by Jamie Bartlett May 26, 2021 2 min read

Titanium and stainless-steel Japanese sunglasses, handmade by the skilled makers of Sabae Japan.

These are out first ever dual-factory frames.

One factory to another.

 

 

Silver round Japanese sunglasses with dark grey polarised lenses

 

Backstory | 裏話

In 2012, we set off to make the best acetate sunglasses.

Not, wood, horn or wire ones. Just acetate.

No distractions.

Being specialist has led us to become Scotland's only eyewear manufacturer.

Only one of three in the UK.

Proud to say that.

But our specialism gives us crystal clear strengths and crystal clear weaknesses.

We cannot be all things to all people.

Regularly, we receive emails requesting metal wire sunglasses we simply cannot make ourselves.

If we could, we would.

In the past, we enquired with the UK’s only metal wire frame factory in London. The trouble is, they only make their own brand of frames.

So, what do we do?

 

Close rear view of round titanium Japanese sunglasses frame

 

Work with the best | 熟練労働者

Globally, there are three main optical hubs.

Europe. China. Japan.

Collectively, they produce most of the world's eyewear.

But when it comes to metal wire sunglasses, there's one place that's renowned for its fine metal work and exceptional craftsmanship.

Sabae, Japan.

Located on the west coast of Japan’s largest island Honshu, this region is best known as the country’s leader of optical manufacture.

Combined with the neighbouring optical industry of Fukui city, both populations collectively produce 96% of Japan’s eyewear.

Reaching back to 1905, the city of Sabae dedicated itself to making the finest spectacles, sunglasses, hinges, screws, rivets, springs, nosepads and more.

That’s over 110 years of specialism.

Around the city, there are various sign posts that prove it.

Now that's specialist.

 

Red and white Sabae city signpost with glasses icon

 

Introducing wire Japanese sunglasses

This collaborative sunglasses series offers 4 shapes, in a total of 7 colourways.

Handmade in Sabae from stainless steel or 100% titanium, these are comparably dainty to our own repertoire of solid acetate frames.

From one factory to another, we’re delighted to launch our first ever wire sunglasses frames.

As frame makers ourselves (without a word of Japanese) we really do speak the same language.

We hope you love their work as much as we do.

 

 

Large gold wire frame Aviator sunglasses with grey polarised lenses

Japanese craftsman making optical components using large metal press machine

 

Why are sunglasses made in Japan?

Japan is one of the three main optical industry's in the world, alongside Europe and China.

Most notably, the neighbouring city's of Fukui and Sabae pioneered the use of titanium in eyewear manufacture in the 1980's, becoming synonymous with their intricate production methods of high quality sunglasses frames.

Despite their geographical concentration, both these 'optical city's' account for the majority of Japan's eyewear industry. Between Sabae and Fukui, there is an estimated 400 independent factories whom create a sequential network of specialisms.

One factory can make the screws, whilst the one nextdoor can make the hinges. Both Sabae and Fukui are a bee hive of craftsmanship, positioning Japan as a leader of optical production.

Having spoken with several of these independents myself, I can personally report a infectious sense of pride in their skill and work.

They say, iron sharpens iron, but in this instance, titanium would be more fitting.

 

 

Gold-titanium-Japanese-sunglasses-with-green-polarised-lenses

 

Rows of round titanium sunglasses in Japanese factory production line

Skilled Japanese worker precision welding titanium sunglasses frame
Titanium sunglasses frame being CNC machined from raw material block
Takiron cellulose acetate sunglasses frame being polished by hand on buffing wheel
Worker adjusting the nosepads of a titanium spectacle frame using hand tools

Production line of titanium Japanese sunglasses being manufactured in Sabae

 

 

Large fit sunglasses frame made from silver wire

Jamie Bartlett
Jamie Bartlett

Co-founder of Banton Frameworks.



Also in Sunglasses

Sunglasses categories guide
Sunglasses categories explained

by Jamie Bartlett September 08, 2021 5 min read

Discover the 5 sunglasses categories and which is best for you. A handy guide for choosing lenses which are safe, comfortable and UV protective.
How are sunglasses made
How are sunglasses made?

by Jamie Bartlett July 06, 2021 5 min read

A visual guide to the manufacture of acetate sunglasses frames. See how sunglasses frames are made from start to finish.
Wimbledon sunglasses
Wimbledon sunglasses: 17 classic styles

by Jamie Bartlett July 05, 2021 4 min read

The British grand slam attracts an annual entourage of sartorial style. Here's 15 examples of the best Wimbledon sunglasses.