What do King George III, Napoleon Bonaparte and Queen Victoria have in common? They were all patrons of C.W. Dixey & Son – the world’s oldest independent eyewear company. Established 239 years ago on London’s New Bond Street, the family-run business has been attracting the great and the good as its customers ever since. It has survived both World Wars, been awarded 15 Royal Warrants and fitted 10 prime ministers. Its most recognisable glasses? The iconic circular frames that sat atop the nose of loyal customer Sir Winston Churchill.

Like Churchill, C.W. Dixey patrons are “connoisseurs”, says managing director Simon Palmer. “There will always be people who want the rare and special. What sets us apart… is that we have an unrivalled heritage. The most influential and exacting people in history have been clients.” The design process starts with the company archive, a treasure trove of original designs, documents and inspiration dating back to 1780, and every frame is designed in London and Edinburgh, before being handmade in France, in a show of neighbourly bonhomie.