Since the early 1970s, Randolph Engineering has been responsible for the production of some of the most state-of-the-art, military-grade sunglasses in the world. Today, they are coveted by pilots, the military, astronauts, outdoor sports lovers, trend setters and Hollywood A-listers.
In order to deliver a superior lens quality and military-grade frame durability, each pair of Randolph’s Aviators go through a rigid manufacturing process. To produce just one single pair of sunglasses, 50 artisans cut, mould, stamp, twist, solder, plate and polish – mostly by hand – in a 6-week process that includes more than 200 individual steps.
Created to rigorous, exacting standards of excellence and precision, the metal sunglasses appeal to those who value impeccable craftsmanship, state-of-the-art technology, relentless attention to detail and quality, plus a classic sophistication. Nowhere along the line is there any compromise on performance.
Each pair of Randolph sunglasses comes with specifications precise enough to meet the demands of the world’s toughest critics, including the U.S. Department of Defense, pilots, naval aviators and NASA astronauts, as well as style-conscious fashionistas and Hollywood celebrities such as Johnny Depp, Tom Cruise, Bradley Cooper, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Damian Lewis, Demi Moore and Jamie Fox.
Randolph’s iconic eyewear has been commercially available since the early 1990s, but this eyewear legend boasts roots that date back far longer.
In pursuit of the American dream, engineer and former Royal Air Force navigator Jan Waszkiewicz immigrated to Boston after the Second World War. Waszkiewicz worked as a tool-and-die maker for some big-name eyewear manufacturers and his engineering background told him the machinery used to tool eyeglass frames could be improved.
Jan Waszkiewicz partnered with Stanley Zaleski, a machinist with a background in engineering. Together, they built a proprietary solder machine that was unlike any other. They devised a 200-step process that resulted in almost indestructible frame joints.
The two men founded Randolph Engineering and in 1973 they opened the doors to their factory in a small town – called Randolph – just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Five years later, the Randolph company was chosen as a subcontractor for the U.S. military.
Building on success, in 1982 Randolph became the prime contractor for military-style aviation flight glasses – the HGU-4/P Aviator sunglass – for the United States Department of Defense. In 1990, the Department of Defense contracted Randolph to produce 200,000 optical inserts annually for the M17 chemical/biological mask.
Through word of mouth, consumers learned about the company’s iconic sunglasses and over the coming years Randolph expanded into the commercial market.
In 2000, Randolph was awarded its first contract for the Frame of Choice (FOC) programme, which provides the United States Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and NASA with an alternative to sunglass frames for everyday wear.
Today, Randolph continues to handcraft its high-performance technical eyewear to military standard specifications in a factory just outside of Boston. Most of the revenue comes from consumers buying sunglasses virtually identical in appearance to the military versions, although constructed to slightly different specs. Randolph continues to supply the U.S. military – as well as air forces around the world – with aviator sunglasses.
Handcrafted with military precision and exceptional workmanship
Each HGU-4/P Aviator is still built to strict guidelines, based on a 20-page document detailing the most demanding, complex manufacturing specs anywhere.
Famed for their unique solder machine as well as their unique process, it all starts with top-grade materials. The meticulous production method involves 200 steps and 27 processes that progress from shaping and milling the wire to soldering each piece, to tumbling. Tumbling is a process whereby porcelain and ceramic granules polish each frame to absolute perfection.
Electroplating – a process applied to the product’s metal finish for maximum durability and scratch-resistance – is the only step performed offsite. About 80% is done by hand by the company’s highly skilled master craftspeople.
All told, it takes roughly six weeks to make just one pair of sunglasses.
Even details such as the stainless steel screws are specially designed to prevent them from coming out, ensuring an unbreakable fit for years of wear. The world is scoured for the best possible components and materials, including special metal alloys with tight molecular structure that prevents rust and oxidation.
Using the same precious metal finishes found on the world’s finest timepieces, each frame base is coated in palladium, then plated in 23-carat gold up to five times the industry standard. All finishes are topped with a corrosion-resistant coating for additional frame protection.
