Oakley’s latest sunglasses, the JURY, released this week, are made of metal. The stout aerospace aluminum employed for the frame required milling and machining tolerances to be within a thousandth of an inch, according to the company. The lenses, a proprietary Oakley optic, meet ANSI standards for impact resistance and were tested with a series of do-or-die lab procedures that included the use of a metal spike and quarter-inch steel shot fired into the lens at 102 miles per hour.
In Oakley Inc.‘s timeline, which has included frames made of plastic, wire, titanium, magnesium, carbon fiber, and a different type of aluminum, the company says its latest frame material seen on the JURY is among the toughest ever made. Built with an alloy originally engineered for aircrafts and space vehicles, the stiff aluminum can withstand a lot of abuse. Sit on them and they will not break.
One clarification: The JURY glasses are mostly, but not completely, made of metal. There are plastic or nylon components on the hinge areas and rubbery surfaces where the glasses contact your head and nose. The model is pitched as a lifestyle design made for everyday use, though with features that make them usable for biking, skiing, and moderate activity.
I got a sneak peek of the JURY this week in New York, where the company unveiled the sunglasses at the 5th Avenue Sunglass Hut store. They are good-looking and feel super solid in the hand. On my face, the glasses fit well and had good coverage. They run large, but not bug-eye big. The fit is certainly more “lifestyle” than “performance,” though they grip on the face and some crossover use in sports and activity is an appropriate play.
The JURY, which start at $190, are a limited model that will be sold only at Sunglass Hut stores beginning tomorrow, November 4, 2010, and continuing for the next 90 days. After that, Oakley dealers around the world will sell the JURY in multiple frame and lens configurations.