The Great Debate: Tart Arnels vs. Moscot Lemtoshes

In honor of my recent eBay purchase, I have to write a few words on the debate (though, there isn’t really a debate) between Tart Arnels and Moscot Lemtoshes – the oft confused styles.

First, here is a view of each:

Tart Arnel.


Moscot Lemtosh.


At a glance, they appear almost identical. But there are a few key differences that need to be pointed out. Moscot frames have mock trims on the front and sides that are simply glued on, and serve no actual purpose. Tart Arnels use rivets that appear on the front and sides that secure the hinge plates. Modern heat sunken hinges, like those employed by Moscot, have been around since mid sixties and are now used on almost all mass produced frames. However, there are still a few frame makers who carry on using rivet hinges and original trims, such as Opera Opera. Still, nothing compares to an original pair of vintage Tart Arnels. The Amber frames (below) go for about 500 bills on eBay.

Verdict: Tart Arnel.




Filed under Apparel, Assessories, Media

80 responses to “The Great Debate: Tart Arnels vs. Moscot Lemtoshes

  1. Craig Weathers

    You’re right no comparison to the Tart “Arnel” frame versus the so called Moscot Lemtosh. I recently came across and purchased a pair of “Arnel” and I have to say it was as perfect as it can be as I also have an original Tart frame and I compared it to the original. I vertually couldn’t tell them apart in addition it also had the Tart name and the famous OTE stamp inside the arm just like the originals and guess what, I didn’t pay over $300.00 what people are asking on ebay.

    • steve

      This article really irritated me.

      I have been collecting vintage eyewear for many years and remember this style before it was popularised by Johnny Depp when the secret window came out.

      Moscot claims in this article that his family were contacted to supply frames for the secret window. This is not true. Johnny Glasses in the film are vintage Tart Arnels and they were more than likely purchased in Old Focals in LA.

      Moscot started producing this style only within the last 10 years. There is no history of them ever producing this frame prior to that and no vintage versions exist on the marketplace today.

      My opinion is that Moscot saw Johnny wearing this style and very quickly decided to commercialise on it. They did the right thing at the right time and have made themselves a household name as a result.

      Johnny does however have Moscots in his collection. He was pictured throughout 2016 wearing a black lemtosh with blue lens and prior to this wore a pair of blonde lemtoshes to an awards ceremony. Johnnys main go too brand is vintage Tart Optical (Regency Eyewear) however and also Styl Rite and Liberty Optical on occasion.

      All these frames look the same to the untrained eye. This is the problem you see. Might I add Truman Capote is wearing Vintage Mansfield Squares in that photo in the link. James Dean also wore this brand and never wore Arnels.

      To summarise Moscot Lemtoshes are about as vintage as the Kardashians. Decent frames, but a look of marketing bullshit around them that isn’t true.

      • Tyler Durden

        Wait, so are you saying MOSCOT lied about “Procuring” Depp’s frames for the Secret Window?

        I have become obsessed too with the frames (I really like the way they look & always liked J. Depp).

        Are you referring to these Lemtosh that J. Depp wears?

        Thus, are you saying the brown/tortoise pair he has and all others are Tart Arnels? WOULD YOU KNOW WHAT SIZE JOHNNY DEPP WEARS?

        I actually have the Lemtosh in sizes 52, 49, 46 and tried 44. I heard Depp wears the 44 (small, there is a twitter post on google too), but I felt that was too small. Currently wearing the 46. The 49 and 52 seemed way too damn big.

      • Steve

        They are Moscots in that picture. He does wear Moscots, i’m not disputing that, but only recently. Prior to that he wore black Styl Rites and before that his demi amber frames were Tart Arnels. There is an old picture of him however wearing blonde Moscot lemtosh lemtoshes however. All of his brown pairs are vintage Regency Optical (Tart Arnel). He wears size 44/24

      • scumarchives

        I think Johnny is wearing different sizes. I think he wears 44 as well as 46, since there are a lot of pictures where the frames appear whether big or tiny around the eyes.
        Also I have a question for you Steve, I wanted to order a 44-26 from the OTE (tart optical) but they told me they stopped producing the 26mm after the 1970s, can you validate that information? Have you made other experiences with the company after Julius Tart’s death?

