Massena LAB, the design studio founded by industry veteran William Massena has long been associated with Austrian independent watchmaker Habring². And we can’t blame him, we’ve also followed this path… But today’s watch is a bit special since it’s not based on an existing model but actually launches a brand new reference for Habring². And not just a simple watch but a rare and desirable combination of a monopusher chronograph and a perpetual calendar. And all of that in a compact, vintage-inspired case with a dial that has an unmistakable 1518 feel. Yes, the new Chrono Felix Perpetual (a.k.a LAB-CFP) is here to make our hearts beat faster.
This new Habring2 x Massena LAB Chrono Felix Perpetual marks the fourth collaboration between both parties, following the LAB01 of 2018, the LAB02 of 2020 and the LAB03 of 2021 – all based on the Erwin model, a time-only watch with central dead seconds. But importantly here, what matters isn’t only the watch itself but also the fact that this new LAB-CFP is used as a vehicle for the launch of a brand new watch for Maria and Richard Habring: the Chrono Felix Perpetual, a.k.a “the little brother who has it all“.
The Chrono Felix Perpetual is basically an evolution of Habring²’s compact monopusher chronograph, the Chrono Felix (which we used as a base for our first Montre de Souscription), with an additional module on top for a perpetual calendar, a rare and highly coveted combination once brought to the market by Patek Philippe. A few years ago, to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the brand, Habring² presented the Perpetual-Doppel, a watch combining a QP with a rattrapante chronograph. But here, the new model is far more compact and very appealing indeed.
With this new Massena LAB Chrono Felix Perpetual, William Massena doesn’t hide the inspiration. It’s Patek 1518 and 2499 all the way, yet with a twist. It starts with the case, which is only 38.5mm in diameter, like all Chrono Felix watches. Made of polished and brushed steel, it features the LAB’s signature stepped bezel and has an overall height of 13mm – not particularly thin, but still acceptable for such a combination of complications. The case features a series of correctors – for the date, month, and moon phase – which have been integrated rather cleverly, and is framed by a pair of sapphire crystals with AR coating.
The vintage, 1940s feel of the watch is even stronger when looking at the dial. And according to William, this dial is said to be inspired by both the Patek 1518 – specifically its applied numerals – and photography. To make it short, it’s all about film negatives. This Massena LAB Chrono Felix Perpetual is basically “a negative black and white photograph of the Patek Philippe 1518,” where the brightest areas of the negative will, once fully processed, appear the darkest.
As such, the white dial of the 1518 steel models has turned black, and all the contrasting elements are now captured in bright colours. This can be seen on the straight applied Arabic numerals, which are silver-coloured and polished, on the steel hands, on all tracks and markers and also on the moon phase, which has a reversed colour scheme. The sub-counters are black too, but due to their deep snailed pattern, the dial almost appears to be two-tone.
The display of this Massena LAB Chrono Felix Perpetual is influenced mostly by the module found under the dial. It consists of hours and minutes in the centre, day of the week (at 3 o’clock), month and leap year indicator (at 6 o’clock), day of the month (at 9 o’clock) and moon phase (at 12 o’clock). The chronograph function uses a central seconds hand and a 30-minute counter at 12 o’clock, around the moon phase. And there is no running seconds counter.
Inside the case of this new model, you’ll find familiar mechanics: the classic, in-house made monopusher hand-wound chronograph movement of the classic Chrono Felix. The calibre A11CP is a solid base movement, which can be seen as a strong evolution of the 7750 architecture, with multiple upgrades and now produced by Habring² with their own suppliers. This single-button chrono stores 48 hours of power reserve and is nicely decorated with circular-brushed plates, blued parts and bevelling. On top is a perpetual calendar module by Dubois-Depraz.
The watch comes with a black, nubuck alligator strap made by Jean Rousseau, Paris. It will be delivered in a wooden presentation box made from Douglas fir, a sustainable material, along with a Massena LAB NFC card and a two-year guarantee.
Availability & Price
The Habring² x Massena LAB Chrono Felix Perpetual LAB-CFP launches today exclusively on www.massenalab.com and is priced at USD 24,995. It can be reserved on a first-come, first-serve basis with a deposit of USD 7,500.
Regarding availability, Massena indicates that the watch isn’t strictly limited and numbered. However, due to the complexity of the watch and the current state of Habring² production, only a few models can be made. Approximately ten watches are confirmed for delivery in 2023, and another ten watches for delivery in 2024, at a pace of approximately one watch per month. Delivery is to be confirmed on a case-by-case basis.