Ray-Ban’s original Wayfarers are one of the most sought-after sunglass styles on the market. Indeed, their popularity has inspired legions of counterfeiters determined to foist fake Wayfarers on unsuspecting buyers.
If you’re in the market for Ray-Ban sunglasses, these questions and answers should help you avoid falling for fakes — or at least know the risks of getting phony ones.
What is the original Ray-Ban Wayfarer?
Ray-Ban introduced the Wayfarer in 1952. Wayfarers have all-plastic frames with distinctive rounded lenses and a simple horizontal bar across the top. They also have pointed angles at the top outside corners (sometimes called “horn-rimmed”).
For over seven decades, the elegant simplicity of Ray-Ban Wayfarers has attracted fans around the world, from your friends and neighbors to movie stars and political candidates. Classic movies like “The Blues Brothers” and “Risky Business” made these shades a symbol of the 1980s, but they have remained a marketplace staple for decades since.
Today, Wayfarers are manufactured by Luxottica, the international eyewear titan that owns the Ray-Ban brand.
What’s so wrong with buying fake Wayfarers?
Some devious operators have learned how to create clever fakes that look almost akin to original Wayfarers. They even use Wayfarer branding and cases to give you the idea you’re getting the real thing.
This is bad for three reasons beyond the crime itself:
- If you’re the kind of person who appreciates a brand experience — like owning an Apple computer or a Givenchy purse — you probably won’t relish the idea of being ripped off or going home with anything but the real McCoy.
- You can’t be sure of the quality of fake Wayfarers. Like all big brands, Ray-Ban promises its buyers that they’ll get top-notch quality and workmanship. You just don’t know what you’re getting with a fake.
- You’re putting your vision at risk. Buying poorly built sunglasses that fall apart or come equipped with cheaply made lenses could damage your eyes or distort your vision. With fakes, there’s no guarantee that advertised features like polarizing lenses and ultraviolet protection will actually benefit your eyes. A big company like Luxottica would face crippling litigation and major damage to its reputation if it put shoddy sunglasses on the market or made claims that couldn’t be backed up. Counterfeiters do not fear these limitations.
Do you really want to risk your vision to save a few bucks on shades?
How can you tell if Ray-Ban Wayfarers are fake?
How do you spot sham Wayfarers when there are so many fakes around? Here are some of the most common signs of counterfeiting:
Lenses. Look for the cursive-lettered Ray-Ban logo near the top right corner. Use a magnifying glass to scrutinize the text. It should be crisp and clean. Look for the letters “RB” etched into the left-side lens. If those letters are painted or glued on, you have a fake.
Temple arms. Both temple arms should have a raised Ray-Ban logo. Look for the model number and size on the left arm. The right one should feature the phrase “WAYFARER®, Hand Made in Italy.” Look for sharp, well-defined typography. Fakes often scrimp on printing quality and leave out or even misspell these key phrases or words.
Hinges. The hinge construction can be a crucial give-away. Original Ray-Ban Wayfarers have metal hinges with seven prongs (four on one side, three on the opposite) plus two metal studs on each of the hinges’ two parts. Plastic or low-quality metal hinges usually point to counterfeiting.
Box. Crooks get especially crafty with packaging. They may even put counterfeit sunglasses in a real box. Authentic Wayfarers will be in a box containing the unique Ray-Ban logo. Low-quality printing on the box might be a sign of fakery. The box should include a label with bar codes that state the model number, size and manufacturer (Luxottica) — and this data should match the facts on the temple arms.
Extras. An authentic case has “Ray-Ban” and “Luxottica” in gold script. A felt liner should be included inside the case. The real thing also has a cleaning cloth and an “Icons” booklet extolling other Ray-Ban sunglass models. Take a few minutes to scan all the lettering. Fakes may have misspelled words or other typos.
Look and feel. Finally, there’s something more substantial about holding original Wayfarers in your hand and putting them on your face. The edges are smooth and flawless. The hinges turn slowly and firmly. There’s nothing cheap and rickety about original Wayfarers.
What about imitation Wayfarers that aren’t counterfeits?
Keep in mind that imitation Wayfarers might not be fakes. Ray-Ban’s Wayfarer style became so popular in the 1950s that other sunglass manufacturers brought similar shades to market. That trend continues to this day.
Thus, you might find Wayfarer-style shades that have been built by legitimate companies instead of counterfeiters. This might be a sensible, lower-risk choice if you’re on a limited budget or you’re not picky about owning a specific brand.
What’s the best way to get genuine Ray-Ban Wayfarers?
Buy your shades from a retailer you respect. EyeBuyDirect is owned by Luxottica, so no need to worry about our wayfarer-style shades.
If you’re a collector of vintage shades, you have to be extra careful. While we’ve listed the most common identifiers of Wayfarer counterfeiting, there may be a few more. Spend some time Googling tips for finding fakes to make sure you’ve done all your homework.
One thing you can be certain of when it comes to original Ray-Ban Wayfarers: You get what you pay for. Deep discounts are probably not the deal of the century. They’re more likely to be come-ons from counterfeiters.
Then again, some criminals are so brazen and greedy that they’ll try to sell you fake Wayfarers at full retail prices. There’s no substitute for taking the time to protect yourself against unscrupulous people or cheaply made fakes.
You may be able to buy the classic style of Wayfarer sunglasses from the reputable retailers we mentioned above without ponying up the full sticker price for the Ray-Ban originals.
If you must have the real thing, however, then you have to do your homework — before and after the sale. It’s your money; use it with care.