Serengeti Brera polarized sunglasses review – Style & Technology merge

Serengeti Brera sunglasses review-0835

The official description for the Serengeti Brera

Simple yet modern styling and high-end technology come together in the Brera, featured in the Signature Collection. The Signature Hinge is beautifully crafted of copper beryllium and has a look that is sleek, streamlined and truly unmistakable.

Design, build and quality

The first pair of Serengeti sunglasses I reviewed in 2012 impressed me, and they’ve certainly stood the test of time over the four years I’ve had them (see the original review for an update regarding this), proving just how well made they are. I’ll update this article as time goes on, to see if these Brera sunglasses last as well as the Lizzanos I have.

The quality you see in a product begins often begins with the presentation. Apple’s products, for example, are always so beautifully packaged that it gives you pleasure simply opening them. A high-end watch manufacturer will make the receptacle prepossessing, and in both of these cases it’s a sure sign of the quality of the product held within.

Serengeti Brera sunglasses - the hard case they come in

On opening the box to the Serengeti Brera sunglasses I was sent for review, the hard case protector looks nice in a leather-type finish, and it has a weighted, solid feel about it, giving the impression the sunglasses inside are well protected should it be reasonably heavily crushed accidentally in a bag or car glove box.

The hinge and spring mechanism clasps the case together strongly enough so that it won’t open in the unfortunate event of the case being dropped. I know, because I deliberately dropped the case a dozen times or so from shoulder height, landing it on each edge several times to see if it would open. It didn’t, and the case stayed intact with no signs of weakening.

Serengeti Brera sunglasses - the included hard case and cleaning cloth

My only slight issue is that the case flexes more than I’d like when the two parts are twisted even slightly. This may lead to a weakening in that area eventually, which would compromise the hinge strength. Time will tell. Perhaps a longer hinge section would cure this.

Opening the case, the visual quality continues with a black non-scratch soft lining embossed with an elegant silver Serengeti logo, and the cleaning cloth has changed for the better, now having stitched edging rather than the triangle-shape edging of the earlier version. A small point, but it makes a difference to how the cloth wears in the long run.

Serengeti Brera sunglasses with 555nm Blue lens and Sanded Black frames in 2016 Volvo XC90 Inscription cabin

The Brera comes with four frame types: Sanded Black, Satin Tortoise, Sanded Dark Gray and Sanded Dark Brown, and alongside this there are four types of lenses: Polarized Drivers, Polarized 555nm, Polarized Sedona and Polarized 555nm Blue.

The Sanded finish is a cross between satin and matte, and looks both contemporary and stylish, and the Brera features Serengeti’s Signature Hinge to further those points. Actually, the finely-detailed hinge was one of the first things I noticed on the sunglasses, and a bit of reading up shows that the hinges are made of copper beryllium, a high strength alloy.

Serengeti Brera sunglasses, pictured is the Signature Hinge

Serengeti forge the Signature Hinge using lost-wax casting, which is apparently used for making fine artwork and jewellery. Importantly, the screws holding the hinge to the frame are ‘exceptionally strong and secure’ according to Serengeti.

The embossed Serengeti lettering on the Brera frames is inconspicuous, and suits the overall contemporary style, and the same is to be said of the small, modest ‘S’ logo on one lens. That’s how Serengeti’s sunglasses are. Those who know what to look for will know what you’re wearing.

The frames themselves are composite, not metal, and while strong there’s a degree of flexibility about them, allowing good comfort, which I’ll talk about in the next section.

Test time…

I was sent two pairs of the Serengeti Brera sunglasses – which are part of the Signature collection and are sized ‘medium universal’ – both with Sanded Black frames but one with Polarized Drivers lenses, and the other with Polarized 555nm Blue lenses.

First of all, let’s deal with the lens types individually. The Brera’s I was sent are photochromic, have Spectral Control and are polarized. If you’d like to read an in-depth explanation as to what each of these does, please visit this official Serengeti Eyewear page.

Serengeti Brera sunglasses with Polarized Drivers lens

The Polarized Drivers lens is ‘an amber-coloured one, and is designed to ‘enhance colours, contrast, lightening and darkening for optimal light transmission is any driving condition. And their ability to relax eye muscles reduces stress and fatigue.

On the Brera, the lenses are made from ultra-light borosilicate optical glass, which can withstand extreme temperature changes and are scratch and impact resistant. Serengeti lenses block about 95% of ‘blue light’, which causes distortion – or ‘blue blur’ – and it’s this that causes seeing in fog, rain and haze more difficult when sunglasses don’t filter it out, and also apparently why Serengeti’s lenses help see so much more sharply in these conditions.

Serengeti Brera sunglasses with 555nm Blue lens

The 555nm Blue is mirrored, and adding a more voguish appearance which suits the current marketplace for those types of lenses. The 555nm is ‘Named after the part of the spectrum that the eye sees the most easily… ideal for bright conditions.The lens manages yellow and green light to relax the eyes [while the] reflective blue coating… blocks more light, adding to the lenses’ eye-protecting capabilities.’

I know from having the Lizzano sunglasses with the Drivers lenses for around four years now that this type of lens is absolutely fantastic for well… drivers. That may seem obvious because of the name, but to physically experience wearing sunglasses with these lenses is a joy for several reasons.

Serengeti Brera sunglasses with Polarized Drivers lens and Sanded black frames

Firstly, every single person who tries on the sunglasses with the Polarized Drivers lenses almost immediately exclaims just who amazing they are. The colours you see through them become rich and deep, yet everything is sharpened into beautiful high definition.

As one person mentioned, the Drivers lenses will even lift your mood, as they transform the look of a dull grey day into one you’d expect in sunny California.

