Label Noir: the resurgent art of personalisation

April 2023

Label Noir: the resurgent art of personalisation

Label Noir’s mission is to revisit the design of some of the most iconic timepieces, and bring a different look to watch creations. The creative company applies its special touch of black and its focus on the essential nature of a watch through collaborations with brands. An introduction to its philosophy.


ersonalisation. It sounds new. It’s not. The very history of watchmaking is in fact based on the concept of personalisation. It is how the watchmaking tradition was forged in Switzerland, especially in Geneva. The Label Noir atelier has been following this approach since its establishment by watchmaker Emmanuel Curti.

Tradition can look different, depending on your point of view. And your point of view can change everything. It adds a touch of uniqueness to watches intended for series production. This perspective captures the obvious, refocuses on the essential, and in return presents another way of understanding these watchmaking creations that we thought we knew. Label Noir’s mission is to show, to associate itself with a brand, with a watch, and to take a step back to remind us about what makes them special. Starting from black seems logical: customisation, by definition, does not come from a blank sheet of paper.

Label Noir x Louis Erard
Label Noir x Louis Erard

Over time, from touch-up to touch-up, Label Noir has turned into virtually a brand in its own right, a distinctive label, across all the fields of expression of fine watchmaking, from Louis Erard to Armin Strom, from Reservoir to Corum. For the 13th Master of Time in Macau, Label Noir has decided to explore the most classic of watch complications, the tourbillon, in a unique three-piece triptych.

Over the past three decades, the tourbillon has been the subject of all kinds of conceivable variants. Label Noir has selected three of them, from three manufacturers. Three different tourbillons, with their idiosyncrasies and their additional complications: the central tourbillon from Corum, the double differential tourbillon from Cvstos, and the small retrograde second tourbillon from Schwarz Etienne.

All these timepieces have been redesigned with the special Label Noir touch. Take, for instance, the collaboration with Cvstos on its double tourbillon with differential: it is as if Label Noir had started by turning off the light, before spotlighting the two tourbillons linked by their differential. This restores all the magic to the watch’s architecture, in a perfectly theatrical chiaroscuro. The technicality of the timepiece is both reinforced and lessened: the technicality jumps out at you and takes over from the reading of the time.

Label Noir x Cvstos
Label Noir x Cvstos

This refinement and focus on the essential nature of the watch is a Label Noir signature, and can be found in many of its collaborations. Whatever the level of complexity, from the breathtaking Armin Strom Gravity Equal Force to the understated Louis Erard Regulator, whose expressiveness has been emphasised by a few special touches from Label Noir – two polished hands and a polished sub-dial on a black background.

Label Noir x Corum
Label Noir x Corum

Label Noir is adding yet another twist: a witticism. As if to remind us that watchmaking is an art that can be as serious as it is playful. As if to remind us that personalisation in particular is a privileged, creative, joyful and enjoyable experience. It’s an opportunity for manufacturers to see their own creations with a new eye. An opportunity for customers to build a collection outside the catalogues, with limited editions that are like no other. Popeye, for one, is sure to agree, as emphasised by Label Noir’s recent collaboration with Reservoir…


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