It’s taken a while to get round to writing about my glasses from Tom Davies. Partially, that was because it took a while to have them made. I was a guinea big for the bespoke service for horn glasses, and as with any new service it took that big longer to perfect. Partially, it’s my own laziness.

Tom initially planned to offer horn glasses in any of the designs in his collection. Customers would simply pick out a pair of glasses they liked, select a slice of buffalo horn from a range of colours and then trace around that collection, frame, indicating exactly which parts of the horn they wanted on which parts of the frame. Same with the sides.

Unfortunately, horn is essentially always trying to return to its original shape, to straighten up if bent. This isn’t a problem on the flat front of the frame, but the design I picked involved curved ends to the frame, where it would segue into the joint. Any tiny change in the horn on that curve would be immediately noticed at the end of the arm, moving it out from the side of the head.

Tom has refined the process, therefore, and only certain designs are available in the buffalo horn range. More importantly though, Tom is unique in offering this service, particularly the choice between a selection of horn pieces, and it’s great to be involved in that aspect of the design. The glasses also come in a large, attractive box made out of buffalo leather.

Tom’s designs are rather different to other glasses I have written about – EB Meyrowitz, for example. Tom tends to the squarer, the slightly larger frame, which is perhaps likely to find favour among younger men. Such should be obvious from his website.

But as with Meyrowitz he can create new frames, usually based on an existing style that is adjusted for the wearer’s dimensions. One obvious difference is that Tom takes photos of the customer and sends to his factory in China, which sends back suggested proportions superimposed on the customer’s face (as shown below).

My glasses from Tom were, as you might expect, still rather classic. But the horn adds a different texture and the design process was fascinating. Sorry it took so long to report on. (I picked the design on the far left.)

More information on Tom Davies in previous post here.

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What is the price tag for a bespoke buffalo horn glasses and what is the time frame to have one made.


Roger v.d. Velde

I don’t want to appear especially fastidious, but how is it really straight-up when someone sends an order to China to have it made up? Would you accept that with your suits?
For £1000 I’d expect someone (a local craftsman) to be making these glasses for me after offering a supposed bespoke experience.

Roger v.d. Velde

I remember the previous post and I don’t doubt that the people who make them are well-trained, or that Tom went back to a place he knew well. Yet it must be a factor of ‘competitive’ wages for someone to have a shop front in London and a manufacturing plant half-way around the globe? It’s Tom’s choice of course, but wouldn’t having a UK operation be god for British skills and business?

I’ve yet to see someone as enthusiastic about paying large amounts of money for a shirt sold from Jermyn St, but made by an Indian tailor, whereas they probably would if the same tailor was cutting/sewing from the workroom of a Jermyn St shop, with all it’s added-value branding.

I’m going to watch Tom’s You Tube video.


I know Tom very well and have been to his factory numerous times. Tom is proud of his Chinese production, as far as he is concerned they are skilled crafts men. They use machines partly but its mostly all hand made.

Tom is very upfront, you will find people paying hundred or thousands for frames made by other designer brands that print on the frames they are made in France or Italy, its all rubbish. I know for a fact some very high end branded frames are made a stone’s throw from Tom’s factory. I appreciate Tom’s candidness rather than the big conglomerates who just treat customers like idiots


…personally I just don’t care about British jobs as much as quality craftsmanship. If it can be done better in China, then that’s better for the future of the industry.

Sorry Simon, I cannot agree on that. Firstly I think one should care about jobs in one’s own vicinity. Plus I haven’t seen one company yet that goes to low wage countries (i.e. China) for other reasons than profit increase.

In addition my willingness to accept the common price tags of bespoke suits for example is certainly influenced by the fact that fair paid (european) craftsmen.

Andy Liu

Hi Simon:
What is your view on Lindberg? I have been a loyal customer to them for years and i have a horn+white gold rimless model from them. Now i am looking for getting my 2nd pair. I know they are not bespoke service, but a fairly large number of model you can choose and different colours of titanium leg you can choose make them a top quality product as well. Plus, they are all hand made in Denmark as well.




Funny. Me too. Same Lindbergh frame as yours and now looking for the same second pair as you. Did you get another pair and are you happy with them

James North

Just picked up my pair of Bespoke Buffalo Horn’s from Tom, and they are incredible!

I can agree that they do take an age; I visited his office on 21 October for my consultation with him to discuss what I wanted, and what he recommended for me.
And 6 months later I received them…

The quality is amazing, the detail is very good too, but most importantly they a very cool and suit me very well.

Tom really is an artist in his ability to make a pair of glasses for someone and for them to be just right, just as a top Saville Row tailor can make a suit just right for a customer.

I can understand some people’s views that the price of a consultation with Tom and some handmade Buffalo glasses is a lot, but you are paying for something that is very special and at the top of it’s field. They truly are a one off.

I’ve been wearing various TD glasses for the past 6 or so years and have never had an issue with quality, and the styling has been top, I’ve received a lot of praise and compliments for them.
Back in the day they were made in Japan and this was proudly emblazoned on the arms, nowadays Japan is synonymous with quality and for Tom to move away from that to China I realised he must have been happy with the quality he could achieve. I do appreciate that wages in China are less,(I deal with the Chinese everyday with work) and would hope that this is reflected in the price of the glasses and not into Tom’s pocket, and having spoken with him I do believe that, he is passionate about glasses and I believe that he is really ploughing everything back into the company to develop it further. However price really isn’t the only reason to have a workforce in China, their work ethic is phenomenal and quality can be exceptional provided they are trained well, and I believe Tom has done this.

One of the cool little touched I particularly like (being a designer) is the fact that the glasses came with their own engineering drawings.


I had ordered non-Tom Davies horn glasses recently. They were “hand made” supposedly out of southern europe. We did the superimposing frame to my image steps. I was able to get gold plated hardware. For the price of super expensive plastic frames ($900 USD) I ended up with mediocre horn frames. I still like the horn look but this pair kinda stinks. Its sort of like Simon’s suits; you need to be specific about EVERY detail. I would have been happier with a new sport coat. My takeaways for anyone entertaining this process:

1. Definitely pick your own plates. I left it to the consultant. The customer service was soo good that I just trusted them. The material I received does not have much visual interest, unlike the sample. Mine is just brownish black. In the sun you can see the striations, but indoors they look like plastic.

2. Recourse is nill.. There are tiny imperfections in the craftsmen ship. The temple is not 100% flush to the frame, and the lens isn’t seating in a small curved area. Being hand made they won’t just crank out another pair. I get a little discount on a second pair where I’ve been assured it wont happen again.

3. I don’t see information about maintenance. I was surprised as well. They should not be wet with water. Oil every 4 months for several hours. Forget about repairing cracks and brakes. Hard to find a local optician who will adjust them. They are afraid of exotic materials.

Good Luck

Jennifer Horat

Good day,
About two years ago, I had a pair of Tom Davies glasses made. Since then, I have had only repairs and costs with it. I do not wish to only complain, but feel I should mention to you just how disappointed I am in your product. Only yesterday, not long after the last repair, a hinge broke once again. I do not even trust myself to go to my optitian once again.
I wish I could have written a kinder mail!
Jennifer Horat

Kalozenski, Udo

I am also a manufacturer of horn Frames. I made them from indish waterbuffalo and all of them a handmade in my own lab. you can get any design you want and was is possible. The Price for them : 500,–€.
join my website- please.