Last year’s Massena LAB collaboration with Louis Erard, a regulator in an unmistakably classic style with variants in gold and rhodium dial executions, was a success for both brands, with the watch being shortlisted for the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. This week, that release gets a follow up in the form of the new Le Chronographe Monopoussoir Louis Erard x Massena LAB, a monopusher chronograph that shifts the design language of last year’s release to a new complication. The driving force behind Massena LAB, to make a style of watchmaking typically reserved for only the most well heeled collectors accessible to anyone, is very much apparent in the new monopusher, as it takes both a complication and visual aesthetic that are often associated with a certain level of opulence and made them quite a bit more approachable.
The monopusher is an interesting counterpoint to last year’s regulator. In terms of mechanical complexity, the monopusher has a clear edge, yet the design here is striking in its restraint. The regulator shows its time telling information in a busy cluster of hands and subdials, but with the monopusher we only get one additional register, a 30 minute counter at the 12:00 position. It’s a simple and straightforward execution of a complication that can often be something of an eye chart, and with the single pusher that simplicity is carried over to the chronograph’s literal operation as well.
Aesthetically, we get a similar treatment on the chronograph as we did for last year’s limited edition. The main attraction here is the main dial plate, in either rhodium or gold plating with a distinctive grained finish. Both watches feature a rhodium plated minute track at the dial’s perimeter, along with an opaline minute totalizer. The hands are heat blued steel in a leaf shape on both variants, and dial text is kept to an absolute minimum, with only the Massena wordmark and Louis Erard logos.
The case is high polished stainless steel and 43mm in diameter, with a lug to lug measurement of 50.4mm. It’s 15.7mm tall with a domed sapphire crystal, so we’d expect this one to wear rather large, but that’s kind of the point with the Louis Erard limited editions. They are, for lack of a better phrase, statement pieces, and perhaps not intended to be worn every day. The large size of the watch, in addition to being something of a necessity to accommodate the movement, helps to focus the attention on the design itself.
Powering the watch is the Sellita SW500MPCa movement, a modified version of their standard SW500 chronograph caliber. It’s an automatic caliber with 48 hours of power reserve, and features an openworked rotor with Louis Erard’s logo, visible through an exhibition caseback. The watch is water resistant to 50 meters and is mounted on a grained calf leather strap.