It’s no secret that crowd-funding platforms like Kickstarter have allowed watch enthusiasts to actually go out on a limb and start their own micro-brand. Over the years we have seen micro-brands like REC Watches, Brew Watches and more recently Werenbach using the crowdfunding platform as launch pads.
And now, a Neuchâtel-based brand is about to debut on Kickstarter – Laventure is the handiwork of Clément Gaud, a resident of this Swiss town, who has designed watches in the past for brands like Audemars Piguet, HYT, Hautlence, H. Moser&Cie, Fabergé, Christophe Claret, Tissot, Mido, Hamilton among others.
Gaud says he has been passionate about watches and chronometers even as a kid and often spent time looking up vintage and antique dealers in his youth. He says the design for his maiden solo effort is inspired by tool watches made in the Sixties.
The first watch, Laventure Marine, is a diving watch that pays homage to some classic design codes we’ve seen over the years – there’s a bit of vintage Rolex here, a dash of Nautilus, a hint of Panerai – but to Gaud’s credit, they all come together quite nicely.
Let’s start with the dial - the classic diver’s watch broad luminous indexes meets the sandwich dial here. A sandwich dial, for those who don’t know, is composed of two superimposed plates with the indexes on the upper part cut out to reveal the photo-luminescent coating that covers the bottom plate.
The gorgeous vignette-like effect on the lacquer dial, the gilt hour markers and the beige luminescence underneath gives the watch a real vintage feel. Laventure Marine is available in a choice of three dial colors – brown, blue, green. As if to cap the whole retro look, the watch uses a domed sapphire crystal with internal anti-reflective treatment, a throwback to the superdomed plexiglass crystals seen on vintage watches.
It uses a 41-mm 316L stainless steel case with a flat brushed bezel and stubby, sloping lugs. The case has a mix of polished and brushed surfaces and a screwed-in crown and has a depth-rating of 200 meters. It is paired with a vegetable tanned calf leather strap that will develop a patina over time. What’s cool about the construction of the case is that despite being a diver, the watch is only 9.80-mm thin, slim enough to slip under your shirt cuff.
Laventure Marine is powered by the reliable ETA 2824-2 movement. Beating at 4 Hz (28,800 vph), the rotor has an engraving of the brand and is visible through the sapphire caseback. The caseback ring has an engraving of the limited edition number, the watch has a limited production of 50 pieces in each color.
For a watch to be “Swiss Made”, it must satisfy the minimum 60 per cent Swiss value requirement. Gaud is quite proud of the fact that this watch is hits this requirement at 90 per cent. In fact, the watch is designed in Neuchâtel and produced in La Chaux-de-Fonds: these two locations separated by only 18kms.
“I decided to go on my own in 2016,” says Gaud. “Right now, I’m doing everything by myself.” So this means Gaud has designed the watch, served as the product manager, formulated the communication strategy, photographed and filmed the watch and found the right industrial subcontractors for production. “The plan is to launch a limited edition each year, I’m already working on the next design.”
For more information, you can access Laventure’s Kickstarter campaign page here.