Exactly one year ago, we informed you about the Lebois & Co 80th anniversary and the fact that the brand was about to be revived by Dutch entrepreneur Tom van Wijlick and his partner Eveline. Through a Kickstarter campaign, they received enough backers to fund the new Lebois & Co watch brand.
Today, I will show you the result of hard work and tremendous patience: the Lebois & Co Avantgarde Date Re-Launch edition. We showed you the rendered images of this watch here, a while ago, but two weeks ago I was able to see the Avantgarde Date in the flesh.
The images that I took are from one of the last prototypes, as some small details will change for the final version (crown and clasp). However, the Lebois & Co Avantgarde Date Re-Launch edition is almost good to go. Limited to 100 pieces only, the Avantgarde Date will be available in January 2016.
Avantgarde Date Re-Launch Edition
Featuring a satin white dial, this is the first version of three varieties in total of the Avantgarde Date Re-Launch edition. We received some questions about the dial, whether it was silver or white. But it is definitely white with a nice satin gloss. It is not the Rolex Explorer II type of white.
Lebois & Co decided to put an ETA 2824-2 movement in this Avantgarde Date Re-Launch edition. A movement that was used by many brands out there until Swatch Group decided to make it a bit harder for brands to source them. A lot of brands decided to go for the Sellita SW-200 movement (for various reasons, but not related to quality of the movement itself), which is based on the blue print of the ETA 2824-2 movement. Although there is no real preference from my side, if I were given the option between the SW200 and ETA2824-2 I would choose the latter.
The watch itself is a very nice piece that could be considered a dress watch, but it also has a bit of a sporty character due to the use of a red second hand and blue printing on the dial. I guess this watch is as versatile as a watch can be on a leather strap.
A stainless steel case of 40mm has been used for this Avantgarde Date, with a thickness of just 10,5mm. The case back is a solid stainless steel one, with special engraving for the re-launch edition. As if Lebois & Co read my mind, I am not particularly fan of transparent case backs on relatively standard mechanical work-horse movements. The stainless steel case has a nice satin finish on the lugs and high polished case bands.
Then there is the strap of the watch, a genuine Louisiana alligator strap in blue. The strap oozes quality, the finish is great and it looks perfect with the satin white dial of the Avantgarde Date watch.
I’ve seen a number of these Kickstarter projects or micro brands by now, and most of them get neglected as it seems that the focus is on fashionable quartz pieces in a lot of cases. There are a couple of exceptions that we discussed here on Fratello Watches and this Lebois & Co is one of those micro brands that really stand-out in terms of quality and finishing. This is also being reflected in the price tag of €1700 Euro (including VAT). It is not your average micro brand watch that costs a couple of hundred Euro, but a watch that can seriously compete to some of the big brands out there when it comes to finish and quality. The question is, as always, whether you are prepared to spend a €1700 Euro on a relatively unknown brand or on one of the bigger more well-known brands out there.
That is a question I can’t answer for you, but I can give you something to think about:
Most big brands are about producing watches in high numbers. Although I won’t say that there is no passion for their products, the manufacturing process often involves (too) many people who just consider it ‘a job’ and have no real feel with the product. In the end, it is about the result in a spreadsheet for them, not about creating the nicest watch out there for a certain amount of money. There is nothing wrong with that, as that’s business. But be aware that there are people who design and create watches solely from their passion for watches, are keen on building a personal relationship with other watch enthusiasts (and buyers) and actually listen to your feedback for future watch designs. Personally, I’ve come to the point that I won’t spend my money anymore on brands that do no respect my hard-earned money or me, as a client in general. More more to that topic in a later article. This doesn’t apply to all big brands out there, but it is something you’ll hardly find to be the case with these micro brands like Lebois & Co.
On the official Lebois & Co website you will find more information about the brand and their first edition of the Avantgarde Date Re-Launch edition. The specific product page of the Avantgarde Date can be found here.