The secret Massena LAB release that already sold out is an homage to an enigmatic vintage chronograph
A look at the limited edition Massena LAB Geometer
Last Wednesday, “friends and family” of Massena LAB got a mysterious little email. It was the (covert) announcement of the brand’s latest release: the Massena LAB Geometer.
The release pays homage to a notoriously enigmatic vintage chronograph, the Rodania Geometer. The original Geometer bears a striking resemblance to the early Omega Speedmaster, but with one curious fact: It was actually released in 1954, three years before Omega released its first Speedmaster.
Unfortunately, Rodania fell victim to the quartz crisis and has changed hands many times over the years, now a shell of the former manufacturer that made mechanical chronographs that rivaled the industry’s best.
So, little else is known about the Geometer, except that it’s an extremely difficult vintage watch to find — a bit of a grail to a certain genre of in-the-know collectors.
Back to last week’s Massena LAB release. The Massena LAB Geometer bears a strong resemblance to the 1950s Geometer: It’s a modern 39mm chronograph with a tropical dial, sword hands, and creamy lume.
Here’s how the release went down. Well, there was no real “release.” Massena didn’t send a press release, no articles were written, no social media posts were made. Instead, only an email was sent, telling those who received it that pre-orders for the Geometer would be opened on a time-limited basis until the end of March, but capping total orders at 99 pieces.
Well, it didn’t take until the end of March. According to Massena, they’d sold through the 99 pieces just a couple of days after the release.
Of course, it’s not Massena’s first stab at an homage to an iconic vintage chronograph. Back in 2020, we talked to him about the release of the Massena Lab Uni-Racer, a call back to the legendary Universal Geneve Uni-Compax “Big Eye.” For Massena LAB, known for its killer collabs with brands from Unimatic to Josh Shapiro, it was also an exciting first — the brand’s first standalone release. Like that Uni-Racer, the Geometer brings back to life a true collectors’ vintage chronograph that most will only have the opportunity to see in photos, let alone own. I love that these releases keep the lore of these rare, enigmatic vintage watches alive.
Similar to the Uni-Racer release, the Geometer uses the Selitta SW510, a manual-wind chronograph caliber. But, the Geometer uses the three-register version, with the dial featuring a 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock and a 30-minute counter at 3.
For me, this is another exciting release from Massena LAB. Back in 2020, I (kind of) figured out that they’d be releasing an homage to the UG Big Eye a few days prior by doing what can generously be categorized as “investigative journalism.” When undergoing the same “investigation,” I also discovered Massena’s plans for a Geometer homage. A couple of years later, it’s exciting to see the project come to fruition.
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