C.W. Dixey - Our Story


Established in 1777, C.W. Dixey & Son is the world’s oldest independent eyewear company. We remain an English family business, based in London.

Our story began at 3 New Bond Street, London where William Fraser established his optical and mathematical instrument company. In the early years he kept a cow to refresh thirsty customers, so even in those days a commitment to customer satisfaction was evident - if not a little primitive!

Our pedigree is unrivalled. We have served seven successive Kings and Queens of England, the Royal Houses of nine nations, and the emperors of China, France and India. Sir Winston Churchill remained a loyal patron for half a century and our reputation also attracted legendary adventurers, writers and artists.

Our archive contains correspondence, records and original designs dating back to 1780. It describes a rich legacy of innovation and creativity, and two centuries of service to emperors, royalty, and leaders. We were the first to incorporate platinum and diamonds into eyewear, and we were pioneers in the development of the contact lens. We are proud of our traditions and invite all patrons of C.W. Dixey & Son to register.

Our ethos has always been quality and exclusivity, and it remains so today. Our eyewear is designed in Great Britain and made in France. Use of fine materials, limited production, and artisan craftsmanship, ensures our eyewear follows in the purest C.W. Dixey & Son tradition.

The motto on our coat of arms is Vide Verum: ‘See the truth’.

IMAGE: Gold and pearl telescope created for Emperor Qianlong of China. © National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.

C.W. Dixey - House of Dixey


C.W. Dixey & Son was established by William Fraser in 1777 as an optical and mathematical instrument company. Fraser's talent was recognised by King George III of England and Royal Warrants, and commissions followed. However, the business declined when an assistant, Mr Grice, used the premises as a gambling den.

It was rescued in 1824 when Charles Wastell Dixey and his uncle George acquired the business. Over the next century the Dixey family proudly served as optician to successive UK monarchs, and created one of London's most distinguished companies.

The first 163 years were spent at 3 New Bond Street and 19 Old Bond Street, which, as it is today, was the most exclusive district of London, synonymous with the finest luxury goods. The Old Bond Street premises were destroyed in the Second World War, forcing relocation.

The last member of the Dixey family to lead the firm was C.W. Dixey’s grandson, Walter, who transferred ownership to his loyal staff in 1929. Since then, ownership has always passed between family and friends.

A coat of arms was granted to C.W. Dixey & Son in 1978, on our 200th anniversary. The arms incorporate ingenious references to eyes and sight - two hawk-eyed moths; a spectacled cobra; and a peacock feather.

We would love to hear from you if you own any Dixey item or have any connection with the company. It helps to bring our history to life.

IMAGE: Mr Charles Wastell Dixey.