We are pleased to share with you an article published this month by Jonathan Bues for the Watch Journal about William Massena, a long time passionate collector. His knowledge and love of the watchmaking industry along with his years of collecting have given him a wonderful overall view of the world of watches. Laurent Ferrier is thrilled to be part of Massena's collection.
"I suppose I've always been interested in watches," says William Massena. "I started on my own collecting path early in life. I grew up in Switzerland, so they were everywhere, of course."
A former investment banker known throughout his adopted home of New York and internationally for his wide-ranging watch collection and his impish personality, Massena is one of those lucky few who have made a career out of a hobby. His earnest interest in watches led him to become an expert whose knowledge remains in high demand.
"I discovered Time Zone, where I've worked for years as a moderator and director, because years ago it was the only place on the internet to share information about watches. Back then when you typed "Rolex" into Altavista, an early precursor to Google and Yahoo, Time Zone was the first page that came up."
Over the years Massena has worked for various auction houses, where his substantial knowledge of horology and its history have been put to good use. For a time he even ran Antiquorum, the auction house devoted solely to fine watches. That position brought him back to his birth country, but after years in the Big Apple he found that Geneva was no longer to his taste, and he returned to the States.
Massena's reputation among watch insiders derives mainly from his long career at Time Zone, the internet forum where he is currently managing director. In that capacity, he travels annually to Baselworld, where he meets with brands to view the latest novelties and cover the industry. Over the years Massena witnessed the conservative Swiss watch industry gradually change its view of the internet as a medium for publicizing its wares. "When we first went to Basel, many of the brands turned up their noses at us," says Massena. "To the Swiss in the '90s, the internet was basically synonymous with porn; only a few of the more daring executives understood that we were in fact enthusiastic customers and collectors who had found a tool to teach each other about their products."
Massena's first watch, a timepiece still in his collection, is a vintage Omega given to him by his mother when he was only six years old. It was on that watch that he learned to tell time and gained a lifelong interest in timekeeping. He began collecting watches immediately after receiving his first paycheck. Because he started buying up the watches so early, before the market for collectible watches was quite so mature, Massena has seen prices rise to levels unforeseeable when he was in his 20s.
"It's too bad in a way, because it used to be that the guy who had the most enthusiasm and the most knowledge got the watch. Now it's almost always the guy with the most money. Some of the prices are crazy."
Different types of watches have held Massena's interest over the years. Vintage Rolex and Patek Philippe have held prominent positions in his watch drawer, and many of the best of these remain in his collection. These days, though, Massena says he is most interested in vintage military watches and independent watchmakers. Particularly the latter, because there always remains the chance to discover new talent, transporting him back to the early days of collecting, when it was all fresh and exciting.
This design was born from the collaboration between Laurent Ferrier and one of its exclusive retailers, Swiss FineTiming. It is a great pleasure for Laurent Ferrier to have shared this moment of creativity with Swiss FineTiming and to introduce this new limited timepiece.
The Galet Square micro-rotor with “échappement naturel” in steel offers a two-tone sector dial typical of the late 1930s and unique lugs specially created for this limited edition of 10 pieces.
A distinctive dial
For this special edition, Laurent Ferrier offers a new composition of space on its exceptional sector dial, while respecting the aesthetic codes of its collection. The harmonious division between an outer circle with a circular satin-brushed finish and a central zone with a vertical satin-brushed finish lends the dial this two-tone effect.
The space is marked out by a black nickel gold slender and delicately accentuated raised chapter ring featuring curved markers paying a distinctive nod to the brand’s iconic drop-shaped hour-markers. This new dial is punctuated with black nickel gold Arabic numerals at 9, 12 and 3 o’clock and an applied chapter with a round cabochon cut finish, polished manually offering a beautiful volume effect and focus firmly on readability. The outer rail is complemented by blue painted Arabic numerals.
The small seconds echoes the central theme, thereby endowing this model with a perfect balance entirely respectful of the pure lines and the principles of readability cherished by Laurent Ferrier. The “assegai-shaped” gold hours and minutes hands, treated with ruthenium are stamped in order to achieve the extreme slenderness of Laurent Ferrier model; while the baton-type seconds hand set the perfect finishing touches.
A unique case
To highlight the unique nature of this model created specifically for Swiss FineTiming, Laurent Ferrier is revisiting its lugs offering a unique design featuring a side decoration. The timepiece is fitted with a ball-shaped winding-crown ensuring smooth and pleasant handling. The back sapphire was treated to reveal on the inner part, the Swiss FineTiming logo. The back bezel shows the number of the timepiece out of ten. Its water resistance is guaranteed to a depth of 30 metres.
Once again, Laurent Ferrier testifies to its determination and its ability to create models imbued with a pure aesthetic while also giving a preference to “bespoke” interpretations for unique occasions.
Download the press release and high resolution images here