William Massena’s first Massena LABs watch released without a collaborator is back for a sequel of sorts. The Uni-Racer is now available in three new colorways, each of which can be seen as a fanciful expansion of the format, while the original remains a remarkably faithful tribute in execution and spirit to the vintage Universal Geneve watch that served as Massena’s initial inspiration. The first Uni-Racer generated quite a bit of discussion here and elsewhere for its apparent qualities as an “homage” (might as well be a four letter word) watch, but these seem to be far enough removed from the original UG to merely hint at it, rather than present as a copy.
You’ll recall from our story that introduced the Uni-Racer (linked above) that the watch is Massena’s take on the Universal Geneve Uni-Compax, often referred to in the watch community simply as “The Big Eye” for its oversized subdial at 3:00. That watch, like many UGs from the era, has ballooned in price in recent years as the surge of interest in vintage watches has lifted every boat in the sea. Massena’s idea with the Uni-Racer was to present an updated, ever so slightly modernized version of the Big Eye with something of a sly wink. He’s incorporated a lot of fun vintage inspired details, from the appearance of the wordmark to the signature on the crystal, in a sly way that only someone who is deeply invested in the world of these watches could conceivably attempt. He’s also increased the case size slightly to make it a bit more wearable for someone with contemporary taste, while keeping it squarely in the midsize category.
Massena LAB has dubbed this triptych the Holiday Collection, as each watch is meant to evoke a specific type of getaway. The Cruise is dominated by blue and suggests a beach vacation, with shades of deep indigo and a lighter aqua. The Safari features a green fume dial and the same blued hands for the chrono seconds and sub registers that were painstakingly recreated for the initial Uniracer run. Finally, the Rally’s dial is silver tone, with matching blue subdials and tachymeter scale, with red accents throughout.
All three watches match the first Uni-Racer in terms of specs. The case is still 39mm wide and 13mm tall, inclusive of the significant domed crystal. These watches are powered by a Sellita SW510 manually wound chronograph movement with a healthy power reserve of 58 hours. Like the first Uni-Racer, these new watches are all limited editions, with only 35 of each being made.
The price for watches in the Holiday Collection is set at $3,495. They’re available beginning today through the Massena LABs website as well as the Hodinkee Shop. Massena LAB