Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pince-Nez in Paris

You may not see pince-nez worn by people on every street corner in Paris, but this eyewear style appears to be better received in France than in the US. LeDandy recently received a thoughtful letter from a pince-nez enthusiast in Paris. According to his account, many opticians in Paris are capable and motivated to work with pince-nez mountings. This is in sharp contrast to my personal experiences and those of my colleague.

Our Paris reader wears pince-nez, and like myself, can't imagine wearing any other eyeglass style.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Fresh Look at the Astig

Courtesy of Ed in Los Angeles. LeDandy has shown a strong bias in this blog towards hoop springs and fingerpieces styles of pince-nez. Thanks to Ed, I'm taken a new look at the Astig as a pince-nez suitable for everyday wear. He was kind enough to write an email to the Renaissance discussing his experience.

The following is taken from his email. A very interesting read!


"My decision to purchase astigs was the result of a lot of discernment. My high astigmatic Rx (cylinder over 7 diopters in both eyes) disqualified some styles (flexible guards, hoop springs), which didn't bother me too much. And I was quite taken with the modern minimalism of rimless fingerpieces , but after a lot of thought, decided against them for a few reasons:

  1. I didn't want to have to buy many pairs before finding a few that would provide a suitable fit;
  2. I didn't want to deal with the hassle of finding an optician willing to make adjustments. Certainly the fingerpiece itself would need adjusting - the bridge of my nose was broken at an early age in an accident and didn't heal correctly, and eyeglasses have consequently had a pronounced tilt on me for years, even with considerable wrangling by opticians. If opticians were always bothered to make my regular frames fit, I can only imagine their reticence at dealing with something like a pince nez;
  3. The high diopter of the cylinder in the Rx means the profile of the lenses will be greatly visible, even with high-index lenses, and this ruins the minimalism. I could have opted for polished edges, giving them an ice-blocky "Sarah Palin"-ish look, which does have some appeal. But edge-polishing already creates semi-circular reflections in the the lower part of the field of vision. At my Rx, these are significant enough to impair vision. I know this from experience, having run into the problem before with modern semi-rimless frames.

So I settled on astigs. After much eBay lurking, I won/purchased an experimental pair ($30 shipped from the UK), and rather liked how they looked on me, so I went with them. True to their intent, wearing astigs with an astigmatic prescription has worked quite well!! Certainly, these will see alternation with my current pair of Windsors; but it's nice to have variety.

They're secure enough in fit with the QTE pads not to require the safety chain they came with (which is great as a curiosity but looks a bit strange on me in real life), but will mostly likely see their greatest use in the office or on the bus in less itinerant circumstances. And the muted 10k gold tone? Blends in nicely with my skin-tone, so friends/family didn't know I was wearing glasses until they got closer."


Ed makes an eloquent case for the Astig and supports it with a very flattering picture. Yes, you should consider the Astig among possible choices if you are thinking about pince-nez. They are especially well-suited for strong prescriptions and they are much more forgiving in obtaining a proper fit. This style is an important member of the pince-nez family.


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