Massena LAB, the horological creative studio that designs and develops watches either under its own name or together with established brands, is the brainchild of William Massena, a watch collector and industry veteran. Next to models made with Ming, Habring² or Unimatic, Massena LAB has also recently launched a watch designed internally, and self-branded, the Uni-Racer collection of vintage-inspired chronographs. Following the two inaugural models (now sold-out), the Lab is coming back with three new colourways inspired by holidays and leisure activities. Meet the new Massena LAB Uni-Racer Cruise, Safari and Rally models.
The overall recipe hasn’t changed much compared to the original models launched in late 2020. Following the success of its first editions of the Uni-Racer, Massena LAB is coming back with a new batch of 3 limited edition models, with brand new (and rather attractive) dials, each with its own personality and inspired by one precise activity.
The idea behind this watch, which is made by several suppliers for Massena LAB and isn’t a collaboration with another existing brand, was to recreate some of William’s favourite models from the past. Specifically, in this instance, William has a special feeling about a watch launched in 1963 and discontinued in 1965, the Universal Genève Uni-Compax, a watch that sets apart with its “Big Eye” counter for the chronograph and a rather sharp design for its case. Mixing contemporary cues with this vintage inspiration, Massena LAB came with the Uni-Racer, a compact and retro-styled hand-wound chronograph.
The base for the 3 new models of today is identical, with a case of 39mm in diameter and 13mm in height, made of brushed and polished stainless steel, with classic mushroom chronograph pushers and oversized crown. The watch, even though a modern take on the 1960s design, is topped by a cool domed plexiglass crystal. The shape is also attractive, with its pointy, angular lugs, its straight casebands and its flat, polished bezel.
Inside the case is a modern movement, yet with a hand-wound architecture, the Sellita SW-510. This hand-wound version of the Valjoux base offers a comfortable 58h power reserve and runs at a 4Hz frequency. The movement is hidden under a solid steel caseback.
New for this year are the dials, namely Cruise, Safari and Rally. If the layout, with the bi-compax display and oversized 30-minute counter, is intact, as well as the highly distinctive handset, the colours are new. The LAB indicates that these colourways were inspired by adventure and summery leisure activities. First, Cruise is a nautical-inspired watch with an indigo blue dial and aqua blue accents paired with red crosshairs. Polished steel hands are running over the silver-coloured sub-counters and tachymeter scale. This summery edition is paired with a dove grey leather strap.
Safari is probably the most striking edition of the trio, and the most original too. This warm version features a gradient green dial, with khaki-coloured subdials and tachymeter scale. If the hours and minutes hands are polished steel, the sub-counters and central seconds hands are blued, providing nice contrast. It is paired with a charcoal deerskin strap. Finally, Rally is, as you can guess, the sportier of the lot, with an eye-catching silver dial with bold blue contrasting elements, and also red crosshairs and five-minute indicator on its 30-minute “Big Eye” counter. It is paired with a brown deerskin leather strap for that vintage feel.
Availability & Price
Each of the new Massena LAB Uni-Racer watch – Cruise, Safari or Rally – will be limited to 35 pieces. They are available as of now at MassenaLAB.com and are priced at USD 3,495.
Technical specifications – Massena LAB Uni-Racer
Case: 39mm diameter x 13mm height – stainless steel case, brushed and polished – domed plexiglass crystal – 50m water-resistant
Dial: UR-001-CRU (Cruise) indigo blue, sunray-brushed, light blue and red accents
UR-001-SAF (Safari) green gradient, khaki and blue accents
UR-001-RAL (Rally) silver, sunray-brushed, with blue counters
Movement: Sellita SW-510 – hand-wound chronograph, cam-lever architecture – 23 jewels – 28,800 vibrations/hours – 58h power reserve – hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph with 30-minute counter
Strap: Leather strap with steel pin buckle
UR-001-CRU (Cruise) dove grey leather strap
UR-001-SAF (Safari) charcoal deerskin leather strap
UR-001-RAL (Rally) brown deerskin leather strap
Availability: Now available
Limited to 35 pieces per colourway
Available at MassenaLAB.com & Hodinkee.shop