The trend for collaboration watches is expanding exponentially across all segments of watchmaking. A precursor in the field, Massena LAB is back with its fourth collaboration watch produced with Mathey-Tissot. This joint effort results in a late 1960s-style tri-compax chronograph with brightly coloured sub-dials to evoke the mood of the Swinging Sixties.
William Massena certainly knew what he was doing and what he wanted when he founded Massena LAB in 2018. A well-known and highly influential figure in the hallowed halls of horology, William Massena cut his teeth as a collector and retailer with stores in New York and Miami before becoming COO of Antiquorum in Geneva and then moderator and MD of TimeZone’s popular forum. Considered an all-round industry expert, his vision for Massena LAB is to encourage collaborations with renowned watchmakers to produce original content, resulting in refreshing collaborations with brands, including Habring, MB&F, Louis Erard, Unimatic and Ming.
The other part of the equation corresponds to the not-so-well-known but reputable Swiss watch brand, Matthey-Tissot, not to be confused with the giant Tissot. Founded in 1886, Mathey-Tissot specialised in repeater watches, followed by precision prize-winning chronographs. Commissioned to supply the US Army Corps of Engineers with chronographs during WWI, one of the most fascinating chapters in the brand’s history pertains to the production of Type 20 pilot’s chronographs for Breguet destined for the French Ministry of Defence.
The first collaboration between Massena LAB and Mathey-Tissot resulted in the revival of two vintage Type XX pilot chronographs, followed by the 2023 Mergulhador, a dive watch produced for the Portuguese market in the 1970s.
The latest team effort is the Chronograph ’68, inspired by the number of a vintage reference that was produced by Mathey-Tissot and sold in the late 1960s. Although the watch is not a 1:1 re-edition of a specific model, the case is inspired by a vintage Mathey-Tissot chronograph produced in the 1970s, powered by a Valjoux 726 with pump pushers, sharp angular lugs and a unidirectional rotating bezel. It’s worth pointing out that Mathey-Tissot has a collection called 1970 that includes several chronographs with a similar case and dial layout as this ’68 model, albeit with very few models left in stock.
The Chronograph ’68 comes in a 41mm stainless steel case with a thickness of 15.3mm and a lug-to-lug distance of 48mm. Fitted with pump-style pushers and a closed caseback, the case is decorated with polished flanks and vertical brushing on the sharp, powerful lugs. The notched unidirectional 120-click bezel has a black insert with silver numerals and an inverted triangle with a luminescent pip at noon. The hallmark Mathey-Tissot ‘peace’ logo appears on the crown.
The perimeter of the dial features a sloping tachymetre scale with black (to gauge speed) and red (for km) numerals. The glossy black dial has thick, flat polished silver indices that reflect the light, truncated where they meet the three colourful sub-dials. All three sub-dials have silver snailed interiors but play with different colour schemes to highlight their functions: the 12-hour register at 9 o’clock has a blue track with white markings; the 30-min register at 3 o’clock has alternating 10-second blocks of red and blue on its track with white markings, and the running seconds at 6 o’clock has a blue track with 60 finer white markings. The thick baton hands have a streak of lume matching the lume in the lollipop central seconds hand. In a nod to 1970s chronographs, the dial is protected by a box of mineral glass and produces the funky distortions you can appreciate in the photographs.
Although the sealed caseback hides it, the watch is powered by a Landeron calibre 73, a Valjoux 7750 clone without the day and date. Beating at a frequency of 28,00vph, the movement has a 43-hour power reserve.
Availability & Price
The Mathey-Tissot x Massena LAB Chronograph ’68 comes on a blue calfskin strap with a stainless steel buckle. It retails for USD 1,495 and is available exclusively at Massenalab.com, where it can be purchased today at 10 a.m. EST with 99 watches scheduled for delivery in 2023.