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Presto Change-O

By Deirdre Carroll: Senior Editor

Benjamin Franklin, Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes, characters from any given work of H. G. Wells or Jules Verne, Kenneth Branagh in Wild Wild West, The League of Extraordinary Gentleman and any fan of the growing Steampunk movement.

WHAT: All manner of metalworking, including tooling, coining, engraving and knurling. Prior to the modern era, this kind of delicate, small scale detailing was manufactured by hand. Today, thanks to the rise of technology, the same intricate details can be achieived much easier but with no less beauty and eyewear designers are taking advantage to produce beautifully wrought pieces of art.

WEAR: (Top to bottom) The Seraphin Milton from Ogi features delicate coining and scrolling along the bridge, endpieces and halfway down the temples that paired with the oversized, plastic wrapped eyewires give the style a distinctive vintage flair that belies its high tech titanium construction. The Marius Morel 1880 2072M style from Morel uses coining judiciously all around the circumference of the eyewire, while intricate scroll work is stamped into the eyewires’ outer edge. Stamping, scrolling, coining, knurling it all makes an appearance on the Scott Harris Vintage VIN-09 style from Europe International, and that is quite a feat for the most diminutive style in our roundup. The titanium Matsuda M3024 from PM International, like all Matsuda styles, is made in the artisanal eyewear workshops of Japan and represents over 40 years of design history and heritage, as evidenced in the diamond pattern around the eye rim and engraving on the temples. The John Varvatos V351 from Base Curve epitomizes the designers’ appreciation for vintage inspired elements thanks to the delicately engraved bridge, endpieces and other metal details.

Classic and special, this kind of fine detail is often so delicate only the wearer, and those very close to them, can see it but it gives the frame a special, artisan feel that makes wearing the glasses a pleasure. For the customer who appreciates a vintage aesthetic different from the heavy acetates that dominate, or for those seeking true artistry, this new crop of tooled, coined and engraved metal frames done with the latest technology and materials is the perfect marriage of old and new.