Thursday, July 2, 2009

How to Find the Perfect Pair of Vintage Eyewear

To some finding a vintage pair is a hobby and to others it is a way of life. The satisfaction you get when you find that pair of vintage Dunhill with the perfect shape and size that you know your friends will never be able to duplicate. But to some, it is easy to identify a good bargain from a rip off and others can think that a rip off is actually a good deal.

So how do you find a great deal?
How do find a style you like?

Buying vintage eyewear is a lot like finding vintage clothing. BUT vintage eyewear is usually easier to find online. There are certain things to keep in mind when buying vintage eyewear.

1. Brand
-What brand is it?
-Is it a well known brand? Cazal, Dunhill, Silhouette, Carrera, Dior and so on, are well known brands that are known. Sticking with a name brand company will insure that the quality is good.

2. Country of Origin
-In the 80s the best frames were all made in Austria. They had the best machines and the highest of quality control. That is not to say that other countries did not make good frames. A simple comparison is to compare it to Italian Sports cars. Sports cars can be made anywhere and there may be better ones, but an Italian sports car is a staple and where a true sports can should be made.

3. Style and Design
-Obviously the style was different earlier on, but some styles have come back today. Of course there is a crowd that follows the vintage style but there are others that just like thst style regardless of it being a "vintage". The edges are generally sharper or very round. The shapes were over exaggerated without many of our more recents styles of being rounded squares.

4. Price
-Price is subjective. Because there is no longer a manufacture retail price, it seems like prices are all over the board. I have seen true vintages go for as little as $20 and up to $920. So what makes a price low and what makes it high? DEMAND. Have a style or brand that everyone knows, then the price increases. Have a brand that nobody knows about, and the price decreases. So how much should you pay? Depends on the style, brand and quality. Personally, I would say, if you like it and you have the money, drop it on something you like. If youre on a tight budget, but like a certain style, find something in your budget. If you have a certain style you like and dont mind paying, find something you like and buy it.

5. Quality
-Check the quality of a frame to make sure that even if you dont know the name, you know that it is well built.

Things to Check...
-The solder points to make sure there are no holes in it and smooth.
-The paint to make sure it is painted on parts that are not generally visible to the named eye. -The spring hinges should be smooth without any jerky movements
-The barrels should line up perfectly.
-Open and close the temples to make sure they are smooth

Some of the above can be easy quick fixes and others demonstrate problems. But until you can make the quick fixes I would suggest to stay away from anything with problems.

6. Material
-Until the 80s, plastic frames could not be produced cheap. They were all relatively expensive but also well made. Metal frames were made much better back then. They were made much more solid and had much more intricate designs.

Hopefully this will give a look into buying vintage frames. Let me know if there is anything that I missed.


  1. Thanks Howie! Good info.
    I'm going to try my luck next weekend at the rose bowl.

  2. Good luck! Dont get discouraged. Keep on searching, it won't be easy but it will be satisfying when you find that perfect pair. :)