August 01, 2013
Quick Look: Switch Sunglasses Magnetic Interchange Lens System
By Kirk Deeter
Tim Romano and I are cruising around the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market trade show in Salt Lake City at the moment. This show is unreal—everything "outdoors" is under one roof, from hiking boots to stand-up paddle boards to backpacks to fishing gear. We, of course, are locked on fly-fishing products, and there is definitely more fly-fishing flavor at this year's event than there has been before. I'm trying to uncover some products that may be a bit out of the mainstream fly shop but no less worthy for the typical angler/consumer. My first contender comes in the form of an eyeglass company called Switch.
The company's tag line is "see right in every light." And I actually believe that. Though I have talked in the past here about the perfect all-around lens tint for fly fishing, the truth is, lens preference is a purely subjective matter (for example, you may like "amber" and I might prefer "copper"). I have found that on some days, a bright yellow tint is best (heavy overcast days), and in other situations like crystal blue skies over saltwater flats, a darker, mirrored tint might be the ticket. But buying multiple pairs of polarized sunglasses is not a cost-effective option for many anglers.
Many sunglass companies have made attempts at interchangeable lenses—some slide into slots, others snap into place—but I have never found an option I have been fully comfortable with. I don't like twisting frames. I've had lenses pop out at inopportune times, and so forth.
What Switch brings to the market is a pretty solid option that relies on magnetic fasteners. If you look at the glasses, you wouldn't be able to tell they are interchangeable. The tolerances are tight and the fit is snug. In fact, Switch CEO Marc Sandford (who helped develop the original Revo and Maui Jim brands) told me in an interview yesterday that each magnet is placed by hand. Most importantly, those magnets are strong.
What I can tell you after playing around with a pair of for several hours is that there is no jiggling or loosening. The polycarbon lenses are very clear and light. Retail prices range between $139 and $149. You have to specify to get polarized interchangeable lenses (base setup is on pair of polarized, and one non-polarized). You can find these at a number of retailers, including Cabela's, and a growing list of specialty fly shops.