Silhouette's Hidden Heroes

Little ingenuities – highly effective with no airs and graces

lowres-Snap_Hinge_LITE-Touch_1For some 50 years now, Silhouette has stood for authentic, innovative and trendy design. Authentic and innovative, because the design shows just what can be expected of functional, esthetically perfect eyewear. Trendy, because the design, with its groundbreaking innovations, sets new benchmarks in eyewear time and again. Up to the end of the 1990s, rims, hinges and screws were thought to be indispensable. At Silhouette, a visionary concept was in place, putting focus on the essential, with anything that wasn’t useful or absolutely necessary for the wearer being removed. In the firm belief that less is more, Silhouette has up to now successfully followed its minimalistic design principle down to the tiniest detail, investing uncompromisingly in quality, research and technology. But minimalism is anything but simple. It calls for innovative, high-tech solutions and continuous further development – in the design, materials and especially in the constant attention to detail and precision, those things that in the productive interplay of design, research and development make Silhouette what it is. These highly-efficient technical details, in part invisible to the naked eye – such as screwless hinges, glazing and links – are the “hidden heroes” found in all Silhouette eyewear that in sum make a unique, wonderful whole.

Hinges 2.0 – screwless, maintenance free and absolutely durable

Everyday things usually don’t draw much attention, even when fulfilling important functions. Among these is the hinge, something that we cannot live without. The eyewear industry has been using the function of the hinge for almost 700 years now. And for practically just as long, no attention has been paid to the hinge unless a screw came loose. When Silhouette introduced its revolutionary hingeless and screwless eyewear, the “Titan Minimal Art” back in 1999, loose screws became a thing of the past. At least for those who chose to wear a Silhouette. “Up to then, the hinge was purely a technical-functional element of eyewear that was more or less hidden on the inner side,” explains Rupert Spindelbalker, head of Research and Development, about the beginning of the screwless future of Silhouette’s designer hinges. “There is nothing you can hide behind a piece of wire made of high-tech titanium that is 0.9 millimeter thick! Standard solutions up to then were unacceptable for clean line DNA of Silhouette’s design. We thus developed screwless designer hinges. A groundbreaking concept, still valid today, in design and technology that makes for a functional, esthetically compelling entity.” This small, innovative element of Silhouette has undergone quite a remarkable development.

All Silhouette hinges have been screwless since 1998. The innovative metal-plastic bonds have the best friction characteristics and are maintenance-free, allowing the specialist to assemble and disassemble the temples quickly and easily with no tools. And spectacle wearers can enjoy the benefits of the current generation of hinges: light and flexible, yet durable and unbreakable. Loose or lost screws are a thing of the past.

lowres-Screwless_glazing_LITE-Touch_1The reasons for creating Silhouette eyewear are clearly defined: innovative, esthetically appealing and to make life lighter. Based on the specific needs of spectacle wearers, Silhouette has developed three hinge systems:

The patented “snap hinge” designer hinge is one of the prominent features of the flexible, face-conforming fit of the titanium temples of Silhouette’s Lite Touch. The sliding mass or rotor made of an SPX+ polymere composite is integrated in the temple. Around that revolves what Rupert Spindelbalker describes as an “open eye” hook made of titanium that can be clipped in quite easily, thanks to the great flexibility of this high-tech material.

With the “disc hinge”, however – such as in Silhouette’s Titan Harmony – the temple surrounding the sliding mass inserted in the side part is comprised of two high-tech plastic elements. Inserted in the “closed eye” from above and below, they form a disc on which the temple is then attached.

The most elaborate hinge solution, however, is the one in which there is no hinge: a flexible temple zone in the side part seen, for example, in the legendary Silhouette icon Titan Minimal Art and the plastic SPX Art eyewear, takes on the function of the hinge. Through the optimum use of the respective material properties, the flexible temple zone remains maximally elastic and dimensionally stable – the side part always goes back to its original shape. With the “hingeless hinge”, Silhouette heralded the age of hingeless eyewear 15 years ago. And revolutionizes the branch once again. To make something good even better is typical of Silhouette. That is why even the simplistic flat spring made of high-tech titanium in the new Silhouette “Titan Minimal Art – The Icon” collection, is the be-all and end-all in materials, workmanship, quality and sizing.

 The glazing of rimless eyewear. A particular challenge – and its solution.

