Massena Lab Introduces Habring2 with J.N. Shapiro Guilloche Dial

The Erwin LAB03.

After two collaborations with Habring², Massena Lab has just taken the covers off its third joint project with the Austria watchmaker. Strikingly different from the earlier “sector” dial editions, the Erwin Lab03 is a step up in terms of dial decoration.

Doing away with the printed sector dial of earlier editions, Massena Lab recruited American guillocheur J.N. Shapiro to create an engine-turned bronze dial with classical Roman numerals and Breguet hands.

Initial thoughts

Having three variations of one Habring² model in as many years might seem a lot, but Massena Lab has made each version distinctive, each is different enough to bear little resemblance to the stock Erwin.

At the same time, the Erwin has appeal. It’s wearable and compact while having an interesting complication, a jumping seconds.

Perhaps more elegant than the earlier Massena Lab Erwins, the LAB03 distinguishes itself from the typical guilloche-dial watch. The salmon colour is faddish, but the extra-large Roman numerals and absence of hour markers make the watch stand out from most Breguet-inspired watches.

The highlight is definitely the hand-crafted dial. It’s made by Joshua Shapiro, a self-taught independent watchmaker and engine-turning specialist best known for pulling off the extremely intricate guilloche pattern of his own creation. At the same time, Mr Shapiro’s rising reputation certainly adds to the appeal of LAB03.

Priced at US$9,450, the Lab03 is the most expensive Erwin from Massena Lab to date – as it should be, given the quality and craft of the dial.

Hand-made guilloche

The central portion of the dial features a basketweave guilloche created on a hand-operated, straight-line engine that repeatedly engraves lines to form the intricate geometric pattern.

While not as delicate as Mr Shapiro’s proprietary Infinity Weave pattern – comprised of repeated, nested basketweave – the quality of the guilloche is high. In fact, the guilloche appears to be as good as that found on Mr Shapiro’s own watches, which are more elaborate but also more expensive.

The rest of the the dial is separated into two rings, one for the hours and the other for the minutes, both brushed and printed with blue markings to match the hands.

Visible through the back is the A11S, Habring²’s proprietary movement. Though derived from architecture of the ETA 7750, its parts are unique to the calibre and not interchangeable with the 7750.

Equipped with a secondary escapement for the jumping seconds, it is mechanically identical to the standard A11S, but has the bridges and base plate coated in pink gold to match the dial colour.

The movement is plated in rhodium then in rose gold to echo the salmon dial

Key facts and price

Habring² x Massena Lab Erwin LAB03
Ref. E-LAB03

Diameter: 38.5 mm
Height: Unavailable
Material: Steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance:
 50 m

Dial: Guilloche bronze by J.N. Shapiro

Movement: A11s
Features: Hours, minutes, and jumping seconds
Winding: Hand-wind
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 48 hours

Strap: Dark blue calfskin with pin buckle

Limited edition: 66 pieces
 Directly from Massena Lab, with deposit of US$3,000 and delivery in batches starting January 2022
Price: US$9,450

For more, visit


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Hublot Unveils the Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Rainbow

Gemstones seamlessly set and multi-coloured.

The most extravagant watch to date in 2021 has arrived courtesy of Hublot – the Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Rainbow.

Combining Hublot’s signature porthole face with the integrated bracelet introduced last year, the Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Rainbow has almost every surface set with coloured gemstones. And ticking away inside is an in-house movement with a tourbillon and clear sapphire bridges.

Initial thoughts

Rainbow watches are the “it” watches of our era, with the Rolex Daytona “Rainbow” being the most famous of the multi-coloured, gem-set timepieces. But now Hublot has taken it to the outlandish next level.

The Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Rainbow is a lot, probably too much, but it’s also a stunning example of gem setting – proof comes in the form of 36 carats of stones – with an unusually interesting movement.

