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Vallon Watchtowers



Great field of view, optical clarity, on-trend aesthetics and eco credentials
Excellent optical clarity and field of vision
Great looks
Durable feel
Eco credentials
Tricky to try before you buy
Interferes with some helmets
Non-replaceable lenses

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Vallon Watchtowers combine high-quality Zeiss optics, stylish looks and some welcome eco credentials. The name may not be as recognisable as those of Oakley or Smith Optics, but Vallon clearly knows what it's doing and, best of all, its glasses are more affordable than sunnies from many of the other big-name brands.

> Buy now: Vallon Watchtowers for £122 from Vallon

For more eyewear options check out our best cycling sunglasses buyer's guide.

The Watchtowers' eco credentials are noticeable straight out of the box – there's no single-use plastic used in any of the packaging, the adjustable nose pieces are in a small paper envelope and the glasses are protected by a soft case with a drawstring closure.

2024 Vallon Watchtowers - pouch.jpg

They're available in three colours with different lenses: black with a smoke lens that I've been testing; dark teal with a copper lens; and silver with a blue lens.

2024 Vallon Watchtowers - side.jpg

Their 32g weight is in line with that of the opposition and they're almost unnoticeable when you're wearing them. I did experience a slight amount of interference between the glasses and my helmet where the glasses would rattle against the underside of my POC Octal but with some minor adjustment this was remedied. You can further adjust the fit by swapping out nose pieces, which are easy to slip on and off.

2024 Vallon Watchtowers - inside.jpg

I found the fit great, with the arms extending over my ears enough to provide good security, providing just enough pressure to keep them in place when you're riding over rough terrain. The tips of the arms feature a slight rubberised texture and they're more flexible than the rest of the arm, so they grip the side of your head.

2024 Vallon Watchtowers - arm detail.jpg

The Watchtowers feel durable, the hinges have no discernible flex and the frames have enough 'give' in them to shrug off any impacts.

2024 Vallon Watchtowers - front.jpg

Out on the roads, trails or gravel, the Watchtowers cast the world in a pleasantly warm light, while still providing good levels of contrast that let you pick out potholes or roots. Testing sunglasses in winter is tricky because of the absence of sunlight much of the time, but on those days when the sun was out and low in the sky, the lenses cut down glare effectively. Even when the light levels dropped, I didn't find I needed to remove the glasses. I found the field of vision excellent, with hardly any frame visible in the corner of my eye when looking straight down the road.

2024 Vallon Watchtowers - hinge.jpg

The lenses use Zeiss's RiPel technology, which is both hydrophobic and oleophobic, so that both water and oil are repelled, which should keep most dirt at bay.


I think the Vallon Watchtowers represent pretty good value. There's a good smattering of tech in the lenses, the construction feels like it'll last a good few seasons and I like their eco credentials.

It is possible to buy cycling-specific sunnies for much less than £122 but anything with a recognisable brand name will always carry a premium price.

The Rapha Explores come in a little dearer at £150 but George rated them highly.

Pay more still and you've got the likes of the £200 Koo Eyewear Alibi, which have a Zeiss lens that George thought was excellent.

If you're looking to pay a good deal less, our favourite budget sunnies are the Magicshine Windbreaker Classic Sunglasses, but in spite of costing just £38.99, Lara was very impressed.


The Vallon Watchtowers are bang on trend and whether you like the oversized look or not, they offer an excellent field of vision at an alluring price. Yes, you can pick up a pair of sunnies for £30 but these are packed with features and tech to make riding more pleasurable. For £122 it's hard to grumble.

> Buy now: Vallon Watchtowers for £122 from Vallon


Great field of view, optical clarity, on-trend aesthetics and eco credentials test report

Make and model: Vallon Watchtowers

Size tested: One Size

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Vallon says: 'Superior Sustainable Vision. We set out to create the world's best sustainable shield sunglasses, with industry leading optics in a retro-modern style. The shatterproof lens developed with Zeiss ensures exceptional quality and optical clarity. The 80s inspired frame is made from recycled fishing nets fused into a highly durable and lightweight nylon fabric, and come with interchangeable silicone nose pads for a secure and personalized fit.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Lenses developed with Zeiss's RiPel technology - a hydrophobic and oleophobic coating

Frames made from highly durable nylon 6 material produced using 85% recycled fishing nets

3x interchangeable soft silicone nose pads

Flexible temples with rubber side-grip

Lightweight: 32g

Delivered plastic-free in a soft VALLON travel pouch.


Smoke (Grey tint, 13% VLT, Cat. 3)


Copper (Brown tint, 14% VLT, Cat. 3)


Blue (Brown tint, 14% VLT, Cat. 3)

Rate the product for quality of construction:

The construction feels very sturdy, I (fortunately) haven't sat on them but they have been stashed loose in a jersey pocket and emerged unscathed. The frames have a degree of flexibility which should work in their favour to absorb any impacts in the event of a crash.

Rate the product for performance:

I found the lens colour pleasant especially in gloomier conditions, casting the world in a warm hue. The tint struck a good balance and I rarely had to take them off if light levels dropped dramatically. The field of view is excellent, the frames are alarmist invisible when you wearing them and you only see a slight sliver in the periphery of your vision.

Rate the product for durability:

The lenses remain scratch- and blemish-free having ridden through the grit and grime associated with winter UK roads. The frames also look as-new and feel like they will also shrug off any wear and tear.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)

The 32g weight is in line with other sunglasses of a similar design. The Oakley Sutro also weighs 32g and the extremely svelte POC Elicit glasses weigh in at a rather scant 23g.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)

I found the fit great, the arms gripped with just the right amount of pressure to keep the glasses in place without exerting too much pressure on my head. I did experience some interference between the top of the glasses and my POC Octal helmet but this was fixed by tipping the helmet back a touch.

The Watchtowers include three different options for the nose bridge, so you can dial in the fit too.

Rate the product for value:

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

The fit's great, the optics are clear and I think they're good-looking sunnies too.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The unobstructed view was much appreciated and they felt very comfortable. The eco credentials are a welcome addition, especially the complete lack of plastic used in the packaging.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Interchangeable lenses would be welcome but in reality the fitted lens is appropriate for 95% of conditions.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on

Retsiling for £122, the Watchtowers are on the lower end of 'branded' glasses. The recently reviewed Koo Alibi glasses retail for £200 and the Okaley Kato for £245. Of course there are more budget friendly options but £122 seems a very fair price for Zeiss lenses and frames made out of recycled materials.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Excellent performance fit for the price, as well as interesting eco credentials.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 25  Height: 6  Weight: 95kg

I usually ride: Santa Cruz Stigmata  My best bike is: Vitus ZX-1

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, club rides, sportives, mtb, Gravel. bikepacking

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