Laventure Marine — 52Mondayz, Week #18-2020 When the gamble pays off… by Rob Nudds April 27, 2020 MIN READLaventure Marine — 52Mondayz, Week #18-2020
The Laventure Marine in green may well be my favorite watch in my collection. Sure, I have plenty of other options. And yes, many of those options are from more tried-and-tested brands. But it would be fair to say that no single piece has had the same effect on me since purchase. Read on to find out why.
I’m a lucky guy. I have several watch boxes and countless wraps full of timepieces. I could genuinely strap-on a different watch of my own every week for a year and still not give them all a moment of wrist time. But the question always looms: what is your favorite watch? I get asked this question all the time. I wouldn’t say I am bored with it. No, it’s just that I never really know how to answer it. Does it mean the watch I would choose to own above all others? Does it mean the watch I already own that I would be most loathed to part with? Or does it mean the watch that, for some inexplicable reason, touches you in a deeper way than any other?
Weirdly, all three answers would be different. To the first, I would probably say the A. Lange & Söhne Zeitwerk Decimal Strike in honey gold that went toe-to-toe with Lange’s latest Zeitwerk in this week’s SMS column. To the second, I would almost certainly say my Breitling Aerospace Everest Skydive LE. I wanted that watch for almost a decade and it meant something to me to finally acquire it. But to the latter question, I would say the Laventure Marine (with its luscious green dial).
Kickstarter has a bad rep. And with good reason. There’s a lot of rubbish on there. Normally, it is rubbish pushed down the eager throats of wannabe watch collectors that just don’t have the budget to buy what they really want. These fly-by-night companies will tell these vulnerable purchasers whatever they want to hear. Usually, it is something about upsetting the apple cart or tearing down the established elite from the inside out. That kind of bumf sounds great for a political revolution. When it comes to watchmaking, it is just a sad attempt at attention-grabbing.
The product is often the last thing Kickstarter brands really care about.
And you know what gets forgotten amongst this storm and bluster? The product. The product is often the last thing Kickstarter brands really care about. I’m sure some of them — perhaps most of them, even — started off with good intentions. They can hardly be blamed for becoming overawed by the mountainous task before them, and feeling like the only way to succeed was to get their hands dirty by playing the same sordid game as everyone else.
Luckily, no one told Clément Gaud how to structure his priorities. The inaugural Laventure timepiece hit Kickstarter way back in 2017. I was relatively new to the platform at the time and had only dabbled in pledging a couple of times. I was bewitched by the case design and the compelling green dial of the Laventure Marine. But I was terrified by the asking price.
The gamble paid off
At about CHF 1,400 the Laventure Marine was the most expensive Kickstarter purchase I had ever considered. I vacillated back and forth for days. I hung on until the very last moment (a stupid strategy because KS pledges are cancelable until the campaign ends) before diving in and snaring the 49th of 50 green-dialed Marines available. My serial number? The cool number 18 (handy if I ever have a child that needs a birthday present for that significant age).
The project was not without its delays and missteps, but when the product arrived I could not have been more pleased. Since then, I would say the only watch in my collection that rivals the Marine for wrist time is the bronze-cased Laventure Sous-Marine that I will write-up in due time.
Two flashes of red text complement the sandwich dial design which cannot be faulted for legibility.
So what’s so good about this model? Well, the dial is the best place to start from an aesthetic perspective. The green is uncommon enough, but the grained base mixed with the degradé coloring makes for a powerful combo. An unobtrusive, expertly color-matched date window pops up between 4 and 5 o’clock. The printing is also gold to match the precisely applied decoration. Two flashes of red text complement the sandwich dial design which cannot be faulted for legibility.
As with all timeless designs, true success lies with the details. In the case (literally and figuratively) of the Laventure Marine, there are many to which great attention has been paid. Crucially, this watch was actually made in Switzerland (in La Chaux-de-Fonds) so the practices employed for the production of each component differ from the faceless mass production of Asian manufactures.
…consider my skepticism allayed.
Sticking with the display momentarily, the hands are worthy of note. Rather than being churned out by an automated stamping machine, these hands are lovingly hand-pressed. Honestly, I was pretty skeptical about the difference that could make, but consider my skepticism allayed. These hands are crisp, shapely, flawlessly polished indicators of which I am yet to tire.
