Louis Erard is on a roll. A small, niche brand re-launched in 2003, Louis Erard understood that two is better than one. Now under the leadership of industry veteran Manuel Emch, the brand thrives on collaborations and has reached out to leading designers, watchmakers, craftsmen and design studios to produce creative, original content. The idea behind these collaborations is to offer collectors accessibly priced models that don’t require a mortgage to buy. Marking the second collaboration with Massena LAB, Louis Erard unveils a captivating monopusher chronograph that celebrates minimalist design and William Massena’s passion for historical watchmaking from the 18th and 19th centuries.
With a mission to “democratise a style usually reserved for wealthy collectors“, William Massena is a well-known and highly influential figure in the halls of horology. A collector, consultant and former auctioneer – he was COO of Antiquorum in Geneva – Massena was a moderator and then managing director of the popular TimeZone forum and founder of Massena LAB (2018), a horological laboratory working on collaborations with leading independent watchmakers. We’ve previously covered Massena LAB’s collaboration timepieces with indie brands like MB&F, Habring, Unimatic, Ming, Raul Pagès, Angelus and Mathey-Tissot. However, the watch we are looking at today is the second collaboration watch with Massena LAB following the highly successful release of Le Régulateur in 2022.
Following the Le Régulateur that was officially nominated in the Petite Aiguille category of the 2022 GPHG, Massena LAB is back for round two. Sharing a similar design language to the Regulator, the new Monopusher Chronograph reflects Massena’s admiration for historical marine chronometers and the works of Antide Janvier (1751-1835). And if anyone sees a resemblance with the Massena LAB marine-chronometer-inspired collaboration with Luca Sopra, they are on the right track.
Monopusher chronographs, which use a single pusher to start, stop and reset the chronograph, have been produced by Louis Erard in the past: we’ve seen the elegant Excellence model of 2020 and the wildly colourful collaboration piece with Alain Silberstein. The common denominator of these models and the new model is the extreme simplicity with which the complication is expressed using a single 30-minute totaliser on the dial at noon.
The new chronograph has a 43mm polished stainless steel case with a thickness of 15.70mm, including the domed sapphire crystal over the dial. Admittedly, these are large dimensions and, coupled with the prominent pusher in the crown, give the watch a lot of wrist presence. The curvature of the lugs helps the watch sit flush on the wrist, and the oversized crown is, in fact, a signature Massena LAB crown. In exchange, though, the large dimensions mean that there is plenty of space for the beautiful dial.
Minimalism is the operative word here. Fitted with just one 30-minute counter at noon for the elapsed times of the chronograph, the dial exudes serenity and elegance. Available in a yellow gold (2N) or a silvery rhodium-plated version, the lower plate of the dial is frosted to create a tactile, grained surface. In contrast, the crisp precision sector-style peripheral sec/min track and chronograph counter are rhodium-plated and decorated with a circular-brushed finish with diamond-cut bevels. The blued leaf-shaped hands, which are finished by hand, add a touch of sophistication to the scenery. Compared to the Régulateur, with the name of the two brands featured horizontally across the middle of the dial, logos are featured at 6 o’clock. Louis Erard has judiciously stuck to a simplified LE logo to avoid invading the dial.
One of the reasons Louis Erard can keep its prices in check is that it relies on outsourced movements. The monopusher chronograph is powered by a Sellita SW 500MPCa automatic (based on Valjoux 7750 architecture), which can be seen through the sapphire caseback. The MPCa designation is for the monopusher variant of the standard Sellita SW 500. Again, this is an élaboré grade movement with 25 jewels, 28,800vph, a 48-hour power reserve, and the customised openworked Louis Erard rotor.
The watch is delivered with a black-grained calfskin strap with a blue calfskin lining and a stainless steel pin buckle. Equipped with quick-release spring bars, the strap can be changed in a jiffy.
Availability & Price
Like all Louis Erard collaborations, the Monopusher Chronograph is limited to 178 pieces in each colour and retails for CHF 4,250 (excl. tax). For more information, please consult louiserard.com.