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  3. Johnny Depp has a question or Moscot Lemtosh Anrel Tart. and to what extent?

  4. You obviously haven’t tried Dolabany Arnold. They are real producers of exact vintage Tart Arnel. I purchased both and it’s the same exact thing!

    • no sir, the Dolabany is not mounted the same way, though it looks the same

    • Hey there! We know this is a really old post but a customer just pointed it out to us at Dolabany Eyewear – The Arnold is produced with high-quality acetate and functional rivets. The founder, Mark Dolabany, recreated the look and production quality of frames he used to repair as a kid in a neighborhood optical shop. We are big fans of retro design and production as well. This is the foundation of our brand. We appreciate the comments and the shout out. Great post, cheers!

  5. xedious

    Frames only on the Tart site go for 430 I believe…

  6. Andrew

    New Tart Optical Co. has their latest frames manufactured in Japan since 20010 and are ugly. They are far both from the vintage models of the 60’s and from the pre 2010 ones. Dolabany is actually the BEST REPRO ever because it comes closer in every detail to the vintage Tart Arnel.

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  8. lou

    Moscot Lemtosh hinges are indeed riveted through

  9. The new Japan made Arnels look nothing like the original and I wouldn’t waste my breath on them. They are overpraised and mass produced to profit off the back of the early 70’s versions.

    Moscot do a decent reproduction if you want a well made frame but its completely overpriced and most of the Moscot eyeglasses that appear online are counterfeit anyway. They have a terrible grasp over stopping counterfeiting of their brand.

    Dolabany like to pretend that Johnny Depp wears their frames but obviously this is complete nonsense and to be honnest there isnt a single picture of them online on the face. From what I can tell though, like Moscot they are cheaply mass produced and have flat rivets instead of raised rivets which is a key design feature they are missing.

    TVR optical are a new company in Japan or China who counterfited the Arnel for years and now make their own versions and are Tart Optical Japans biggest new competitor. Their frames look near identical but are only sold in one shop in Japan I think.

    N.D_Optical are a small independent maker from the UK I think who make probably the best reproduction of the Arnel, but their frames only appear from time to time on their eBay shop. Their frames have raised rivets and the color distribution is lovely on their frames.

    Just my two cents anyway guys.


    • Dino

      Paul, thank you kindly for your input.Can you please tell me more about that British N.D Optical co. I can’t find them anywhere. Let me know please. Thank you kindly.

    • An update since last time I posted.

      Nothing much happening with OTE Japan. I think they are dead in the water and TVR Optical have robbed moved in on their market. Saying that they may well be Tart Optical Japan operating under a new name. They still have one or two people in the US claiming ownership of this brand. Its a but misty.

      I’m still fed up of the amount of Moscots being counterfeited online but I was a bit hard on them before. Their frames are nice and they have improved some of the details since I last posted here. I like their new special edition Lemtoshes.

      Dolabany are still selling through eBay. They have some nice new colours on their website.

      TVR Optical are going strong in Asia and now referring to their 504 frame as an Arnel. Cheeky ayy? Their frames are great however but a lot pricier than then rest. All that said I will never support a brand that completely rips off Tart Optical.

      N.D Optical appear to be gone.

      Julius Tart Optical have just launched in Japan. Oh look another one!!! They have links to the original Tart Optical family and their frames are made by the Light Co. who make frames by the likes of Max Pittion, Native Sons and Oamc. Going by what i have seen from those other brands I imagine these will be extremely high quality frames but I’m totally fed up with people capitalising on this brand name.

