RCU Review: Zurich International Sunglasses

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    Contributed by: Ken Isaac | Published: May 2007 | Views: 60657 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon

    Review by: Ken Isaac (RCKen) | Email me

    Zurich International
    Zurich International/Zurich USA
    9418 Snow Lake Place
    Elk Grove, CA 95758
    Phone: (916) 691-6467
     Toll Free:(800)533-5665




    • Easy to see plane "in the" sun
    • Fits over most existing eyeglasses
    • Made from shatter and scratch resistant plastics
    • No metal hinges
    • Made in the USA.
    • Limited lifetime warranty

    • Closed in sides can take some getting used to
    • Price can be a bit intimidating at first

    Available Shades

    Light Shades

    Blue Gradient

    Gold Gradient

    Silver Gradient

    Medium Shades

    Silver Solid

    Gold Solid

    Blue Solid

    Dark Shades

    Magenta Fashion

    Teal Fashion

    Emerald Fashion

    Specialty Lenses

    Yellow Gradient

    Super Dark

    There are several different types of lenses available for these sunglasses, but after talking with Bruce I choose to try the Rose lenses. Bruce said these would be the best overall for different conditions that I might be flying in, and that they would help give me better definition of my plane in the air.


    et's face it, when we think about reviews on RCU, sunglasses usually don't come to mind. But if you stop and think about the environment that we fly in we start to realize that our eyes are really important. Clear skies and a sunny day make for a great environment for flying our planes, but it also makes for a situation that could cause us to lose the plane. Anybody in the hobby for any length of time has had his plane lost in the sun while flying. Some may have been lucky enough to recover, while others weren't so lucky and took their pride and joy home in a trash bag.

    While covering the Weak Signals show in Toledo for RCU this year I had the opportunity to interview Bruce Holden, CEO of Zurich USA. After the interview I spent some time talking to him about his product. After a few minutes of talking with Bruce it became quite clear that he is very passionate about helping RC pilots keep sight of their planes. He firmly believes that his product is better than anything on the market today. As I continued talking to him I started to come to the conclusion that maybe it was time for me to try these sunglasses.

    I have worn prescription eyeglasses since I was 13 years old, and because of glaucoma I cannot wear contact lenses, so the choices I have for sunglasses can be limited. Those of us in this same boat have been limited to those geeky looking clip-on sunglasses for years. Recently I got some new eyeglasses that came with matching sunglasses that attached to the frames by the use of strong magnets. But once again I was at the mercy of the manufacturer as to the type of sunglasses that I could get - in this case they were brown lenses. But after meeting with Bruce at Zurich I quickly realized that I had another option. Zurich's original sunglasses are designed to be worn over eyeglasses without interfering with the glasses at all. Bruce gave me the opportunity to try a pair of his sunglasses so that I could share the experience with RCU viewers. As I was talking with Bruce at his booth he had me slip a pair of the sunglasses on as a small demo. He had me look directly at one of the lights in the convention center and asked me what I saw on the bottom of the light bulb itself. With the sunglasses on I could actually read the writing on the bottom of the bulb. Now while I was still looking at the bulb he removed the glasses from my eyes. The light from the bulb blinded me without the sunglasses on, so much so that it took me several minutes to get my normal vision back. I was really impressed with this little demonstration and I was really excited to get a pair of the glasses to the field so I could see what they would do for me while I was flying.

    So, let's get started and take a look at Zurich's Original Sunglasses......

    Price:  $59.00 *

    Sun Protection.
    Completely protects eye environment from potentially developing cataracts. It has been proven that cataracts are caused by overexposure of the eyes to the sun (including side glare). Prevents sun related wrinkles from occurring due to side glare and squinting

    Zurich Sunglassess offer:

    • Blocks 100% of harmful UV-A rays
    • Blocks 100% of harmful UV-B rays
    • Blocks 65% of harmful infrared rays
    • Blocks 100% harmful side glare and reflected light

    Better Vision

    • Distortion free from top to bottom and from left to right.
    • Best optical quality available.
    • Total peripheral vision.
    • See clear, non-glare definition of objects.
    • Better visual depth perception.
    • Wraparound eye environment for protection from wind, airborne debris and eye irritation (Original Zurich’s).  Therefore, allowing eyes to relax.
    • No vision blockage from frame.
    • Fits over prescription glasses for better vision in sun conditions (Original Zurich’s only).
      Protects contact wearers from wind, debris and prevents the loss of contacts.
    • Protects from dry eye conditions.
    • Shields eyes from allergy causing pollens and related eye irritants.

