What Happens When an Award-winning Architect Designs a Watch? The Lebond Souto Moura.

Lebond is an unusual brand for a number of reasons, but possibly chief among them for the reason that famous architects design each of their watches. Although it is not new to have an architect design a watch, making this element the core of a brand’s DNA certainly is.

Founded by Asier Mateo— an architect himself— Lebond’s first watch, launched in 2023, was designed by the Portuguese grand master of architecture, Alvaro Siza. He took inspiration from the Leça swimming pool he penned down in 1966 when he was 28. It is a very charismatic watch with an unusual diamond-shaped case and captivating hands and hour markers. The second watch, launched this month, is from renowned architect Eduardo Souto de Moura, who is just like Siza, Portuguese and also a recipient of the renowned Pritzker Architecture Prize. His design for a watch, however, couldn’t be more different.

Souto de Moura opted for the traditional round shape to keep the watch, known formally as the Lebond Souto Moura, as pure as possible, but gave it a literal twist as he turned everything 30 degrees clockwise. The result is an architectural drivers’ watch where legibility is key. However, Souto de Moura didn’t become one of the world’s leading architects without plenty of signature touches. Like with his buildings, he is a master in making a difference with just a few details. While the hour and minute markers are relatively common, he changes the perception of the design with two clever details. The first is the size of the hour hand, which is much smaller than usual. In a twist, this increases the legibility, as there is more distinction between the two hands. Souto de Moura opted for a longer hour marker for the twelve o’clock, putting the two beside it. This makes twelve o’clock a magical time with this Lebond— as then the hour marker, hour hand, and minute hand form one long dash from the center of the dial to the end.

As an architect, Souto de Moura is part artist and part environment creator. Besides being beautiful, his buildings also function as places where people work, live, and leisure. His watch is the same and, therefore, fitted with a date window. It adds a sense of practicality to the design, as the true purpose of the watch guided him when he penned down his ideas on what the ideal timepiece should be.

While the design itself is compelling, it is how Lebond has brought it to life that makes all the difference. The watch features a very sophisticated case construction, with hidden Vendome lugs underneath a saucer-shaped case that gravitates around a center with a sapphire exhibition caseback; atop it is Souto de Moura’s signature, where beneath it is a nicely decorated ETA 2892-A2.

Other details like the cone-shaped metal meant to accentuate the crown presents beautifully from the case, while also offering some practical benefits via a small cut-out that assists in pulling the crown a bit easier with your nail. The crown itself looks refined, with the Lebond logo edged on the side, and its grooves make it very easy and pleasant to operate. Both the crown and the case itself are crafted from Grade 5 titanium that has been given a micro-sanded matte finish. Combined with its diameter of 38.5mm, it makes for a pleasantly light watch that sits well on the wrist. While the height is modest, measuring just 7.6mm, the Lebond wears even slimmer thanks to its case construction. Also, the fact that they opted for a domed sapphire crystal instead of a double-domed one helps in this matter.

Extra credit goes to the exceptional folding clasp. This one is also made from Grade 5 titanium and features a microblasted finish. It is such a delight to see a starting brand actually investing the resources into developing a great folding clasp, instead of buying something generic. It is one of the details that elevate this Lebond beyond its price point. The Souto Moura is offered in two versions: the first is the ‘Original Edition’ with a beige lacquered dial and blue Nappa leather strap, and the second is the ‘Dark Edition,’ matching a lacquered matt grey dial with black Nappa leather strap. Both are priced at €2,700, or about $2,900 at the time of writing.

Where the brand’s first model was almost over the top, its latest design by Souto de Moura impresses with clever twists, giving a unique spin on the watch in its most traditional shape. Combined with a high-end execution that comes very close to perfection, Lebond is making a compelling case for watch enthusiasts who value design as much as a well-made timepiece.

For more info, visit Lebond, here

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  1. Leonard Martinez

    Based on the looks of the Souto Moura, I think it’s safe to say that architects should practice architecture only.

  2. Perhaps he should partner with designer De Rijke, who designed a drivers watch that rotates so it can be worn by both left and right handed people.

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