sunglasses - Eyal Toueg - May 6 2011
The five big chains for ‏ sunglasses - Optica Halperin, Opticana, Erroca, Super-Pharm and Optic Doron - don’t necessarily sell the same brands or models. Photo by Eyal Toueg
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Ray-Ban Aviator Sunglasses RB 3025 W3277, 58 millimeters

Ray-Ban sunglasses cost 110% more in Israel than in New York and 30% more than in Britain. The price gaps become all the more startling once wage differences are taken into account. Minimum wage in Israel is the lowest, at NIS 22 an hour, versus NIS 27 in New York and NIS 36 in Britain. Israelis have to work 19 more hours than their friends in the U.S. to buy the spectacles, and 17 hours more than the British.

*The price in Israel is based in the lowest price on the Zap Internet sales site. The prices in th U.S. and Britain are from Amazon.

Ray-Ban launched its famous aviator's sunglasses in 1937, in the United States. Their immense popularity is due in no small part to the many movie stars who adopted the eyewear, notably including Tom Cruise in "Top Gun". Sales shot up 40% after that movie was released.

In 1999 the brand was bought by Luxottica Group, which makes fashion, luxury and sports eyewears and also markets Chanel, Prada and Oakley glasses.

Luxottica recently made inroads into the Israeli market by buying the Erroca chain for 20 million euros. It called the move a strategic step into the fast-growing Israeli market. Whatever the case, the price in Israel of this leading brand doesn't seem to have been affected: it is considerably costlier here than elsewhere in the world.

No comment was forthcoming from Luxottica as of press time.