The latest drop from Massena LAB is a new entry in the ongoing Uni-Racer series, a project which represented the first solo venture for William Massena’s design focused brand, which until that point had focused exclusively on collaborations. Somewhat ironically, the latest Uni-Racer is itself a collaboration between Massena and Revolution, the watch publication founded by Wei Koh. It’s honestly a bit surprising that this is the first time these two friends have collaborated on a limited edition watch – both have been at the forefront of the growing limited/collaborative watch space that has dominated the enthusiast watch world in recent years. Nevertheless, this first partnership between the two would seem to be a fitting project based on their interests and the unique type of nostalgia that Massena LAB has mined in the past, and with the Uni-Racer watches specifically.
The Massena LAB x Revolution Uni-Racer 1949 is inspired by what to this point is a well understood aesthetic: the midcentury chronograph. It’s a relatively simple idea that can go in any number of far flung directions, but it boils down to a two register design, pump pushers on a circular case, and, very often, a series of scales and sectors on the dial that lend a complexity and visual interest to the watch, and help place it in a time period where physicians, scientists, soldiers and countless others might have had a real reason to use these things in the days before a smartphone could be found in every pocket.
This particular watch takes its defining features from one of one, completely unique Patek Philippe chronograph from 1949. Massena LAB and Revolution have essentially ported over the unique dial configuration, consisting of a large, raised sector track with Roman numerals at 12 and 6 in the dial’s interior, which is flanked by a minute track and tachymeter scale at the perimeter in a contrasting white. The base dial is a glossy black, further emphasizing the vintage cues. According to Massena LAB, the color of SuperLumi-Nova in that raised interior track was specifically developed to be an exact match to the vintage Patek, but of course glows with the intensity of modern luminescent material.
The case is stainless steel, and measures 39mm across and 13mm tall, inclusive of the crystal. Massena LAB and Revolution have elected to go with an acrylic crystal for this release, another nod to the history of the watch that inspired it. The watch is powered by the manually wound Sellita SW510 chronograph movement, which has 58 hours of reserve on a full wind.
When Massena’s first Uni-Racer was released, it raised some eyebrows and began an earnest debate about the place of so-called “homage” watches in our current enthusiast climate. With this release, Massena LAB seems to be clarifying the mission of the Uni-Racer series more broadly as a platform for reinterpretations, or homages if you prefer, of interesting, inside-baseball releases from the past that are truly off the market and impossible to find otherwise. It’s a little bit of a cliche to say that all watches tell a story, but you get the sense that Massena LAB (and Revolution) are genuinely interested in surfacing an appreciation for this very specific, watch-nerd focused Patek. In other words, it’s not about tricking anyone into thinking you are the owner of a hyper rare watch, it’s about wearing something that’s the equivalent of a fistbump of understanding to other watch obsessives that “get it,” and being ready to share that story with those who don’t.
The Massena LAB x Revolution Uni-Racer 1949 is a limited edition of 120 pieces, and will go on sale Friday, July 28 at 10:00 AM EDT via the Revolution website. The retail price is $3,750. Massena LAB. Massena LAB