Ultra-technical world premieres, extreme customizations
Coating arts: Label Noir invents Magma Moon Coating
Ultra-luxury: famous among collectors around the world for having placed a tourbillon in the mechanical heart of legendary Rolex watches, the Label Noir brand has invented MMC, a coating that transcends the relief of the moon. This is unique!
The media coverage of its two previous world premieres, the reconfiguration of a Milgauss and a Daytona into complicated Rolex tourbillon watches, has overshadowed the materials dimension of Label Noir to some extent. However, this luxury signature, which has become a leader in the trendy universe of the most incredible customizations, also embodies the sophisticated mastery of surface coatings.
MMC, the invention of a unique coating
According to a technical definition, MMC (Magma Moon Coating) is a 3D texturing operation performed with a laser. It is a matter of reproducing the visible face of the moon according to an official image of NASA on the required areas, the case, the bezel or even the metal strap. The use of laser favors the appearance of various finishes on the treated surface, covering the full spectrum of matt and gloss, also covering the extremes of ultra-dark and extra light.
In recent decades, the high-end watchmaking of finishings has been enhanced by chemical solutions. Among the customization options that seduce a large number of aficionados, there are galvanic treatments or other surface coatings. The timepiece to be personalized must be completely disassembled in order to be exposed to chemical baths or electrolytic material deposition processes.
Other popular treatments include ADLC Black and Titanium, which deposits a layer of about 2 microns on any watch component, whether it is a watch bezel or a caliber wheel, whatever the material it is made of.
Aesthetics from a desire to fantasy
Covering a watch case, a strap or a dial with layers of hard-wearing, colored and sustainable materials is a matter of physics, chemistry but above all aesthetics. Here soaking in an electroplating bath, in a liquid containing atoms of noble materials deposited by electrolysis, the spraying of a neutral and protective coating, or coloured. There are transformations by extraction or growth of material. Being able to decorate a dial, a caliber or a watch bezel transcends these famous crafts that have been part of the desirability of excellence in watchmaking for several centuries: galvanoplasty, engravings, guilloche, control of coatings, cooking, physical mutations due to structural modifications, enameling….
As a watchmaker member of the SSC, the venerable Swiss Chronometry Society, Emmanuel Curti has been working alongside prestigious brands since his formation and through his experiences. He knows and practices the aesthetic and technical arts that make Swiss watchmaking so desirable worldwide. On the request of some unconventional customers, often collectors, he began to explore the unlimited and sometimes rebellious territories of ultra personalization. His watchmaking skills have been heralded by the media since he was the first to add the master complication of the tourbillon to reliable and authentic mechanical calibers for Rolex watches entrusted by customers. These talents deserve to be extended today with an infinite choice of matt tones or combinations: surface treatments, watchmaking coatings, and decorations….
First Rolex Daytona with a Tourbillon: successful transplant autopsy
Here are the surgical tasks performed on a legendary mechanical caliber. Doing everything possible to ensure that as many components as possible of the original Rolex caliber are kept, this is the challenge that Label Noir has risen to. The 4130 caliber was completely dismantled, the 61 components that had become useless were removed, especially those of the small second’s hand mechanism indicated at 6:00 am. Only the base plate that still holds the original Rolex engravings has been modified. Then 93 components related to the tourbillon and its cage were added. Used materials: brass and steel. Increasing the force of the barrel spring since it must now be able to move a Tourbillon, increases the oscillations of the mechanical caliber from 4 Hertz, or 28,800 vibrations per hour, to 3 Hertz, or 21,600 vibrations per hour. The successful operation created real connection challenges. Micromechanical surgery coupled with a mastery of finishes since it will have been necessary, in order to preserve the box and its original waterproofness, to raise the glass, to manufacture a larger joint. The original base dial-in brass has been sprayed matt in vintage mode.
Reputation and reliability of a group Label Noir, the arts of personalization
The ultimate luxury brand Label Noir is a signature entirely dedicated to personalization. It is part of the TwentyFirst Luxury Group (Concept Stores Nous, Hadoro). It is therefore already used to dealing with all kinds of requests for the transformation of watches. Its entrepreneurial approach is the result of the in-depth know-how of excellent watch suppliers from whom it extracts an incredible range of surface coatings that allow it to modify a watch case, including the strap, or even the components of its mechanical calibre; or which allows adding on an iconic dial a Popeye figurine or a specifically designed hand. Label Noir, headed by watchmaker Emmanuel Curti, has also become a master in caliber transformations. Here a left-handed customer who wants to change the position of the winding shank, there a Rolex enthusiast who wants to offer his timepiece a transparent back.