Reviewed by Colin Hewitt
We’re having, even by British standards, an unpredictable summer here in the West-Country. One day, it can be soaring temperatures, with plenty of dazzling sunshine, the next it can be gloomy and wet with an autumn-like chill in the air.
Oh to be in consistently sunnier climes. Maybe, just possibly, Hawaii?
I was recently sent a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses to review. Maui Jim is an American manufacturer of high-end fashion and sports sunglasses. The company was initially established on Hawaii’s second biggest island of Maui, but are now located in Peoria, Illinois; however, they still maintain a connection with their Hawaiian roots through an office and shop in Lahaina on Maui.
Maui Jim’s extensive range of well over 110 designs is inspired by the nature and natural environment of Hawaii, especially the ocean. Their entire range of sunglasses can be viewed on their, easily navigable interactive website.
Each pair of glasses can be selected and displayed as a rotatable image – you can even choose the colour type. 95% of the frames from their collection can be used for prescription sunglasses, a service Maui Jim also offer. It’s something I will certainly be considering when I need to renew my optical sunglasses.
There is a social feel to the website. Maui Jim can be followed on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and they invite owners to ‘share their view’ by submitting their photographs.
But the website isn’t just about lifestyle, stunning videos, glitz and image; it gives as much technical detail as possible. The specification of each pair of glasses is highlighted – frame-fit, eye-height, eye-width, bridge distance, temple distance, even base curve – a term I had never heard of before.
The style I chose for review were the Black Coral in a black matte finish with super-thin glass.
When I’m on holiday I read quite a bit and take a lot of photographs; therefore the optical clarity of the super-thin glass is essential to me.
The elegant glasses have a stylish matte finish on the lens rim, and bridge of the frames. The temples/arms of the glasses have a high gloss finish with a golden Maui Jim signature embossed on each. The signature is discreetly repeated in the top corner of the wearer’s right lens.
The frames are constructed from monel, which is an alloy of predominantly nickel and copper. This choice of material makes the glasses resistant to corrosion. Monel, I have discovered, is particularly resident to fast flowing seawater – ideal for sunglasses if you’re wearing them on the beach or water-sport activities. The hinges, as you would expect from such a well-designed product, are also non-corrosive.
In addition to the well thought through stylish design of the product, it’s the little touches which impress me. Each temple/arm opens with a satisfying click; hence they don’t instantly fold back when removed. The hinge screws are accessible so, if they ever need tightening, it would be an incredibly easy job to perform. Very soft rubber pads below the bridge of the glasses ensure comfort. All these things combine to let the owner know they are purchasing a luxurious item. Even the weight of approximately 45 grams, gives a feeling of gravitas.
The glasses were supplied in a large, hard-wearing case, but if you didn’t want to use the large container, a Hawaiian-printed draw string sleeve was also provided – however, with such a precious item I’ll be opting for the hard case every time.
In between showers of rain, I tested the glasses outdoors. I considered that the sunglasses I already had were quite good – they were a reasonable fit, and had Polarised lenses so they must be okay, mustn’t they? How wrong I could be, the Maui Jim Black Coral, with their PolarisedPlus2 (patented) lens technology, was in a different league.
Reading a paperback book, and a book on a Kindle was easy, and I experienced hardly any glare. Things were slightly trickier with an iPad, but still less glare than using the naked eye, however, that’s the nature of the iPad – absolutely nothing to do with the optical performance of the Maui Jim’s.
Next, I wore the Black Corals for a much longer period when I went for a country walk. Throughout the trip, they were extremely comfortable with no rubbing of the bridge or temples. Sunshine glare was kept to an absolute minimum, and most importantly my eyes weren’t tired or strained at the end of the long trek.
Obviously, after such a short period I haven’t had any need to contact their customer support services – however, looking at the endorsements on their website, if I were to experience any problems in the future, I can expect an extremely professional service.
In summary, these sunglasses ooze high-end luxury, are stylish, comfortable, tactile and extremely efficient at reducing glare. They were an absolute pleasure to wear. If you’re going to spoil yourself, or someone else, I couldn’t recommend them more highly.
Now, all I need is summer to return.
A well-deserved 5 out of 5.
For more information or to buy visit mauijim.com.