Retro chairs are undoubtedly making a comeback. Built to provide extra comfort and functionality, and to add a strong sense of class and luxury, these chairs can meet pretty much everyone’s needs and requirements. Among the most popular vintage models currently on the market is the eames chair, that is, many of its derivatives and adaptations.
Due to their qualities, however, these chairs have become increasingly hard to find and buy. The main problem here is the fact that the market is currently flooded with all kinds of knock-offs and cheap copies, which are far inferior when compared to the authentic models but still heavily priced. With this in mind, if you are looking to purchase an authentic Eames chair, there are some things you should pay attention to.
Look at the labels
The majority of vintage Eames chairs have proper labels on their undersides. However, keep in mind that almost 30% of early designs never had any labels. Those chairs usually have black, red or cream writings that only indicate that they were designed by Charles Eames. The newer, factory-made chairs typically have labels that contain the name of the manufacturers as well as their logos. Also, if you come across early model chairs, pay attention as they should not have zip code labels, given that these were not used back in the 50’s.
Check the condition
Well-preserved original vintage chairs typically feature well-cared leather and shells. When buying these, however, many people opt to replace the consumable parts, such as rubber tips or shock mounts, without really affecting the chairs and their values. In fact, changing the rubber shock mounts is recommended, since they can substantially extend the life of a chair.
Pay attention to the metalwork
Original Eames chairs are known for their attention to detail and meticulous construction. This, of course, applies to the metalwork’s fit and finish as well. Therefore, when looking for an authentic Eames chair, don’t forget to closely examine the following elements.
The top and bottom parts of the chair’s back should be connected with aluminum braces. If you spot square tubular braces, that is most likely a copy. Also, an authentic chair will not have any exposed screws or bolts. Also, you should also check the connection between the center post and the legs. If the chair is authentic, it will have a clean weld with no caps to cover uneven welds.
The Ottoman base
When checking out the ottoman base, make sure it has four legs that are slightly oriented towards the center pedestal. It should also feature die cast aluminum, with a polished aluminum trim and a black powder coating. Last, but not least, the feet should feature stainless steel adjustable glides and rubber shock mounts.
Inspect the materials
Authentic Eames chairs are also known for utilizing specific, high-quality materials too. Some of these include walnut, Santos Palisander, cherry, and Brazilian rosewood, all which are used for the construction of the shell. Aged chairs should feature a softly worn original finish. However, keep in mind that many chair owners opt to replace or refinish the shells, to make the chairs look brand new. When it comes to the cushions, they should feature soft leather and urethane foam, along with cream, tan or black colors.