Much of the price we pay for high-quality refractors is due to optical quality, i.e. the quality of lens figure and polish. Of course, the cost of glass/fluorite blanks also depends on material quality. It is my understanding, however, that we pay more for the workmanship going into the optical surface than the material they are made of. Optical quality doesn't occur by accident but by quality workmanship. Experience at the eyepiece also confirms that optical quality is a real thing, and more expensive optics perform better than inexpensive optics.
But I wonder how long time and how much effort it actually takes to manufacture a premium-quality optic, say a Tak FC-100 versus a more common ”run-of-the-mill” optic (say, something like a ED100).
In other words, what is the manufacturing costs of optical quality? Supposing a given premium optic is priced at 3-4x more than a run-of-the-mill optic, would that also imply that the premium optic is 3-4x as expensive to make, because of the additional attention to lens figure and polish? And is the additional cost incurred because of extra time for hand-finishing high-end optics, or is the cost simply incurred by needing machines to work longer and slower on the lenses for a better finish?
Can anyone offer some reliable information about that? Any insights as to the cost-breakdown of making high-end optics?