Noble Vintage SUnglasses
CLassic Men's Glasses
Elegance and functionality are a recognized attribute of the Alfred Dunhill accessories line. Especially the classic men’s fashion designs of the 80’s unite luxury and everyday efficiency.
The vintage eyewear and vintage sunglasses from Dunhill are amongst our very own personal favourites, because their quality, functionality and aesthetics form a perfect symbiosis.
Optyl, the company that produced the old Dunhill sunglasses under license in the 80s and 90s, employed its own team, which was solely responsible for the development of the Dunhill eyewear collection.
In addition to designers, these included first and foremost engineers, in order to be able to implement the high demands on quality and functionality.
Completely new technologies were developed for the production of the eyewear. Each detail, however small, was considered a separate unit, which should be optimised.
The development team optimally combined the positive properties of the materials optyl and metal. They produced spring-loaded joints on the bridge of the spectacle frame which had never been used before, so that the frame could adapt to the anatomy of the wearer. The eyewear designers used the extremely elaborate Barley process, which takes the severe coolness out of the metal thanks to hundreds of tiny facets.
Demand for perfection
In addition, the engineers combined tried and tested traditional methods with the latest scientific findings. The painting process (Chinese lacquer), discovered over 2,000 years ago in China, was combined with titanium materials from space travel.
An enormous effort, which of course was also reflected in the production costs. Thus, the pure production costs of various vintage Dunhill sunglasses in the mid-80s amounted to approximately DM 120 (inflation-adjusted approx. €110 today). For comparison: today, designer sunglasses are made for less than $5.
The extraordinary production costs, which resulted from a demand for perfection, led to only a small group of customers being able to afford the original Dunhill eyewear.
If you look at the 80’s advertising brochures of Dunhill, you will find these old Dunhill sunglasses being advertised in golf clubs, polo sports events, “Gentlemen’s Clubs” and alongside expensive vintage cars or sailing yachts.
The Dunhill development team was constantly in competition with Cartier – the market leader for luxury eyewear at the time – true to the motto of Alfred Dunhill:
“IT MUST BE USEFUL
IT MUST WORK DEPENDABLY
IT MUST BE BEAUTIFUL
IT MUST LAST
IT MUST BE THE BEST OF ITS KIND”
Rare understatement luxury eyewear
However, as Optyl’s marketing team failed to make the outstanding Dunhill eyewear/sunglasses known outside of “high society”, this unique vintage eyewear was reserved for an elite circle. The quantities produced were correspondingly low.
This marketing strategy was in complete contrast to that of the executives at Cartier, who managed to stage their luxury eyewear with celebrities such as Elton John or David Bowie in a media-savvy way. In addition, there was clever product placement (“James Bond Cartier eyewear”, for example), which broadened the circle of buyers.
This explains why Dunhill’s old luxury sunglasses are so difficult to find today.
We admit that we are not unhappy about the missed success of Dunhill’s marketing strategy, because it has made this stylish “understatement luxury eyewear” true vintage insider sunglasses. We are always happy when we find unworn 80s Dunhill eyewear, because its combination of lifestyle, quality and functionality is still extraordinary today.