      Just my two cents for 2017

      • I also now own a pair of Cult Frames. Yeah they’re cool. You’d think they were vintage if you held them alongside any of the above. They are more like vintage Libertys or Mansfield Squares. I can’t see them selling to anyone into modern frames as they are very flat across the front but if you like your vintage frames these are really great.

      • Lastly if anyone is interested Johnny Depp has shelved his Tart Arnels recently and has moved over to Moscot. His new frames are black Lemtosh with a blue lens. He hasn’t worn Moscots since his early years wearing their glasses in blond with Green lenses. Prior to Moscot Johnny was wearing Libertys, then Styl Rites and before that Arnels. Keep up guys!!! 😛

      • Jason

        What do you think of the Dolabany Arnold? I saw them in person and they felt hefty and looked well made to me. They looked like they had riveted hinges too.

        What should I be looking for in a well made pair of glasses? Are there other Tart Arnel alternatives that are affordable that you can recommend?

      • Jason

        Also, I finally learned that the Tart Arnels that James Dean wore were prototypes. This IG post explains the difference between Dean’s glasses that had the double diamond rivets vs the more common single diamond ones.

      • Paul

        @jason James Deans frames were not arenas. They were Mansfield Squares.

      • Tyler Durden

        Why not just order directly from MOSCOT if you are worried about counterfeiting? I have 2 MOSCOT LEMTOSH Pairs , in tortoise and black that I ordered direct. A bit pricey though for someone who isn’t rich…

      • Tyler Durden

        What Size does J.Depp wear?

      • Ryan

        Native Sons have been the best glasses I’ve ever owned, worked on so sold. Not all rivets are real but the hinge design is excellent, acetate is strong and the styles are more than just a Arnel knock off.

    • Hey there! We know this is an old post but a customer just pointed it out to us at Dolabany Eyewear and wanted to introduce ourselves to those who share the same love of this style – The Dolabany Arnold is produced with high-quality acetate and functional rivets (our version is made with machinery that allows for counter setting the shield so that it is flush with the surface of the frame front). The founder, Mark Dolabany, recreated the look and production quality of frames he used to repair as a kid in a neighborhood optical shop during summer breaks. He began his professional career as an optician in Massachusetts and subsequently started his own label based in Miami, FL. Like you, Dolabany Eyewear is a big fan of retro design and production. This is the foundation of our brand. We appreciate the comments here. Great post, cheers!

  10. Mike

    Microshapes and Old Focals also sell Tart Arnel repros. I’m not sure if they manufacture themselves or contract that out to another manufacturer

  11. Mike

    One of the big differences between the vintage Arnels and the repros seems to be in the available sizes. I have seen vintage Arnels with lense width as small as 40mm, but the smallest repro I could find is 44mm

  12. Bruce

    Wish I’d avoided reading this thread.

    Bought a pair of the ND Optical spex a while back and they’re not a patch on the Dolabany Arnold frames I bought to repair a pair of vintage Tart frames a while back (the colour of the Dolabany frame is REALLY close to the original).

    Ah well… that’ll teach me for believing everything I read on t’internet I guess!

  13. Carlo

    Guys sorry but you are saying a lot bullshitts. Someone said the true. Ok Guys i bought one week ago moscot lemtosh and Tart Arnel and both ORIGINALSSSS. And believe me they are the same with different brand. The quality of Moscot is wonderfull and I desire to say that Johnny Depp wear absolutely MOSCOT LEMTOSH and Tart Arnel.coz he has both. About hinge , they are not glued on Moscot . So pls stop to say fals informations. Thank you

  14. Paul

    I own a set of all of these frames apart from TVR Optical. The TVR frames look the best to be honest but they are pricey. Old Focals do the best range of colours but the shape isn’t great. N.D Opticals frames are the closest I own to the originals in color and shape but the hinges wouldn’t be as strong as a Dolobany or Moscot. Dolobany’s frames are quite robust but the shape isn’t that good either. Moscot I wouldn’t rate at all. They’re a mass produced poor representation of an Arnel. In my opinion of you are going for Asthetics go for the N.D Optical frame. If you are hard on frames though go for the Dolobany. Saying that Old Focals do a hell of a lot more colors than both.

