Lens: Black Iridium
I feel that it is somehow incumbent on my part to come to the least favored of all X-Metal's defense. I really think the Romeos are quite nice. I think I wrote somewhere on the forum that I thought they were quite pleasing aesthetically, not from a lens shape perspective, although I do like the lenses a lot, but rather from a design angle: I like how the bridge is a large piece--an "X"---that reminds an observer of the X-metal significance of the frame as the rest of the design flows from it.
The hammer ear stems are somewhat of a plus too. I know that there are actually quite a few other Oakley-nites out there who aren't too keen on that feature of the XX's and the Romeos but I liked them so much that I have a spare pair of such temples to swap onto my X-Metal frame colored Juliet's just incase I want to add a little kick to my usual Oakley's.
My greatest complaint about the Romeos (actually this goes for pretty much all the X-Metals sans the Penny, of which I have my own minor beef) has to do with the nylon washers that X-Metal facility uses to "lubricate" the joint with joins the temple to the frame---they simply disintegrate after time if you torque them down too much; even if you don't. And good luck trying to replace them. It's a real chore to do this. I finally ended up going to TAP plastics, getting a sheet of really thin plastic, punched some washers out with a small hole punch and made my own. The Romeos have since been fine.
My Juliet's will need a tune up soon, though....Dung. The pair I wear pretty much all the time are the J123940 pair. I call them the "02" pair to correspond to the order of Juliet's I acquired.
This post will be included not only in the Romeo review but also in the X-Metal Discussion thread in the forum list.
I have been collecting sunglasses for 30 + years now, and the Romeos captivated my attention, and I was helplessly drawn into satisfying my hunger to own a pair. The Romeo design is simply a bold piece of art, that belongs in the Museum of Modern Art. The Romeos, like most museum pieces, are fascinating to look at but not the most practical. Although I would consider myself a collector, I like to wear my sunglasses and not just look at them in a display cabinet. I have been wearing the Romeos, and find them to be a little heavy on the nose, other that a few marks the nose bombs leave on your nose, they are relatively comfortable. The lens cracking issue to me is just baggage that comes with Romeo. Once they crack, I replace them. The Romeos I have came with the original crack free x metal lenses. The first thing I did was remove them and replaced them with new Fire lenses from Oakley. I am now looking to complete the Romeo collection, with the X Metal and Titanium.
Frame: X Metal/Plasma
Lens: Black Iridium, Exovista Ruby/Fire Iridium, Exovista Liquid Metal
Once regarded by many in the community as a failure both in design, function and look is now THE most sought after Oakley piece and, 7 years post-discontinuance, easily fetches double its original retail for pieces that are far from new.
In many regards I, the owner of over two dozen X Metal pieces in various models and configurations, consider the Romeo to be the finest pair of sunglasses Oakley has ever made. While many point to the Juliet as being the company's high point-and while the Juliet is probably the most accessible and wearable frame in the line both visually and in terms of size-the Romeo comes out ahead of its flex coupler successors for a number of reasons.
First, the Romeo has been harshly critiqued because of the lens cracking issue and one could say rightly so, but the simple adjustment of taking the Romeo off and on like goggles (which I also do with the XX, XS and Juliet to preserve the flex couplers in those from needing $75 tune ups at 1 Icon) solves this issue and when you do that, now you don't have to worry about the flex coupler at all because its one piece.Second, the Romeo frame is the easiest to work with when replacing lenses because it separates...with all the other models you're spreading the metal trying to shove the lenses in.
With those advantages, does the Romeo present a problem to many wearers? Yes it does, because it is a large frame...although oddly while the frame isn't any bigger than the XS it gets knocked for being too big more than the XS does. I attribute this to the WIDENESS of the frame. I have a large head-very large...I have to tweak my Juliets so a) they fit and b) they don't look absurdly small on my face...and I almost have to use 25 t shocks to keep it locked down-on the other models I have to slice of pieces of the 15 t shocks to make the glasses loose enough.And for those that say take the nosepieces off to achieve better fit? What? I'm not clear how that would help anything unless your face is so short vertically that the orbitals stick WAY up over your eyebrows (too far is bad, although I like my eyebrows to be hidden). When its said and done though, it is a big frame and one would think that reduce demand however several factors have conspired to make this a rare model.
The Romeo never had an official recall for the spider cracks problem, however for a period the company when called by consumers about it they offered to send people any X Metal in exchange for sending in the Romeo-many opted for the XX 24K at the time as it was the companies most expensive and closest in size to the Romeo. This took a number of the frames off the street forever. The Romeo was featured in MI:II which made it desirable in the same way the Juliet became sought after due to X Men and Blackhawk Down, but the Juliet stayed in production while the Romeo did not. Finally, over time, collectors have begun to understand the Romeo's place in the Oakley/X Metal canon...both as the first in the line, as being more revolutionary and special than it was given credit for originally-plus its the most rare of all of the line because it was the first to be discontinued so its valued simply because its rare.
To my eye, the Romeo is alien looking, industrial, daring and unlike anything else...and BECAUSE of all those factors it now has a special place in my heart. With a frame that is practically indestructible, a nosebridge that requires no maintenance and an endless supply of aftermarket parts (oddly with the exception of gaskets and nosepieces), anyone who owns a Romeo can wear one pretty much the rest of their lives if they so choose. While I love the curves and the grace of the Juliet, while I love the muscular smoothness of the X Squared-I equally love the raw, unfinished almost lack of polish of the Romeo. Its what makes it special and its what makes it the cornerstone of my X Metal collection. If you have one-keep it. If you don't and you can get one, do it. You won't regret it
Lens: Black Iridum
It took me a while to acquire this frame, mostly due to it's price point and the fact that I purchased very late in the game. Do not be put off by the price.
This frame was the first in the X-Metal line and is in my eyes the best. You could say the "Alpha" of the X-Metal family. This is such an iconic frame. The style is like no other, and even now nearing 20 years after its launch, it still attracts attention.
Despite the inherent flaw of the frames putting stress on the lenses and causing them to crack, these are my favorite frame, and a true classic.
There is a fairly easy fix that members have discovered. Forum members discovered that by beveling the edge of the lenses near the stress points, this can solve the problem. Don't know why that was never explored by Oakley, but it is what it is.
Forever a classic frame that could never be replaced.
Lens: Black Iridium
These were given to me by the owner of Sushi-go since he didn't use them any more. They are sturdy glasses but have a few downfall, aside from the drab X-Metal/Black combo. First, they are meant for big heads...very big heads. They do fit a little better if you take the nose bombs out and let the bridge rest right on your face. If you put size 75 temple shocks in, that helps a bit too. The major issue though is a design flaw. The newer X-Metals, all hinge on the nose bridge, so each lens can pivot on its own. The Romeo, however, had a solid nose bridge, and hinges on the lenses themselves, causing spider cracks on the tops and bottoms of each. This isn't going to make them shatter, but it does look ugly, and they do retail for $275 after all.