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09-05-2011, 03:45 AM   #16
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about the only bit I can add is that for a while Honeywell also imported Rolleiflex and Rolleicord. They were obviously attempting to make a go at the high quality market. However at some point in the 70s corporate must have pulled the plug on the photo distribution thing.

Here's the first page of a 5 page ad Honeywell published in Feb 1976 where the Honeywell screwmounts coexist with the brand new Asahi K mounts.



I'm wondering about the true negotiations that were going on back then - was this Pentax subsidizing Honeywell's last hurrah or the other way around, Honeywell wanting to exit the camera biz and so buttering the deal with Pentax?

09-05-2011, 03:29 PM   #17
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This is pure speculation on my part, but I'm wondering if all the major Japanese camera makers weren't outgrowing their need for independent importers at about that time. Nikon was originally imported by Ehrenreich Photo Optical, Inc.

At some point, Nikon formed Nikon USA, just as Pentax formed Pentax USA.

Canon was imported by Bell & Howell in the sixties.

I just wonder if they needed US partners in the fifties and sixties, when they were getting started in worldwide distribution. Remember, 1952, when Pentax began producing and selling cameras, wasn't all that long after WWII. Japanese industry was still recovering. Venturing into the US market was brand new for them. They couldn't be sure that they would succeed, and it was far cheaper and easier to contract with a company like Honeywell, than to create their own distribution network in the US. By the seventies, however, they had grown in size, profitability and confidence to the point that they no longer needed a partner.

For that reason, I suspect that the breakup of Asahi and Honeywell was more because Asahi wanted to control their own destiny than it was due to any desire by Honeywell to exit the photo business. But, as I said, I am just speculating. I've never heard or read anything that would back this up.

I had never heard that Honeywell was ever the imported of Rollei cameras. With their established relationship based on the Strobonar flashes, that might make sense. I wonder why it didn't last?
09-05-2011, 05:29 PM   #18
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in the mid 60s Honeywell took over much of the Burleigh Brooks book - including Rollei, and in '66, Nikor tanks. I'm thinking Burleigh was thinking retirement.
09-06-2011, 02:00 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by noblepa Quote
This is pure speculation on my part, but I'm wondering if all the major Japanese camera makers weren't outgrowing their need for independent importers at about that time.
Yes...I remember the switchover...and not just the big names. Even Ricoh dropped their US importer (Braun?) in favor of a US subsidiary.


Steve

09-11-2011, 04:28 AM   #20
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Great history here. My Spotmatic F was Honeywell, obviously and I never really knew the history. I wondered why at the time. I didn't know about Rollei... Thanks!
09-13-2011, 01:12 PM   #21
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In the sixties, the Pentaxes sold in the American PXs and BXs in Europe were Honeywells, supplied from the States. My BX at Rhein-Main AFB was out of stock, so I drove over to the Canadian BX at Zweibruecken, Germany, and bought an Asahi S1a. As I remember, the price was lower there, too.
09-20-2011, 01:30 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by nparsons13 Quote
In the sixties, the Pentaxes sold in the American PXs and BXs in Europe were Honeywells, supplied from the States. My BX at Rhein-Main AFB was out of stock, so I drove over to the Canadian BX at Zweibruecken, Germany, and bought an Asahi S1a. As I remember, the price was lower there, too.
That had definitely stopped by the early 1970's. The off base BX that was on the main drag heading from Fleet Landing toward downtown Athens, Greece carried the Asahi brand name and had for quite a while when I bought my Spottie II there in 1972. I knew people who had bought cameras there on previous cruises that were also Asahi Pentax models (Spotties, Sv's and S1a's)

CW
09-20-2011, 01:51 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by straightshooter Quote
That had definitely stopped by the early 1970's. The off base BX that was on the main drag heading from Fleet Landing toward downtown Athens, Greece carried the Asahi brand name and had for quite a while when I bought my Spottie II there in 1972. I knew people who had bought cameras there on previous cruises that were also Asahi Pentax models (Spotties, Sv's and S1a's)

CW
I have a friends Spot F that is a Honeywell version. He got it in the PX just before leaving Vietnam. Of course he was an officer with the QM. I am not sure where the PX was but he station was at the same base the 1st of the 9th flew out of. I think he left Nam in late 73 or very early 74. I need to ask him sometimes but he isn't doing the greatest the past couple of years. He is on this board. He had to retire for medical reasons about 2 years ago.

09-20-2011, 02:39 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
I have a friends Spot F that is a Honeywell version. He got it in the PX just before leaving Vietnam. Of course he was an officer with the QM. I am not sure where the PX was but he station was at the same base the 1st of the 9th flew out of. I think he left Nam in late 73 or very early 74. I need to ask him sometimes but he isn't doing the greatest the past couple of years. He is on this board. He had to retire for medical reasons about 2 years ago.
Strange that the Exchange Service would buy U.S imports and then send them back halfway across the world. Unless of course they just had them shipped straight from Japan to Vietnam with the Honeywell nameplate. And yet everything that I know of that came out of Greece had the Asahi name on it. Maybe the Exchanges had a deal with Honeywell but Greece required them to buy through a local agent and therefore they sold Asahi. That was during the Regime of the Colonels so who knows.

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09-20-2011, 03:25 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by straightshooter Quote
Strange that the Exchange Service would buy U.S imports and then send them back halfway across the world. Unless of course they just had them shipped straight from Japan to Vietnam with the Honeywell nameplate. And yet everything that I know of that came out of Greece had the Asahi name on it. Maybe the Exchanges had a deal with Honeywell but Greece required them to buy through a local agent and therefore they sold Asahi. That was during the Regime of the Colonels so who knows.

CW
I thought that was odd myself but then never underestimate the efficiency of the U.S. Army. However, I guess it had to do with some deals as you said and suspect they did ship the Honeywell from Japan to the various places for the military. Pentax (Asahi Optical) was known for their cooperation with military and police.
09-20-2011, 07:13 PM   #26
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I just want to add some more to the confusion: I have two MZ-6 cameras both "Made in Japan", the earlier one (serial 429.....) says "ASAHI OPT. CO. LTD", the latest one (bought in 2004, serial 564....) says "Pentax Corporation". Both have mirror motor with brass gear.

The next camera to come out would be:

Pentax Digital Camera K-3
Ricoh Corporation

Last edited by violini; 09-20-2011 at 08:24 PM.
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