Maurice Lacroix AIKON Chronograph
Recently unveiled at Baselworld 2018, the Maurice Lacroix AIKON Chronograph delivers handsome aesthetics and remarkable value. After spending a few days in the company of this Swiss watch, Angus Davies provides a detailed overview of this interesting timepiece.
This detailed review of the Maurice Lacroix AIKON Chronograph includes live images, specification and pricing.
The problem with the tastiest foods is that they invariably contain high levels of fat, salt or sugar. Indeed, sometimes they can feature all three of these dietary sins. Likewise, an exotic supercar delivers breathtaking performance and exquisite styling, but costs a fortune to acquire and quaffs fuel with abandon. My point is that the most desirable items often come with a downside.
However, my recent association with the Maurice Lacroix AIKON Chronograph has made me question my aforementioned view. This timepiece costs £2350 (RRP as at 26.5.2018), a remarkably modest sum for a chronograph with a self-winding movement. In addition, this watch stands out from the crowd with its many attributes. Allow me to elaborate further.
Recently, I have previously reviewed the AIKON Automatic which features a dial adorned with a Clous de Paris motif. The Maurice Lacroix AIKON Chronograph is different, it is decorated with small, regularly sized squares. While the dial of the Chronograph is unlike its brother, it still delivers the same impressive allure.
The Maurice Lacroix AIKON Chronograph is available with a choice of blue or anthracite dials, each paired with matching subdials. Both watches are very handsome. However, I favour a third dial option, a silver dial with contrasting blue subdials, endowed with snailed detail. In my opinion, it is this combination of two hues which bestows this version with a striking appearance.
The three subdials include a 12-hour register at 6 o’clock, a small seconds display at 9 o’clock and a 30-minute register at 12 o’clock. Each silver-hued hand shares the same design and scale. The white markings on each subdial stand out from the blue background, aiding readability.
The hour and minute hands are elegant and slender. Indeed, they would not look out of place on a dress watch, save for the slither of luminescent fill gracing their surfaces. Each hour is denoted with an applied, silver-coloured index usurping the stickers found on many watches in this price bracket.
Positioned adjacent the crown are two apertures, one displaying the day and the other revealing the date. The frame surrounding both indications is silver-toned and sits above the dial epidermis. The company’s logo is, once again, applied to the dial. It is the repeated use of differing depths which grants this dial much interest.
Encircling the dial vista is a blue chapter ring marked with crisp white strokes and Arabic numerals. Reading off elapsed seconds proved very user-friendly.
The case of the Maurice Lacroix AIKON Chronograph brims with masculinity. I was surprised to learn its case measured 44mm in diameter because it feels much smaller when worn.
Six ‘arms’ straddle the bezel. While purely decorative, they evince a sturdy character. Their highly polished appearance leads me to discuss another key attribute of the watch. Maurice Lacroix has repeatedly juxtaposed highly polished and brushed surfaces. It requires skill and time to position polished and brushed surfaces in close proximity whilst keeping each finish discrete. Again, this combination of finishes is not typically found at this price point.
The AIKON Chronograph eschews conventional lugs. The strap or bracelet affix directly to the case. This neat union is one obvious reason for the watch appearing smaller than its stated size. The watch is equipped with the brand’s innovative ‘EasyChange’ strap system. A bar is fitted to the rear of the strap and features two pins. By sliding the two pins towards each other, the strap is released and the wearer can swap it for an alternative strap or bracelet.
The strap features the brand’s logo. With early versions of this strap, the logo sat atop the surface of the leather. On the latest strap, the logo is more integrated, sitting flush with the surface and, in my opinion, looking much neater. The leather strap is supplied with a stainless steel folding safety clasp. It is adorned with a bouchonné finish, a decoration similar to an engine-turned car dashboard. The attention to detail is mightily impressive. The buckle on the folding clasp is satin-brushed while featuring a flush, highly polished ‘M’ logo.
The Maurice Lacroix AIKON Chronograph is also offered with a 5-rows stainless steel bracelet which also possesses a qualitative appearance, stylishly pairing polished and satin-brushed finishes.
Screw-down push-pieces are not typically found on chronographs at this price point. The items fitted to this timepiece twist with a smooth action and prevent the wearer accidentally actuating the chronograph whilst underwater. The water resistance is 20 ATM (200 metres).
Eight screws hold the case-back in position. At the centre of the case-back is a pane of sapphire crystal, affording views of the self-winding movement.
At the heart of the Maurice Lacroix AIKON Chronograph is the automatic ML112 movement. The oscillating weight and bridge below are adorned with straight Côtes de Genève motif. Other movement surfaces are embellished with perlage.
The self-winding movement has a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and contains 25 jewels. The power-reserve is sufficient to deliver 48 hours of autonomy.
Over the years, I have reviewed countless timepieces, frequently losing my heart to the very best examples of fine watchmaking. Sadly, I have had to resign myself to the fact I could never personally afford such luxury. There have also been many watches that have been comparatively affordable but regrettably show signs of penny pinching. Maurice Lacroix offers a third way.
The ultimate expression of Maurice Lacroix ownership is the ‘Masterpiece’ collection. Sometimes equipped with Manufacture movements, these timepieces harness incredible innovation and demonstrate the brand’s impressive attention to detail.
While the Maurice Lacroix AIKON Chronograph is more affordable than any of the ‘Masterpiece’ models, the quality of construction is equally impressive. Like several of the Masterpiece models, the dial features applied indices. The case successfully blends polished and satin brushed surfaces with each finish discrete from its neighbour. The ingenious EasyChange strap system provides a simple means of swapping the strap for a bracelet, or vice versa. Lastly, this Swiss company has given much consideration to wearer comfort. In fact, the ergonomic relationship between the watch and its wearer is one of the best I have experienced.
Unlike a delicious piece of calorific chocolate cake, there are no obvious downsides to the AIKON Chronograph. It proffers many virtues, augmenting the wearer’s experience, while providing an affordable means of ownership.
- Model: Maurice Lacroix Aikon Chronograph
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 44mm; height 15mm; sapphire crystal to front and case-back; water resistant to 20 atm (200 metres)
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; day; date; chronograph
- Movement: Automatic ML112; Self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 25 jewels; power reserve 48 hours
- Strap: Blue calf leather strap with folding clasp and featuring EasyChange system
- Price: £2350.00 (RRP as at 27.5.2018)