And the housing itself is no less remarkable. The case middle is clearly Genta-inspired (unsurprising given Gaud’s employment history). The bezel? Well, its flat, straight-grained top and polished edge reminds me of the bezel seen on the Sjöo Sandstrom Royal Capital (one of my favorite-looking dress watches in the world).
On the wrist
Drilled lugs make shifting between straps easy. The Marine models came with a choice of tan, dark brown, green, or blue straps. I have the tan on the watch (my preference with the dial) and the green in the box. The green strap would definitely benefit from a few months on the wrist as it is a bit more of a kelly shade than the deep forest it appeared on the renders, but I have been dutifully rubbing it with Breitling strap wax for months to prepare it for an outing (and darkening it in the process).
The double-domed sapphire makes the watch look like a jewel on the wrist…
The sharp, precise machining of the buckle and the crown is really something to behold, and despite the arresting dial color, the watch is surprisingly versatile. The double-domed sapphire makes the watch look like a jewel on the wrist, and while the strong distortions around the edge when the watch is viewed at an angle mean this is not one for everybody, I love the profile so much I could forgive it ten times over.
More than satisfied
Inside the Marine, you will find the ETA2824-2. At the time I viewed the inclusion of this movement as an entirely neutral point. I like ETA movements. I have enjoyed working on them thanks to their solid construction. However, I didn’t regard it as remarkable and, if you’d asked me three years ago if I’d have preferred a different movement, I would have said yes. Weirdly, I can almost hear myself asking fro a proprietary manual movement to be fitted to this, clearly outdoorsy watch.
…the movements used in watches matter less to me than the design of their housing.
Now, my tune has changed. Partially because of the increased scarcity of ETA movements, and partially because, as I get older and older, the movements used in watches matter less to me than the design of their housing. It is an odd thing to admit for someone who comes at watchmaking from a very technical background, but perhaps I was always more interested in the look of things than I realized.
And so at this point of my life, I am more than satisfied with this movement’s inclusion. I am also totally fine with its almost ignored finish and basic rotor decoration. I’m not sure why. honestly, I think the excellence of the case back engraving has a lot to do with it…
I wear this watch a lot. Along with the bronze follow-up from the same brand, my Omega Speedmaster Broad Arrow, my Breitling Aerospace, and my NOMOS Orion De Stijl, it is one of my collection’s core pieces in terms of wrist time. So why have I decided to share it with you now, three years after its release and almost as long since every piece of this limited run (50 pieces per color) sold out?
Because something new is coming, that’s why. Just around the corner, in the wake of the Watches and WOnders drops of the weekend, Laventure is bringing out its third model. Although it hasn’t been seen in the metal just yet, we managed to secure a quick graphical teaser to whet the appetite:
The exact release date of the Laventure GMT Transatlantique is unconfirmed, but, rest assured, when it does hit the market we will be covering it in full. So far we know this much: There will be two models limited to 50 pieces each (this is the brand’s smallest release yet with the first release totaling 150 pieces and the second 300). The watch will be made from stainless steel and come on an integrated Stainless steel bracelet for the first time. It will be 100% Swiss Made and have a diameter of 40.80mm. It will be available for direct sale via the website only, with pre-orders beginning in May/June and deliveries anticipated for November/December 2020. And, quite importantly, it will be priced at CHF 3,350 excluding tax, with 50% payment due upon ordering and the rest before dispatch.
In my opinion, this brand is one of the best-kept secrets of luxury watchmaking. It may be young, it may have absolutely no heritage to speak of, but it places the design and development of its products front and center. And that, above all else, is what I value in a watchmaker. Learn more here.
Brand Laventure ModelMarineDialGreen straight-grained degradéCase MaterialStainless SteelCase Dimensions41mmCrystalDoouble-domed sapphireCase BackSapphire display backMovementETA 2824Water Resistance200mStrapVegetable-tanned leatherFunctionsTime and datePriceCHF 1,570 on Kickstarter Watch of the Week
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About the author
Rob’s first exposure to the watch industry was a part-time retail role for the Signet Group at the age of 17. An obsession with watches soon developed. Following an ill-advised BSc in Archaeological Science, he applied for sponsorship to undertake… read more
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