We all know that there is no shortage of micro-brands competing for our watch budgets. It is sometimes all too easy to be taken in by looks - after all, we collectors can be an impulsive lot and there is a "love at first sight" aspect to some of the watches we eventually end up owning.
The two main reasons why I would pick the Neuchâtel-based Laventure watches as my micro-brand recommendation are design - both aesthetics and ergonomics - as well as a congruent story to support it. Launched first via a Kickstarter campaign - of which I am not a fan when it comes to watches - Laventure has always focused on conveying a sense of adventure, and in the case of their releases thus far (a GMT aviation-theme watch is due soon) their adventure of choice has been a marine one. I currently own the Laventure Sous-Marine with the green sandwich dial and gilt indices, a limited edition of 50 pieces.
From their name, all the way to the design choices of their watches, Laventure stays true to their story. The case of any Laventure watch is a study in balance. The 41 mm brushed steel case, depth-rated to 200 meters, has a truly rugged and solid feel with some of the most photogenic angles you can find in any micro-brand on the market. And did I mention the stunning engraved caseback? Laventure brings that same sense of balance to their dials as well. The super legible sandwich dial is presented in some mesmerizing tones (just look at that green dial), gilt indices, and markers with admirably precise finishing that will stand the loupe test.
Ticking inside is an ETA movement (an ETA 2824-2 to be precise), so you know there is no compromise there in terms of reliability and serviceability in the future. However, it is also the source of my only gripe with Laventure watches: This movement has a date complication, and though I’m happy that there is no date window on the dial, it has not been modified to avoid the strange two positions you have to pull the crown to adjust the time. Small gripe but worth mentioning.
When it comes to micro-brands, one must look beyond just the spec-sheet and design to fully understand the sum of all parts that make it a value proposition. In my view, customer delight is a key consideration - is this brand as happy to be supported by me as I am to be part of their success? I have to say that founder Clement Gaud plays a key role here. He interacts directly with his customers and helps with details like dial decisions. I felt like I joined a select group of watch owners during the purchase process, even months into ownership.
Overall, Laventure watches are some of the most uniquely tasteful micro-brands in the market in terms of design and brand congruency, and at CHF 2,350 they pack an immense amount of value. They are truly limited in numbers (all the models thus far have been limited to just 50 pieces), and they are backed by true watch lovers, and you can tell.
@wristintime (that's his Instagram handle) is a Dubai-based collector.