Julbo: Innovation Built on Tradition

Julbo has been making high quality sunglasses for over 130 years. Born in the Jura, a region where a number of big names in French eyewear got their start, the brand has a captivating backstory with deep ties to mountaineering.


Jules Baud invents Julbo

The Jura Mountains are very close to Geneva, home to a thriving crystal trade in the 19th century. Business relied heavily on “cristalliers” who scaled mountains to find the caves where the precious crystals grew. Jules Baud, Julbo’s namesake, lived in the town of Morez in the Jura Mountains. He made his foray into eyewear in 1888 when he developed the first Cristalliers frames to protect explorers’ eyes on expeditions into the snow-covered mountains. The first model already featured the side shields that have since become part of Julbo’s DNA. It was a ground-breaking design at the time and demonstrated a marked penchant for innovation, which has remained a priority for the eyewear manufacturer ever since.

 1- First “Cristalliers” sunglasses from Jules Baud

 2- Town of Morez, France.

 3- Expedition to Mont Blanc circa 1880

Summiting the highest peaks

Julbo’s growth stalled until the end of World War II, when a number of climbers embarked on expeditions to the world’s highest peaks. In 1950 Julbo released its first pair of Glacier sunglasses, featuring leather side shields for maximum protection in the mountains. The frames were named “Vermont” in honour of a collaboration with Vermont-based Climb High, an outdoor gear store that distributed Julbo sunglasses in the U.S. In no time, Julbo sunglasses became the brand most loved and worn by mountaineers. Celebrities were also drawn to them for their original look.

 1- Julbo Glacier Vermont Classic

 2- Yannick Seigneur

 3- Julbo Cham model, 1980s.

Julbo technical advisor Yannick Seigneur tested Glacier sunglasses on expeditions to Everest, K2, Makalu, Nanga Parbat, and other peaks. The product has been refined over the years based on feedback from seasoned mountain climbers in an effort to better meet the needs of enthusiasts of the extreme sport.

The leader in outdoor sports eyewear

Julbo has always managed to stay on trend. In the 1980s, it was fluorescent frames. In the 1990s and 2000s, the brand diversified into sunglasses for other sports, including skiing, road and trail running, mountain biking, and water sports. Julbo partnered with different French and international athletes who helped fuel the brand’s popularity around the world. Working with these competitors allowed the brand to meet the individual needs of each sport and each athlete. In that vein, Julbo launched prescription sunglasses in 2010.

Since then, Julbo has reached new customers by developing eyewear for the whole family, including popular Looping sunglasses for toddlers, which are reversible, hinge-free, and cover the entire eye. Julbo also has a line designed specifically for teens. In 2013, the brand made a strong move by rereleasing its legendary Vermont frame to celebrate the company’s 125th anniversary.

 1- @lydianeautourdumonde

 2- Cham model

 3-  Rereleased Vermont Classic

Julbo strives to develop increasingly advanced technical solutions, including polarized lenses for water sports, Trivex lenses for enhanced impact protection and vision quality, and sunglasses with polycarbonate lenses. The brand is also known for its Reactiv photochromic lenses, ideal for runners, cyclists, and hikers. Light-reactive Zebra lenses transition to the ideal tint depending on the intensity of UV rays. 

Cham frames, which first appeared in 1960, are still very popular for their original look. Removable leather inserts allow them to be worn in four different ways.

Julbo products are still designed in the Jura region—at the company headquarters in Longchaumois, to be precise. That is where the great ideas are born, then developed using the latest technologies and manufactured according to complex processes. The brand has remained independent since it was founded—a rarity among major sports brands.


Explore the Julbo brand and its original models in a number of Opto-Réseau clinics or on our website.