We started carrying watches from laCalifornienne this summer and they were an instant favorite. The watches use all authentic Rolex or Cartier parts and are reimagined into something colorful, fun, & new. Read some more about the brains behind the brand below and stop by the boutique to try them on! Warning: They sell fast.
Tell us about what drove you start creating these watches and why the two of you decided to work together?
Courtney: Years ago, Leszek got me a watch as an anniversary gift. He chose a vintage Cartier Tank because it is one of the most iconic and classic watches ever. I wore the Tank every day and loved it! But after a few years, I was ready for a change. I started looking into buying a more interesting leather band for it but there were no options for women’s watches that fit my personal taste. I really like stripes and thought it would be so much fun to have a leather band with stripes on it to jazz up my watch. We decided the only way I would get what I had in mind is if we did it ourselves. So we decided to learn how to paint leather and make our own leather strap for my watch. We realized that the leather bands with bright colored stripes needed to be paired with a watch that also had fun colors – not just a regular watch – in order to complete the look. So we researched dial making techniques. What resulted was our first reimagined watch. Whenever I wore it I received so many compliments and laCalifornienne was born.
What inspires you most when designing the watches?
Courtney: Obviously color inspires us! We take design cues from our environment and the local landscape. The California vibe runs through our colorways and designs. The first watch we designed was inspired by images of Malibu in the 1970’s.
Leszek: Just about everything… It is incredible how much the balance of color combination matters in design in general. Certain objects change completely, design-wise, depending on the colors selection. I get inspired by classic car specs, the combination of different shades pastel colors from vintage cars seems endless. I also like Art Deco and mid-century color combinations. It seems like color was it’s own department in the early and mid 20th century. At some point, industries as a whole decided it was better to just offer black, white or grey variants of all of their products.
What do you enjoy most about creating your “re-imagined” timepieces?
Leszek: The smile the watches put on peoples faces. I never wore a watch for just its function; I would always look at my watch on my wrist in appreciation of its design and then find out the time! I think we have been able to recreate that emotion with laCalifornienne. The pieces are meant to be fun; a small
reminder on the wrist to not take it all too seriously. The watches are such a conversation piece. Clients have told us countless times how they get stopped on the street by people asking them about their laCalifornienne. The color ways vary so much along with the watch model choices, the options can be endless. As a result, the choice of a specific watch becomes very personal.
Courtney: We love the transformation the watch goes through and seeing the final result. We take these iconic vintage watches that are a little monochromatic and get to put our spin on them. It’s like The Wizard of Oz that starts in black an white, and when Dorothy enters Oz, you’re engulfed in the richness of color. You almost can’t go back to black and white.
Why do you think it’s important for someone to add one of these pieces to their collection?
Courtney: What could be better than having a mini-rainbow wrapped around your wrist?
Leszek: This may sound silly,but I do believe the reimagining process gives the watch a second life. Also the work we put into each watch is the same as we did with our very first one. Restoring a vintage watch and its movement, as well as hand-painting and hand making the dial and leather band is all a labor of love, and just like with anything that is done with passion, you can see it in the final product