Watches & Wonders: A High Five For Maurice Lacroix
The Bienne-based brand launches five new models, with the Aikon Master Grand Date the pick of the bunch.
Maurice Lacroix has been pretty busy at Watches & Wonders 2021, launching no fewer than four new Aikon models and a new Pontos Chronograph.
But the brand’s stand-out release has to be the Aikon Master Grand Date because it takes elements from the Masterpiece line – which features more complicated, manufacture-developed watches – and instills them in Maurice Lacroix’s flagship collection: the Aikon.
Introducing the Aikon Master Grand Date
With its off-center hours and minute sub-dial and small seconds, dial cut-outs providing views of the escapement, and decorated in-house movement on show through the display caseback, the Aikon Master Grand Date bears a strong resemblance to one of Maurice Lacroix’s most lauded creations, the Masterpiece Gravity. This likeness is no coincidence.
Thiébaut Bentz, International Product & Marketing Director at Maurice Lacroix, explained: “We wanted to keep the Gravity’s main aesthetic elements, with the escapement visible from the front side and the off-center hours-minute indication and small seconds.”
He continued: “With the Gravity, the gear train was central, and to offer the off-centered indication, we added a module. But for the Aikon Master Grand Date, we have skipped the module and directly off-centered the gear train. We could then save some thickness, integrate the big date, and house the movement in an Aikon case.”
Aikon Master Grand Date: Clever Engineering
To make the automatic ML331 caliber, Maurice Lacroix’s construction team started with some existing elements from its ML234 caliber.
Bentz said: “We kept the gear train as well as the automatic assortments, but we constructed from scratch all the other elements like the mainplate, three-quarter plate, anchor bridge, balance bridge and, of course, the date mechanism.”
The date display at 10 o’clock features a double window, one window for the units disc, the other for the tens disc. And its generous size was possible thanks to more clever engineering that sees the gear trains for the date discs placed at the center of the star-wheel.
All in all, the movement took three years to perfect, and its 8.4mm height allows it to fit into a 45mm x 15mm stainless steel Aikon case that features the Aikon collection's six signature “arms” punctuating the bezel.
The watch comes with both a steel bracelet and a blue Cordura® strap which can be switched around quickly using Maurice Lacroix’s EasyChange system.
Aikon Master Grand Date: Harmonious Dial
Visually, there is much to admire about the Aikon Master Grand Date. There is a real harmony to the dial layout, while the grained blue dial plate sets off the rhodium-treated elements nicely.
Also, the finishes on the movement and case – matte, polished, straight-grained, and circular-grained – are well-chosen, forming neat textural contrasts and giving the watch a fresh, contemporary look.
Considering everything packed into it, the Aikon Master Grand Date is very reasonably priced at CHF 7,500.
Aikon Venturer Bronze
In addition to unveiling the Master Grand Date, Maurice Lacroix has also launched the Aikon Venturer Bronze 43mm, a follow-up to last year’s green-tinged Aikon Venturer Bronze.
This new vintage-looking 500-piece limited edition has a sunray-decorated, dark anthracite dial, bronze case, and bronze bezel that features a scratch-proof, black ceramic inlay. The caseback, however, is in steel to avoid any potential skin reactions that bronze might trigger.
Powered by the ML115 with a 38-hour power reserve, the Aikon Venturer Bronze has a dive-grade water resistance of 300m and is presented with two interchangeable straps, one in anthracite leather and the other in black rubber. It is priced at CHF 2,490.
Aikon Venturer 38mm
There is also a new 38mm Aikon Venturer in steel with a white lacquered dial featuring diamond-set hour markers and complemented by a white rubber strap. It also comes with an interchangeable steel bracelet.
While the Maurice Lacroix team feels this piece, dubbed "The White Amazon", will appeal to female adventurers, it believes it can equally work as a unisex model.
The 38mm Aikon Venturer contains the same ML115 automatic movement as the Aikon Venturer Bronze and is priced at CHF 2,350.
Aikon Automatic Titanium Chronograph
This week, Maurice Lacroix announced the arrival of the Aikon Automatic Titanium Chronograph with a 44mm Grade 5 titanium case that is twice as light as its steel equivalent. The titanium is also rust-resistant, which is handy since the watch is also water-resistant to 200m, making it very dive-friendly. Powered by the ML112 automatic movement with a 48-hour power reserve, it is priced at CHF 3,950.
Pontos Chronograph “Blue Sun”
And finally, the brand’s Pontos collection has been updated with a new 43mm steel chronograph featuring an eye-catching deep blue dial. The sunray finish to the main dial plate catches the light superbly and quite differently to the circularly decorated chronograph counters.
The Pontos Chronograph “Blue Sun” on a blue leather strap is priced at CHF 2,690 and CHF 2,850 on a steel bracelet.
(Images © Maurice Lacroix)