A PIECE OF HISTORY

England’s oldest handmade rolled gold eyewear maker

1898

Max Wiseman

In 1898, Max Wiseman and Co. is founded by Victorian entrepreneur Max Wiseman.

1932

The birth of Algha Works

In 1932, Wiseman aquires two factories producing rolled gold spectacles in Rathenow, Germany, and transports them and their team of artisans to Smeed Road in East London, the city’s historical manufacturing quarter. He renames the company Algha Works.

1934 - 1945

The war years

Algha Works supplies the RAF with Aviator sunglasses years before the formation of Ray Ban. In 1939, the company is called upon to support the war effort by manufacturing gas masks and aviation goggles.

1940

The Blitz

In 1940, a bomb explodes in front of the factory on Smeed Road during the Blitz. Algha Works miraculously survives.

1948

National Health Service

In 1948, Algha Works is awarded a major contract to supply the newly-formed National Health Service. The famous round eye and other original designs remain the eyewear industry’s vintage reference to this day.

1967

The Beatles' choice

In 1967, the Beatles release their ground breaking album, ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. The eyewear of choice for all the Beatles at that time was made by Algha.

1971

Lennon’s round eye glasses

In 1971, John Lennon composes ‘Imagine’ wearing his iconic gold round eye specs with orange tinted lenses, a colour he finds inspirational. A pair of his original frames sold for £1m at auction, and a replica is on display at the Beatles Museum in Liverpool. Savile Row still makes Lennon’s original round eye glasses.

1981

Raiders of the Lost Ark

In 1981, the Indiana Jones film series debuts with ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. Harrison Ford stars, wearing a pair of Savile Row ‘Beaufort Panto’ with chestnut rims.

1985

The Factory

In 1985, the NHS discontinues its free glasses programme. Only children and low income groups are given vouchers for glasses, ending the factory’s heyday.

1996

American Optical sells the company

In 1996, American Optical sells the company back into private hands. Algha Works’ unique history is preserved.

2001

Harry Potter

In 2001, the Harry Potter film franchise sees actor Daniel Radcliffe wearing Savile Row’s distinctive rolled gold Warwick frames from Algha Works. The size of Daniel’s glasses grow with him – over a hundred pairs are created over the years for his role as Harry Potter.

2014

Emblem of high-quality

Savile Row’s new acetate production floor opens. All orders are still handmade to order. The name Savile Row remains the emblem of high-quality, bespoke eyewear.

2020

The era of Kudos begins

In 2020, Algha's ancient machines are taken to Italy for refurbishment by Cadore’s legendary craftsmen. In 2022, Savile Row relaunches its authentic range from Kudos, its new Italian facility, offering unprecedented quality and attention to detail in line with the world’s finest eyewear.

OUR COLLECTION

Savile Row’s handmade, 18-karat rolled gold frames are the embodiment of refined craftsmanship and sophistication. Timeless Classics are outstanding, instantly-recognisable metal frames from our world-renowned archive. The Contemporary Elegance collection combines rolled gold with luxury acetate to create a new look blending vintage and modern. Old or new? Take your pick.

Timeless Classics

Contemporary Elegance