Glazing rimless eyewear is an optical feat in itself. That is just as true today as it was at the end of the 1990s when Silhouette began working on a solution for the masses. Stress cracks frequently result when a lens is drilled and attached by screws. Silhouette solved this problem in 1998 by means of mechanically optimized lenses and – most crucially – with the development of a method for screwless glazing, similar to the screw and dowel principle: The tiniest of conical metal pins, having a hooked tip rather than a thread, are welded to the nose bridge. Inserted through the lens, they are joined to their counterpart, a plastic spool with a dampening effect. Continuously perfected in its complex simplicity and in the fine-tuning of its components, it is the state-of-the-art system today for the glazing of rimless eyewear worldwide.

The advantages of these simple yet ingenious hidden heroes are evident: formal reduction, maintenance-free, tension-free workmanship and easy interchangeability of the lenses.

A revolution – the screwless glazing of full rim eyewear made of high-tech titanium

The “flex lens lock”, first used in the Titan Notion model and available on the market from July 2013, is already one of Silhouette’s groundbreaking developments. The design of full rim eyewear made of high-tech titanium calls for a particularly fine rim, an aspiration that Silhouette has taken on, setting uncompromisingly high demands for functionality, comfort and esthetics. Invisible to the wearer, the technology is integrated in the side part. Thin plates are welded to the top and bottom of the opening of the metal grommet in the side part and their ends are joined. This causes the spring effect that makes the clipping in of the lens in the flexible metal grommet possible – without screws or tools. In its masterful delicateness, the “flex lens lock” is hard to beat, ideally embodying the perfect integration of technology in Silhouette’s minimalistic design.

Plastic and metal. Tiny, screwless bonds that are just great

lowres-Titanium_SPX_Connection_Titan_HarmonySilhouette consequently follows its vision of innovative eyewear design down to the tiniest detail. Nothing is placed arbitrarily or left to chance. Each and every element, no matter how small, receives the same amount of attention, research and development as the eyewear as a whole. Objectives once achieved are always merely steps for Silhouette. To put it another way: This is where things really start to get interesting for the designers, developers and technicians at Silhouette. Such as in the bonding of the nose bridge and nose pads, for example. Here, Silhouette uses and combines the great spring properties and outstanding flexibility of the two high-tech materials titanium and SPX+.

The link between the nose pads and the nose bridge is through a metal loop-shaped “extension” of the bridge that is inserted into the integrated opening of the nose pad at a narrow point. A stabilizing buffer of SPX+ is additionally placed in the metal loop, which simultaneously improves the sound properties when the eyewear is set down.

Separately produced, a wave is embossed on the high-tech titanium part of the temple and its counterpart is injected into the plastic part. The crux: two elements with minimal cross sections that are in part invisible to the naked eye, are mechanically joined. The two waves, with one cross section invisible to the naked eye, lay on top of each other – similar to a double helix. Inextricably interlocked, they make an entity of maximum resilience.

Progress is the result of an open search for improvement. On its way to making eyewear a highly functional, esthetically compelling accessory, Silhouette has already succeeded in many key ways. The willingness to rethink something known again and again has been reflected in all of Silhouette’s products for decades, in the revolutionary new developments in design, materials and workmanship. Those who want to be innovative cannot be concerned just with that which is on the surface. They must delve deep, even in design, down to the tiniest detail. Of that, Silhouette is convinced. And that is what Silhouette stands for today and in the future. Its hidden heroes are the best proof of all.

“Each successful step in the design, research and development, no matter how small, always marks the beginning and the end for Silhouette. And there is no reason why this offensive search for improvement should not drive us further on,” says Silhouette’s chairman Klaus Schmied, pointing out precisely the way to the future.


  • Minimalism calls for innovative high-tech solutions and continuous further development in the design, materials and in constant attention to detail and precision.

  • An uncompromising interplay of design and research & development are top priority at Silhouette.

  • Further development of a purely technical hinge into a Silhouette designer hinge.

  • Design and technology create a functional, esthetically compelling entity.

  • Best hinge friction characteristics through the use of innovative metal-plastic bonds.

  • All Silhouette hinges are maintenance-free, light and flexible, yet durable and unbreakable – lost screws are a thing of the past

  • Innovative, esthetic, making life lighter – through the optimum use of material properties, Silhouette develops three hinge systems, tailored to the needs of the wearer: snap hinge, disc hinge, and the “hingeless” solution.

  • Silhouette develops a state-of-the-art system for the glazing of rimless eyewear – stress cracks in the lens are a thing of the past..

  • Flex lens lock by Silhouette – screwless glazing of metallic full rim eyewear: the technique is invisible to the wearer, integrated in the side part. The latest high-tech development by Silhouette.

  • Silhouette uses and combines the great spring properties and outstanding flexibility of the two high-tech materials titanium and SPX+.

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