  15. Mat

    and what do you guys think of the new Tart Arnel55? It looks pretty gorgeous on their facebook page. but it’s pricy and their return policy sucks.

    • Paul

      Really nice. I have to say Tarts new frames are really nice. They have extended the temples. I really didnt like those other frames they were churning out for a few years. I’m still not sure though how to get your hands on them because there is nowhere i would deem trustworthy to buy them online.

    • bee

      Hi Mat,

      can you tell me how you know the Dolabany frames on eBay are fake? Was thinking of buying them until I saw your post…


      • Patrick

        The Dolabany frames that pop up on ebay from time to time are 100% legit.

        Have a pair myself.

        They do pop up shops at a number of the big music festivals in the UK if you want to try before you buy, which is what I did (think their main store is in Brighton).

        No such thing as a fake Dolabany frame come to think of it.

        Why would anyone bother faking a Dolabany for £100 when you could fake a Tart for 5 times that value, or a Moscot frame – which is inferior quality and therefore easier to pass off as legit – for twice that value? Doesn’t make sense.

        Hope this helps.

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  18. Spike

    If anyone has any insight as to which of the different “Arnels” that Michael Stuhlbarg wears throughout the Coen Brothers’ excellent film “A Serious Man”, i’d love to know. I can’t tell if they are Tart, or Moscot, or something else. Any Arnel experts out there want to weigh in?

  19. Dino

    Paul, I wish I could find a perfect pair of James Dean frames just like TVR makes in size 50-51 In fact I am meeting with a rep from TVR this month to see if they can help me. And I found a few good leads in Japan and China that make high quality custom frames … but, yeah. I would love to get the top shelf stuff. I like what eyeglasses boy site has to offer too. They seem fairly good quality indeed. It is sad that most of those reproduction companies are making only 48-49 sizes.

    • asdf

      48-49 and 50-51 are both way too big. The originals worn buy Dean, Depp, etc, were in the 42-43 size range. If you’re trying to go bigger, you’re headed the wrong way.

      • Tyler Durden

        Yeah, I was going to say, the 49 and 51 Lemtosh I ordered (to test size) were GIGANTIC. Like hipster glasses that girls wear that are OVERSIZED, which look EVEN worse on MEN imo, sense it makes you look feminine/kiddish/unprofessional, though it kinda works for women/girls since it aids feminine qualities.

        I ordered the 44, which apparently is SMALL and what Johnny Depp wears but it was really tight and I have a typical guy head (big head, big face) and luckily I was able to feel comfortable in the size 46 which apparently is the MEDIUM size and what is “average” or the most popular/ordered size with the lemtosh at MOSCOT

    • Tyler Durden

      Why would you want them that big? Depps and Dean’s frame looks really small, and a MOSCOT rep stated that Depp wears size 44 which is small:

      And I’d thus assume Dean wore something similiar. I personally have 2 pairs of the MOSCOT Lemtosh in black & tortoise, size 46. I ordered size 52, 49, and 46 and 44 to test all the sizes (returned them after).

      The 52 was absolutely gigantic. I have a big guy head IMO (masculine features, big nose, forehead , jawline , etc..) and the 52 and 49 looked really bad IMO, like oversized grandma glasses.

      The 46 looked really good and the 44 looked kinda good too, but the frame was too tiny around my eye and the temple arms had to expand really far out/made a “V” to fit my head, which I didn’t like.

      I really think the sweet spot for these frames is small-medium, since the frame is super thick to begin with (these aren’t thin frames glasses that are subtle, they are really thick and grab attention) and I think the bigger sizes don’t look good with such think frames.

