Sometimes you see a watch and you think, wow! Now that is really something special. That’s what I thought when I first saw the Perrelet Lab, a new watch that will reach boutiques in November 2016. What’s so special about Lab? Well, Perrelet have taken their hallmark motif, the dial-side rotor, and made it more subtle, a peripheral rotor that runs underneath the hour indices. So it’s there, constantly rotating, bringing the dial to life, but it doesn’t hide anything. (By way of comparison, take a look at the Perrelet First Class Double Rotor).
Perrelet designed a new cushion-shaped case for Lab, and the design quality is excellent, in particular the shape of the lugs, in which sharp edges contrast with smooth curves, satin finish with polished steel. The bezel has a sort of rounded octagonal shape that adds further complexity. All the details have been carefully worked out, such as the shape of the hands that complements that of the hour markers, the beautifully machined grooves on the side of the case, and the lovely crown, again with a new and unique shape.
The hour indices seem to be floating: they are in fact attached to a transparent sapphire disc. The way they approach the corresponding projections on the inner bezel flange is an inspired piece of design.
The other reason why I am so impressed by Perrelet’s Lab becomes clearer when you turn the watch over. The movement visible through the sapphire caseback has just the bridges with their classic Côtes de Genève stripes, and the balance. So the oscillating weight that you see dial-side is the weight that powers the watch. This called for some clever engineering: underneath the oscillating weight there is a wheel with teeth on the inside, which engages with a pinion on the edge of the movement which then transfers the energy to the gear-train winding the mainspring.
The movement, Calibre P-411, was designed and is built in-house. It has a 42-hour power reserve, and it runs at 28,800 vibrations per hour, 4 Hertz. Finish is impressive, including the beautiful relief lettering – in an arrangement that suggests the oscillating weight on the dial.
The case is 42 mm wide and 42 mm high, thickness 13.25 mm, water resistance 5 bar/50 metres. The watch is available in three versions, silver, anthracite and black dials; they all have a black alligator strap with steel folding clasp. The same meticulous design attention has been dedicated to the clasp as well.
Perrelet Lab Price and reference
The Perrelet Lab has three references, A 1100/1 (silver-tone dial), A 1100/2 (anthracite), A 1100/3 (black). The price of the watch is 4,950 Swiss francs. It will be available from November 2016.