™: a high-end progressive lens

Essilor makes a major technological advance in the correction of presbyopia with the Varilux S Series™ that is awarded the Silmo d’Or in Paris that year.

Crizal® UV and E-SPF®: for better UV protection

Essilor launches its Crizal® UV lens for effective UV protection. Essilor also introduces in the same year the Eye-Sun Protection Factor (E-SPF®), a new index that aims to help consumers understand the need to protect their eyes from UV rays.

2011

Optifog®, anti-fogging technology

The Optifog® lens brings a hydrophilic coating that eliminates the fogging up of lenses. This innovation earns the 2011 Silmo d’Or award in Paris.

Reading glasses: a source of growth

With the acquisition of StyleMark and its 80,000 sales outlets, Essilor significantly strengthens its presence in non-prescription reading glasses, a market growing twice as fast as that of prescription lenses.

2010

Growth accelerates

Essilor makes two major acquisitions – Shamir Optical and Signet Armorlite. Shamir Optical strengths the Group’s offering in the mid-tier market. Signet Armorlite brings Essilor the exclusive worldwide license for the development, production and distribution of Kodak® lenses.

2009

Major player in reading glasses

With the acquisition of FGX International, North American leader in the design and sale of non-prescription reading glasses and sunglasses, Essilor expands into a new promising segment. FGX International owns the historic brand Foster Grant®, inventor of modern sunglasses in 1929.

Innovation: a driver of growth

Innovation in products and services continues to stimulate the Group’s growth. The same year, Essilor launches Mr Blue – a digital edging system for opticians, Xperio® – a new generation of polarized sunwear lenses and Crizal Forte® – a resistant ultra high-performance lens developed using nanotechnologies.

First steps into e-commerce

Essilor makes its first major acquisition in online with the American company Framesdirect.com

2008

Equipping professionals

With the acquisition of Satisloh, world leader in lens manufacturing and precision optics equipment, Essilor expands its field of activities to offer new products and services to industrial optics manufacturers.

2007

A Foundation for social action

Essilor pursues its commitment to better vision for all through the creation of the Essilor Vision Foundation in the US. Through it, the Group pursues the fight against impaired vision and its lifelong consequences among children.

2006

Varilux® Physio®, high-resolution vision

Essilor R&D teams achieve a new technology breakthrough with Varilux® Physio®. The variations in pupil diameter are taken into account in the design of a lens to offer a higher resolution vision in every gaze direction.

2005

Essilor joins the CAC40

An historic moment for the Group’s employees and shareholders: Essilor joins the CAC40, a leading index on the French stock exchange in Paris. Nearly 1 in every 4 employees across the Group is a shareholder.

2003

Varilux® Ipseo®, personalized progressive lenses

Another advance for progressive lenses: for the first time, Varilux® Ipseo® analyses the area of the lens most used by the individual in their head and eye movement which enables lenses to be personalised to each consumer.

2000

Long-term innovation with Nikon

In creating a joint-venture, Essilor and Nikon decide to combine their R&D capabilities to develop innovative and leading-edge high index corrective lenses. The partnership celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2015.

1998

Serving Asian markets

The first organic lenses are produced by SEOCL, the first Essilor production facility near Shanghai in China to serve growing Asian markets.

1995

Acquisition of Gentex Optics

In acquiring Gentex Optics, Essilor gains a strong position in the high-growth segment of plastic lenses that are light and unbreakable. Essilor launches Airwear® polycarbonate lenses the following year.

1993

Varilux Comfort®, for optimal comfort

The mathematical modeling of lens surfaces enables improved performance and precision. The Varilux Comfort® progressive lens symbolizes these innovations, offering wearers a greater ease of adaptation and unrivalled reading comfort.

1992

Crizal®… tried and tested transparency

With its Crizal® lens, Essilor brings to the market a combination of technologies: anti-reflective, anti-scratch, anti-smudge. Thanks to a hydropohic surface treatment, the lens repels water and grease. It represents a real advancement in organic lenses.

1991

Transitions®, a major photochromic innovation

A joint venture with the American Group PPG creates a major innovation: the launch of the world’s first organic photochromic lens under the Transitions® brand. A lens that darkens depending on the intensity of light.

