Launched in late 2016, laCalifornienne restores and reimagines vintage Rolex and Cartier timepieces with an eye for color. The company is made up of a husband-and-wife team, Courtney Ormond and Leszek Garwacki. Courtney is a native Californian and Leszek settled in Los Angeles after living in Latin America and Europe for much of his life.
Leszek is an avid vintage watch enthusiast; his previous line of work includes being a classic car specialist in Geneva and working in wealth management in Los Angeles. Courtney used to be wardrobe stylist working on television, film and commercials. The couple wanted to combine their talents and work as a team to create something they were both passionate about. Leszek’s appreciation for watch design and his dedication to searching for special timepieces combined with Courtney’s love of style and color met to create a new twist on vintage and classic watches. The colors used to reimagine the watches are inspired by the colors of California in the 60’s and 70’s, (when the watches they modify were originally manufactured). Their distinctive use of pink and blue feel as if you are looking up at the sky on the West coast during “magic hour.”
For laCalifornienne, they chose to work with the Rolex Oyster and the Cartier Tank because of their iconic status and their beautiful simplicity of design. The timepieces they select to modify come from estate sales and from vintage watch boutiques from around the world. Leszek has fond memories of exploring old local watch shops with his father during family trips to Europe and through Latin America to find pieces not readily available at the “main street” watch boutiques. Finding timepieces to reimagine into a laCalifornienne timepiece it is part of his new work routine… it is a pastime that has found its way from a passion to a working reality.
‘We like to think the watches we select were loved and admired by their original caretakers in the same way that we appreciate their existence when we acquire them. We love the idea that by reimagining them, we give them a second life’.
Each watch is given the utmost attention to detail including servicing the movement and refinishing the case to its original specifications. All of their watches look and feel as if they just left the factory despite being over four decades old. While all of their watches pay homage to their original concept, the process is certainly a new beginning for the timepiece. Each dial and strap is hand-painted by Leszek to produce a unique timepiece. Great pride is taken in sourcing leathers from some of the best tanneries in the United States and Europe and they are, by design, made to age beautifully and distinctively with each wear.
laCalifornienne is for anyone who wishes to capture the feeling and intangible spirit of California They are based in Los Angeles, and do all of their watch modifications and service work out of a workshop in downtown.