December 05, 2022

A Timely Idea for a Watch Company

Aldebaron Levin BA ’23, with support from the Bates Center for Entrepreneurship and Leadership, has launched an analog watch company. The company’s first watch design is inspired by the koi pond at Lewis & Clark.

Close up of watch with a blue background, green lilypads, white flowers, and orange koi on the face. Aldebaron Levin BA ’23 designed a watch based on the koi pond at Lewis & Clark.

by Sofia Benavides BA ’23

Aldebaron Levin BA ’23—a philosophy major, a computer science minor, and a Pamplin Fellow—traces the origins of their watch company to Lewis & Clark’s koi pond in the Estate Gardens. Levin grew up on a ranch near the small city of Ramona, California, surrounded by nature. The transition to living in Copeland, one of the largest residence halls on campus, was a big adjustment.

“I would go to the fishpond for half an hour before class every morning to find some peace and tranquility,” Levin says. “It was where I found my sanity.”

Levin wanted to create something tangible to take with them after graduation as a way to commemorate their emotional connection to the koi pond and to the college.

Aldebaron Levin BA '23 is smiling at the camera. They have long blonde hair and is wearing an aqua sweater. Aldebaron Levin BA ’23“My time at Lewis & Clark has been the best period of growth in my life … it’s where I’ve made the best memories.”

Levin hit on the idea of an analog watch company. Over the course of the last year, Levin has been working on their first product: a watch with a koi-inspired design. The watch uses depth and shadow to create a three-dimensional imitation of a fish pond. In October, Levin soft-launched the company, which is called A Day Dreamer’s Watches.

About the Company

To create the look of the koi watch, Levin collaborated with an old friend who has experience in graphic design. Levin then began researching and approaching watch manufacturers. Eventually, they located a small manufacturer in Ohio to produce the watches.

“I’ve been in close communication with the president of the company throughout the design process,” Levin said. “It’s been great to work with someone who knows so much about watches, because I really don’t.”

Levin sees analog watches as an art medium. As digital technology has usurped some of the functionality of traditional watches, they see a future in capitalizing on their artistic promise. “Watches have depth, layers, and motion,” Levin says. “They’re a beautiful way to create a 3D art piece.”

Support From the Bates Center

Levin says that L&C’s Bates Center for Entrepreneurship and Leadership was crucial to getting the company off the ground. In addition to staff advice and support, they received a $2,000 seed grant from the center.

“Even though I’m not an entrepreneurship minor, the staff spent so much time and effort connecting me with the right people in order to turn my dream into a reality,” Levin says. “They really went above and beyond.”

Levin cites their interactions with Chrys Hutchings, director of the Bates Center, as key to helping them gain confidence to start their company. “We tell students that the idea is worth exactly zero; it’s all about execution. I really respect Al’s motivation and ability to execute,” Hutchings says. “We are proud to support Al in the Bates Center, and we are here for every student with an idea they wish to market.”

As a result of Hutchings’s recommendation, Levin was featured in the November 21 issue of the Portland Business Journal. They also revived the Entrepreneurship Club as a way to give back to the Bates Center. Levin now chairs the club.

Next Moves

Levin is currently applying to law schools and thinks a legal background will be helpful to the young company. They are also working on two new watch designs, one cat-themed and one fantasy-themed. Levin hopes to release a new design every six to twelve months.

Levin enjoys being both a student and an entrepreneur. “My overall goal is to bring whimsy into the lives of daydreamers through my watches.”

Bates Center @ADayDreamersWatches