Rayban did not go to the moon––American Optical did. How’s that for classic, durable mens sunglasses?
Here’s a picture of John Glenn, the first man to orbit the earth, wearing his made in USA, military issue A.O.’s (and equally American PF Flyer sneakers––also military issue).
The Rayban Caravan may be the most popular style of squared-off aviator sunglasses but that’s probably due to the fact that Rayban, like Rolex, spend a huge percentage of their yearly budget on marketing. And they pass those marketing costs onto the consumer.
Have you ever seen an ad for American Optical products? No? Neither have I. And that may be why these high quality, American made, glass lensed sunglasses sell for almost half the price of the Italian made Rayban Caravan.
I own both and this is what I can tell you about the respective qualities of each: The Rayban Caravan has thinner, lighter frames and the A.O. Original Pilot is heavier and more durable. Lens quality appears to be identical––both are glass and absolutely clear.
The Original Pilot comes in three sizes, 52mm, 55mm, and 57mm. Staying true to their military origin they come only with bayonet arms (which may be a problem for some) and the A.O. logo stamped by the temple.
No other brand of sunglasses have more cultural cache than Rayban but for those in the know the American Optical Original Pilot represents the real deal.
Buy yours here.