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Success Story

Urbach's success story: To Hollywood and back

Jacqueline Urbach emigrated to the USA in the 1950s and founded the Urbach Optical Company in 1958.

Surrounded by the far-off world of Hollywood, she proved to be innovative: Just a short time after setting up her company, she was offering a wide range of contact lenses. At the same time, she invented the coloured contact lens, among other things. Urocon was soon one of the ten largest manufacturers in the USA. The company always remained a Swiss enterprise, however, and at the height of her success, Ms Urbach returned to Switzerland and opened the first subsidiary in Zurich. She always remained true to the principle of offering quality, variety and affordable prices for everyone, and being able to guarantee first-class customer service meant everything to her. She was also the first to really make a permanent change to the market in terms of test-wearing for consumers when she introduced free contact lens trials.

In 2004, her son, Steven Urbach, founded the company discountlens, which has since developed into a large and successful online distributor of contact lenses. discountlens products are now offered in eight different European markets on the Internet.

Since 2011, discountlens and the high quality of its services have been supported by Urbach Optik AG and thus by the reputation of the pioneer and optical specialist behind Urbach Optik AG. Expert advice for customers is just as important a priority to discountlens as the calibre of the products it provides. discountlens by Urbach Optik is the promise of an optical company with more than half a century of success and experience.

J. Urbach forms Urbach Optical Co. in Los Angeles.
Member of the American Board of Opticianry.
Urbach Optical becomes Urocon Inc. and begins producing hard contact lenses.
J. Urbach receives US Pat. D211757 for a contact lens which changes the eye's colour in a natural manner. With this patent, Urbach sets the standard for all coloured lenses used today. Six further patents follow.
Picture Building Urocon
The Urbach Contact Lens Institute is founded in Zurich on the Löwenplatz in addition to the Los Angeles production facility.
Jacqueline Urbach is accepted into the American Academy of Optometry.
Member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.
J. Urbach receives US Pat. 3985697 for a soft contact lens material. This material forms the basis for the majority of soft lenses produced today.
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Urbach presents the first mass-produced soft contact lenses in Amsterdam.
An additional production facility is opened in Schwerzenbach, Zurich to facilitate the distribution of the company's Urosoft lenses in Europe.
Urbach is granted permission from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the US to market the first soft lenses.
Urocon Inc is taken over by Allergan Pharmaceutical and later sold to Ciba. All patents are now owned by Novartis CH.
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J. Urbach returns to Switzerland indefinitely to focus fully on the Contact Lens Institute.
Steven Urbach is granted permission from the Health Department of the canton of Zurich to practice independently as an optician. (Carrying out correction requirements as well as adapting and issuing contact lenses.)
J. Urbach hands over the Lens Institute to her son, Steven Urbach.
Steven Urbach forms Gmbh and begins distributing contact lenses over the internet.
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Discountlens requires larger premises and moves to Dübendorf.
Relocation to even larger premises.
Founding of Urbach Optik AG.
Picture Building Discountlens