Silhouette® Rimless Eyeglasses Frame — Review

© 2014 Peter Free


08 September 2014


Photograph of Silhouette brand rimless eyeglasses for Peter Free's review of them.


Overpriced and under functional — compared to conventional full and semi-rimless frames


The idea of the reusability of Silhouette’s rimless frames (with new lenses) proved not to make up for the annoyances this design inflicts on some of its wearers.


The company’s sales pitch is that, because the earpieces and nose bridge are attached by bolting them through the lenses, these parts can be reused on differently shaped lenses in the future, thereby saving money, as well as frame selection hassle.


In practice, this has not proved to be the case for me.



I don’t know which model Silhouette rimless frame I have. The Silhouette website is not especially helpful, and the numbers on my earpieces do not correspond to anything currently posted there or on the Internet.





I am not a fashion follower, and I wear conventional trifocals. The latter allow a wider portion of the visual field to be in focus (for me) than graduated lenses.


Unfortunately, the spectacles industry likes to change frame shapes regularly, and most eyeglass wearers climb aboard, eventually all wearing similar styles probably still thinking that they look distinguishably cool.


The dominant shape over the last few years has been narrowly rectangular, which does not give me room for trifocal lenses. Rectangles also project too far laterally for my narrow face. Years prior have been the same, with some other transient twist on fashionable sameness for the crowds.


Hence, the appeal of the supposedly reusable Silhouette frames. When a new prescription will be required in the future, I reasoned, I could look for lens shapes, rather than a combination of lens shape and frames.  This might make eyeglass buying less of a hassle.


With the Silhouettes, my plan is not working out.



In use


My Silhouettes are set up with Trivex® lenses patterned after an Armani semi-rimless shape that was available in 2014. The Armanis were more expensive than the Silhouettes, so the optician sent the Armani frame to Silhouette to fit lenses patterned on the Armani dimensions.


That part worked. But the Silhouette result has been noticeably less successful in use than the conventional Ralph Lauren Polo pattern that I had worn for many years.


The Silhouettes are indeed lighter, but one has to use two hands to remove them from the face and to fold them for the case. The ear pieces fold with noticeable resistance, and the bridge bends slightly. Which, I presume, puts repeated pressure on the posts that hold them to the lenses.





I have a pair of ten year old, $10 readers that have through the lens post mounts. They fold easily, precisely, and with one hand. Therefore, I wonder why the Silhouette folding process is as  clunky as it is.



The Silhouettes give the wearer an impression (justified or not) of flimsiness. For someone active outdoors, these are time consuming annoyances that my previous more rigid frames did not possess. Over seven years, the Polos went onto and off my face — and in and out of their case — a ridiculous number of times with not one mishap. Even outdoors while hiking and boulder scrambling. The Silhouettes do not give me the sense that they can do the same, and certainly not with just one hand.


Worse, the through-lens connectors on the Silhouette earpieces and nose bridge interfere with peripheral vision more than any full or semi-rimless frame I have worn before. This is not confidence inspiring, when backing a vehicle (for example).


The case that comes with the Silhouettes is a joke. It is oddly shaped and its magnetic closer is so weak that, in a backpack, the case opens up and the flimsy spectacles fall out. I changed cases almost immediately, after plopping down $610 for the Silhouette-Trivex combination.



The only positive — the Trivex lenses that I selected


Trivex is noticeably optically crisper than the polycarbonate lenses that LensCrafters and other chains routinely put into the frames they sell.  The difference in optical quality surprised me.



The moral? — If you are active, wear bifocals or trifocals — and/or are easily irritated by design compromises — avoid these Silhouette rimless frames


They are overpriced and functionally less than excellent for my purposes.


I will not be reusing mine, when my lens prescription changes. The weight savings has not an adequate trade-off for the two-handed hassle, the silly case, or the interference the through-lens frame mounts pose my peripheral vision.


My sample of the Silhouette rimless frame falls short in day to day use. Its only grace are the outstanding Trivex lenses, with which Silhouette had nothing to do.