The movement will probably be overlooked by whoever buys either of the two unique examples, but it is quite accomplished in a technical sense: an automatic tourbillon wound by a micro-rotor, with everything held in place by clear sapphire bridges.

Contrasting starkly with the densely saturated case, the movement is light and airy in its layout, with its wheels appearing to be floating within the case thanks to the transparent bridges.

The only glaring shortcoming in its technical features is the Etachron regulator index for the tourbillon. It’s entirely functional, but typically found in less expensive watches.

Even though I would not wear a watch like this, I certainly understand its appeal. If anything, the gemstones are actually insufficient. The flanks of the case and bracelet are naked, simply mirror-polished gold, and could do with a line of rainbow-graduated gemstones.

At US$790,000 this costs more than a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, but par for the course as such things go. And given that the Tourbillon Rainbow is a limited edition of just two – one each in either colour of gold – the price is pretty much a moot point.

Integrated, continuous bling

The new tourbillon is a variant of the Big Bang Integral, the chronograph with integrated bracelet unveiled last year.

Size wise, the tourbillon is nearly identical to the chronograph, at 43 mm wide and 13.75 mm high. While it’s a fairly compact package by Hublot standards, but makes an outsized statement on the wrist.

Totalling almost 36 carats across the dial, bezel, case and bracelet, the gemstones comprise red rubies, ultraviolet amethysts, blue topaz, green tsavorites, as well as yellow, orange, and pink sapphires.

The gem setting takes about 1200 hours per watch according to Hublot, encompassing stone selection, cutting, and setting.

All of the top surfaces of the case and bracelet are set with coloured gemstones, while the flanks are left as polished metal

Inside is the HUB6035, an in-house automatic movement wound by a discreetly positioned micro-rotor on the dial. Positioned on the same axis as the barrel, the 22k-gold micro-rotor also serves as the branding for the dial.

Constructed to appear like it’s floating, the appealingly transparent movement is secured by a trio of clear sapphire bridges – the base plate along with bridges for the tourbillon and going train.

Key facts and price

Hublot Big Bang Integral Tourbillon Rainbow
Ref. 455.OX.9900.OX.9999 (King gold)
Ref. 455.WX.9900.WX.9999 (white gold)

Diameter: 43 mm
Height: 13.75 mm
Material: 18k gold set with coloured precious stones totalling about 36 carats
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: HUB6035
Functions: Hours, minutes, and tourbillon regulator
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 72 hours

Strap: 18k gold bracelet set with precious stones

Limited edition: Unique piece of one each in colour of gold
From Hublot boutiques and retailers

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Grand Seiko Introduces the Spring Drive 5 Days Caliber 9RA2

The 140th Anniversary editions SLGA007 and SLGA008.

Having introduced a new design language along with the all-new, automatic 9SA5 last year, Grand Seiko is now doing the same for the Spring Drive. The watchmaker has debuted a pair of Heritage Collection Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Editions, the “Minamo” SLGA007 in steel and the “Tree Rings” SLGA008 in rose gold.

Both are powered by the 9RA2 that’s part of the family of latest-generation Spring Drive movements first seen last year in the Grand Seiko Diver 600 m SLGA001. Just 5 mm high, the slimness of the 9RA5 means the pair of new models are the thinnest Grand Seiko Spring Drive watches to date.

Initial thoughts

The new models are essentially Spring Drive versions of the self-winding Heritage models launched last year (including an ultra-luxe platinum version and the more recent “White Birch”).

That’s a good thing for two reasons. One is the intrinsic appeal of the design, which is vintage inspired and appealing, packaged in a case that’s a good size and easily wearable.

And the other is the increased consistency in styling between Grand Seiko’s Spring Drive and automatic models, doing away with the confusing distinction between movements and designs.

The “Minamo” SLGA007 in steel

But that’s also the downside for the buyers of the limited-edition models (either these or the automatics), since the design has been replicated as a standard-production watch with the automatic movement, and the same will surely be done for the new 9RA2 Spring Drive movement.

