Luxury heritage watch brand Lebois & Co successfully engages their fans in the design process through voting options and Coffee Catch-Ups.
If you want to be the most personal luxury watch brand, you should let your fans come up-close. Lebois & Co took it one step further by involving the fans in the designing process for a new watch model. The Dutch-owned Swiss heritage watch brand set up a voting and conversation platform that give people a say in key design choices. By upvoting one option over the other, they help Lebois shape a new watch from scratch.

Only a few months back, heritage watch brand Lebois & Co opened the polls for their co-creation initiative CoLAB. The first two voting rounds amassed well over 2,000 votes. CEO Tom van Wijlick is happy about how things are going.

Cases and dials
“The first step was to decide what vintage models would serve as the overall basis for our new watch,” explains Van Wijlick. “We offered our fans a number of options, from which a clear winner emerged. We then put up a variety of cases and dials. Fans can choose from three case concepts and pick their favourite for each of the four presented dial layouts. There is already a joint preference with each of the options except for dial layout 1, the salmon-coloured multiscale dial which currently has a 45% to 55% split between its full central sun brushed version and its sandblasted opponent. This narrow difference might mean we’d have to disappoint a considerable part of our fan base.”

Talk to the Boss: Coffee Catch-Ups
To give voters an opportunity to explain their choices and literally ‘talk to the boss’, Van Wijlick arranges low-key Coffee Catch-Ups. These open video conferencing sessions bring industry adepts together to talk all things horology. As well as gaining fresh insights into the tastes and backgrounds of his clients, it helps Van Wijlick to get in touch with an eager group of watch enthusiasts. “They bring up some valid points, which we will consider going forward. In fact, the best ideas are immediately introduced as a Quick Poll on our platform after which, if there is sufficient backing, will be processed in the presented step. Example: the alternative dials for the pulsation dial (dial layout 4) which will provide a major turnaround in the outcome.”

Have a say
The next step on the voting calendar is bringing all the followers’ choices together and work them into a number of 3D showcases. “This will offer our following an exciting first glimpse of what we have created together, and give our fans something to look forward to.” Until then, CoLAB’s voting website is still open. Van Wijlick hopes that this effort not only engages his fanbase, but that it results in a watch that is well-liked across the board. “You cannot cater for all tastes, of course, but this will be our most democratically compiled watch model.”