• C.W. Dixey & Son

    Top Drawer | Style  

    C.W. Dixey & Son of London have been crafting exquisite eyewear for a discriminating and sophisticated clientele since 1777. Founded by William Fraser, the family proudly served as optician to the King or Queen of England. But it wasn’t without its hardships. Despite its resilience throughout recessions, depressions, and wars, dishonesty from within has almost bankrupted the company on several occasions (e.g. an assistant, Mr. Grice, used the premises as a gambling den in the early 1800s). It comes as no wonder their motto is ‘vide verum’—see the truth.

    The company’s distinguished patrons included the likes of Kings and Queens of England (seven to be precise), Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor Qianlong of China, Tennessee Williams, the Duke of Wellington, Winston Churchill, and various other leaders, artists, writers, and royalty. Legend has it that Churchill discovered C.W. Dixey & Son while he was a pupil at Harrow school. My Chartwell 01 frames* are a faithful replica of his legendary circular frame. Rendered in a light tortoiseshell, it simply boasts a two white spot motif on the temple tips, just as Churchill personally requested in September 1944. Each pair is still accompanied with an invitation to enter your name into their storied archives dating back to 1780.

    “I am easily satisfied with the very best.”  —Sir Winston Churchill

    C.W. Dixey & Son remains the oldest independent eyewear company in the world. Since its inception, ownership has passed only between friends or family and to this day they remain an English family business, based in London.

    *courtesy of C.W. Dixey & Son

    Nov 28, 2011 | Permalink (26) Total Comments

    daniel_drennen2@yahoo.com left a comment on 2/25/2012 at 6:52 AM:

    want to order asap-


    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 11/30/2011 at 12:06 PM:

    There is some good discussion going on here gentlemen.  The reality here is that the prep/trad style of dress is enjoyed by many different men with differing taste levels…various price tolerances.  I never want to imply that a young man in college (or even in his young 20s) should be able to afford such items as these frames by C.W. Dixey & Son.

    Stanley Marcus once said, “Good taste, I am convinced, can be acquired through environment and education; the eye can be disciplined to differentiate between good and bad by a constant looking process.”  This is what a piece on C.W. Dixey & Sons is about…it’s about developing taste.  Justin, below, understands that.  You may not be willing to spend this kind of money on a pair of eye glasses, but one day you might.  Either way, now you know they exist…and why they exist.

    No company that is selling eyewear for under $100 is going to have been around since 1777.  That’s not the way the world works.  I have an appreciation for beautiful things and every now and then I will share those things here.


    Justin left a comment on 11/30/2011 at 11:34 AM:

    @Dan From England, that is my point exactly.  I love many of the items featured on the blog, but would never pay the indicated price.  It’s the thrill of the hunt!


    Dan from England left a comment on 11/30/2011 at 10:52 AM:

    Half the fun of buying things is to get a deal,or a bargain. I bought a pair of double monk strap shoes earlier in the year and paid £185 for them in the sale , just round the corner in Ralph Lauren the same shoes were selling fit £850 ! I love the RL look / product but it is so over priced I really enjoy sourcing similar stuff at a fraction of the price.


    Justin left a comment on 11/30/2011 at 10:05 AM:

    I believe the big take-away from this conversation is that, yes, there are wonderful examples of expensive goods available to us but this does not mean that we’re forced to pay the price for these items as there are many less expensive options out there, many of which are of similar quality to their luxury counterparts.  I appreciate seeing the high-end offerings being displayed because it gives me the inspiration to go out and find a similar product in my price range.  Seeing a high-quailty example of these frames, for example, also shows educates me on the finer details that distinguish between quality goods and low-end knock offs.


    Jim Kelleth left a comment on 11/30/2011 at 4:57 AM:

    ‘Glenn’ is right about the Anglo American frames, but you don’t have to pay Ben Silver prices.  What they call the Liberty is the model 406….a classic.


    Michael left a comment on 11/29/2011 at 9:03 PM:

    Dare I say Churchill took a page out of Wilde’s book?  Good for him!

    have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.”
    ― Oscar Wilde


    Tyler P. left a comment on 11/29/2011 at 7:35 PM:

    @cam I’m pretty sure that’s AEV’s point. That being said, both the jacket and glasses are both quite nice.


    Daniel left a comment on 11/29/2011 at 7:16 PM:

    Glasses worn by emperors, kings, and PMs? Cool.


    J left a comment on 11/29/2011 at 7:09 PM:

    I remember you recently saying only a fool would pay more than $100 for frames (in your endorsement of Warby Parker), which makes this post seem a bit contradictory.

    But if I could get free $600 frames like these I’d do the same thing.  Also, people might be surprised to hear prescription lenses (at least mine) go for nearly $300.