Made in the U.S.A.
Randolph’s glasses are masterly engineered, not just manufactured, and are world-famous for their military-spec toughness and phenomenal quality.
The proprietary machinery and tooling invented by Jan Waszkiewicz and Stanley Zaleski is still integral to Randolph’s manufacturing, alongside new state-of-the-art technology.
Many of Randolph Engineering’s solderers have worked in the vocation for decades and carry with them a skillset unlike anywhere else in the world. In fact, this third-generation, family-owned company is the only metal eyewear manufacturer that has continuously remained in the USA since its founding year of 1973.
Cutting-edge lens technology with state-of-the-art protection and proprietary coatings
Not all lenses are created equally. With 45 years’ experience in providing outstanding products to the military and sunglass industry, Randolph’s lenses are in a class of their own.
Randolph Engineering has utilised its proprietary lens technologies – SkyTec™, SkyForce™ and SkyForce Air™ – as a standard feature since 1978.
Crafted to provide optimal viewing performance, SkyTec™ Lens Technology offers 100% UVA/UVB protection, anti-reflective coating, harmful blue and High Energy Visible (HEV) light protection, Infrared Rays (IR) management, and Visual Light Transmission (VLT) of 15% for non-polarised aviators. The VLT level represents the percentage of light the lens allows to pass through.
The SkyTec™ lenses are developed with military pilots in mind, meaning they are ready for anything. Scratch-resistant coating is applied to all Randolph lenses. Then, the lenses are tested for their impact resistance by dropping steel balls onto each lens from a height of almost one metre.
SkyTec™ Mineral Glass is Randolph’s most popular lens material. It is individually ground and polished to exacting standards to provide a high level of optical clarity that rivals a camera lens.
Randolph non-polarised and polarised lenses are available in a variety of lens colours to improve performance characteristics based on visual attributes, light conditions and changing environmental factors.
Built to last a lifetime
Classic styles, tested by time. Built to the highest specifications, Randolph even makes its own solder flux. As a result, the frames provide unequalled strength and solder joint integrity.
Randolph Engineering offers a lifetime guarantee on all solder joints and manufacturer-related damage to the frame. The frames may twist and bend out of shape, but they will not snap. Simply bend the frames back into place.
Bear in mind that Randolph sunglasses are wear-tested and drop-tested to pass strict quality assurance standards. There is even a YouTube video in which a truck drives over a pair of sunglasses and they do not break. The metal flattens, but the lenses remain intact.
Classically cool with timeless elegance
Brimming with style and sophistication, these sunglasses will never go out of fashion. There is a choice of lens colours, frame metals and aviator styles. Currently, there are over seven luxury frame finishes as well as 18 polarised and non-polarised lens options from which to choose. Simply build the perfect Aviator to suit any style.
Finishes include Randolph’s newest precious metal, White Gold, along with Yellow Gold, Chocolate Gold, Rose Gold and Satin Rose Gold. Other options include Bright Chrome, Matte Chrome, Matte Black, Bronze Oxide and Dark Ruthenium.
The lens colours offer an impressive range of purposefully engineered tints such as American Gray, American Tan, AGX, Blue Hydro, Granite, Coastal Gray, Cape Sand, Slate, Evergreen, Harvest, Northern Lights, Rose Gold and Atlantic Blue.
Randolph’s three temple styles – the signature Bayonet as well as Skull and Cable – are designed for comfort and long-time wear.
The sunglasses are available in a variety of sizes to fit the smallest and largest heads.
The company sometimes upgrades the designs of its classic styles with new brow bars, temple tips, frame colours and more, but buyers will always recognise the Randolph signature with jewellery-quality metals and handcrafted details in their American-made Aviators. The design philosophy achieves a careful balance between “Respect where you come from” and “Reinvent where you are going”.
For those who demand nothing less than the best, Randolph meticulously engineers the finest crafted sunglasses in the world. See and feel the difference.