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RE VS. AO sunglasses - Page 2

post #16 of 30
how does one determine sizing? I don't have a huge face so I think the 52mm Generals may be my size, but not totally sure.
post #17 of 30
I have the 52mm's and to me they're the perfect size if you have a 'normal' head size.
post #18 of 30
Originally Posted by danilo View Post
how does one determine sizing? I don't have a huge face so I think the 52mm Generals may be my size, but not totally sure.

check out this link:

look at the size guide for your face. although i bought AOs, i used this since i figured it would be almost identical. i took a ruler and just stood in front of a mirror with the thing over my face and did my best to see how wide i was temple-to-temple. my glasses fit perfect IMHO. the AOs are pretty cheap on OpticsPlanet. You could just order two sizes and send one back. the shipping is free to you, so it wouldn't be that big of a hit to pay the shipping for one pair back to them.
post #19 of 30
Having tried the randolph in person in all sizes, I can say that 52 and 55 are good. I can't see why anyone would need a 58. Between the 52 and 55 I'd go for 55. The 52 are not small per se, but they have a way of creating this (too great of a) narrowing effect. They don't feel small, but they look too small, if that makes sense. But, yeah, they are deceptively big - I would never have thought that a 52 could fit, but it does, and the 58 which I don't consider to be a big size in sunglasses are huge.

I also find that the whole ruler thing doesn't work so well, maybe between a 52 and 58, but where the difference is so slight between the 52 and 55, I can never pin it down exactly. Order both and decide for yourself.
post #20 of 30
You have to remember they have a 20 mm bridge (not 15mm like ray ban caravans). I wear a 52 in ao and 55 in the caravans.
post #21 of 30
Another difference, and the deal breaker for me (seeing that they are so similar in every other way) is that AO's are the original. RE's came on the scene later. It was AO's that Neil Armstrong wore on his trip to the moon and it was AO's that were issued before RE's. RE has done a great job with their marketing/ product placement over the last few years... but AO's are the authentic originals. In fact, Drapper would have been wearing AO's as RE's weren't around yet (they started in the late 70's).
post #22 of 30
I was just doing a bit more research and came across an interesting fact. The AO's were released in 1958 and the Ray-Ban Caravan's were released in '57. The Caravans were not officially supplied to the military as far as I know, but they actually made before either of the other two options... and yet they catch flak for being "copycats"... no they weren't military-issue but they were out before the others were even on the table. All three are great glasses.
post #23 of 30
I'm not a big person and I'm wearing the RE Concord in a 55, I believe. I found that the sizing options were slightly different between AO and RE, so I ended up with RE. Also, I found that the cable temples on the AOs were comfortably while the REs were not. So, I'm using standard temples. That's all personal preference.

The differences are slight. Just go for the right fit. 52mm is pretty darn small in my opinion. Consider 55+.
post #24 of 30

stick to your 58mm Ray Ban Aviator it is much better than RE and AO in style and quality, if you really want to get one more try to find RayBan with leather coated frames, that is a collectors Item now, and you would gonna love it....

post #25 of 30

This is one of the major differences between AO and RE.  The (natural) sweat and oils will eat through cheaper plating, as found on the AO's.  (Sorry AO; it's true.)  RE's will stand-up much better to the elements.  In the event the RE's would begin to flake the plating, contact them directly; you can speak with the owners:  Sarah, Rick, Mary, etc., who are ALL ABOUT customer service, and will let you send them back for repair or exchange.  (RE frames are guaranteed against defects.)

I own both AO and RE pilot glasses.  Both have their relative strengths.  I think RE's have a slight edge on the quality of frame metal and plating process, and can warranty their product, accordingly.  AO's are great "beater" glasses; the RE's will probably outlast the AO's.  (Sometimes, you DO get what you pay for.)

post #26 of 30

I bought some AO 55 Pilots in matte chrome from Aircraft Spruce and was surprised that the nose pieces are not hinged the way good prescription frames would have them, but are held on with little bent tabs!  I was able to bend them into shape to fit but even $5 sunglasses have better nose pads!  I do see some ebay sellers saying the AO pilots they sell are self adjusting, but others sellers don't mention this about the nose pads.    Now I'm wondering if there are 2 different versions of the AO Pilots?!   RE say theirs have self-adjusting nose pads, but I can't tell from the pictures what kind they are...


Although at first I found the nose-pads weird, and 55 is too big for my average head, after adjusting them they feel OK and I'm getting used to them.  One other thing, the AO logo on the side of the arm is a bit cheap looking - I'd rather it was plain.

post #27 of 30

look this link, there is all story and all response to your questions. The only problem is that in spanish, but with the google translate you dont have problem.

post #28 of 30

You need to get the glasses adjusted at a eyewear store. Most will do it for free.  The nosepads are teh real problem. They are hard plastic and slide on an oily nose. When adjusted properly  they stay put.  I asked AO if they had silicone nose pads they said no.  Too bad that would make them all around better than RE.  AO told me that RE took teh AO design and used it.  Who knows  AO is glass so is RE  their polarized lenses are superb both makers. price is higher for randolph  I have a p[air and many pauirs of Ao. I buy Ao because they cost less as there is no difference in quality between teh two makers and their styles

post #29 of 30

Both AO and RE are built to Military specifications (50+ pages worth). Prior to the specification being issued, there were no officially approved military pilot sunglasses. AO was the first contract supplier and held the contract till the 90's, when Randolph won it.


Both manufacturer must meet specific manufacturing criteria, optical clarity, durability, impact resistance, UV protection, magnetism, etc. There may be slight cosmetic differences (AOs lenses are slightly more squared-off, REs lens edges are slightly more curved and the nose-pad arms are slightly different) but they are functionally identical.


I got my REs for $20 at the LUKE AFB BX. They have been nearly bullet-proof. The lack of polarization is a MASSIVE safety issue, as small aircraft can be difficult/impossible to visually locate with polarization. Some flight instruments also appear black and unreadable with polarization.


Buying on the civilian market? No contest. Get the AOs. Randolphs cost more because of advertising. but they're not better than the AOs.

post #30 of 30

I don't know if AO sunglasses quality has dropped or what, but my recent experience between these sunglasses indicate that the Randolph Engineering are much higher in quality and quite proportional to their price premium.


Here is my close up build quality comparison if you want to see it:

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