This year, the French brand responsible for some of the world’s most innovative eyewear products turns 130.

In 1888, Queen Victoria was on the throne, the National Geographic and the Financial Times published their first editions and the game Tiddley-Winks was invented. Over the Channel, in the French Alps, Séraphin Bollé was hard at work founding what would become one of the worlds most innovative and identifiable eyewear brands, Bollé.

The Ski Club has long had a strong relationship with the brand, and we currently have three sets of Bollé’s Limited Edition 527 sunglasses to giveaway, find out more how you could be in with the chance of winning here.

A lifetime of innovation

Innovation has been in the brand’s blood from the start with Séraphin choosing to explore the application of celluloid in his glasses. Bollé was one of the earliest adopters of this novel material and it helped shape the company’s ethos of innovation throughout its adolescence. 

Georges, son of Séraphin took over the reins, teamed up with his British friend H. Thugar to carry his father’s bright torch into the 20th Century. Further investment in cutting-edge materials and manufacturing processes with some ingenuity on the drawing board saw the eyewear brand leap from strength to strength.

Bollé's celebratory video

 

By the mid-30s, Bollé was established as a pioneer of moulded nylon, enabling it to create trendsetting shapes. Trailblazing marketing campaigns at the time included converting an old minesweeper ship into a floating showroom, which was moored for some time outside the houses of parliament in London. So popular were Bollés sunglasses that the company’s first advertising campaign proclaimed “Wherever the sun shines, you’ll see Thugar Bollé”

When the 1950s came around, Bollé continued to make steps in both fashion and sports eyewear, developing the first ‘cat-eye’ shaped sunglasses while appointing their first sporting brand ambassadors. First with cycling and then at the end of the decade creating their first snow goggles.

As snowsports grew in popularity, Bollé’s products were always at the forefront, the company’s signature style and quality proved to be a hit with discerning enthusiasts for decades to come. The designs are certainly eye-catching and a great snapshot of their respective eras, we have picked out a few of our favourite designs from over the years below:

Up to the millennium, more new materials and pioneering designs have found their way into Bollé’s range, in turn attracting the best talent in the world across several sports. Iconic British sportspeople like Ellen McArthur (sailing), Lee Westwood (golf) and more recently ski sensation Dave “The Rocket” Ryding who recently won World Cup silver in Slalom (as seen in the header image).

As Bollé entered its third century, unsurprisingly innovation is still at the heart of the business. New lens technologies have helped improve performance, safety and durability and helped to cement its position as one of the world’s most popular eyewear brands in the world. Most recently their Phantom light adaptive vision enhancing lenses which launched earlier this year. 

Just over a decade ago the company made their first steps into the helmet market, once again applying the brand's ethos of innovation to this new venture to create snowsport and cycle helmets. This year Bollé launched its new Instinct MIPS helmet which marked a definitive step forward in terms of technology.

The Ski Club recently went to Sweden as guests of Bollé to visit the MIPS Laboratory to discover how the two brands were working together to produce world-class products.

The launch of the new helmets coupled with the introduction of the Phantom lens and new goggle shapes has meant that 2018, the 130th year of the company, has certainly been a big one. And with no signs of slowing down, Bollé is poised to grow and innovate for another 130 years and beyond!