COMPANY: Lebois & Co.
Dodane FactoryWhere it all began
It is 11 days before Christmas 1934 when Lebois & Co is founded by French watch manufacturer Raymond Dodane, who belongs to the third generation of the Dodane family. It’s mission is clear and simple: create aesthetic and affordable Luxury Swiss timepieces.
The Dodane manufacture is founded in La Rasse in the Doubs in 1857, by Alphonse Dodane and his father-in-law François-Xavier Joubert. In 1929 the Dodane family settles in Besançon, where Raymond Dodane carries on the traditions of complex watch fabrication.
Lebois & Co gets Italian
After World War II the brand Lebois & Co is handed over to Italian importers who outsource production to Dodane aswell as other Swiss watch manufacturers.
With it’s new owners Lebois & Co’s primary market is Italy but the brand is also well established in the rest of Europe.
The brand ceases to exist
Lebois & Co ceases trading 40 years after it was founded, the original Lebois & Co stops producing watches and the brand ceases to exist.
Despite the disappearance of Lebois & Co the brand is still known today and popular with watch collectors all over the world. This beautiful 1945 Lebois & Co Chronograph sold for over $ 6,000 at Christie’s Important Watches auction in 2012.
Old Lebois & Co
The finding of an unfamiliar brand
Early 2014 Tom & Eveline come across a picture of a beautiful vintage watch, a Lebois & Co Chronograph which was sold at an auction by Christie’s. They print the picture of this watch and stick it to their fridge. Being struck by the beauty of this timepiece they start their research of this unfamiliar brand and their former owners.
Lebois & Co is reborn
Upon the approval of the Dodane family the brand is resurrected, exactly eighty years after the original company was founded. Continuing its mission to create aesthetic Luxury Swiss timepieces. Fitting for these times the new logo for Lebois & Co is crowdsourced and the first model named Avantgarde will be crowdfunded.
Avantgarde Date on Kickstarter
Lebois & Co launches its crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to part-fund the first Re-launch Edition of the Avantgarde Date watch.
The campaign is funded at 126% of its goal making it the first luxury Swiss Made mechanical watch successfully funded on Kickstarter! The first watch is sold to over 20 countries around the world. To find out more about our Kickstarter campaign, visit the Kickstarter project page.
Avantgarde Date 2nd Re-launch on Kickstarter
Lebois & Co returns to Kickstarter to part-fund the second Re-launch Edition of the Avantgarde Date watch.
The campaign is funded at 104% of its goal and Lebois & Co is proud to be able to start producing its second batch of watches! To find out more about our Kickstarter campaign, visit the Kickstarter project page.
Model: Avantgarde Date
Stainless steel case
Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 10,5 mm
Case-back, screwed down, special “Re-launch” engraving
Water-resistant to 100 m / 10ATM
Movement ETA 2824-2 Automatic
Frequency: 28,800 vibrations/hour (4 Hz)
Jewels: twenty-five (25)
Power reserve: 38 hours
Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Satin white dial
Silver hour and minute hands with luminescent material
Arabic numerals for the minute track
What is old is new again. As I get older it’s interesting to see when something old becomes new again. Classic car designs, clothing trends, music, as time goes on the classics always have a way to become relevant again. It’s great to see when it comes to true classics. Lebois & Co. Have attempted this with their Avantgarde Date watch. Taking something classic and making it new again. Let’s explore the Avantgarde to see if they have achieved that classic greatness shall we?
The 40mm case comes in a just the right size for this style in my opinion. I understand that classic watches came in much smaller cases, around 36mm roughly. I like that Lebois & Co. put a modern twist in terms of the case size. Not too big to become unsightly but big enough to make it relevant in today’s market trends. This polished stainless steel case is quite stunning and it holds true to the roots & overall theme of this watch. I would classify this watch as a classical dress watch.
The majority of the case has a high polished finish. The top side of the lugs though has a brushed finish. The contrast this creates is impressive. The lugs are curved seemlessly. The flow to the case sides is beautiful. The signed crown operates by pushing and pulling to set the time and date but also to wind the watch manually. The crown could have been just a bit bigger so that turning it would be easier. I love, absolutely love that the crown guards are brushed on top like the lugs. This is a small detail that packs a big punch. The rest of the crown guards are polished finished. To achieve that small of brushing on that tiny space is pretty damn impressive. The screwed down case back also features a high polished finishing. There’s a few engraved details on the back of the case as well. I would have liked to see a nice engraved logo or design on the case back.
