Vintage Cartier and Rolex Watches Get a California Kick
Inspired by magic hour.
Just in time for Mother’s Day, what could be better than a classic vintage Cartier or Rolex watch with a colorful, California twist?
LaCalifornienne is a new line of men’s and women’s watches by Los Angeles-based husband-and-wife team Courtney Ormond, a former wardrobe stylist, and Leszek Garwacki, a longtime watch collector and former financial advisor, who are remaking classic Cartier Tank and Rolex Oyster timepieces in hues inspired by a SoCal sunset. Think aqua blue faces and pink and green striped, vegetable tanned leather straps.
The idea sprung from a less-than-enthusiastically-received birthday gift from husband to wife, a phenomenon to which anyone in a long-term relationship can relate. “Leszek gifted me a Cartier Tank with a white face, black Roman numerals and black strap, which was really nice,” Ormond stresses, “But I wanted something more interesting.”
So she put on her fashion cap, and he put on his collector cap (Garwacki had been buying, selling and obsessing about watches since he was 5, his first crush being a Tag Heuer) and voila — laCalifornienne was born.
“I had been playing with mix-and-match leather bands on vintage sport Rolexes and Omegas,” he says. “And I’m really into stripes,” Ormond explains. “On a Goyard or Louis Vuitton handbag, particularly. In my mind, it was a natural to combine the leather and stripes.”
They source the Tank solo and Oyster models at estate sales and vintage shops (and they are guaranteed with a one-year warranty), straps are handmade from naturally tanned leather, and the stripes hand-painted, all in downtown L.A. And no, sorry, they won’t customize a watch you already own.
“Women buy watches like a piece of jewelry, that’s the direction we wanted to take it,” says Garwacki. “The name laCalifornienne is short for La Monde Californienne. It’s about the California girl, California colors on iconic Swiss designs, and the colors of the magic hour when the sun is going down. You can’t stop staring, why not have it on your wrist for more than one hour?”
La Californienne, $3,250 to $10,0000, at Elyse Walker and lacalifornienne.com.