    Physical Eye Protection

    • Lens and structural frame is made of 2.5 mm minimum thick shatter-proof ballistic polycarbonate.
    • Far exceeds the ANSI Z87.1 safety standards.
    • The lens repels direct impacts and will withstand the blast of a shotgun from seven yards with NO penetration or shear. The ballistic polycarbonate is manufactured by General Electric and will also repel a .255 caliber bullet at 25 feet. (Only the Original Zurich’s have been tested for shatter-proofing).
    • Brow bar and structural design absorbs impacts and there are no frames to break (Original Zurich’s).
    • Front and side protection from wind, dust, airborne debris and eye irritants.

      Original Zurich's Fit
    • Designed to fit over prescription glasses.
    • Designed to hug the head comfortably
    • European style nose design for a comfortable fit.
    • Adjustable ear piece tension (Original Zurich and Pilot Style).
    • Interchangeable temple pieces (Original Zurich only).

    Extra Benefits

    • Shatter-proof.
    • Lifetime warranty on breakage (Original Zurich). 
    • Limited warranty on breakage (Pilot style).
    • Available in many attractive colors.
    • Attractive mirror finish.
    • Available in three shade densities (light, medium and dark) for different applications.
    • Scratch resistant.
    • No metal hinges to bend, break or corrode.
    • Floating soft pouch with Velcro seal and belt clip.


    • Elastic sport/pilot strap for use with headsets and helmets, and to secure glasses during active sports.
    • I-Float strap for on water use

    *NOTE: My review here is of the Original model of sunglasses from Zurich. They also have a new model of glasses called "Pilot" sunglasses. These new glasses will not fit over existing eyewear, but otherwise provide the same protections as the original glasses do. I am including a picture of these for reference only.

    Zurich "Pilot" Sunglasses

    Zurich Original Sunglasses - First Look Zurich Original Sunglasses - First Look Zurich Original Sunglasses - First Look

    After getting home from the show in Toledo I pulled the sunglasses out and took my first real good look at them. Zurich uses good quality materials in the construction of these glasses, and it's pretty easy to tell when you look at them. It's actually hard to tell from the photos but the glasses do have a nice "mirror" finish to them. In fact, I had a very hard time taking pictures for this review because of the finish on the glasses. I had to keep adjusting the angle so there wasn't a reflection in the lenses.

    Zurich's Original sunglasses are made with side protection built in. What this means is that the material of the sunglasses is molded so that they "wrap around" to the sides of the glasses. They also are molded around the top of the glasses, providing screening from the top as well as the sides. This extra protection is part of what makes these glasses good. The protection from the sun extends to the sides as well as the tops of the glasses.

    At first glance most people won't notice the temples of these sunglasses, but a closer inspection shows that a lot of thought has gone into the design of these glasses. There are no metal hinges on these glasses that can bend or break over time. The temples of these sunglasses are designed to snap into place. So if the temples get "broken off" you can simply snap them back into place by yourself.

    The temples of these sunglasses are made of a plastic that is pliable and is resistant to breaking. You can bend and twist them and they won't break. In fact, this is also how you adjust the glasses to fit. You can simply bend them to fit your ears. 

    At the Toledo show Bruce went so far as to actually set a pair of glasses on the table and "smash" them with his fists to show that they won't break. It was easy to see that these glasses are made to take some abuse. Because of this these glasses should give anybody a lot of good service over the years. In the event that the glasses or temples to break they are covered by a lifetime breakage warranty and Zurich will replace them for you.


    Included with the glasses was a neck strap and carrying case. While the neck strap might look a bit like what you would expect to see a librarian wearing, it actually comes in very handy. Being able to have the glasses hanging from my neck was a real convenience so that the glasses were right there when I needed them. Also included with them was a carrying case. Although I didn't have the opportunity to test this, Zurich claims that the case will float if dropped in the water. The case also has a nice plastic clip on it so that you can "snap" them in place so you don't lose them.

    Overall it's easy to see that there is a lot of quality built into these glasses. They have been designed to give the wearer a lifetime of good service, and in the event that they do break Zurich backs them with a warranty to replace them for you. These are definitely a good investment to make.

    *NOTE: This information is provided as background information. This information is directly from Zurich's website and I am providing it as reference information in order for RCU's viewers to have a background into these glasses. I am not making any claims as to the validity of this information.

    UV-A and UV-B cause cataracts and damage the sensitive retina, sometimes impairing vision to the point of blindness.
    Zurich Sunglasses Block 100% of UV-A and UV-B .

    Ordinary sunglasses actually worsen UV-A damage - a real concern, because sunlight now has more UV-A than ever before, particularly in high-altitude ski areas.

    UV-A and UV-B are the culprits
    "The increasing amount of UV-A sunlight is one more chapter in the ongoing tale of environmental destruction. Perhaps you've already read about the problem.

