Amazing Eyewear – Made in France // Gouverneur

An obvious name to add to our list of “Amazing Eyewear – Made in France” is the heritage eyewear manufacturer Gouverneur Audigier.  Based in the heart of Jura, the French capital of eyewear, this region also carries a long watchmaking and gemstone tradition. Here, Clément Gourverneur established his factory in 1878 with a profound desire to apply this long tradition of luxury and precision handcraft to the eyewear industry.

Fostering a legacy

As a Jura native, Phillippe Girod acquired the company in 2014, carrying the same motivation as its founders. He saw this project not only as a unique creative adventure, but also as an opportunity to continue developing a company with a rich heritage, whilst maintaining the detailed handcrafted quality.

He revamped the collection, adding a touch of avant-garde to authentic designs to create “modern-classic” styles, positioning once again, Gouverneur Audigier as a leading luxury and precision, authentic eyewear brand on the market.

Awarded for excellence

In 2017 Gouverneur Audigier received the prestigious “Living Heritage Company” label, from the French minister of economy and industry, for fusing artisan know-how and industrial excellence.

 

Building a heritage

At the end of the 19th century, France is at the heart of the industrial revolution. In Jura, workshops are expanding into factories, well equipped with the latest machinery powered by incredible water energy and first with public electricity.

Their 3 protagonists, Clement Gouverneur, Maxime Audigier, and Emile Boisseau team up to launch a company that will produce elegant and contemporary eyewear, blending the prestigious handcraft tradition of the region with technological innovation, to create practical, comfortable, and stylish designs. 

Combining their complementary skills, they formed the perfect trio and proved from the start their genius and refinement, through innovative designs made to promote comfort and elegance. They entered the market with a bang with their first creation: a flawless “pince-nez”. The technique they developed was revolutionary as it did not require any welding to yield a durable, flexible, and seamless frame.

They continued inventing and marked the evolution of eyewear with a ground-breaking process for fashioning strong, flexible, and refined wire temples. The machine built to create these inimitable “branches cordées” could only be operated by unmarried ladies, having no husband to reveal its secret to. 

This one-of-kind piece of machinery was named: “Demoiselle”, in reference to its operator. Worthy of their regional inheritance, they naturally produced novel and exquisite eyewear, transforming a commodity into an accessory of elegance. They delighted their customers with sophisticated oval-shaped frames, pristine rimless glasses, and stylish “crochet” temples.

By the beginning of the 20th century, Gouverneur Audigier had established a reputation in France, as the undisputed specialist for exclusive foldable frames. From 1970, Francoise Morel-Mottet, passionate about art and travel, followed in the footsteps of her great-grandfather, Clement Gouverneur, and propelled the company to an international level, whilst preserving its traditional know-how. Nurturing our creators’ legacy, we are still today, at Gouverneur Audigier, producing exclusive eyewear mixing the latest technology with our inherited expertise.

Finesse & Taste
The quintessence of elegance

Their design team aspires to create state-of-the-art glasses that will fit you perfectly. The frames are strong, light, and flexible for maximum comfort. The best materials are selected to manufacture strong and comfortable frames: Bronze alloy is used as a base for temples, Maillechort or monel for bridges, hinges, and rims, and titanium for nose-pads. 

Each frame is then “electro-plated” with either 21.5-carat gold or platinum for a lush and durable finish.

To tailor for your needs, the brand proposes a selection of shapes and sizes, an array of temple designs and an extensive range of colours in the form of acetate or leather Windsor, making Gouverneur Audigier the most customizable brand on the eyewear market.

Blending tradition with the latest technology

Their manufacturing is still located in the same building that Clement Gouverneur started his venture. Each piece is shaped by a skilled craftsman, who controls every stage of the process with great care. We have a passion for detail and we treasure our heritage. We respect methods of the past whilst embracing new technologies.

The objective is to produce eyewear that combines comfort, style and quality. For example: it takes 32 steps, to turn a simple bronze wire into one of our temple. They continue to craft some of their parts on their 100 years old machinery developed by watchmakers, known to build for precision and durability.

Gouverneur contemporary heirloom eyewear

Launched in 2015 Gouverneur is the premium line from Gouverneur Audigier. Reflecting our DNA of pure lines and fine metals, this exclusive luxury collection embodies the essence of elegance, finesse and taste bequeathed by classic designs and flawless finish. This customisable line tailors for your delectations and desires. Gouverneur enables you to indulge on the choice of the shape of your rims, their size, the distinction of your bridge, the profile of your temples, until your glasses completely portray your true essence.

Check out their full collection on their website.

The past has a future…

Author: maarten weidema

After being a freelance eyewear designer since 1999, TEF founder Maarten Weidema now solely writes about his fellow designers in the optical industry. His passionate mission is to promote independent eyewear to the international optical arena, backed up by a large group of bloggers and journalists from all over the world. He has recently been awarded "International Optical Personality of the Year", "Leading Innovator in Optical Social Media Marketing", "Social Media Marketing Company of the Year" and received several awards for "best eyewear blog" for his efforts to promote independent eyewear to a community of 517.000 eyecare professionals.

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