Hall and Watts Defence Optics have a long tradition of suppling the military with technical instruments and services that dates back more than a century. Below are just some of the key milestones that have helped shape the company into the organisation it is today.

Please note that we are unable to assist with requests for information regarding any E.R. Watts & Sons, Hall Bros.(Optical) Ltd and Hilger & Watts Ltd products. Records are no longer held to support these items.


Edwin Watts establishes company called E.R. Watts & Sons, specialising in the manufacture of theodolites and other surveying equipment.


Company named Hilger was founded by two German precision optical instrument technicians; Adam and Otto Hilger. The company was based in Islington, London, and specialised in the manufacture of precision optical and mechanical instruments.


Hall Brothers is founded. During both World Wars, the company provided large quantities of military equipment to various Ministries including theodolites, levels, artillery directors and weapon sights.


Hall Brothers was incorporated and became known as Hall Bros. (Optical) Ltd. This became a wholly owned subsidiary of Aeronautical & General Instruments & Co. Ltd.


Hilger merge with the well-known metrology instrument manufacturer E R Watts and the company became known as Hilger & Watts Ltd.


Three sons of the founder of Hall Brothers start company called A.H Hall and Brothers Ltd. Very small operation based out of a shop premises in Islington, London specialising in optical instruments used in construction and planning.


Hilger & Watts taken over by Rank Organisation


Hall Bros. Ltd acquires the Watts survey business from Rank Organisation. This included the now industry standardized range of Watts surveying equipment, but also the range of military instruments, which included a service and repair operation. Company names are merged to form Hall & Watts Ltd.


Hall & Watts Ltd disposes of the building and surveying equipment segment, leaving the business solely focused on the defence market. From this point onwards the company was to trade as Hall & Watts Defence Optics Ltd.

Present Day

Hall & Watts is represented in over 20 countries, has provided equipment in over 47 countries, and is the sole agent for Elcan Optical Technologies as well as Vectronix in selected countries worldwide