by Donna M. Airoldi | April 19, 2011

Premium luggage and travel accessory company Tumi has expanded its offerings to include sunglasses with the introduction of its new Traverso Collection, a 17-piece eyewear line.

“Brand extensions have always fit into the Tumi strategy,” says Mike Landry, who heads up Tumi’s special markets division. “By units, a mere 40 percent of our business is in the pure luggage category.”

Traverso, Italian for “to cross,” takes its inspiration from iconic bridges around the world, including the Akinada Bridge in Japan and the Tobin Bridge in Boston. “Bridges shape city skylines,” says CEO Jerome Griffith. “Just as a bridge can be the defining architectural element in a city, sunglasses are often the first thing we notice about the person wearing them. They make a statement about the wearer.”

Tumi sunglasses feature Carl Zeiss’ CR-39 polarized lenses, which reduce glare reflected off water, the windshields of oncoming cars, and wet pavement, while improving contrast and making colors more brilliant. The lenses’ ZR3TM coating is scratch resistant and allows dirt, water, oil, and dust to slip off the surface of the lenses.

“Our eyewear frames are constructed for strength and flexibility using beta titanium, featherweight aluminum, handmade acetate, and non-corrosive stainless steel,” says Landry. “Hand-wrapped leather treatments, special acid- and laser-etching techniques, and injected rubber temple tips all evoke classic Tumi style.”

Each pair of Tumi sunglasses comes with a case made of the company’s iconic ballistic material that folds completely flat and can be customized with a laser-engraved plate. MSRP ranges from $215 to $265.

For more information, contact Mike Landry at (800) 699-3181, [email protected], or visit www.tumispecialmarkets.com.