A Guide to Restoring Oakley X-Metal Sunglasses
Our VP of Product and Innovation came up to my desk early on a Monday morning with a black sunglass case in hand.
“Check these out,” he said, handing off the case to me.
I peeled back the zipper to reveal a pair of 1st generation Oakley Juliets.
Green sprouted from the frames in various patches. The arm sleeves and nose pieces were sticky and oozing. The lenses were pitted and scratched.
“What happened to these?” I asked.
Jeff shrugged. He’d unearthed them from storage along with about 10 other pairs of sunglasses he’d picked up over the years.
He wasn’t even sure what they were. But he knew they were old. He knew they were Oakleys. And he knew an opportunity when he saw one
— an opportunity for free labor and parts.
And even though I could have balked at being the free labor factor in this scenario, it was a win-win all-around.
Jeff would get a pair of Juliets he could proudly display, and I’d get an article out of the deal. Plus, I saw a chance to restore a piece of Oakley history.
Here’s how it all went down:
The Cleaning of the Frame
To start off the Oakley Juliet tune up, I removed the lenses, rubber components, and temples so that I could focus on just the metal itself.
These particular Juliets have a plasma finish I didn’t want to damage, so I stayed away from harsh chemicals for the cleaning. I used a toothbrush, some warm water, and a mild dish soap to scrub away the oils and dirt.
For a more intense cleaning, some recommend using an ultrasonic bath, although, this could potentially change the color of the finish. For polished Juliets, you could also try rubbing alcohol or silver polish.
Unfortunately, when I cleaned off the green fuzz, my worst-case fears proved true — the metal was corroded.
In search of a solution, Jeff reached out to Revant board member, Carlos Reyes, the former VP of Research & Development at Oakley.
This was his response —
Bringing in the Professionals
Since I wasn’t about to invest in a bead blaster or ceramic vibrator, the DIY approach to repairing the Oakley Juliets was no longer an option.
Tyler, a Customer Experience Guide here at Revant, suggested The X-MAN Custom Metalworks. A few of our customers had sent in their X Metals to him and he came highly recommended. I reached out to The X-MAN, boxed up the Juliets, and he turned them around in just 1 day.
He couldn’t match the finish on these 1st generations because it’s a special anodized coating process, but the new flat plasma finish looks spectacular. He also saved the serial number.
In addition to the new coating, the X-MAN repaired the Juliet's loose nose bridge — installing new stainless steel pins and replacing the rubber with an exclusive X-MAN pharmaceutical-grade rubber that will never deteriorate like the original parts.
Instead of the loose, wobbly feel that happens to Juliets over time, the nose bridge is once again tight and solid.
It was a full tune up from orbitals to ear stems and the Juliets look as good as new.
The X-MAN offers this refinishing and tuning/tightening services for Romeo, Romeo 2.0, Penny, XX, Half-X, Mars, and X-Squared. Beyond repairs, he also offers custom refinishes. Check out his gallery for examples of custom work.
Changing the Rubber Components
The nose pieces and earsocks on the Juliets were toast.
They were sticky and the nose pieces were oozing. No amount of cleaning was going to bring these back from the dead, so I included Revant’s MaxGrip® Rubber Kit for Oakley Juliet in the box to the X-MAN, and he installed them.
The temple shocks and the gaskets at the orbitals were still in decent shape, although the temple shocks were slightly tacky. I put the temple shocks in boiling water, and this method seemed to work in drawing out the oils causing that stickiness.
If you need to replace your temple shocks or washers, you should be able to find those for sale on the internet.
Here’s an installation video that walks you through how to remove and install Oakley Juliet ear sleeves and nose pieces:
Replacing the Lenses
Lastly, the X-MAN swapped the damaged Emerald Green lenses for a pair of Revant Elite Rogue Green lenses.
For this, you’ll need a T6 screwdriver (comes included with the lenses). If you've lost or stripped the screws at the orbitals, you can find new ones here.
Here’s a video on how to replace Oakley Juliet lenses:
The end result speaks for itself.
Click through the gallery to see details from the Oakley Juliet tune up.
Jeff couldn't be happier with his restored Oakley Juliets.