WHERE ARE THE BEST SUNGLASSES MADE?
Essilor, the owner of Costa Del Mar, makes Costa sunglasses frames in either Taiwan, China, Japan or Mauritius, depending on frame style. Sunglasses are finished with lenses in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Safilo, the owner of Smith Optics, operates seven Safilo Group plants, three in Italy, one in Slovenia, one in Scotland, one in the United States and one in China, with some production outsourced to third-party manufacturers in Asia, Italy, and the U.S.
Breakline Optics, a privately held company based in Bozeman, Montana, works closely with a family-owned production facility in Italy to design and produce polarized sunglasses that feature NXT® LEnses and Grilamid® TR90 frames.
WHAT LENS MATERIAL DO THE MAJOR SUNGLASSES COMPANIES USE?
Smith: Glass, and Polycarbonate
Breakline Optics: We use NXT® lens material (made in Italy by Essilor) and all of our sunglasses feature polarized lenses. Here are some of the reasons why:
- NXT offers the optimal clarity of glass but won’t shatter like glass lenses
- NXT is perfect for polarized sunglasses used for fishing, climbing, hiking, and other adventure because it's more scratch resistant than glass.
- NXT is lighter and more impact resistant than polycarbonate lenses
- NXT provides 33% more visual clarity than polycarbonate lenses while maintaining the highest standard for UV protection.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ACCIDENTALLY DAMAGE OR LOSE YOUR SUNGLASSES?
Costa: Buy a new pair at full value
Smith: Buy a new pair at full value
Breakline Optics: Receive a replacement pair at 50% off with our industry-leading loss replacement program.
SUNGLASSES ARRIVE DAMAGED OR WITH MANUFACTURER DEFECTS
Costa: $11.95 charge for processing the claim
Smith: No warranty processing fee.
Breakline Optics: All warranty claims are handled in-house with no cost for manufacturer defects. Plus, free shipping and returns (?)
PRICE FOR A TYPICAL PAIR OF PREMIUM SUNGLASSES
Costa: $159 - $299
Smith: $99 - $299
Breakline Optics: $68 - $180
WHAT ABOUT SUNGLASSES AT A MUCH LOWER PRICE POINT?
Here's the thing about sunglasses that are cheap. They're cheap. Not to say we don't love a great deal—we do—but when it comes to protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays, we just don't think eyewear is a good place to cut corners. You might find a cheap pair of polarized sunglasses at the gas station or online, but here are a few things to consider before you throw down your money:
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU HAVE A QUESTION OR CONCERN?
Costa: Drop them a line or call them, but no guarantees on when you'll hear back.
Smith: “We will do our best to reply within two (2) - three (3) business days (provided contact information has been included with your product)”
Breakline Optics: a company owner will respond to your inquiry within one to three business days—and since it's an owner, you know that we truly want to help and solve any concerns.