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INTRODUCING: Angelus x Massena LAB Chronographe Medical

The Angelus x Massena LAB La Fabrique Chronographe Médical.

A new re-edition brings back a unique chronograph design from Angelus in the 1960s.

There’s a joke about a young resident doctor who has to practice taking the pulse of his patients manually. He goes about the ward taking each patient’s pulse and shows his supervisor the results. The supervisor looks at the charts and shakes his head, saying, “that hand just indicates the seconds, not the pulse rate. If their resting heart rate was at 60 beats per minute, it’s unlikely they would be in here.”

Joke aside, using a timekeeper to measure the pulse rate of patients was something doctors did in the past before, and some still do today. And as many of you will know, special chronograph watches were developed for this particular purpose.

The Angelus x Massena LAB La Fabrique Chronographe Médical.
The Angelus x Massena LAB La Fabrique Chronographe Médical.

Angelus was one of the watchmakers to produce a ‘doctor’s watch’ in the 1960s, and now it’s partnered with Massena LAB to create a special 99-piece edition of this watch under the La Fabrique collection. The Chronographe Médical has a sharply vintage look and feel, and will definitely appeal to anyone with a fondness for chronographs as well as retro designs.

Doctor’s Orders

Massena LAB was founded by William Massena, a former watch retailer and Chief Operating Officer of Antiquorum in Geneva. It regularly partners with creative watchmakers in the industry in pursuit of independent watchmaking. This time, it’s chosen to work with Angelus, a renowned chronograph maker in the past until the 1970s, when the Quartz Crisis devastated the brand. It was revived by La Joux-Perret in 2015.

Up till now, Angelus’ designs have been very contemporary, but with this revival, the brand has created a new collection – La Fabrique. Dedicated to tribute watches, the Chronographe Médical is the first model in the range. 

The dial of the Angelus x Massena LAB La Fabrique Chronograph Médical.
The dial of the Angelus x Massena LAB La Fabrique Chronograph Médical.

Angelus’ doctor’s watch has a unique dial. There are two scales adjoining the minute track. On the outer ring is a BASE 10 pulsometer, and the inner scale is an asthmometer on BASE 5. To measure the pulse or breathing rate, you should start the chronograph and count 10 heartbeats or five breaths. The scale indicates the pulse and breathing rate accordingly. On the dial, indexes are in Arabic numerals or bar markers, with a small seconds counter at 9 o’clock.

The pulsometer and asthmometer scales on the dial of the Angelus x Massena LAB La Fabrique Chronograph Médical.
The pulsometer and asthmometer scales on the dial of the Angelus x Massena LAB La Fabrique Chronograph Médical.

The pulsometer scale is marked in green, black or red, according to the patient’s condition. Red refers to a dangerously high heart rate, and green refers to optimal heart conditions. The warm silvered dial of the watch gives it a vintage feel, along with the slim bezel, minimalist case middle, and pump pusher for the chronograph.

The 39mm watch case is driven by a 3Hz, manually wound A5000 calibre with a 42-hour power reserve. This is Angelus’ in-house chronograph movement, with the additional chronograph totalisers stripped away from the display to keep the focus on the watch’s design.

The watch is paired with a calf leather strap in warm brown.
The watch is paired with a calf leather strap in warm brown.

The Angelus x Massena LAB Chronographe Médical is available for order from authorised retailers. In Southeast Asia, Sincere Fine Watches is the retailer of Angelus timepieces. The watch is US$19,900, excluding tax, with local pricing yet to be confirmed. So, if you are hankering for old-school doctoring, here’s the watch you’ll need.  

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Editor

Darren has been writing about, and admiring the craft of watchmaking for over a dozen years. He considers himself lucky to live in a golden age of horology, and firmly believes that the most difficult watches to design are the simplest and the most intriguing to discover.