The present-day owner of Lebois & Co, Tom van Wijlick, decided to come up with a reinterpretation of the brand’s original chronograph watch from the 1940s. However, to make the development a little more democratic, he asked the watch community what they’d like to see.
Lebois & Co Heritage Chronograph prototypes
During the design process, those interested could vote for their favorite case shape, dial color, print, and chronograph movement. Now, Lebois & Co shares the first images of the Heritage Chronograph prototypes based on all these votes. All of these watches have a case diameter of 39mm, which seems to be the sweet spot for many enthusiasts. The lug-to-lug length is 47.35mm, and the 10.5mm thickness also seems very acceptable. Two of these references will have a step-bezel case, and the other two models will have a bevel-bezel case.
The Lebois & Co Heritage Chronograph models will be all powered by the LC-450 manual-wind column-wheel chronograph movement. Through the sapphire crystal in the case back, you can admire the caliber with its Geneva stripes and perlage finishing. Caliber LC-450 offers 60 hours of power reserve and was developed and produced by La Joux-Perret. It is the same movement that can be found in the Type 20 from Lebois & Co’s sister brand Airain. In the original Lebois & Co chronograph from the 1940s, you’d find a Valjoux 22 or Valjoux 72 movement.
The Fratello favorite
Tom van Wijlick honored us with a visit to the Fratello offices where he showed these prototypes to our team. Our team was — and I am not exaggerating here — extremely excited upon seeing the prototypes he brought. The Fratello favorite seemed to be the Heritage Chronograph with reference 324.497, the model with the step-bezel case and a cream dial. The red telemeter scale really adds some punch to the dial compared to the model with the silvery sector dial (reference 324.442). But it all comes down to personal preferences. Some will surely prefer the salmon dial, which we thought we would like best as well. However, the cream dial with multicolored scales worked miracles on the wrist.
Van Wijlick indicated that all prototypes have also passed the anti-magnetism test (ISO 764 standard) performed by Timelab in Geneva. This was an important step to him, as it now makes total sense to have the “Anti-magnetic” wording on the dials. This is also faithful to the original Lebois & Co chronographs.
In the spirit of full disclosure, Lebois & Co would like to share the outcome of the analysis of the prototype models with you. This means that van Wijlick and his team are not quite happy yet with a couple of things that they will address before the Heritage Chronograph goes into production in the next stage. Whereas the crowns on the prototypes have a polished top surface, the production models will have a combination of sandblasting and a circular brushing of the Lebois & Co logo surface.
The movements in the prototypes are also not finished properly. The final LC-450 will have gold-filled engraving, and the parts needed for automatic winding will be removed (some parts are still there on the prototypes). The top of the hands in the sub-dials will all have colored centers, and on the reference 324.478, there is currently an issue with the readability of the tachymeter scale on the right side of the dial. This will also be addressed. A full overview with a more detailed explanation can be found here.
Pricing and availability of the Lebois & Co Heritage Chronograph
Each of the four Lebois & Co Heritage Chronograph references will retail for €2,450 on a leather strap. During the ordering phase, which will start in mid-October, you will also be able to order the watch with a Forstner bracelet for an additional €120.
After the second round of ordering (the first took place in December 2021), production will start and will happen in two batches. The first batch will be produced in December 2022, with expected delivery in February 2023. These are the watches that were ordered in December 2021. The orders placed in mid-October will be produced in September 2023 and, after assembly, delivered in Q4 2023.
You can find more information on the Lebois & Co website. Let us know which reference you like best in the comments!