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RE VS. AO sunglasses

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
RE, Randolph Engineering sunglasses and AO, American Optical sunglasses looks awfully alike. I think they might actually looks the same. Both companies made their eyeglasses for military & army.

Does anyone know what is the deal? who is copying whom? who made better eyeglasses in material, craftmanship & lens perspective? I think AO might be slightly cheaper.
post #2 of 30
The AO glasses are made in Massachusetts with real glass lenses. We sell them in our store for $65. I've never tried on the RE glasses, but I love the 52mm AO aviators that I have.
post #3 of 30
I would enjoy my AOs more if they weren't so heavy, they slide down my nose. =\\
post #4 of 30
RE uses real glass as well.
post #5 of 30
Have a pair, but don't wear them. They look odd on my face for one reason or another.

post #6 of 30
I tried to search online for a definitive answer of AO vs RE. For the record, RE makes both glass and plastic lenses, and currently has the military contract. AO had it until the 90s I think. I can't really explain why the REs are more -- no one can tell the difference as far as I can tell. I just won a pair of REs on ebay -- air force issue, missing RE's logos and with (a way cool) generic military case. The REs you order from their site come with a (IMHO) boring leather hard case. Oh, but if you order from their site they give you a repair kit and a UPS label to ship back for free if they don't fit. Pretty nice.
post #7 of 30
So what was the general consensus on this? It seems that other than the pricing the RE vs AO sunglasses are the same thing - same sizes, options, etc. I just ordered a pair of AO Original Pilot - 55mm, chrome, bayonet, true color for $43 on Amazon. If it works out and I like it, will probably order a custom pair with polarized lenses.
post #8 of 30
I have AO original pilot and RE Intruders. The RE seem a little better quality frame and finish. I went with plastic instead of glass on the REs which I would advise, as they are mucher lighter, the AO with bayonnet temples continually slide down my nose due to weight and the design of the temples (I'd advice skull or comfort cables). I don't think the difference is enough to justify the extra cost of the REs, but I got RE because I like the intruder style.
post #9 of 30
Try going to a locale surplus store, they should either have RE or AO. There's a good chance they'll be under $50.
post #10 of 30
I have both Randolph Engineering and and American Optical glasses in the same model and size. The only different option is the frame color, one being black, one chrome. I can't seem to locate the RE version right now, but I've compared them before and have found essentially no difference whatsoever and wouldn't hesitate to get the cheaper American Optical branded version. The only thing different about the RE glasses that I could see was a nicer case and a little box of spare parts. Whether glass quality could be slightly better in the RE, I'm not sure, but I've never noticed difference and have been very happy with both pairs of glasses. Edit: Found the RE glasses. The only difference I can really see is the shape of the small metal piece holding the nose guard (I did buy the glasses a year apart though, so this could have been generaly changed). The frames are almost identical down to small details. The finishing and joining looks a tiny bit different, but I can't tell if that's a brand thing or just due to the fact that one pair is chromed and the other matte black. I'd lean to the latter. I'm not a scholar of optics, but I held one lens above another and looked through them at a straight edge and both had only very minor (and essentially identical) distortion at the very edge of the lenses.
post #11 of 30
Thread Starter 
OK, to those who are concern. I can answer my own question.

There are huge price difference between the two. RE seems to be double the price than AO on the market. Besides the price, there are only three differences between the two.

Nose piece stem: RE and AO has different nose piece stem setting. AO seems to fit my face better. But this is a personal preference.

Temples: AO has "AO" logo emboss on the front of temples, no wording on the end of temples. RE has no logo on the front of the temple, but has "Randolph Engineering" wording on the end of the temples.

Glass: Both weight the same, so I believe both companies are using glass lenses. AO has no working at all on the lens, RE seems to have a white "RE" on the left lens.

As for quality, I cannot tell the difference at all. My AO is matte chrome finish, my RE is polish gold finish. I have never compare same finish head to head but from what I have seen it is pointless. Personally I like RE subtle logo treatment on the temples better but consider the price difference, AO definately is better value. After comparing both, I kinda feel stupid paying double (online will be triple of the price difference) for a RE.
post #12 of 30
I would like to purchase AO sunglasses but I'm not sure about the sizing. I currently wear a 58mm Ray Ban Aviator so should I go for the 55mm in AO or the 57mm? Please advice. Thanks.
post #13 of 30
i have a pair of AO sunglasses. had them for a year and theyre holding up very well.

bought them here
post #14 of 30
By the way, those sunglasses worn by Draper in MM alot of people were speculating about (including myself), are in fact Randolph, not AO, despite the anachronism. REs got them for sale for an inflated price.
post #15 of 30
What is the best way to clean the AO sunglasses? I've had mine for a bit and the gold has been flaking out green stuff, not exactly sure what it is, could be from the sale from the beach. Should I just dump them in a bucket of water with dish detergent over night? This has been recommended for me with $400 frames from the retailer.
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