The amber colouring genuinely helps to relax your eyes, while the lightening and darkening effect helps massively when you’re driving in changing weather, through tunnels or in mountainous terrain where it can go from bright sunlight to the depths of a massive shadow in a second.

Serengeti Brera sunglasses - the included hard case and cleaning cloth

I’ve found that wearing the Brera with Drivers lens helps vision hugely should it start raining or a light fog moves in, as the cars rear lights are far more noticeable and sharp with the sunglasses on. I really cannot recommend the Polarized Drivers lenses enough if you spend a lot of time on the road.

The Polarized 555nm Blue lenses are so incredibly clear other than a slight shift in colours it’s as if you aren’t wearing anything. There’s no reduction in clarity and vision is improved by the polarised lenses. The colours pop right out, and I noticed that things like the lines on roads become much more clear when the sunlight bounces off the tarmac in wet conditions.

Serengeti Brera sunglasses with Polarized 555nm Blue lens and Sanded Black frames

In overcast weather and light rain, the Polarized 555nm Blue lenses take the glare right out of your car’s dashboard and instruments, helping you to see controls easier when the light outside is intense. I like the look of the blue lens too, as it has a reflective coating on – something which is currently ‘on trend’.

Comfort-wise, I’ve no complaints at all with the Brera frames. There are no traditional rubber grippers on the nose section, but the beautifully-shaped nose-piece makes them stay put, and be incredibly comfortable over long periods too, which is great if you’re wearing them on prolonged journeys.

Serengeti Brera sunglasses with Polarized Drivers lens

I also noticed that there’s a good degree of flexibility in the frame arms, which allows a comfort fit on varying head sizes. As mentioned previously, the Signature Hinges and fastening screws on the Brera are incredibly strong, and they’ve remained locked on tight after opening and closing the arms dozens and dozens of times. This is the achilles heal of a lot of sunglasses, especially cheaper ones, but there’s no such worry with the these Serengeti Breras.

Any drawbacks?

Any issues with either type of lens? I’ve had a fair few cars on test with HUD (head-up display), which is effectively the information being projected onto the windscreen so you can keep your eyes fully on the road while still knowing your speed, fuel economy, sat nav directions etc. The Polarized lenses make this disappear from vision, which is a bit of a nuisance, but not a massive worry.

Any issue with the frames? The Brera’s hand-sanded satin-type finish looks fantastic, but if you want to keep the looking in perfect condition you’ll have to be quite careful with them as they do scratch and scuff fairly easily. It’s not obvious unless you look closely, but if you’re rough with them it’ll become rather more pronounced.

Price

(Figures correct May 2016) At £197.00, the Serengeti Brera sunglasses are not exactly inexpensive. However, every single person that have tried the Breras on all say they look and feel worth every penny of that. From the moment you handle these sunglasses, it’s immediately very obvious they are well made, and trying them on only backs that thought further.

With the Serengeti range, you do genuinely get what you pay for, and you definitely get your ‘money’s worth’ – something that becomes even more apparent down the line, when you suddenly realise you’ve owned them years, not months.

Serengeti Brera sunglasses - the included hard case and cleaning cloth

Serengeti Brera verdict & score

Serengeti sell a whole range of timeless sunglasses, and the Brera is no different. While that’s the case, the Breras are also entirely in-vogue currently, thanks to the frame shape and especially so in the Sanded finishes.

The Polarized 555nm Blue and Polarized Drivers lenses are entirely different, and it’s down to personal choice as to which you choose of course. Regardless, both lenses are incredibly effective in their own right, and I’d recommend delving into the ‘Technology’ page of the Serengeti website as you’ll almost be blown away by the wealth of technology that goes into them.

Details such as the beautifully intricate Signature Hinge, stamped Serengeti name in the arms and simple but-elegant frame section around the nose, all make for a pair of sunglasses you genuinely feel cool wearing.

My only issue would be that nice satin finish, which scratches and marks very easily, so it’s best to be careful with them.

Design  9.5
Build quality  10
Comfort  9
Lens quality  10
Price  9
Overall Score  9.5 / 10 

Specs

Model (as tested)  Serengeti Brera with Sanded Black Frame
Lenses (as tested)  Polarized Drivers & Polarized 555nm Blue (with mirrored finish)
Fit & Sizes  Fit: Medium universal | Lens size: 57 x 39 x 62mm, dbl 15mm | Temple length: 135mm
Technology  Lenses (see links for more details): Ultra-light glass, Photochromic, Spectral Control, Polarization, scratch resistant
Frame features  Serengeti Signature Hinge made by Wax Cast from Copper Beryllium & hand-sanded frame
Price  (correct May 2016) £197.00 rrp
Warranty  2 years, repair or replace
Website  Serengeti-Eyewear Europe, Serengeti-Eyewear worldwide (choose region)

Words: Chris Davies | Photography: Chris Davies

Extra notes:

Serengeti 24 Hours of Le Mans limited edition sunglasses

Serengeti are now also selling a stylish 24 Hours of Le Mans limited edition collection, which features six different styles with various frame and lens choices. Prices range from £149.00 – £199.00.

The Le Mans collection is an official collaboration between Serengeti Eyewear and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and are partnered because of Serengeti’s “extensive experience and a wide recognised expertise in the sunglass industry”. Serengeti state Le Mans “resonates with our brand values: the highest level of technology and performance based on our unique heritage.”

Serengeti 24 Hours of Le Mans limited edition sunglasses

My personal choice would be a pair in the black and gold combination, because it’s a timeless one. It suits the Serengeti and Le Mans collection perfectly and it’s a colour scheme that has been used on many different types of race cars – both modern and classic – to great effect. If you’re a fan of Le Mans or racing, this range by Serengeti is certainly a must.

Serengeti 24 Hours of Le Mans limited edition sunglasses

 

 

 

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