Hot Take: Venturist Observatoire Chronométrique+ Certified Chronometer


Lebois & Co is celebrating its 85th birthday today. The brand resurrected in 2014 and is in Dutch hands today. Today, Lebois & Co is unveiling the first live images of their upcoming watch, the Venturist Observatoire Chronométrique+ Certified Chronometer.

That’s a mouthful, and especially the Observatoire Chronométrique+ Certified Chronometer needs a bit of explaining. But let’s have a look at the new Venturist first.

Lebois & Co Venturist Observatoire Chronométrique+

The Venturist watch is the second model that Lebois & Co introduces. After the successful release of the Avantgarde Date (in three different executions), Lebois & Co thought it is time to come up with a tool watch. If you look at the Venturist, you can’t deny that it has some Explorer-isk influences. And that’s not a bad thing, at all. The Rolex Explorer is – in my opinion – one of the purest tool watches ever produced. It might even be my favorite Rolex sports model, but at least the cleanest looking one. This Lebois & Co Venturist has the same layout when it comes to the Arabic numerals and stick markers, on a black background, and perhaps the lack of a crown guard comes to mind as well, but that’s about it. The shape of the case is different, and the size is 41.5mm (diameter) with a thickness of 10.5mm. Lebois & Co made sure to put enough detail on the dial of their Venturist to keep it visually entertaining for years to come. The red printed ‘Venturist’ brings some color to the dial. Below ‘Venturist’, you will find ‘Officially Certified Chronometer’.

Observatoire Chronométrique+

The officially certified chronometer relates to the Sellita based movement inside this watch. You have to understand that having that line on the dial requires a brand to have its movement certified by COSC. Rolex, Omega, and Breitling are the brands that produce most chronometer-certified watches, but you will also find it at smaller brands. Or cheaper brands. The thing is, it only says something about the movement. The movement needs to be sent off to COSC, often paired with a cheap dial and hands and a plastic crown, where the movement then is being tested against the chronometer standards. Once completed, and passed, it gets the chronometer certification. The movement is shipped back to the watch manufacturer and is fitted to the case of the watch and receives the proper dial, hands, and crown. According to some brands, including Lebois & Co, this is not enough. For the Venturist, Lebois & Co chose Timelab to have their entire watch tested and certified against the Observatoire Chronométrique+ standards. This is a far more comprehensive test than the standards of COSC testing. For OC+, the entire watch is sent off to Timelab in Geneva, where they will put it to the test for 21 days. Apart from testing accuracy, Timelab also checks the power reserve (and maintain accuracy with low power reserve left), water-resistance tests (up to a 100 meters for the Venturist) and its vulnerability for magnetic fields.

In this article, we explained the nature of these tests and their importance for a tool watch like the Venturist.

A handsome toolwatch

Lebois & Co wanted to create a genuine toolwatch, one that doesn’t only have the rugged looks, but also one that is up to the task. With the OC+ certification, in combination with the chronometer certification, I think that Lebois & Co did everything there is to do to ensure this watch can take a beating and be a companion during your adventures. Put it on the NATO strap, and you can take it into the water or take it with you on hiking trips in the weekends, wear it on the leather strap again for the weekdays when there’s a lot of desk diving to do in the office.

The see-through caseback will remind you of the traditions of Swiss watchmaking, and the fact that your mechanical movement can take all this daily abuse (and is certified for that). To proof that Lebos & Co is not selling you any nonsense, they will be hosting ‘An Evening with Lebois’ events in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, London, Zurich, and Los Angeles. Here, you will be able to see and try the Venturist yourself, have a look at their Avantgarde Date editions, and some of the vintage Lebois & Co watches they’ve been able to preserve. These will be informal evenings with the Lebois & Co team, and you can register for those on their website here.

 

As we explained in the past, instead of using Kickstarter, Lebois & Co is aiming to have shareholders/investors on board of the company. For a limited period, they are offering the Venturist in a package deal. For 2500 Euro, you will receive the Lebois & Co Venturist Observatoire Chronométrique+ Certified Chronometer, with 25 shares in the company (representing €1000 in value). The delivery of this watch will start in Q1 2020, more information can be found here.

Besides all that, I had the pleasure to give the Lebois & Co Venturist Observatoire Chronométrique+ Certified Chronometer a try in the flesh, and I think they did an outstanding job in creating a toolwatch without becoming a sportswatch. The lack of date is something I definitely applaud; it keeps the impressive dial very clean. Lebois & Co achieved to design a toolwatch that ticks a lot of boxes on my list.

I am looking forward to getting my hands on one of the Venturist watches for a proper review.


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