American aviator sunglasses, one of Biden's gifts to Putin
Sylvie Claire / June 19, 2021
For his first summit with Vladimir Putin in Geneva on June 16, U.S. President Joe Biden chose to give his Russian counterpart a pair of his favorite sunglasses, an aviator model manufactured by an American company.
Peter Waszkiewicz, head of Randolph Engineering, said he was surprised to see his glasses used as a diplomatic gift at a meeting watched by the world's media.
It was a normal work day until about past noon, when the phones started ringing and we saw a buzz on social media, and we realized what was going on, he told AFP, calling the moment exhilarating.
It's pretty amazing, isn't it? I mean, how often does an opportunity like this come along? he enthused.
Perhaps soon on the nose of the Russian president, these glasses are usually worn by military: the company has a contract with the U.S. Army since 1978 and provides 25,000 pairs each month, in addition to those sold to the general public.
The manufacture of each pair of these gold-rimmed glasses, named Concorde in reference to the supersonic plane, requires 200 steps and takes six weeks.
Production takes place in a small town in the northeastern state of Massachusetts, and the company, founded in 1973, boasts on its website about its American family values and its desire not to relocate its factory outside the United States.
President Biden, I am sure, gave these glasses to President Putin as a symbol of our national heritage, said Peter Waszkiewicz.
Let's hope it's a symbol of peace.