On Randolph Engineering

I have to admit that I’ve always been an American Optical man when it comes to aviator sunglasses. They go for as cheap as $35 or $40 on eBay, and they’re made to the same military specs as Randolph Engineering (they had the contract themselves for a time).

A story like this, though, is pretty impressive. Dave read Derek’s post about RE and writes us:

You had a post about Randolph Engineering the other day.  Well, my grandfather was a career Air Force pilot, and when he passed away my dad gave me his aviators.  They were great except the nose piece was broken.  I tried taking them to a few eyeglass shops to fix them with no luck.  I eventually figured out they were Randolph Engineering glasses so I contacted the company.  They were unfortunately unable to fix the nose piece, but entirely unexpectedly they sent me a brand new pair in the mail.  They’re now the only sunglasses I wear and they are identical in every way (except the nosepieces apparently) to my grandfather’s pair, which must have been forty years old.

So, anyway, I think pretty highly of those guys.

That’s pretty impressive.

As the weather starts to warm, it’s time to start thinking about sunglasses.  Since every 22-year-old Pitchfork devotee in America is wearing Ray-Ban Wayfarers, it’s a good time to think about other classic styles, like aviators.
Aviator sunglasses were developed for aviators.  Fliers need comfort and performance, above all else, and where function is paramount, style is often a byproduct.  Above are aviator sunglasses by American Optical.  Randolph Engineering currently makes the military’s shades, but AO made them for decades before.  American Optical shades are made to high standards, but are surprisingly inexpensive - in the $50 range at your local surplus store (less if you look around).  They have high-quality glass lenses, solid hardware and are available in three sizes.  I know from personal experience that with a big face, it’s tough to find un-sized aviators that don’t look pinched.

As the weather starts to warm, it’s time to start thinking about sunglasses.  Since every 22-year-old Pitchfork devotee in America is wearing Ray-Ban Wayfarers, it’s a good time to think about other classic styles, like aviators.

Aviator sunglasses were developed for aviators.  Fliers need comfort and performance, above all else, and where function is paramount, style is often a byproduct.  Above are aviator sunglasses by American Optical.  Randolph Engineering currently makes the military’s shades, but AO made them for decades before.  American Optical shades are made to high standards, but are surprisingly inexpensive - in the $50 range at your local surplus store (less if you look around).  They have high-quality glass lenses, solid hardware and are available in three sizes.  I know from personal experience that with a big face, it’s tough to find un-sized aviators that don’t look pinched.