Japanese eyewear: True Vintage Revival TVR®

Introducing TVR®, an eyewear collection by skilled craftsmen from Sabae City, Fukui Prefecture, Japan

Japanese precision, tradition and artisanal craft: at the centre of the frame manufacturing region of Fukui, where artisans have worked for over 60 years in old family-owned workshops, today there are just a few traditional factories existing in Sabae who still produce handmade eyewear, and a handful of craftsmen and women of this age who continue to produce eyeglasses by hand. Some of them work exclusively with True Vintage Revival – TVR®, a small label dedicated to their extraordinary expertise through the revival of the historic “classic” shapes. Above: Artisan Yamada Mitsukazu, in his 70s, works with his wife in their traditional workshop. He has been making frames since he was 16 years old. Between them, they make around 100 frames a month.

Inside the Sabae factory where TVR® frames are produced

TVR® uses time-tested methods to create these high-quality “revival” designs as well as original tools and moulds which date from the 1920s to the 80s. They also use the  “Datum Expression Size” technique, a masterful method for measurement used during the 50s in Japan to obtain a subtle balance in the design for comfort, durability and lightness.

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Craftsman Yamada Mitsukazu: one of the TVR® collections is dedicated to Yamada

In the making of the TVR® classics, vintage design features including the keyhole-bridge, functional ‘spear’ rivets, 7-barrel hinges, and other traditional spectacle details are boldly executed with skill, passed down through these generations of craftsmen whose families were responsible for starting the production of Zylonite/celluloid spectacles in the early 1950s.

Model TVR®504: a shape made famous by James Dean

Today, TVR® produces a selection of collections in Japanese zyl and SPM Sun Platinum Metal – a metal material first used in Japan in the 1930s and a favourite of the former Emperor of Japan, Hirohito. The shapes are inspired by 50 rare and collectible frames the TVR® team found discarded in an old Sabae factory. The collections include the mainline TVR Collection and “YM” – the Yamada Mitsukazu collection. For details about frames in the collections launched for 2019, visit www.tvropt.com CN