      Also, Dean/Depp definitely wear them on the small size so if you’re going for a 49 or 51+ like someone else stated, I think you’re in the wrong direction.

      I bet you could easily fit into a 46. It’s apparently MOSCOTs most “ordered” or “popular” size for the LEMTOSH (just using it as reference since its similiar to the TART).

      If it helps, I wear the 49mm in the Rayban RX5154 and thats their medium or STANDARD Size and its fits perfectly.

  20. Roy Chefets

    You can buy a pair of Tart glasses directly from the manufacturer at full retail price, usually $350-$450 without lenses. They have about half a dozen styles on their web page. Some are made in Italy, as I recently talked to the owner of the company. Johnny Depp is a friend of his so Depp and other stars wear his glasses.
    Personally I do not see paying $3000 for a “vintapge” frame because the current styles seem to be exactly the same as the vintage ones.
    As a general rule any luxury goods bought cheaper on eBay are probably fakes.

    • paul

      I wouldn’t buy anything from Tart Optical. They are shady as f**k. An Asian girl and a American guy living somewhere in California own this rendition of Tart Optical and all they are doing is Capitalising off the name. I would quicker buy a pair of new Tart Opticals from Julius Tart Optical operating out of Japan. Julius Tarts Grandson is a part owner in this Company with Tommy O’Gara a famous eveywear designer and as much as I just think they are capitalising on the name (again) their frames are the closest you are going to get to the real deal.

      • Joe

        The Tart no-return policy is kind of a deal breaker, and ordering from Japan (Julius) is a pain. What do you think is the next-closest-to-the-original pair that’s relatively easy to obtain in the US?

    • scumarchives

      If Johnny is a friend of his why does he almost only wear vintage Tarts?
      Im asking because i was thinking about ordering from them but they seem to be shady after all I read, but you stated you have talked to the owner. What do you think?

    • ConsiderMeMilesDavis

      I purchased a pair of Tart Arnels in Demi Amber from owner David in mid-2015. I was told that the frames were backordered, and would ship within 3 months. To be clear, I went forward with the purchase ONLY because I had $600 in Flex Compensation Benefits from work that had to be spent ASAP. Six months passed (I was given excuses about manufacturing problems). One year passed (more manufacturing excuses). At 13 months, I ask for a refund, and suddenly the conversation went cold: Tart Optical avoided my calls, and stopped returning emails. I then filed a report with the Better Business Bureau, and found out this was not an isolated incident — Tart Optical has an “F” rating from the BBB, the lowest ranking the organization gives. Flash forward two and half years (yes, TWO AND HALF YEARS), and the frames suddenly arrive. The kicker: the prescription was wrong, so I had to pay my local optometrist for new lenses. Quality wise, they’re no better or worse than the Moscot Lemtosh’s I already owned (i.e. just buy from Moscot, folks).

      But don’t take my word for it, visit Tart Optical’s BBB page yourself:

  21. Paul

    Contact a guy called Tommy O’Gara from Julius. He might be able to help you

  22. Tyler Durden

    Does anyone know if the THICK ACETATE of the frame MOSCOT Lemtosh (or tart or any other similiar style) effects total frame width? For example, in size 46mm, it has 24mm bridge and 145mm temples, would mean the total frame width is 46*2 + 24 = 116 mm.

    Could this be compared to frames like the RAYBAN Clubmaster RX5154 that are 49mm, 21mm, 140mm so total width = 119mm

    …..OR does the THICK Acetate of the “Lemtosh” moscot/TART style add to the total frame width?

    Reason I ask is i wear 49mm in the Rayban BUT 46 in the MOSCOT Lemtosh and they are almost identical in size and feel similiar, but when I wear size 47mm RAYBANS they feel way too tight…so what gives???

  23. Joe Gillis

    I’ve bought a couple of pairs from Tart Optical in Calabasas, and they are lovely. But they seem to have gone AWOL — not responding to emails, no way to order on their site. Is there a consensus here? Lemtosh?