    Glenn left a comment on 11/29/2011 at 5:19 PM:

    A similar line of eye wear can be found at Ben Silver in Charleston, SC The Anglo American brand which I own a pair are also made in England! Very similar to the C.W. Dixey & Son styles! They’re top quality also!


    cam left a comment on 11/29/2011 at 4:16 PM:

    @aev - but fred didn’t pay $600 for them. heck, i’d endorse a ferrari if someone would like to “gift” me one


    JUmm left a comment on 11/29/2011 at 2:59 PM:

    i adore those glasses!
    STYLE DECORUM


    AEV left a comment on 11/29/2011 at 2:38 PM:

    Fred - I’m not only interested in “value”/cheaper prices - I just don’t believe that something being made in the USA automatically means it’s worth paying a steep premium for - in addition to some wonderful stuff, lots of crap is made in America. A casual, cotton duffle bag hardly seems worth $400+ - just my opinion. There is also a grand canyon size gap between “value”/cheap prices and $600.00…all sorts of high end, quality eyewear brands, Oliver Peoples (largely US designed), RL Collection(largely Italian made), etc., etc. can be had for 30-50% less…


    Makaga left a comment on 11/29/2011 at 2:38 PM:

    It’s great to read the message board.  As an eyewear designer, it’s nice to get a peak into what people feel about luxury/classic/storied brands like CW Dixey and Son.


    Dan from England left a comment on 11/29/2011 at 2:36 PM:

    Thanks Fred I checked that out but the picture today showers the cloth of the jacket so much better. When are you coming to London ?


    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 11/29/2011 at 2:17 PM:

    @AEV—Items call always be had at a cheaper price. My taste isn’t solely value driven.  I am extremely interested in C.W. Dixey & Son’s history…I like and appreciate that story…their patronage. It subtly reaffirms me that I’m in good company wearing these eyeglasses.

    If value oriented eyeglasses are more your speed, you will be interested in another eyewear company I will be writing about soon. That value will be hard to beat.


    AEV left a comment on 11/29/2011 at 1:57 PM:

    Thanks Fred - that’s certainly helpful information to have when digesting your ‘endorsements’. Just because something’s made in the USA, doesn’t mean it’s worth over-paying for….especially since you seem to be endorsing similar ‘over paying’ for French made/UK designed eyewear. Heck, I’ve seen vintage, all leather RL black watch duffle bags sell for $200 or less on sites like etsy/eBay…personally, I think black watch travel bags are a bit much for men anyway.

    I don’t need glasses (yet), but I do know that very nice, high quality frames can be had for far less than $600.00….but, like I said, the Dixey ones are sharp and I appreciated the post. The vintage Press blazer is killer as well….


    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 11/29/2011 at 1:24 PM:

    @AEV—In defense of my Ernest Alexander waxed cotton weekend bag, it’s the price I pay for a bag produced in NYC from a boutique (in blackwatch nonetheless, few, if anyone else, is doing that).  Yes, Filson makes a similar sized duffel bag in the USA for $100 less…and that’s a great option if you like earth tones.

    C.W. Dixey & Son gifted these frames to me upon my request for them to do so. I do like them very much.  I’ve found this shape is difficult to find. Given C.W. Dixey & Son’s price point, heritage, and patronage (and let’s not forget the weak dollar against the stubborn pound), their frames are essentially a luxury accessory; therefore, qualms over steep pricing don’t hold as much water as it would with a company competing on price.


    AEV left a comment on 11/29/2011 at 12:58 PM:

    Cool frames. Fred, were these a ‘gift’ or did you purchase them? They, like the $400 cloth bag you endorsed a couple wks ago, stike me as a bit steep at $600.00….no?


    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 11/29/2011 at 12:28 PM:

    @Dan from England—Every article of clothing that appears on Unabashedly Prep is mine.  What you see is what I wear…what I wear, I endorse…what I endorse, I share with you.  If you’d like to see me wearing the jacket, check out the piece I wrote up on J.Hilburn—I’m wearing the jacket there.


    Dan from England left a comment on 11/29/2011 at 12:20 PM:

    Oh thanks for the info, I didn’t realise it was your jacket , don’t hink we have that make in the UK but I really like it, maybe you could do one of your collections and include it showing what you wear with it. Really cool jacket.


    Mike left a comment on 11/29/2011 at 12:09 PM:

    I thought that quote was by Oscar Wilde.  Yes, they make superb frames!


    F.E. Castleberry left a comment on 11/29/2011 at 10:50 AM:

    @Dan from England—My jacket is vintage J.Press.


    Dan from England left a comment on 11/29/2011 at 9:23 AM:

    Love the herringbone jacket, do we have any idea where it came fom ?


    ERIII left a comment on 11/28/2011 at 11:46 PM:

    Great post! I love the info!


    image