Introducing The Angelus X Massena LAB Chronograph MedicalBy Ross Povey
I remember William Massena back in the early days of Time Zone when he was the moderator and I was a fledgling watch nerd looking to soak up as much horological info as possible. Not only did Massena’s passion lead him to the thankless and patience-eroding task of forum moderating (I know, I was a mod on the VRF for nearly a decade!) but he has been a retailer and also COO of Antiqorum. A veteran of collecting, dealing and an auction house, the only thing missing was heading up his own watch brand. So that is exactly what he did when founding Massena Lab. Massena works with friends and collaborators to reimagine certain norms and produce watches for all levels of collecting. This time he has partnered with Angelus to break out a riff on a current hot favourite, the pulsation chrono.
Chronographs are one of the most interesting and warren-esque disciplines that a collector can follow. Its complex, in part, due to the sheer scale of variations of scales and dial layouts. One version that always pulls in the crowds is the pulsation scale or doctor’s chrono. Devised to enable medics to quickly and accurately assess a patient’s pulse, without the need to carry out any metal calculations; not easy in not circumstances but particularly in combat situations where the scale was very popular in the early part of the twentieth century. Angelus has now introduced a new collection called La Fabrique that will exist to produce tribute watches, such as this 99-piece Chronographe Médical.
The first doctor’s watch from Angelus cam in the early 1960s, with a dual scale watch that measured both the pulse and respiratory rate. It is this watch that has now been reimagined for the collaboration with Massena Lab. Says William Massena: “When talking to Bertrand Savary (President of the brand), we discussed Angelus’ spectacular heritage and hit on the idea of creating a capsule collection that would revive one of the most perfect tool chronographs of the 1960s.” The watch faithfully recreates the watch, but in a 21st century context for the modern collector.
The time-telling takes place more towards the centre of the dial that would normally be seen on a watch, to make way for the vital medical scales for which this watch has been invented. The pulse scale is set up to measure ten beats. The wearer starts the chronograph and counts ten pulses and then stops it. The reading on the pulsation scale gives a rapid reading and is handily colour coded from green, if all is good, to red if there is trouble afoot. The asthmometer scale sits within the minute track and is calibrated for five respirations. All of this sits on a lacquered opaline dial with dauphine hands, which are exactly as per the original example from the ‘60s. The chronograph is purely for diagnostic purposes, but there is a running seconds counter at nine o’clock on the dial, for everyday accuracy.
The watch is available in a limited edition of 99 pieces and will be available through Angelus retailers and from MassenaLab.com.
Chronographe Médical X Massena Lab
Movement: A5000, hand-wound mechanical chronograph.
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds at 9 o’clock, one-minute monopusher chronograph, pulsometer and asthmometer scales
Case: 39mm stainless steel
Dial: Domed, silvered opaline with medical decals in black, green and red
Bracelet: Golden brown Novonappa calfskin with steel pin buckle
Price: CHF 19,900 in an edition of 99 pieces