The Julbo Contest is a pretty amazing pair of sunglasses. They are comfortable, fog free, durable, scratch resistant, and offer excellent wind protection, great varying light capabilities and superb optical clarity. During my six months of use while mountain biking, they have become my loyal companion, and have been in hideous rain and wind storms, suffered ill treatment, and have dealt with every light and temperature and terrain condition possible. Throughout all these situations and environments, they have continued to hold true to all of their excellent features and functions.
Julbo was founded in 1888 by Jules Baud in a little town close to Morez France, which resides in the Jura Mountains. The company has 70 employees, and is wholly owned by the Baud family, and is currently run by the brothers Christophe and Matthew. They originally started out making optical (corrective) lenses, but they evolved into sunglasses and action sports wear. In 1950 Julbo was the first company to produce true mountaineering glasses (the Vermont Round), so they have a rich history in high altitude optics.
The Julbo Contest uses a Lifestyle frame type, being more stylish and sporty. Instead of the atypical skinny frame, it utilizes a wide section by the hinge and temple, which offers additional side protection from sunlight and wind. The hinged wraparound frames have a nice sculptured curve, and has soft rubber shock absorbing material for the nose and ears, offering grip while doing athletic movement. I tested the Zebra lens version of the Contest, which is made from the near indestructible NXT, and offers anti-fogging, impact resistance and light-sensitive Photochromic features. The Contest comes in several versions and colors, the Zebra (NXT, Photochromic 2-4, Antifog) in White and Black, and Interchangeable X3 (Spectron 3+, Spectron 1, Spectron 0) in Black, and they all come with a nice zippered soft case to carry, and protect them.
- Weight: 38.2 grams ( 1.35 ounces)
- Lens size: 41 mm x 67 mm ( 1 5/8 x 2 5/8 inches)
- Arm Length: 71 mm ( 4 3/4 inches)
- Frame Width: 140 outer mm ( 5 1/2 inches) inner 130mm mm ( 5 1/8 inches)
Zebra Photochromic Len
The Contest use’s Julbo’s Zebra photochromic lens made from the unbreakable, lightweight and very transparent NXT lenses. They quickly darken with a light brownish tint or lighten with an amber tint depending on light intensity, and have an anti-fog coating that has been laser etched into them. Per Julbo fodder “adapts to varying light conditions from Category 2 (59-percent visible light coverage) in low light conditions to Category 4 (95-percent visible light coverage) in powerful light in as little as 30 seconds”.
The NXT polymer technology was born of the successful efforts to develop advanced transparent armor for U.S. Army helicopters. Commercial applications for this new polymer material led to the production of lenses and shields for sunglasses and sport eye wear. The NXT lens is manufactured by pouring resin into a low-temperature glass molds. This reduces the tension in the material and gives better optical quality, excellent transparency and improved long-term stability. The NXT lens meets the ANSI Z87.1 standard for industrial application impacts, meaning it must withstand a pointed 17.6 ounce projectile dropped from a height of 50 inches, and 1/4 inch steel ball traveling at 150 ft/sec! I did not test either compliance, but I am glad it can take a wallop. Julbo lenses offer 100% protection against sunlight UV types, which include UVA’s, UVB’s, and UVC’s.
For some in-depth fodder on Sun and Eyes, refer to http://reviews.mtbr.com/blog/sunsunlight-101-and-human-eyes-101/