Pince Nez Glasses

Eyeglasses Warehouse specializes in antique spectacles. Of the past styles we sell, pince nez glasses are one of the most memorable with their innovative design that pinched the nose to stay in place. We source original pince nez frames from the late 1800s and early 1900s, and polish and restore them to an attractive vintage condition.

The pince nez glasses here on our website are genuine antique glasses that offer a bit of history whether you fit them with your prescription lenses for regular wear, use them as a costume piece, or collect them.

About Our Pince Nez Glasses

Pince nez, from the French words for “pinch” and “nose,” are held in place by literally pinching the wearer’s nose instead of with temples that rest over the ears. Although glasses of this shape have existed since Medieval times, opticians began to design them to contemporary standards in the 1840s. By the last decade of the 19th century, pince nez eyeglasses were the height of style.

These eyeglasses had smaller lenses that rested close to the nose, giving them a distinctive look. Their ability to be easily put on and taken off worked well with fashions of the time in which continuously wearing glasses was unattractive.

Today, customers choose pince nez as a unique option for reading glasses or custom sunglasses. We have many types and variations of pince nez glasses in our selection ranging from 1840 to 1920, when manufacturers stopped producing them. The majority come from the 1890s when the style was most popular.

Styles of Pince Nez 

Optical companies like American Optical, the largest eyeglasses manufacturer at the time, designed pince nez in several styles to meet different functional requirements. The two main types were:

  • Spring Bridge Pince Nez – Also called C-bridge pince nez, these frames used a flexible length of metal in a C shape to connect the two lenses. The flexible spring meant the glasses would fit on many faces.
  • Hard Bridge Pince Nez – A hard bridge was a factory set bridge that was non-adjustable and held the lenses at a fixed width. They came in widths between 14 and 26 mm. While their set size offered a less universal fit, they were more effective for astigmatism or other vision problems.

These spectacles were also made with rims and in rimless styles. Rimmed glasses could include:

  • Gold Pince Nez
  • Silver Pince Nez
  • Tortoise Shell Pince Nez
  • Black Pince Nez

Pince nez glasses had a reputation for falling off. Their style also meant they were not constantly worn, but rather affixed when the wearer needed to reach or see an object far off. As a result, it was fashionable to wear pince nez attached to clothing by a chain so they were at hand when needed.

How to Choose a Vintage Pair of Pince Nez Glasses at Eyeglasses Warehouse

When choosing antique pince nez for modern wear, the rimless style offers more options for inserting your own lenses. The lenses do not need to fit original round frames, so you have the option for larger lenses, differently shaped lenses, and bifocals.

C-bridge pince nez are also easier to adapt for daily wear since the spring helps these spectacles fit a wider variety of faces. Of course, many of our customers also like the classic look of wire frame pince nez and our changing inventory makes it possible to find hard bridge pince nez in your size, so the style you choose can be entirely based on your preference.

If you are looking for hard bridge pince nez, your optician can measure you for the correct bridge width for a pair of pince nez glasses that fits properly. And if you do not currently see your size in our selection of antique pince nez, we encourage you to bookmark this page and check back as we acquire and restore new frames.