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

53 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.

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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!

  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.

  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.

  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?

  21. Paul

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

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