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Conquering Panic With The Lebond Suoto Moura

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With your eyes half shut you pull up to the convention centre ready for a day of corporate fluff. Then suddenly, your eyes open all the way. "What is this place", you think to yourself. 

Picture this. You've just arrived in Belgium for a week long conference. You adjust your North Face puffer jacket as you step off the plane.

The weather is miserable in Bruges this time of year and you shudder while you settle into the train ride to the hotel. 
The next morning, one of your colleagues makes a joke as you wait for an Uber:

Someone has just beaten me with a map of Belgium. Now I'm all covered in brugeses.’ 

You stare blankly at his face and make a mental note to change your seat on the plane home from 14a to 28b.
With your eyes half shut you pull up to the convention centre ready for a day of corporate fluff. Then suddenly, your eyes open all the way. "What is this place", you think to yourself. 

Bruges Meeting & Convention Centre
Bruges Meeting & Convention Centre

The Uber has dropped you in a courtyard that is dominated by a wall of glass behind twenty-five crisp, brick pillars. It’s at once overwhelming and completely alluring. Your work trip has just become more than just bad jokes, puffer jackets and shareholder value.
I am, of course, talking about the Bruges Meeting & Convention Centre. A place where meetings have been held and conferences have been run since 2022. Designed by Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto de Moura, the building is proof that something as mundane as a corporate gathering can still be beautiful. It’s a suit-and-tie masterpiece. On with the conference. 
Alright, enough waffle. Let's talk about watches. Or rather, a man who designed one. 

Eduardo Elísio Machado Souto de Moura

That’s a mouthful… and you know what else is full, his eyebrows! How could he not be an artistic genius with those masterpieces adorning his face? Magnífico!

Eduardo Souto de Moura

Born in 1952, Eduardo worked with Alvaro Siza Vieira in his early years before striking out on his own to design some of Europe's most beautiful buildings. Little did they know back then that they would both be creating watches with the help of the chaps at Lebond many years later.
A seemingly pragmatic man, Eduardo has created some wonderfully simple, beautiful and practical buildings throughout his career. They all share a stark commercialism that doesn’t seem welcoming at first, but the warmth is there. It just takes a little bit of time to reveal itself. 
There’s nothing ‘obvious’ about Eduardo’s projects and I mean that as a compliment. It makes him all the more interesting as an artist. He’s relatable. I’ve connected with him quite deeply whilst writing this article. Maybe it’s because I appreciate his approach, or maybe it’s because of this quote…

I make a project and I panic. Which is good, it can be a method. First, panic. Second, conquer panic by working. Third, find ways to solve your doubts. - Eduardo Elísio Machado Souto de Moura

I think there’s a little bit of Eduardo in all of us. PANIC.

The Lebond Suoto Moura
The Lebond Suoto Moura

The Lebond Suoto Moura

Following on from the first Lebond watch by Alvaro Siza, the Suoto Moura seems outright conventional. With its round case and flat dial...it's a watch.
But then you sit with it and something strange happens. Details start to reveal themselves that you may have missed at first glance. It’s almost as if your eyes need time to conform to the worldview that this watch is trying to represent.
The dial, date and crown are rotated 30 degrees like the Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921. 
I usually loathe a crown at 4:30, it just doesn’t look right to me, but then again it’s not really at 4:30 here is it? They’ve found a loophole in the rules of crown placement. 

Sketching the The Lebond Suoto Moura

My brain is still a little confused as to whether I like it or not, but that's fine, I’m mostly wrong with this kind of thing.
What I am not confused about, is the dial itself. It has the best execution of a ‘12’ marker I’ve seen in a long time. It’s so simple and so brilliant. Although I must admit, the first time I viewed the marker I missed it. 
I saw a 2 on the dial, thought it was a bit weird and then went on my way. It was only days after that I realised that the marker represents the 1. 
As soon as my brain kicked into gear, the whole watch clicked. Maybe it’s meant to take some time to drink in, a bit like Eduardo’s buildings. Or maybe I’m just in over my head when it comes to architecture. Either way, I got there in the end.

The Lebond Suoto Moura

Light and Shade

The Sun does not realise how wonderful it is until after a room is made.”– Louis Kahn

I love the way architects can find a way to make even the most mundane things, light, seem so poetic and artful. 
Translated to watches, the idea that the case has a large part to play in the aesthetics of the dial is an interesting one. For it to be appreciated, the dial has to be placed in a ‘room’ that does it justice.

The Lebond Suoto Moura
The Lebond Suoto Moura

The case of the Lebond Suoto Moura is wearable at 38.5mm across and 7.6mm thick. The metal shrinks around the dial and holds it up like a brutalist column. 
Being made from grade 5 Titanium, it’s lighter than a post-war column (thankfully), and has the same anti-fingerprint finish on it as the previous Lebond piece. Can’t wait to test it out with my grubby fingers.
The watch comes in two different dial variants, the Original version with its RAL colour 9001 dial (that's ‘cream’ for the layman), and a matte grey. Both of which are lacquered with volume-printed numerals and markers.

Eduardo Souto de Moura is up to something

During my research on Eduardo I couldn’t help but get a sense that he’s a bit of a troublemaker, a vagabond if you will. His designs almost always have a feeling of rebellion about them, Even when they are as pedestrian as a conference centre in Belgium.
I feel this side of his personality came through in full force when he designed this latest watch with Lebond. You can tell he had fun with it. 
I can imagine him with a cheeky grin on his face and one thick eyebrow raised, whispering “Foda-se, o mostrador do meu relógio não vai ficar reto” to himself. 
I’ll let you google translate that one.

Eduardo Souto de Moura
Eduardo Souto de Moura

The Lebond Suoto Moura is deep watch. One that's for the thinking man and for that I love it. Although sometimes I feel I'm less of a thinking man and more of a misunderstanding man, I'll indulge myself this time.

I want to leave you with another quote by the main man that I found during my research. A quote that is incredibly charming, simple and to the point. Just like the watch.

“I arrived at the (lebond) office feeling bored, but when I saw the latest pictures of the watch, I became excited.” -  Eduardo Souto de Moura

See more at lebondwatches.com

Cya in the next one

All images (apart from the first two) from this article are by FERNANDO GUERRA

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