The dial is where the Avantgarde really makes a statement. The dial shines through the transparent sapphire crystal. The dial has just enough color to give some nice detail and depth. The first detail that really popped and caught my eyes was the large red seconds hand. It’s long and features a cool circle on the non-tip end. The seconds hand moves with great fluidity, no jumpy movement whatsoever. There is some simple, but colorful text on this dial. The deep blue color that Lebois & Co. picked for the dial is perfect and the red 60 at the 12 o’clock position adds some great consistency and detail.
The dial also features some nice texturing details as well. The center of the dial is raised up and the edges of the circle catches light brilliantly. The dial features quite of bit of light catching details as a matter of fact. The applied hour markers have nice angle cuts that light just dances off of thanks to the high polished finishing. The applied markers edges touch into the guiloched ring. This ring is a nice throwback to the art of guiloching that watch makers of yesteryear used to do meticulously by hand. I like that Lebois & Co. added this detail because it shows their dedication to consistency and holds true to the watches vintage roots theme.
Lebois & Co. picked out some nice hands for the minute and hour hands. They are long enough that they reach the hour and minute markers. The hands have small cut outs that have lume filler which is enough to allow you to read the time in the dark. The hands are angled on either side of the center line which creates some very nice light catching effects. All of the light catching effects on this dial are done in a very classy way and not in a “bling” way whatsoever. At the 3 o’clock position is a date window that is bordered in a polished frame. The date is prints in black set on a white wheel.
A strap can make or break a watch in terms of overall appearence. Look how many of us buy “new shoes” for our watches. A strap can change the look of a watch entirely. The alligator finish strap is jaw dropping. It adds so much to the Avantgarde. The deep blue color blows my mind and made me drool when I first saw it in person. The 20mm strap is very well made. The blue stitching is breathtaking. The overall matte blue color of the strap is so nice, I cannot begin to explain. You have to see it in person to believe. Touching this strap brings joy as well. It’s as smooth as butter. It’s padded as well which makes me happy. As you can tell, I love this strap. It’s vintage beauty. The strap has a nice butterfly style deployment buckle. Not only does this add a touch of class but it also helps preserve the life of the strap by limiting the bending stress that tang style buckles cause. This deployment strap goes the extra mile though with a small secure screw detail. Instead of simply snapping into place, the deployment buckle is secured onto the strap by a small, flathead screw. I was very excited by this little and cool detail.
Its just not any movement ticking away inside the Avantgarde, it’s the very accurate Eta 2824-2. A workhorse movement that is as reliable as it gets. The movement has a power reserve of 38 hour. The movement has a self winding rotor and it can also be wound manually via the crown. The 2824-2 has an average rate of +/−4 seconds/day, and a maximum daily variation of +/−15 seconds/day. The 2824-2 also has a built in shock absorption system as well.
I believe every collection deserves diversity. Every collection should have a dive watch, a field/tool watch, a pilot watch, a quartz watch, a daily beater and of course a dress watch. This is a dress watch that will surely shine in any collection. It’s refined and full of details that are a nice reminder of the roots of early watch making. The white dial has many of those reminders, especially with the touch of guiloching. This dial has a quiet elegance. It really has some vintage charm and magic reminiscent of early Patek and Sohne. I was quite taken by it’s magic of old.
The strap is definitely a few steps above in terms of quality and execution. It really makes a statement and adds so much to the overall look of this watch. If you really want to see the beauty of this dial, look at it in a lower lit setting. When it catches the light it is quite breathtaking.
In terms of things I would change on the Avangarde are small. One that would help functionability and one that would help cosmetically. The crown is on the smaller side and a bit hard to operate when you are using it to manually wind the watch. When it’s pulled out for setting the date and time it isn’t quite so difficult. A larger crown would solve this. The cosmetic detail that I would change would be giving the case back a nice engraved logo. It would really give the Avantagarde that extra push.
I think that this is a good offering from Lebois and Co. It is very well made and executed with percision. Someone looking for a nice dress watch with some excellent vintage detailing would be quite happy with the Avantgarde. It has plenty of charm and personality, yet it has a simple and quiet elegance. I has a very reliable movement ticking away inside so you won’t have to worry about reliability, quality and accuracy. I want to personally thank Lebois & Co. for this opportunity to explore and review the Avantgarde watch. I brought back some great memories of my early watch exposure from my childhood. Thank you for reading.