When Sheel Davison-Lungley graduated from optometry school, she applied for a job at E. B. Meyrowitz but was beaten to the post by a classmate. “I’d always wanted to work there,” she recalls. “Everybody in optics knew about E. B. Meyrowitz.” So when Britain’s most discerning spectacles maker was put up for sale a little over a decade later, she snapped it up in 1993.
Established in 1875 by Emil Bruno Meyrowitz in what was then Prussia, the business built an enduring reputation not just for its handsome glasses but also for the founder’s meticulous approach to vision testing and “performance eyewear.” Meyrowitz kitted out every winning Le Mans team until 1950 and both Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh with handmade goggles.
Under the stewardship of Davison-Lungley and her son, Jamie, Meyrowitz has remained a much-loved destination, run from a wonderfully quaint boutique on London’s Royal Arcade in Mayfair, which is now the company’s sole store. (E. B. Meyrowitz shops in New York and Paris are not affiliated with the brand.) Modern Meyrowitz’s reputation for quality remains second to none, as does the service the Davison-Lungleys offer. Jamie, the brand director, personally handles measurements for US clients during frequent trunk shows in eight major American cities.
“Today is a continuation of what the house was, but I think our attitudes towards design, craftsmanship and service make us very special in the modern world,” Sheel says. “Good service, design and getting into the nitty-gritty of one’s eyesight is very, very important to me.”
A single pair of eyeglasses from Meyrowitz’s Bespoke Collection, which tailors existing designs to a customer’s facial dimensions and offers a wide range of precious materials, can take many weeks to fabricate and require between two and three days of handwork at the brand’s workshop in Hampton Court, southwest of London. The frames start at about $1,825 (at current exchange rates) in acetate, or $3,320 in horn. Ready-to-wear models are also available at $660. Making a custom pair is a delightfully traditional process, and one that sets E.B.M. head and shoulders above mass-produced eyewear brands.