TVR Sunglasses

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    A piece of soul into a pair of eyewear

    There are no rocket science tools or methods used in the making of True Vintage Revival (TVR) eyeglasses. Known as the home to handmade eyeglasses, Sabae, Japan has created a positive impression to connoisseurs of the industry as a breeding land for talented artisans who have developed their skills and an eye for precision that are said to be better than machines. And here’s where every piece of TVR eyeglasses are made.

    Using mainly hand tools that are passed down from master to apprentice, most of these museum-worthy pieces carry some of the most prolific history in eyewear evolution. Vintage design features are greatly highlighted in the making of the TVR classics. These include the keyhole-bridge, functional spear rivets, 7-barrel hinges, and miter cut techniques that are boldly executed with the unrivalled skills and technical know-hows. Piece by piece, every one of a TVR eyewear is honed with decades of expertise by selected artisans from Sabae.

    Each pair of glasses starts with the “Datum Expression Size” technique, a specialized measurement method commonly used during the 50s in Japan to obtain the subtle balance of the eyewear. TVR also refers to only original templates and blueprints in the creation process of these first-class traditional optical frames. Once the frame takes shape, the craftsmen will begin adjusting every little details with intricate care and precision.

    It is easily overlooked that what is now called vintage was once brand new. As TVR continues to bring forth authentic vintage styles with traditional skills, iconic designs and high-quality materials, we are also paving the way for classic vintage eyeglasses to once again be mainstream through true vintage revival.

    The Making of TVR

    1. Zylonite/Celluloid sheet is cut according to size and datum holes are created on each piece.
    2. The Zylonite/Celluloid piece is heated to the right temperature and bending process for the shape and curve of the bridge takes place.
    3. After cutting out the shape of the lenses, the outer rim of the front is cut out with precision.
    4. As the frame takes shape, several pieces at a time are tumbled in a drum of pumice (soft stone and plastic chips used as an abrasive) and small wood pegs. The bits of wood and stone grind against the fronts to smoothen the rough edges the traditional way.
    5. Nose pads are added alongside the 7-barrel hinges and rivets on both sides of the front.
    6. Both ends of the front and temples are edged to specific degree using the miter cutting technique.
    7. A hole is made on each temple for the 7-barrel hinges. Once the 7-barrel hinges are inserted, two small holes are punched through for the rivets. The pieces are put together into a complete frame.
    8. The frame is placed atop a traditional heater. Once its heated to the right temperature, the temples are bended to form a suitable curve.
    9. The last step is to stamp the brand’s trademark on the inside of the frame and the perfected True Vintage Revival (TVR®) is presented to our customers.

    The story of TVR® begins in a small city in Japan

    Over 90% of eyewear frames sold in Japan come from Sabae City, Fukui Prefecture, Japan. Sabae is known for inventing the concept of nose pads and developed the use of titanium frames in the 1980s. With a history of eyewear production and frame manufacturing that transcends generations, Sabae represents the history of handmade eyewear in Japan itself. It all started during the Meiji era when Masunaga Gozaemon introduces frame-making technology to Sabae City. The industry began as an off-season side job for agricultural workers, but demand grew stronger following World War I. In late 1930s, approximately 1.5 million celluloid eyeglasses were produced annual in Sabae.

    People in Sabae have always been patient and conscientious, and these are exactly the qualities needed for the intricate and painstaking work especially in making handmade eyewear. One of the characteristics of Japanese craftsmanship is a kind of profusion of detail. There is a tendency to pay extra attention towards the minutest of details.The spirit of Japanese artisanal craft involves spending a copious amount of time and effort to get the by product exactly right. The economics of the product are not so important as for these folks; the aim is to product something faithful to the fundamentals of the craft and its authentic designs.

    From getting the shapes right to filing every sides and edges, the veterans form the bedrock in perfecting the art of eyewear making. There is a kind of handmade beauty that simply cannot be achieved with even the most advanced technologies. It is something artisanal -a mastery quality- that can only be created in Sabae. The mastery of its handcraftsmanship is passed down from fathers to sons, masters to apprentices. This custom has since become the keystone to the unrivalled quality and sophistication of high quality handmade eyewear. Up to this day, similar technical methods and traditional tool handmade expertise are still being adopted in the making of each eyepiece.

    Piece by piece, every one of a True Vintage Revival (TVR®) eyewear is honed with decades of expertise by selected artisans from Sabae. Fired up with a passion to revive classic designs from the golden classical eras, TVR® sets its eyes on two things; genuine quality and authentic vintage designs. Original templates and a collection of blueprints, the first-class traditional optical frames are made using the Datum Expression System. It is a creation process passed on from generations to select artisans with a superior commitment to quality.

    TVR© uses only these time-tested methods to create “revivals” of its classics frames. Vintage design features are greatly highlighted in the making of the TVR® classics. These include the keyhole-bridge, functional spear rivets, 7-barrel hinges, and miter cut techniques that are boldly executed with the unrivalled skills and technical know-hows, particularly from the Yaemon family of master hand-craftsmen whose family started the production of Celluloid (plastic) frame glasses in 1953. Having spent over 60 years producing high quality handmade Celluloid frames, this family-owned old factory is one of the very few factories existing in Sabae that produces handmade eyewear. And with very limited pieces produced by hand every month by these artisans, TVR® promises a delivery of a true vintage piece that will stand the test of time.

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