Oakley Romeo: Get To Know The Amazing History
Oakley's X Metal Collection
It was huge news when Oakley unveiled its first model from the X Metal Collection in 1997. Oakley's Foothill Ranch headquarters, which is still being built, was the place where the Oakley Romeo, formerly known as "Oscar", was unveiled in December 1996. To promote the $250 sunglasses, five Olympic medalists, two NBA and two major league baseball players as well as surf and snowboard champions and a top beach volleyball player were present.
It was the first ever 3-D sculpted, hypoallergenic, and all-metal frame.
The making of X Metal was a complex process that involved layers of secrets. It also included a Nevada bunker. To make the Oakley Romeo, it took three weeks and more than 27 machines to produce 425,000 watts at 3,600 Fahrenheit. It also passed through 75 pairs.
Oakley described it as "evolutionary use of a new metalurgical process, and a breakthrough of structural physics." It is almost indestructible and was not possible at the time it was created. Oakley reportedly drove over a pair of them with a tank to prove its durability.
The Romeo was originally scheduled to release in November 1996. However, it did not debut commercially until February 1997. Jim Jannard (Oakley's CEO) promised that he would forgo his $1 million bonus if the Romeo didn't make it to market by February 1997. Oakley shipped 1 pair to each store on the last day in February.
The Romeo, like many other firsts of its kind had its faults. The main problem was that the frame placed stress points on the lenses which caused them to crack and splinter. It was also criticised for being too big for an average head and too heavy to be worn for a long time.
Despite these flaws the Romeos accounted for 25% of the company's first quarter 1998 sales. Hollywood was also attracted to its futuristic design. Perhaps their most iconic appearance is, a pair worn in Mission Impossible 2 by Tom Cruise. It explodes shortly after it displays a message. Romeos are also featured in Blade II, Spiderman and the second Boondock Saints.
Each pair of Romeos is unique because they each have their own serial numbers. Each pair of Romeos is collectible on its own, but if it comes with a low serial, original box and coin, it could fetch quite a bit. Collectors suggest that you discard the original lenses if you find a pair with lenses that are still in good condition. Instead, you can get replacement lenses.
The Romeo 2s succeeded the Romeos after a seven-year-run.
Even if they aren't being made anymore, they will always be the first. The first frame in the X Metal Collection. It is the first frame of its type. It is the first Oakley frame.