Still, the new models are appealing as Spring Drive watches on two levels. One is the thin case – an achievement made possible by the slim movement and notable given that Spring Drive watches were fairly thick historically. And the other is the design: instead of being on the dial as is tradition with the Spring Drive, the power reserve indicator is on the back, creating a clean, fuss-free look on the front.

Both the new Spring Drive models are priced almost the same as the equivalent automatic models. The mechanical versions do cost a bit more, but only marginally so, with a difference of between a few hundred to US$1,000 for the steel versions. In short, the new models are priced significantly more than Grand Seiko watches historically cost, but they do have better and newer movements.

With similar pricing and almost identical design, that makes the choice between a Spring Drive or automatic almost entirely one of movement preferences – either traditional mechanical or a modern-day hybrid.

A new calibre

In terms of design and dimensions, the new Spring Drive watches are almost identical to the automatic SLGH models. The new pair have cases that are 40 mm in diameter and 11.8 mm high, identical in diameter and only 0.1 mm thicker than the automatics.

And the dials retain the same retro-inspired design characterised by wider hour markers and hands.

The “Tree Rings” SLGA008 in rose gold

The key feature is the 9RA2 inside. It’s a latest-generation movement that’s part of the same family as the 9RA5 launched last year. The difference between the two calibres is the position of the power reserve indicator: on the dial for last year’s 9RA5 and on the back for the new 9RA2.


Power reserve aside, the 9RA2 retains all of the same features, most notably double barrels and a five-day power reserve, along with more elaborate decoration.

Inspired by the winter landscapes of Shiojiri, the bridges and rotor are frosted, while the jewels and screws sit in polished countersinks.


Grand Seiko Spring Drive watches are produced at the Shinshu Watch Studio inside Seiko-Epson’s factory in Shiojiri, a 30-minute drive from Lake Suwa.

That body of water provides inspiration for the “Minamo” SLGA007, which has a dial textured to resemble the gentle waves on the lake’s surface, hence the nickname “Minamo” (水面), which translates as “water’s surface”.

Dark blue with a stamped pattern, the dial has gold accents in the form of the logo and seconds hand

Limited to 2,021 watches, the SLGA007 has a 40 mm steel case featuring a display back that reveals the new 9RA2

The case is matched with a steel bracelet that has a solid-gold medallion inset on the clasp, as is typical for Grand Seiko limited editions

“Tree Rings”

The SLGA008 is similar to last year’s SLGH007, the flagship Grand Seiko automatic in platinum. In fact, the new SLGA008 has an identically-patterned, wood grain dial. While the automatic version was executed in black, the SLGA008 dial is an earthy brown.

As with most Grand Seiko limited editions cased in precious metal, the SLGA008 has its hour markers, date window frame, and “GS” logo in solid gold, signified by the tiny star emblem above six o’clock that indicates “SD”, or “special dial”.

The SLGA008 is limited to 140 watches

Key facts and price

Grand Seiko Heritage Collection Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition “Minamo”
Ref. SLGA007

Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 11.8 mm
Material: Stainless steel
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: 9RA2
Features: Hours, minutes, seconds, and date
Frequency: Spring Drive
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: Five days (120 hours)

Strap: Steel bracelet

Limited edition: 2,021 pieces
At Grand Seiko boutiques and retailers starting December 2021
Price: US$8,700; or 990,000 Japanese yen

Grand Seiko Heritage Collection Seiko 140th Anniversary Limited Edition “Tree Rings”
Ref. SLGA008

Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 11.8 mm
Material: 18k rose gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: 9RA2
Features: Hours, minutes, seconds, and date
Frequency: Spring Drive
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: Five days (120 hours)

Strap: Crocodile with folding clasp

Limited edition: 140 pieces
At Grand Seiko boutiques and retailers starting November 2021
Price: US$49,000; or 5.5 million Japanese yen

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