If you’re familiar with the name Lebois & Co, then you probably know a bit about the backstory of the company as well. With the revival of the name in full swing, alongside the relaunch of Airain, both under the guidance of Dutch entrepreneur and watch enthusiast Tom van Wijlick, Lebois & Co is moving swiftly into its next phase of life. The comeback started with the Avantgarde Date, followed by the Venturist, and now a chronograph is set to join. What Tom has done – cleverly – with all the brand’s launches since that very first one is to involve the public deeply. The Avantgarde Date was funded through Kickstarter in three separate phases; you could opt to buy shares in the company with the Venturist; and the Airain Type 20 was designed with input from the people. The new Lebois & Co Heritage Chronograph follows a similar path as the Airain did, and earlier in the year the design stages were open to public voting once more. A couple of months down the line, we can now reveal what all that work has been leading up to, as Tom showed us the final prototypes!
Through a series of carefully thought-out steps, Lebois & Co has diligently worked on the launch of the Heritage Chronograph, a collection with designs inspired by vintage Lebois watches. As the launch now moves into the next phase, the designs have been locked in and the first prototypes are finished. Through previous steps, you and I had the chance to determine what vintage Lebois & Co watches would be used as inspiration, the dial types, set of hands, the shape of the pushers and details of the case, and the type of movement (cam or column-wheel chronograph). With the wait being almost over, we can now show you the final stages of the watch before production actually commences!
If you cast your vote in any of the previous steps, you already know what we’re dealing with here. The Lebois & Co Heritage Chronograph will come in a stainless steel case measuring a very pleasant 39mm in diameter and 10.5mm in height. The bezel is either stepped or bevelled, depending on which exact model you end up selecting. All of the versions are topped with a domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating. The lug-to-lug dimension is 47.35mm, which makes it very wearable for most people. The crown is flanked by two shaped chronograph pushers that follow the profile of the case and are finished with a bevelled edge. The overall finishing is a mix of brushed and polished sections.
As mentioned, the Lebois & Co Heritage Chronograph comes in four different dial types. We start things with our favourites, the salmon dials (no surprise there!). These come in either a tachymeter configuration or a pulsation scale. Each one shows subtle differences in textures, scales, markers, hands, etc. Next up are a cream dial with a multicoloured tachymeter and telemeter scale with hour numerals all around and blued hands similar to the salmon tachymeter. The fourth and final version (for now, we’d say) is a silver sector dial with a blue tachymeter scale. All dials have a classical bicompax chronograph layout, with small seconds subdial on the left and a 30-minute chronograph counter on the right. To be honest, checking out all four side by side might make it very difficult to choose a favourite as each one has its own charm and appeal.
Just as with the Airain Type 20, the Lebois & Co Heritage Chronograph comes with a manual-wound chronograph movement made by La Joux-Perret. The calibre LC-450 is a modern column-wheel chronograph movement with a frequency of 28,800vph and with a power reserve of a very decent 60 hours. It can be seen through the sapphire crystal caseback and comes with a nice mix of finishes, including a blue column wheel with polished column tops, blue polished screws, Côtes de Genève and circular graining. The image below shows a prototype movement that contains the components for automatic winding (minus the rotor assembly). The final production watches will have manual-wound movements as intended, with gold-coloured engravings.
You will have a choice between a number of leather straps to go with your Lebois & Co Heritage Chronograph or opt for one of the two available stainless steel bracelets. With four models and a total of six strap options to choose from, you can cater your watch to your exact liking. The second pre-order campaign starts Friday the 14th of October, with prices ranging from EUR 2,450 to EUR 2,570, depending on the selected options. Production is said to commence by the end of the month, with the delivery of the first batch scheduled for February 2023.
The final note to the story worth mentioning is the new CMDLEC Rewards that were announced earlier this week, with CMDLEC referring to Lebois & Co’s and Ariain’s parent company Compagnie des Montres Lebois & Cie. This is a new loyalty programme that’s being rolled out for both Lebois & Co and Airain. How and what this means will be revealed on Lebois & Co’s website shortly, but knowing Tom and his community-building philosophy, it will no doubt be interesting!
For more information, please visit LeboisandCo.com.