This year, I spent the summer holidays hiking in the beautiful Dolomites. To visit such an iconic place in Europe, I only wanted the best when it came to choosing binoculars to bring along. Naturally, me being a design and outdoor enthusiast, Swarovski CL Curio 7x21 felt like the right choice to feel closer to nature.
CL Curio hit the market in 2021, when Swarovski decided to introduce their smallest and most affordable model of binoculars. They were designed in an exclusive collaboration with award-winning industrial designer Marc Newson. In March 2023 they even received a prestigious GOOD DESIGN® Award in the Sports+Recreation 2022 category.
Swarovski is already present in the section of pocket binoculars with their CL Pocket range (8x25 and 10x25 models), but with CL Curio they set a new benchmark of offering even smaller binoculars while still caring about functionality with added uniqueness.
Design and build of CL Curio Binoculars
One of the main reasons why I reached for CL Curio is its compact size and unique design.
With their dual hinge bridge design, these binoculars fold together compactly which I found very convenient since I could easily slip them into my jacket pocket. The bridge, constructed from metal, gives a sense of sturdiness, ensuring that despite their designer appeal, these binoculars are robust and appear built to last. This durability is particularly crucial as these binoculars spend a significant amount of time around the neck, consistently encountering contact with the body.
Small size also meant I had them at hand and available at any time. Typically, when I hike with my larger 42 mm binoculars, I tend to store them inside my backpack and use them only at the summit rather than relying on them during the journey.
|Eyecups twisted in||91 mm|
|Eyecups fully twisted out||103 mm|
|Binoculars folded together||63 mm|
|Binoculars fully extended||105 mm|
Watch my video review of Swarovski CL Curio 7x21
Besides the unique design, I love how Swarovski's distinctive burnt orange shade that evolved into their signature color stands out. Wearing them around your neck is not only practical but also adds a touch of elegance. For those who prefer a more understated look, they are also offered in a sleek black version, catering to monochrome enthusiasts.
Swarovski CL Curio 7x21 are made in Absam, Austria and are currently priced at 719 €. While the warranty period extends for a generous 10 years, rest assured that Swarovski's commitment to assisting you with your product spans through its entire lifetime. It’s important to know that you're not merely acquiring binoculars; you're investing in the complete Swarovski experience. From the moment you receive the package, it exudes an unmistakable sense of luxury and craftsmanship. The attention to detail in both packaging and accessories is truly premium, reflecting Swarovski's commitment to delivering excellence in every aspect of their products. It's not just about the binoculars themselves; it's about the entire package that elevates your ownership experience to something truly exceptional.
Optical properties of Swarovski CL Curio 7x21
Besides outer appearance and build quality, an important aspect to consider is their optical performance. Given their compact 7x21 design, I initially had low expectations regarding the field of view. However, I was pleasantly surprised by their performance, offering a field of view of 135 meters at 1000 meters. This allowed me to effortlessly notice and scan nearby trails and distant peaks while easily spotting even distant crowds.
When looking through, you are met with a vivid and bright image. Despite their pocket size, the viewing experience remains exceptionally comfortable, all thanks to the generous eyebox.
Pocket binoculars often come with a downside – their compactness for the comfort of extended use. Typically, observing through them can lead to discomfort and eye fatigue over time. However, with the Swarovski CL Curio, this discomfort is notably absent. There's a sense of ease and natural viewing that accompanies these binoculars, and it might just be attributed to the 7x magnification. It gets me thinking that other brands should take a cue from this and consider introducing 7x or even 6x magnification models to enhance the comfort and usability of their binoculars, ensuring that users can enjoy the view without the strain.
What’s in the box of Swarovski CL Curio 7x21?
- Small carrying bag with a magnetic closing
- User manual
- Cleaning cloth
- Carrying strap for the bag
- Carrying strap for binoculars
- Eyepiece cover
Hiking with pocket binoculars
Hiking with pocket binoculars became an even more enjoyable experience when I had the Swarovski CL Curio 7x21 by my side. Weighing just 259 grams, these binoculars are incredibly lightweight, and their compact size means I barely felt the weight around my neck.
While the narrow neck strap provided is functional, it would be a welcome improvement if Swarovski offered a more durable alternative than just a thick string. Since the weather in the Dolomites can be quite unpredictable, I didn’t worry about the rain hitting the binoculars thanks to their durability and robustness.
They proved useful even when spotting wildlife at the side of the road, so that makes them an all-round outdoor binocular.
Why are Swarovski binoculars the best?
While CL Curio stands as Swarovski’s most budget-friendly binocular, it still embodies the essence of a premium piece. They showcase both striking design and excellent build quality when worn around your neck. All this, coupled with Swarovski's renowned reliability, ensures a truly exceptional package.
They are perfect as a gift to your loved ones since the whole family, even children, can enjoy using them, thanks to the interpupillary distance which can be set between 50 and 74 mm.
After some heavy thinking, it’s hard to come up with real downsides of Swarovski CL Curio that truly matter. If you’re looking for a small and compact companion that will make the world even prettier, look no further. I know my next hiking adventure will definitely include CL Curio.