1986

Essilor of America

Already present in the US over many years, Essilor regroups its subsidiaries there under the name of Essilor of America, headquartered in Dallas, Texas.

1979

Looking to Asia

With the creation of a first organic lens manufacturing site in Philippines, Essilor confirms its international ambitions and looks to Asia.

1976

Innovation first

The expertise of ESSEL and SILOR teams quickly drives innovation: the first organic progressive lens Varilux® Orma.

1975

Essilor listed on the stock market

A goal set at the creation of Essilor group in 1972 was to be listed on the stock exchange within 5 years.

After only three years this is achieved. 40 years later, the Group’s stock market performance remains exceptional: 1 euro invested in 1975 in an Essilor share represented around €400 in 2015.

1974

A second network in France

To support its development, Essilor equips itself with a second network for the French market – BBGR. This company originated from the merger of Benoist-Berthiot, one of the first optical lens surfacing companies dating back to 1846, and Guilbert-Toutit, specialist in glass lenses.

1972

Essilor, a merger of two leading names

Following the death of George Lissac in 1969, the two industrial parts of the Lissac Group, SIL and LOR, merge to create SILOR. In 1972, SILOR then merges with ESSEL. This gives birth to the Essilor group, formed from the coming together of two leading names from the optics world.

1962

SL becomes ESSEL

Just over a century after its creation, the Société des Lunetiers changes its name to ESSEL, adopting a logo that symbolizes an eye.

1959

Varilux® revolution

Bernard Maitenaz, a young engineer who joined SL in 1948, develops and patents a revolutionary concept for a lens with progressively stronger power that enables a more natural correction of presbyopia compared to bi-focal lenses invented in the 18th century by Benjamin Franklin. The Varilux® progressive lens is born.

Orma 1000, first organic lens

LOR, a subsidiary of Lissac specialised in plastic lenses, launches the innovative organic lens ORMA 1000, developed by the teams of René Grandperret in a new material – CR39.

1955

Nylor, a quintessential from the 1950s

With Nylor, SL introduces a breakthrough innovation: a lens held in the upper section of the frame by a nylon thread inserted into a groove running all around the lens for an elegant and ethereal look. A dedicated sales team travels throughout Europe to explain to opticians the technical advantages of this system that is still used today.

1949

Amor, the ‘must-have’ from Lissac

An invention from the Société Industrielle de Lunetterie (SIL), industrial arm of Lissac Brothers, the Armor frame was inspired from the aviator glasses in demand after the Second World War. The name comes from the small shock absorber (‘amortisseur’) on the crossbar, used to absorb some of the strain on the glasses and improve comfort.

1946

Icare: elegant and discreet

With the Second World War, the French discovered ‘mirrored glasses’ worn by American soldiers. In response to this trend, SL launches the high-end Icare frame available in gold-plated metal.

1938

The first optics department store

Ambitious entrepreneur George Lissac opens a first optical store in Paris and goes on to set up the Lissac Brothers company in 1931. In 1938, he creates the revolutionary concept of an optical department store on rue de Rivoli, Paris, where customers can have a free eye test. He also introduces modern promotional techniques (advertising, in-store activities) into the world of optics.

1927

High precision lenses

In 1927 with the Stigmal lens developed by an engineer called Nectoux, SL for the first time in its history begins selling a corrective lens that combines mathematically calculated surface area and high quality glass to guarantee wearers a perfectly clear vision across the entire surface of the lens.

1899

A major player in optical lenses

SL celebrates its 50th anniversary as a worldwide reference in optics with 3 lens factories and 4 that make frames. At the beginning of the First World War, production reaches 7,800,000 lenses a year and diversifies into compasses and precision instruments – a range sold internationally and that gains recognition at world fairs.

1868

Early international ambitions

After Paris, SL sets up in London and starts exporting to Europe, the Middle East, North and South America towards the end of the 19th century. Travelling salesmen promote its products via catalogues in French, English and Spanish.

1849

From a workers’ cooperative to an expanding company

Established in the Marais quarter of Paris, this initial association of spectacle-frame makers takes the name of Société des Lunetiers (SL, that becomes Essel in 1962). In 1861, it acquires glass-cutting expertise with the ambition ‘to be one of the leading lens manufacturers in Paris’. The Société des Lunetiers rapidly expands into the Meuse region, buying the Battants factory in 1867.

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