    • Tyler Durden

      I have two moscot lemtosh, they are great. I read here about the TARTS and emailed them (tartoptical i think). they responded super fast but started right away trying to sell me something with a “pre order”. Some of the replies stated here is was some white guy and asian wife living in california and they were super shady.

      She started to ask me my “height and weight” so she could get the “right size for preorder” seemed pretty shaddy to me and apparently they have 0 return policy.

      • Joe Gillis

        Yeah, my experience with them was fine. They were eager to make the sale, and it seemed like a Mom & Pop operation; but I paid, they quickly got me tracking numbers, and the specs arrived soon thereafter. Now they seem to be AWOL.

        The Moscot home office is right by where I work, so field trip!

      • You’re lucky. I had to order the Lemtosh online because I live in the midwest (no moscot near me).

        I literally had to order the size 51mm, 49mm, 46mm and 44mm to test sizes lol! Returned all the ones I didn’t want/that didn’t fit and MOSCOT never gave me issues.

        I think I’ve become quite infatuated with the LEMTOSH style at the moment. And knowing there kind of an underground “cult” for them is pretty cool.

  24. I love Moscot, and would highly recommend them. Vintage Tart glasses are always a great choice, but I would not order glasses from Tart Optical as they seem to have an issue delivering glasses based on what I have read on the Better Business Bureau.

  25. Gabriel

    I ordered a pair of Tarts 2.5 years ago and they still keep making excuses they will send then to me 😦 I imagine they have stolen the money and they will not give me a refund. Be very careful ordering from these guys. Although Moscot is assembled in China I would go for them as you will get them! Not sure whom to contact to report this, if anyone has any ideas please let me know.

  26. ConsiderMeMilesDavis

    Has anyone handled a pair of Allyn Scura Eyewear “Ginsberg” frames? They come with riveted spearhead shields & hinges (raised, not flush), 7-barrel hinges, etc. They look legit, and priced at $145, are surely tempting.

  27. bp

    This post has been around for awhile. I recently found it and it was the main article that guided me to my new frames.
    I searched the world over, pondered hundreds of frames and ultimately chose a TVR 504 in 48mm. I love the damn things! Impeccable crafting and just downright solid!
    The bridge on an Arnel typically runs 22. I have a fat head and chose the 504 as it matches my pupil centers.

  28. ConsiderMeMilesDavis

    I can vouch for Classic Spec’s Amherst frame: seven barrel hinge, through (not glued) rivets, etc. CS is easily on par with Moscot’s quality (I own two pairs of Lemtosh, for example), but the cost is substantially cheaper. I got my pair of Amherst frames — with shipping — for under $50.

    The only catch: they’re only made in size 46.

    • Vincent

      Hi, you were the last to comment and you seem to know quite a lot about glasses, so…
      Could you help me to identify what are the brand and model glasses on the pic bellow ?

      I was thinking of Oliver People Sheldrake model but the smallest size ( which is the standard size ) for the Sheldrake is 47. I can’t try Oliver People glasses ( I can only order online ) so I checked who’s wearing the Sheldrake in size 47 ( Steve Carell, Robert Downey Jr, etc ) and they look much bigger. Also the Sheldrake rivets look slightly bigger and more rounded but maybe it’s just an optical illusion. And, it seems to me the Sheldrake bottom part frame is a bit more rounded…
      Thanks !

      • ConsiderMeMilesDavis

        There’s a lot of reproduction frames these days, but those are almost certainly Sheldrake’s in Cocobolo.

        “I checked who’s wearing the Sheldrake in size 47 (Steve Carell, Robert Downey Jr, etc.) and they look much bigger.” There are far, far too many variables in frame sizing to make judgement’s on other people’s appearance. If you can’t find a pair of Sheldrake’s locally, order a pair online (without RX lenses), and exchange if need be.

      • Vincent

        Thanks a lot ! I will follow your advice.

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