Before this, I only thought of buildings in a practical sense, are they warm, do they keep me dry, are they cheap?
The beauty of Wright’s house struck me as being unnecessary at first, but then as I dove deeper into the pages of the magazine I became inthralled in the lines, materials, and the artistry behind creating something like Fallingwater. It made me feel something, and I’ll never forget it.
In the years since, I’ve learnt that being surrounded by beauty is one of the true pleasures of this world. Us as watch enthusiasts know this intimately. Every time we look at our wrists, we can feel it. It’s this connection to the objects around us that gives us so much joy. Architecture, for me, is the same.
So when the founder of Lebond, an architecture – inspired watch brand, got in touch, I jumped at the chance to learn more.
To preface this story, I want to mention that I am in no way qualified to talk about architecture in any meaningful way. I just see what I like, and I try to talk about it. In saying that, want to thank my friend Mark Brook of MyMyMy Architecture for the guidance on this one.
I spoke with Asier Mateo, Architect and founder of Lebond, via video call late one night. It was pitch black and cold in Melbourne, typical. When Asier turned his camera on, I was greeted with a room of impeccable design and taste. Bathed in Spanish sunlight, in the middle of it all was Asier, looking as if he were fresh off a shoot for Architectural Digest.
It was picture-perfect and in stark contrast to my frost – covered, dining table workspace.
When my office jealousy subsided, Asier introduced his brand and explained the concept behind it.
Lebond creates Swiss made watches completely designed by architects, often inspired by their famous works from the past. Their first watch, The ‘Lebond Siza’, was designed by the Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza.
Álvaro Joaquim de Melo Siza Vieira, or Siza as he’s known In Portugal, was born in 1933. His first intentions were to become a sculptor, but in 1949, at the advice of his father, he enrolled in the Architecture program at Porto Fine Arts School. He designed his first houses seven years later.
Throughout his career, Siza has created works that include churches, public housing and swimming pools, all with a tension and simplicity that is just breathtaking. To me, it feels like he never lost his love of sculpture. As a Pritzker Prize wining architect (the architectural Nobel Prize), Siza is an incredibly accomplished and talented man.
Ok, to reduce the risk of exposing my total lack of architectural knowledge, let’s get back to what I know. Watches.
As Siza put it himself; “There already exist many beautiful round watches. I want to create something different.” Alvaro Siza, 2022
And different it is.
Inspired by the Leça Swimming Pool he designed in 1996, the watch is about as far from a circle as you can get (mission accomplished). It has a rotated, square dial and an angular case that is both simple, and complex. A bit like his buildings.
Made from sandblasted grade 5 titanium, it’s light, but to be honest, that’s probably the least interesting thing about the watch. Much more attention should be paid to the way it looks than what it is made from.
The central lug design connecting the case to the strap mimics Siza’s sculptural sensibilities, and the dial markers pull inspiration from the minimal restroom signs that adorn many of his projects. It’s a watch that comes from the hand of one man and you can tell.
Coming in black and white dial variants with Arabic and Roman numerals respectively, the Lebond Siza is as striking as the buildings that inspire it. The watch Is unique in its proportions and singular in its execution.
As a watch writer, I could tell you that it’s powered by the ETA 2892-A2, that it comes with a deployment clasp, and that the case has an anti-fingerprint coating, but all of that doesn’t really matter. This watch is more than the sum of its parts, it’s the legacy of an architectural icon.
For those of you that think you have it all, a watch for every occasion, of every flavour, and for every day of the week, can I suggest you take a leaf out of Alvaro Siza’s book? Because, well, in his words…
“It is an elegant and sophisticated watch. It will be my Sunday watch.” — Alvaro Siza, 2022
What a legend.
I'll leave you with these incredible sketches by Álvaro Siza.
Cya in the next one x