What’s more precious than time itself ? We believe it’s the enduring artistry of rare craftsmanship. What’s more beautiful than a rare skill that has been passed on from one generation to the next. A skill that is a mystery to most of us and that can only be learned from those who dedicate their life to it. That is the precious kind of beauty Lebeau-Courally embraces.
Whether in our artisan ateliers in Liège, where we have been crafting and engraving bespoke and rare hunting arms since 1885, or in Le Locle, where 40 of rarest watchmaking skills in the world house under one roof to create watches that push the boundaries. They are all driven by the same passion. The passion for Mastercrafts. The urge to go fur ther and dig deeper, with every piece they create. The drive to create the unique. Because isn’t life about doing great things? Things that make a mark for the next generation.
Safely tucked away amidst the hills of the Vallée du Doubs and the surrounding Jura mountain range lies a small village that gained world renown for its unrivalled passion for precision. Le Locle, at the border of Switzerland and France. Still a small farming village at 900 meters altitude in the 1600s and unaware of what it would evolve into, local farmers owned one invaluable asset that would change the course of history: time. During endless winters, they had the time to build components for the first mechanical machines that would register time. That’s how the watchmaking craft was born in Le Locle.
Today, Le Locle and its neighbouring village La Chaux-de-Fonds are the world’s epicentre for exclusive watchmaking. It is no coincidence that Lebeau-Courally immediately felt at home here. This is where we found the right spirit and some of the rarest skills in the watchmaking world that we accrue and nurture in our manufacture d’horlogerie.
Manufacturing each and every component
It takes many hours, days if not years, to create a relevant watch. It all starts with an idea – and with challenging that idea until it stands strong enough to stand out. To be different enough. And to surpass the ambitious design sketches on paper. The idea than becomes a virtual reality – an architectural plan, meticulously drawn up by our Master engineers and carrying the DNA of what will eventually become a watch of the highest standard.
In our manufacture in Le Locle, every component of your watch is produced with cutting-edge equipment and finished by skilled hands: from the main plate to the most detailed wheel, spring, pinion or lever – sometimes even hardly visible to the eye. Components up to only 0.08 mm are crafted here to guarantee they perfectly fit within the micro-universe of your watch.
Precision is not a result.
It's a philosophy
At Lebeau-Courally, we call it exactitude. Nothing is left to chance to create your watch. Every new watch is prototyped into the most intricate detail. Every component is made from the noblest of raw materials – special alloys of steel, red gold, white gold or platinum. They are forged or cut with a precision of a fraction of a micron. Then, they are tested and perfected with one goal: create sublime watch components with friction reduced to near zero that comply with the highest standards in the industry a s to accuracy, deformation and endurance. To achieve that level of excellence for your Lebeau-Courally watch, our artisans trim, drill and decorate all blanks by hand into small pieces of perfection. They undergo thermic treatment to stabilise the noble metal and reduce its tolerance to deformation to under XX microns.
True beauty sits within
It’s in the DNA of Lebeau-Courally to create objects of rare beauty. That beauty is not only visible on the outside of your watch, it also lies embedded in each and every component within. From the main plate to the wheels, barrels and springs, our Master watchmakers apply different embellishing techniques by hand to express the unique aesthetic code of the clockwork. On and within the movement of your Lebeau-Courally watch – hidden from the eye – you will f ind some of the most refined traditional Swiss embellishing techniques, such as engraving by hand, perlage, cerclage, colimaçonnage, soleillage or Côtes de Genève.
An extraordinary movement, the soul of your watch
All components are assembled in-house, to create the unique movement – the very heart and soul of your watch. In its manufacture, Lebeau-Courally has the skills and the craftsmanship to create and assemble even the most complex of complications. More than 400 patents have been registered. They form our library from which we draw inspiration to create some of the most exceptional watches in the world. They are our heritage, from which we commence every day again to push the boundaries of watchmaking.
Every Lebeau-Courally timepiece is made to endure the challenges of life and time, and comes with the guarantees you can expect from an exclusive watch. In the manufacture in Le Locle, we see to the perfect maintenance of your watch that is required when exposed to everyday use. Rely on us to keep it in good condition, fit to last a lifetime and longer.
