Luxury eyeglasses: the designer pieces to invest in
When choosing investment pieces for your wardrobe, it’s best to start with the styles that you’ll wear everyday. That being said, what could be more everyday than your glasses? As a trademark part of your look, going cheap doesn’t cut it: not only do inexpensive frames break quicker, but their low-grade materials can be made from rougher plastics and metals, which could cause skin irritation.
When you invest in a pair of high-end eyeglasses, you’re not just buying it for the aesthetic (although that can’t hurt) but you’re upgrading all aspects of quality, including a more dedicated approach to craftsmanship, more sustainable production methods, and overall a better fit.
With that in mind, our editors have selected the luxury eyeglass brands that are worth the investment. Upon proper care, these frames will be with you for years to come.
Oliver Peoples was born in Los Angeles in the late ‘80s and remains the eyewear house of choice when your style leans towards classic. Made in Japan and Italy, these frames don’t follow quick production methods or fads; instead, every piece goes through a committed process that is never rushed, from first prototype to final polish.
Though perhaps known best for their Old Hollywood-inspired designs, the brand isn’t afraid to venture into new projects. Over the last few years the eyewear house has displayed its fashion chops with limited edition collections that include collaborations with Brunello Cucinelli, The Row and Frère NY.
Sharp, sophisticated and leaving you with the perfect vintage touch, these are undoubtedly perennial pieces.
Few luxury clothing brands are able to successfully grow past their original fashion foundations and extend the same amount of care to accessories. Yet, that is exactly what Tom Ford did when they started designing eyewear.
Crafted in Italy, Tom Ford glasses are designed with the sartorial dresser in mind. They are perfect if you are looking to add some instant sophistication to your everyday look.
If you’re looking to invest in your style, Cartier is a clear winning choice. From Louis-Francois Cartier’s humble beginnings as a watchmaker in a small Parisian workshop to becoming one of the most recognized luxury brands in the world, Cartier is backed up by a clear history of expertise.
Eyewear follows in the footsteps of the house’s investment watches and jewelry, with symbolic motifs and matching collections such as the C de Cartier, Santos de Cartier and the Panthère de Cartier. From titanium frames to temples made from polished buffalo horn and genuine wood, this brand’s timeless legacy ensures a longevity of style.
Jacques Marie Mage
Founded in Los Angeles in 2014, Jacques Marie Mage perfects collectible eyewear with their small-batch releases that are inspired by an array of lifestyles, cultural moments and decades, from the First Empire’s grandiose style to the Art Deco movement of the ‘20s. From start to completion, Jacques Marie Mage glasses employ a dedicated production of over 300 steps, passing through the hands of an estimated 100 artisans in the process.
The rarity of every Jacques Marie Mage frame is further showcased in the packaging. Coming inside of an Italian-handcrafted leather case, glasses are packed into a hard-shelled silk-covered holder and include a pocket square, a cleaning cloth and a specialized authenticity certificate with the model’s unique serial number.
Matsuda has been around since the ‘60s, meaning they’ve had time to perfect their eyewear. Inspired by a mix of architectural styles from French gothic architecture to traditional Japanese tailoring, founder Mitsuhiro Matsuda was known for his love for playing with materials and silhouettes, with many of his designs being attributed to the ‘90s steampunk aesthetic.
Besides experimental shapes, the brand is consistently dedicated to artisanal production. Frames are handmade by skilled craftsmen in Sabae, Japan, over a period of two years, with each design going through a rigorous process of sometimes over 250 steps, leaving no detail unconsidered.
The wait is worth it: made from the best sourced materials such as Japanese acetate, sterling silver, solid 18k gold, titanium and buffalo horn, Matsuda designs are works of art in their own right. Moreover, ultra rare Matsuda eyeglasses and vintage styles are a true collector’s item that increases in value over time.
When you’re looking to invest, take a look at what the experts do. And who could be more expert than the duo behind Barton Perreira, Bill Barton and Patty Perreira. Founded in 2007 with the goal to rethink luxury eyewear by starting from the highest quality materials and a made in Japan production, the pair’s experience ties in decades worth of industry understanding, both having held tenure positions at Oliver Peoples.
Drawing from a range of inspirations such as art deco motifs and vintage cars, Barton Perreira eyewear are timeless without being boring. A fact that is further proven by their A-list status, having been worn by the likes of Brad Pitt, Venus Williams and Lady Gaga.
Cutler and Gross
Founded in the late ‘60s, Cutler and Gross started as an optician’s in the heart of London. From a small shop in Knightsbridge, it wasn’t long before their bespoke frames created a loyal clientele. From fashion-savvy dressers to royalty, Cutler and Gross eyewear has been spotted on more than a few notable faces including Victoria Beckham, Keira Knightly and Marc Jacobs.
Recognizable by their strong acetate silhouettes, these glasses are imbued with the city’s unmistakable confidence and artistic vibe. Crafted in the brand’s factory in Northern Italy over a 42-step process involving 92 hours of production, frames are handmade, tumbled and stamped with a serial number on the inner temples for a final polished product that’ll become a wardrobe mainstay.
Eyewear specialists Tommy O’Gara and Shinsuke Takizawa started Native Sons as an homage to their love for quality eyewear and the inventory spirit of the Industrial Revolution. Backed by years of eyewear craftsmanship and industry know-how, (O’Gara was the former director of DITA eyewear), it’s no wonder why their frames are a clear investment favorite.
Native Sons marry their love for the American west with traditional Japanese design philosophy. Completely handcrafted in Japan, Native Sons eyeglasses are sourced from plant-based acetate or high-grade titanium, passing through around 144 hands from the very first draft to the final product.
Yes, we know that investment pieces are usually classic, but what do you do when that’s simply not your style? Enter Kuboraum. Celebrated for their unconventional take on eyewear - or masks, as the Berlin brand calls them - these highly creative frames are imagined in Germany and made exclusively in Italy, hence their tagline, ‘Dreamed in Berlin, Handmade in Italy.’
Opposing mass-produced eyewear, Kuboraum glasses revel in their unconventionality. From chunky acetate shapes to sleek rimless lines, these glasses double as avant-garde objets d’art.
Mr. Leight knows a thing or two about eyewear thanks to their roots. The brainchild brand of Oliver Peoples’ Larry Leight and his son Garrett (yes, that Garrett), the Californian brand marries the west coast lifestyle with a subtly rebellious narrative. This generational brand follows a similar ethos in its very production; glasses are handcrafted in Japan by artisans that Leight himself has worked with for decades. Following the artisans’ traditional craftsmanship practices, frames are recognizable for their titanium temple components and custom screw hinges.
Sartorially stylish, you’ll be wearing these frames on repeat.
From Miami to Japan, T Henri takes the world of opulence and transfers it into their one of a kind eyewear masterpieces. Swerving away from mass production, the brand specializes in micro-productions which include limited runs of 50-70 pieces per style.
Coming with a unique card that details the make and model number of the frame, T Henri has redefined the art of eyewear collecting, and we’re not complaining.