    It's happening in the upper atmosphere, where a layer of ozone (03) gas filters out practically all UV radiation from the sun and protects our eyes - or at least it used to. In recent years, contamination of the atmosphere by chloroflourocarbons in aerosols and refrigerants has depleted the ozone layer, letting much more harmful UV-A radiation through.

    "Because of the danger, aerosol chloroflourocarbons are now banned in the United States and controlled by a recent international treaty, but great harm has already been done. We're now beginning to see the health results."

    The Environmental Protection Agency predicts 600,000 additional cases of sight-threatening cataracts due to ozone depletion.

    Ozone Damage Harms Eyes
    The increasing amount of UV-A sunlight is one more chapter in the ongoing tale of environmental destruction. Perhaps you've already read about the problem.

    It’s happening in the upper atmosphere, where a layer of ozone (O³) gas filters out practically all UV radiation from the sun and protects our eyes or at least used to. In recent years chloroflourocarbons in aerosols and refrigerants have depleted the ozone layer letting much more harmful UV-A radiation through to the earth’s surface. Because of the danger, aerosol chloroflourocarbons are now banned in the United States and controlled by a recent international treaty, but great harm has already been done. We’re now beginning to see the health results.

    The Environmental Protection Agency predicts 600,000 additional cases of sight-threatening cataracts due to the “ozone factor”. That’s a frightening statistic.

    What’s even more frightening is that some sunglasses actually increase the damage sunlight does. The pupil dilates behind a dark lens, so more UV-A light enters the eye.

    That’s why if you spend time in the sun you need real protection against increasing UV-A radiation in sunlight.

    Our Response to the Problem
    Zurich Sunglasses block UV-A (98%), UV-B (100%), Infrared (65%), and protect against wind, sand, snow and dust.

    Zurich Sunglasses stop ultraviolet light. Your eyes are safe - at sea level as well as at high altitude.

    Zurich Sunglasses also help you see better by filtering blue, white and flat light. When you put them on, you’ll be amazed at the sparkling clarity of your vision.

    The wraparound design keeps out harmful irritants like wind, ice crystals and dust. The optically perfect Zurich lenses with their tough scratch-resistant “quartz” coating give you a full 180° distortion-free vision.

    Zurich Sunglasses stay on your face whether you’re sailing into the wind, swishing through a slalom, or rappelling down a rock face. They’re strong, constructed of high-tech polycarbonate, which stays flexible when at very cold temperature.

    Zurich Sunglasses are designed so you can wear them comfortably with contact lenses or even over regular prescription glasses!


    Zurich sunglasses are built tough in order to withstand the tough conditions that we will put them through. Even with that in mind, the sunglasses do require a little bit of "tender loving care" in order to give you years of service. All glasses are going to get dirty. Dust, lint, fingerprints and numerous other things will cover the lenses of the sunglasses and need to be cleaned off. To clean the glasses I dip them into the dishwater that I wash dishes in. NEVER ever wipe the glasses with paper towels, toilet paper or tissues. These items may seem soft to your touch, but to glass lenses they are like sandpaper and will leave scratches in the lenses. Over time the scratches will build up and eventually obscure your vision or totally ruin the lenses completely. Use a soft lint free cloth to clean the lenses with. Old t-shirts are great to clean the glasses with. The cloth of the shirts will clean the glasses but won't scratch the lenses. Since I wear eyeglasses I've had a lifetime of experience with keeping glasses clean, so I keep a small piece of a t-shirt in my transmitter case to clean my glasses and sunglasses with. I highly recommend that anybody using these glasses carry something like this in your box to clean your glasses with.

    I personally would have never given any thought to the neck strap that comes with the glasses, but in my conversations with Bruce in Toledo he pointed this out. After he did it made perfect sense. Most people would simply wrap the neck stap around the glasses and the folded temple pieces. Bruce says that this will actually damage the temples and glasses over time. He recommends that users fold the temples into the glasses and then wrap the strap around the ends of the temples. 

    Anybody who has ever owned a pair of sunglasses knows that "stuff happens". Probably one of the biggest things that happens to most sunglasses is damage to the temples. To put it plainly they simply break off. The temples of the Zurich sunglasses are designed with the real world in mind. If the temples of the glasses do come off it's a simple matter of snapping them back in place. If for some reason the temples do break Zurich sunglasses will replace them for free. You simply have to pay for the shipping.

    The temples for the Zurich sunglasses are "one size fits all", so they may not fit each individual exactly. This is a simple matter of bending them to shape. Take the temples of the glasses and bend them until they are comfortable for you to wear without any excess rubbing or binding.