The intricate attention to detail
We settle for nothing less than perfection when it comes to creating and assembling the visible par ts of your watch. To star t with the watch face: from the smallest print to the hand-set numerals on the dial, you can count on microscopic accuracy that shapes the character of your watch. You can find that obsession for exactitude in the hands of your watch too. Manufactured with extraordinary precision, and made from highly innovative lightweight metal alloys, they are diamond-polished, bleached and finished by hand. Depending on the model, the hands are sometimes heat-blued, to add a sense of grandeur to your watch.
The case, bezel, crown and the iconic ‘clé de fusil’ of your Lebeau-Courally watch exude that same fascination for perfection and craftsmanship. Each of these elements is either cut or forged, polished, embellished, adorned and composed by hand with an extraordinary attention to detail. Each Lebeau-Courally watchcase merges elegance with robustness, aesthetics with function, and timelessness with character – whether crafted in steel, 18-carat gold or platinum.
Each Lebeau-Courally is a celebration of rare metiers d'art
The Lebeau-Courally manufacture unites 40 of the rarest watchmaking skills under its roof in the heart of Le Locle. Since some of these skills are rarely found and can’t be acquired through schooling or training, Lebeau-Courally stimulates its Master Craftsmen to pass on their expertise and dedication to younger generations. Because the beauty of t ime is found in timeless craftsmanship. Truly exceptional, the manufacture Lebeau-Courally stands out for its celebration of some of the rarest and most epic Métiers d’Art found in the Swiss watchmaking ateliers. Through hand-bevelling, every component is finished to give it a flawless appearance. Classic embellishment and polishing techniques of the main plate and watch wheels such as perlage, colimaçonnage and Côtes de Genève require the steady hand of the most experienced watchmakers. And the ar tistr y found in the skills of our Master Emailleur and Master Engraver produce pieces of unseen beauty that turn every watch into a remarkable one-of-a-kind timepiece.
Craftsmanship rooted in history
In 1865 Auguste Lebeau brought his dream to life. He started his manufacture in Liège where he would forge, sculpt and create the best hunting rifles to be found anywhere in the world. Bespoke hunting pieces, reflecting the unique personality of their owner. He surrounded himself with the very best craftsmen. Bespoke precision and strength, tailored to the individual hunter, forced their way into the DNA of each piece created by Lebeau.
When the atelier was taken over by Ferdinand Courally in 1896, Lebeau-Courally was officially founded and the manufacture’s mission to create exceptional mechanical pieces of art became even more explicit. The Russian Tsars, the Spanish royal house and aristocracy all over the world discovered the manufacture and commissioned some of the most beautiful arms ever made. During this period the house refined its knowhow and craftsmanship to a level unrivalled in Europe. Each hunting rifle takes 400 to 2,000 man-hours to produce, with each component finished and assembled by hand.
Two worlds merge into one
Watchmaking and arms making have more in common than their vocabulary leaves us to suspect. Calibre, barrel, spring… these words recall the t rue origin of both crafts. In the valleys of Le Locle (Switzerland) and Liège (Belgium) in the 16th century, the farmers and smiths who created the detailed and precise main plates and mechanical components for r if les were the first to meticulously craft the components and plates for the world’s first clocks and watches. In both disciplines, the same ultimate precision and obsession with detail were required.
Lebeau-Courally has reunited both crafts again. As a tribute to the common history of the rare métiers d’art in watchmaking and crafting bespoke collector’s arms, Lebeau-Courally has brought them to life in a collection of outstanding watches. With its manufacture for bespoke hunting arms in Liège and for watches Le Locle, Lebeau-Courally brings two of the most exceptional crafts in the world back together.
A unique DNA, encoded in your Lebeau-Courally watch
References to the common roots of watchmaking and gunsmithing are found in each complication and watch model of Lebeau-Courally. The quadrillage found on the dial and crown of many Lebeau-Courally watches, refers to the hand-engraved quadrillage on the walnut s tock of a Lebeau-Courally hunting arm.
The extremely detailed engravings found on the back of the Le Comte officer’s watches celebrate the art of engraving practiced in both Liège and Le Locle. And the iconic ‘clé de fusil’ at 8 o’clock on your Lebeau-Courally watch reminds of the finely crafted and adorned gun lock that appears on every masterpiece created in Liège. For the Le Comte and Phase de Lune models, the clé de fusil has the unique (double) function to reveal or adjust the watch complications.