A Meeting of Minds – Louis Erard x Massena LabBy Bhanu Chopra
The Jura mountains has seen the rise of many powerful watchmaking companies, and Louis Erard has been a part of that story since selling their first watch in 1931. It began as a watchmaking school in 1929 and was sold and moved to Le Noirmont in 1991. In late 2019, Louis Erard under the direction of industry veteran, Manuel Emch, came to market with a new vision and a compelling product — collaborations with revered watchmakers and designers offered under USD 4,000. Past collaborations included Vianney Halter, Alain Silberstein and Paris-based vintage watch customizer, seconde/seconde/.
William Massena grew up in Switzerland surrounded by some of the most elite watchmaking giants in the world. He found a passion for collecting watches early in his life — he has an Omega that was a gift from his mother at only six years old — that turned into a career in and around the watchmaking industry. He made his name as managing director for TimeZone Forums, CEO of auction house Antiquorum, and lately collaborating with independent brands under Massena LAB.
Massena LAB was established in 2018 to create, design and develop unique and unusual timepieces in partnership with watchmakers. The goal is to honor the history of watchmaking technology and push the evolution of watchmaking with innovation. At the heart of Massena LAB is William Massena’s passion for watches and his respect for independent watchmaking.
Louis Erard x Massena Lab
This new collaboration got its spark when the CEO and artistic director of Louis Erard, Manuel Emch, and William Massena got together. Together, they created an affordable timepiece that combined the elements of a traditional 19th-century marine chronometer with a contemporary approach and aesthetic.
Le Régulateur Louis Erard × Massena LAB borrows from the classic approach of master watchmaker Antide Janvier and tells the story of chronometry through the lens of Louis Erard’s history with marine chronometers. The design includes two subdial counters, one for the hour and one for the seconds, that are rhodium-plated with a circular satin finish and a silver-plated opaline center.
A large central minute hand, blued steel in an elegant leaf style, sweeps around a rhodium-plated flange with a circular satin finish. The lower plate provides a textured contrast in either rhodium or gold plating with a grained finish. The dial is marked with both the Louis Erard logo and the Massena logo.
The polished steel case, 42mm, is finished with a Massena LAB crown and features a domed sapphire crystal and a transparent caseback to reveal the Sellita SW266-1 movement. Each of the 178 limited edition pieces is numbered with an engraving on the caseback and paired with a black grained leather strap with tone-on-tone stitching.
William Massena explains, “A successful collaboration is one that makes sense. Louis Erard allowed me to mix codes, to cite the classicism of a master watchmaker like Antide Janvier, and to democratize a style that’s usually reserved for wealthy collectors.”
Le Régulateur Louis Erard × Massena LAB is a beautiful timepiece in both the rhodium- and gold-plated dial models. This is a watch that offers not just incredible legibility but also elegance in spades. As part of their mission statement, the collaboration wanted to keep the price low and accessible for collectors and they were able to accomplish that goal despite the quality and beauty of the watch.
Le Régulateur Louis Erard × Massena Lab, Ref 85237AA75/6
Movement: Self-winding Sellita caliber SW266-1; 38-hour power reserve
Functions: Off-centered hours, central minutes and subsidiary seconds
Case: 42mm; polished stainless steel; water resistant to 50m
Dial: Grained rhodium-plated or 2N gold-plated
Strap: Black grained calf leather with tone-on- tone stitching; stainless steel pin buckle
Price: CHF 3,600
Availability: Limited edition of 178 pieces for each reference