RCI Optics: Sharp Shades for Sight Casters
By Jose Chavez
A couple years ago photos of sharp-looking sunglass frames started showing up on Facebook. The company was a new one to me, RCI Optics. Let’s be honest. I immediately wondered how a small, privately owned sunglass company based on Florida’s east coast could produce shades that could come close to the quality produced by industry giants such as Costa del Mar and Maui Jim. Without ever holding a pair in my hands and trying them on, I dismissed them. Surely they could not be as good as my Costa 580's. Boy was I wrong.
It was not only until a few months later that I got to catch up with a good friend of mine. Willy Le, to my surprise, had been using a pair of RCIs. Willy is an exceptional angler and guide whose livelihood depends on being able to spot fish and direct his clients to them. If they were good enough to get high praise out of Willy, there had to be something to the RCIs.
When I finally tried them, I was shocked. The quality of the polarization matched or even beat my Costas. It's been a couple years since that day, and this ‘new’ sunglass company has continued to gain popularity and acceptance in the saltwater sight-fishing community.
What accounts for RCI’s growing success and popularity? It's certainly not due to a huge marketing budget or high profile TV endorsements. It is more fundamental according to a company representative. RCI is a small company that answers to customers, not stockholders. Products are designed accordingly.
This philosophy has led RCI to do a few things differently. A hydrophobic lens coating is one. Water that hits the lens beads. You can blow it off without leaving a smudge. The polarization is ‘injected’ into each lens. They will never delaminate. They have a no nonsense warranty. If there is a manufacturer defect in the product, the shades are replaced at no cost, including shipping. Easy.
RCI Optics (Right Coast Independent) polarized sunglases; $240-250 (most models)