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Eyewear sizes explained in detail

How to buy vintage glasses in the right size

Measure the size of vintage glasses in the right way

Eyewear sizes at Vintage Sunglasses

Many of our customers are surprised that there are different sizes of vintage glasses, in the same way as for clothing. Understandably, customers are disappointed when their newly purchased glasses do not fit.

For this reason, you will find the following information about the size of the glasses on every product page at Vintage Sunglasses. As shown here, for example, for a pair of glasses in the size "Medium":

To ensure that your new vintage glasses really fit you, we distinguish between these 5 different sizes:

 Eyewear widthTemple length
XS110 – 119 mm110 – 129 mm
S120 – 129 mm110 – 129 mm
M130 – 137 mm130 – 139 mm
L138 – 144 mm140 – 150 mm
XL145 – 155 mm140 – 150 mm


However, since we only offer unworn old original glasses, we usually only have single pairs in one size on offer. As a consequence, you would struggle to find a size selection in our shop.

But how do you find out which size fits?

The decisive measure for this is the width of the glasses. In the example above, this is 130 mm, just about a medium pair of glasses.

It is best to take a pair of glasses / sunglasses that fit you well and measure the width of the glasses from one inside of the temple to the other – as shown here:

The width of the glasses has a certain margin.

An optician can adjust the width to your face if the difference is only a few millimetres.

The temple length, on the other hand, is straightforward. The temples have been designed by the manufacturers so that every optician can adjust the length to the wearer's face. In most cases, your optician will even do this free of charge.

So if a pair of vintage glasses you have bought does not fit you exactly, you should first go to an optician.

How eyewear manufacturers measure: The box size

Besides our own measuring method, there is another indication of size which can be found on almost every eyewear frame. This is what is known as the "box size".

This measurement is often printed on the temples or engraved on the bridge. For example, these Longines sunglasses feature the following inscription: Mod. 4363 216 43°21 140.

4363 is the model number, 216 the colour code, 43°21 the box size and 140 (mm) the temple length.

But what does a box size of 43°21 mean?

As the name suggests, an imaginary box is drawn around the lenses of the glasses.

The width of the box enclosing the glass is the glass width (in this case 43 mm) and the distance between the two boxes is the bar width (in this case 21 mm).

Consequently, the entire frame would be 43 + 21 + 43 = 107 mm wide, which corresponds to a SMALL eyewear size.

However our measurements show the Longines sunglasses to be 130 mm wide (measured from the inside of the temple to the other inside of the temple), which is a MEDIUM size.

The differences in size are explained by the design of the frame, because in our Longines sunglasses the temple hinges do not connect with the rim of the frame.

11.5 + 43 + 21 + 43 + 11.5 = 130 mm

Accordingly, glasses with the same box size can vary in size.

Temple to temple (inside)

The most important glasses measurement – the width

The width of the glasses, as stated in our item descriptions, is therefore the key measurement!

The same applies to the bridge width, as 21 mm only indicates the maximum bridge width. The nose pads can be individually pushed together and adjusted to the nose size of the glasses wearer.

Adjusting the nose bridge is of course only possible if the frame actually has nose bridges. Glasses without nose pads have what is called an 'anatomical bridge'. Here is an example:

To sum up, glasses with the same temple inscription can vary in size (box size). The design of the glasses is crucial.

Likewise, every face shape (especially the distance between a person's eyes) is so individual that presenting glasses on a mannequin head makes little sense.

Our recommendation is therefore: please measure an existing pair of glasses or sunglasses with regard to the width of the glasses and the length of the temples and compare your measurements with our specifications!

Please contact us if you would like specific information on lens height to ensure that varifocal lenses can be fitted into a frame. As a rule, the lens height should be at least 28 mm for varifocals.

Regardless of all size specifications and measurements, all glasses frames can still be individually adjusted. By heating or bending the frame, it is possible to modify the width of the glasses and the temple length slightly. Please speak to your optician if you are unsure of the size. We also offer customisation services in our Berlin office.

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