Even though Kickstarters brought Lebois & Co a lot of success, the owners of this revived 80-year-old brand thought it was about time to become more serious. Last April co-founder Tom van Wijlick already let us know that Lebois & Co want to start a different route. The opportunity to become a shareholder of Lebois & Co was introduced. Now, six months later, Lebois & Co introduce to you their new watch that goes by the name Venturist. For a limited time, it is available as part of a unique proposition that allows you to purchase the Venturist along with company shares.
This new step also perfectly fits into the strategy of the founders (read an interview with them here).
For the die-hard Fratello readers, the name Lebois & Co should sound familiar. We reported on this brand’s adventure in the world of horology a number of times. The revived brand is pushing its 4th birthday this December but before that, they have something else to share. Lebois & Co reveals their second model; the Venturist. A blend between dressy and sporty the Venturist can kill two birds with one stone. It’s not only a great looking timepiece but one that has certified precision and anti-magnetic properties and highly legible dial. The best come now though; for a short period of time, you can acquire the Venturist along with shares of the company. A unique proposition in today’s watch world.
They say that the perfect size of a modern wristwatch is about 40 to 41mm. this is exactly the ballpark the Lebois & Co Venturist play in at exactly 41mm wide and 10.5mm thick. With a case of high quality and durable 316L stainless steel, it’s the perfect companion for the everyday use as well as some more rough adventures. The legible black dial, domed over by a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, gives perfect vision in both day and night time. Super-LumiNova coated hands, applied hour markers and indexes make it easier for the wearer to check the time in the dark. The watch is water resistant to 10 ATMs or 100 meters (330 feet for the imperial unit system readers). It has a chronometer certified movement with ISO 764 magnetic field resistance.
Speaking of the movement. the heart and soul of the Venturist is the Lebois & Co’s automatic caliber LC-201 (Sellita based). The movement beats at 28800 vph with a power reserve of 38 hours. The movement decoration is exquisite with Geneva stripes (Cotes de Genéve), perlage, diamond cutting and blued screws which you can all see through the display case back.
As I mentioned in the beginning, it gets better than that. The watch comes with the opportunity to own part of the company that makes it. The timepiece is now available for pre-order in a revolutionary “combo package” of Lebois & Co’s newest watch + shares of the company. Becoming a shareholder in Lebois & Co makes one eligible for benefits such as discounts on future timepieces or even a seat on the Advisory Board. Above all, existing shareholders of the company can benefit from a discount when ordering their Venturist.
This unique opportunity to purchase a timepiece and become a shareholder in Lebois & Co allows watch enthusiasts to gain a new perspective and level of knowledge about the watch industry by becoming a part of a brand with over 80 years of history. The retail price of the watch, including shares, will be €2500.
We also had the opportunity to ask Tom van Wijlick some questions about the Venturist and becoming a shareholder.
The Venturist clearly has a different design from the Avantgarde, a bit more sporty, a bit more, “Explorer”. Can you tell our readers something about the design process?
The idea of an adventure (“Explorer”) watch started almost two years ago. With its polished bezel and refined dial the Avantgarde Date is interpreted as a casual dress watch and tends to be preferred for more formal occasions. Combined with the fact that Lebois & Co also produced tool watches back in the old days we decided to expand the collection with a more masculine tool watch. A watch that is sturdy without losing the refined that Lebois & Co is known for. That is why we combined that sturdiness with ‘azurage’ effect on the dial, which is also present on the Avantgarde, and a transparent case back that shows the decorated movement. The Venturist was made with the profile of our admirers in mind; watch enthusiasts who are worldly-minded, who have an eye for detail and appreciate high quality and precision.
Do you feel that the chronometer certificate and the anti-magnetic ISO standard you comply with, is very important to customers?
In my opinion, it does. I am aware of the fact that there are still a lot of customers out there that do not know about watch certifications and standards that exist around wristwatches. However, once you inform customers about the certification they almost immediately recognize the added value of it. I think it is up to the brands to inform their customers about it while at the same time it shows how serious a brand takes the product they are selling. For me, the certification emphasizes the direction we want to go with Lebois & Co.
Can you tell our readers a bit about the pricing strategy of the Venturist and the possibility to become a shareholder?
The Venturist is priced at € 2,500. For this occasion, we created a unique ‘combo package’ that combines the Venturist with shares of the company (the latter being part of our ‘become a shareholder’ campaign). The package contains 25 shares which represent an investment of € 1,000 and entitles the owner to 40% discount on Lebois & Co watches. Added together this results in a package that is priced exactly € 2,500, the same price of the retail price of the watch. In short; by buying the combo package the buyer not only gets a watch but also part of the company that makes it.
If we take the price point of the Venturist and compare it to watches of the big brands, who also offer chronometer certified watches (Longines Record comes to mind), why should someone go for the Lebois instead of the Longines?
Being the microbrand Lebois & Co still is, gives us the disadvantage that we cannot launch as much watches and as large marketing campaigns as the big brands. However, this does not mean that we cannot offer watches with similar quality, which we prove with the Venturist. While I can imagine customers that rather choose a watch of the big brands, there are also customers that prefer watches of smaller brands. They value the fact that their watch is more unique (since it is not seen everywhere) but also the close relationship with the brand and sometimes even the owner and creators. Also, we are often named as the alternative which is fine too; let us be the brand that enthusiasts buy once they have bought a watch of the big brands. That way the experience with our brand and the quality of our watches can be compared and proven.
What has this adventure (no pun intended) brought you so far? Are you still the watch passionate you were before or has it moved onto something else, like entrepreneurship?
A befriended entrepreneur and investor once told me I would have to make a choice; keep Lebois & Co as a project on the side which would provide great conversation material for a party, or turn it into a real business. For me the objective was very clear from the beginning; I started Lebois & Co out of passion with the intention to grow it into a successful business meaning that I am still just as passionate about watches as before. After all, often the most successful business is driven by passion. Since I have started composing (and sharing) our business plan, things have gotten more serious and structured. I think this is a good thing and it will benefit the potential success of the company. Fortunately, I noticed that I still like to talk about watches (and Lebois & Co in particular) during a party…
When will we be able to see the Venturist? Are you planning to exhibit at a fair or trade-show?
The Venturist will be ready for delivery in 2019. We have every intention to show the Venturist and other (upcoming) watches of our collection. We are working on plans to exhibit at fairs and trade-shows. When and how depends on the progress of our ‘become a shareholder’ campaign.
For more information, visit the Lebois & Co website.
Balázs joined Fratello Watches in 2014 and he has been a fan of watches as long as he can remember. His passion for watches really took off in 2007 when he purchased his first fine Swiss timepiece. From 2007 up... read more