Introducing the Lebois & Co. Avantgarde Date


Watch brands launched on Kickstarter are a dime a dozen these days. It seems as though everyone is using the crowd-funding platform to finance their watches, for better or for worse. Our goal has always been to bring the best of the bunch to our readers, and today is no different. We’re excited to introduce the re-launch of a little-known company, Lebois & Co., and their flagship model–the Avantgarde Date. 


First, some background. Lebois & Co. was founded in 1934 by Raymond Dodane of the famed Dodane watchmaking family (known primarily for their eponymous watch brand). In 1947, Lebois and Co. was sold to an Italian importer, who at the time focused on sales predominantly in Italy with manufacturing centered in Switzerland (including some in the Dodane factory). By the early 1970s, however, the company, like so many others, closed its doors and disappeared from recent memory. 

A year ago, however, Tom van Wijlick, a watch dealer by trade, and his partner Eveline decided to resurrect the long-dead brand, coincidentally 80 years since its initial founding. Their adoration for the company began when they both saw a vintage Lebois & Co. chronograph sell at auction. Infatuated with the piece and the brand that bore it, the two committed themselves to bringing the brand back to its glory days, focusing on quality components and Swiss manufacturing. But they needed seed money to do so. That’s where Kickstarter came in.


The flagship model for the re-launch of Lebois & Co. is the Avantgarde Date, a watch that takes some cues from historical models but is otherwise designed and built to modern standards. The stainless steel case comes in at a respectable 40mm, and with a thickness of only 10.5mm the Avantgarde Date will slip right under your shirt cuff. At the heart of the watch is an ETA-2824, a proven workhorse. To cap everything off is a sapphire crystal and a built-in water-resistance of 100m. 

The Avantgarde Date will come in 3 variations, each limited to 100 pieces, though only one style–white dial with blue and red accents–is available to backers of the Kickstarter campaign. The case back will feature an engraving indicating that this is a limited edition piece commemorating the re-launch of the brand. When backing the project, you can inquire about a preferred production number. 

The dial of the Avantgarde Date is extremely attractive, and though I’ve only seen 2D renders and not a finished product, I must say that I am impressed with the thought and attention to detail that’s gone into the design thus far. The dial features applied index hour markers along the outer rim of the dial, with a smaller internal ring representing the minutes track via Arabic numerals. Red and blue are used as accent colors, with blue being the primary color and red reserved for the seconds hand and the 60 minutes marker. 


There are a number of other really interesting design elements on the watch. The dial is actually tiered, with the brand name and “AUTOMATIC” encased within a depressed circle at the center of the dial.  The date window–a common point of contention on many watches–is brilliantly positioned along the minutes track, which keeps it from eating into the 3 o’clock marker. The date wheel also appears to be custom, with promotional images showing a stylized “3.” 

For a pledge of 975/$1,075, you can get your hands on an Avantgarde Date, scheduled to be ready by September 2015. Granted, the price of the Avantgarde Date is substantially higher than what you might find with most crowd-funded watches, but they’re also one of the few projects I’ve seen using ETA movements and manufacturing in Switzerland. 

To back the project, click here

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Ilya is Worn & Wound's Managing Editor and Video Producer. He believes that when it comes to watches, quality, simplicity and functionality are king. This may very well explain his love for German and military-inspired watches. In addition to watches, Ilya brings an encyclopedic knowledge of leather, denim and all things related to menswear.