Persol Sunglasses: The Only Manufacturer Worth Considering

Even with the British weather at its changeable best you still need a pair of these bad boys just in case...
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Even with the British weather at its changeable best you still need a pair of these bad boys just in case...


For the true aficionado, there is only one sunglass manufacturer worth considering, and that is Persol. Giuseppe Ratti founded the company in 1919 and the initial aim was to produce eyewear for pilots and racecar drivers blinded by the harsh Italian sun. The organisation’s first efforts, The Protector Glasses, were basically crude smoked glass lenses with a rubber edge were clumsily attached to the head by rubber bands. Yet no matter how clumsy they appeared, they worked, and were adopted by Italy’s flying, driving and motorcycling aces. As a result, Ratti hit pay dirt. Subsequently, the former photographer created the Persol (meaning ‘for the sun’ i.e. ‘per il sol’) trademark, and developed the signature yellow brown crystal lenses that offered the best possible protection from the sun.

Since, the company has boomed – especially in the last few years. Daniel Craig sported a selection in Casino Royale. Angelina Jolie owns the newer black, oversized, Italian aviator acetate frames (po 2914S), Justin Timberlake wore a black slimmer infinitely more modern pair  (po 28645) with polarised black grey lenses for Rihanna’s “Rehab” video, while Jay Z and Ryan Gosling favour the  unimpeachable fold-up 0714.

Undeniably however, the classic Persol is the Model 0649 that, sported by Steve McQueen in The Thomas Crown Affair and The Getaway, was initially designed in 1957 for Turin tram drivers for protection from the city’s dust and glare. Also worn by the great Marcello Mastroianni in one of the most iconic sunglass images on film inDivorce Italian Style, the style is now re-issued and available in all manner of colours and finishes.

Another example of functional, no-nonsense, utilitarian design that – via its expedient simplicity – overcomes its competitors. The Persol 0649 is the finest sunglass money can buy.

Quite simply, if a person wears Persol you know they are in the know.

Persol 0649 remakes – on line price £124

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