    I'll be honest in that I was more than a bit nervous about trying these new sunglasses out. These sunglasses had some pretty big expectations to live up to. Because my current sunglasses are a brown tint I thought that I should wear the new Zurich glasses for a bit so that I could let my eyes get used to them before I flew. I quickly found out that it wasn't necessary for me to do that. I put the glasses on and my eyes quickly adjusted to them and I had no problems seeing with them. The new glasses fit right over the top of my prescription eyeglasses with no issues at all. The only thing that took some getting used to was the "closed in" feeling that I got when I put the glasses on. Because of the side protection offered by the sunglasses there is no light that slips in from the sides like there is on normal sunglasses, and this does give you a bit of a closed in feeling. But it doesn't take long to adjust to it and I quickly came to like that amount of "new" shading I was getting from the glasses.

    The time had come to put the glasses to the real test and fly my plane with them. After taking off the first thing I noticed was that I actually had better definition of my plane in the air. With the sunglasses on my plane seemed to stand out a bit more than normal and it was easier for me to see the contrasting colors of my trim scheme while doing aerobatics. So far, so good. But the big test was still ahead of me: the sun. Now the butterflies in my stomach were really churning up because I was preparing to do something that we are taught from day one to avoid - fly into the sun. I felt that there was no better way to put Zurich's claims to test than flying my plane across the sun. So I took a deep breath and aimed my plane for the sun. What happened here was actually anti-climactic considering the nervousness I had leading up to it. While the sun was bright in my vision I was able to see my plane the entire time that it moved across the sun as I was flying. So there it was, the glasses simply lived up to their hype. They did indeed save my plane from being lost in the sun as I flew. Just as a little test after I landed my plane I looked at the sun with the glasses on, and then removed them. I am glad that I didn't have a plane in the air when I did this, as I would have surely lost the plane. With the glasses removed I was blinded by the sun and had to sit for a few minutes and wait for my vision to return. Nothing could have sold me quicker as to the effectiveness of these glasses than this little demonstration; the sunglasses were able to negate the effects that the sun has on us when we fly.

    During my test flights with the sunglasses on I did notice that there was another huge benefit of them, side protection. I suffer from Glaucoma and I have problems at the field when the wind blows from the side, behind my glasses and across my eyes. When this happens my eyes will start watering, and at times they will water to such an extent that I have trouble seeing my plane. When this happens the only thing I can do is land my plane and wait for my eyes to stop watering. There have even been several times that I've had to hand my plane off to a fellow modeler because I couldn't see my plane well enough to even land it. With the side protection offered by the Zurich glasses it blocked the wind from blowing behind my glasses and causing my eyes to water up. For this reason alone these glasses are worth every penny of their cost.


    With as much as we spend on our hobby it's sometimes funny that people will skimp on something like sunglasses. I'm just as guilty as the next guy when it comes to this. I've often looked at the price tag and thought that was too much money to spend for a pair of sunglasses. Especially when what I had "worked just as good". Or so I thought. After flying with Zurich sunglasses I quickly realized how wrong I was. These glasses are worth every penny on their price tag, and after flying with them I quickly wondered how I ever got along without them. The glasses will give you better vision of your plane in just about all conditions, and when your plane is flown into the sun the glasses will more than likely save your plane. It's even more important than just your plane though. These glasses will save your eyes from the damaging UV rays of the sun. With all of this in mind I think that every pilot should have a pair of these glasses as part of their field equipment. Considering what they can do for you they are indeed very cheap insurance.

    I won't try and sugar coat the truth here. T/hese sunglasses are a little pricey compared to some other sunglasses. But when you weigh the cost against the amount of protection that you get from the sunglasses it's a no-brainer. The cost is well worth it.

    After spending a little time flying with these sunglasses I can safely say that they have found a permanent home in my flight gear. I've actually cut a place for them in my transmitter case so I won't accidentally leave them at home when I go flying. It didn't take long for me to become a loyal Zurich customer; I'll always have them with me whenever I am flying.


    Distributed by:

    Zurich International
    Zurich International/Zurich USA
    9418 Snow Lake Place
    Elk Grove, CA 95758

    Phone: (916) 691-6467
    Toll Free: (800) 533-5665

    Comments on RCU Review: Zurich International Sunglasses

    Posted by: Tenkuro on 08/05/2010
    Sweet! Nice in-depth article! Was reading about this here: http://www.modelairplanenews.com/ME2/dirmod.asp?sid=17F3E50B054A4C1C9FDD81B36E52B522&nm=Site+Features&type=news&mod=News&mid=9A02E3B96F2A415ABC72CB5F516B4C10&tier=3&nid=B0CCB605E75D49D5AD444A32423A25AD and was looking for more reviews. Thanks!
    Page: 1
    The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.

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