Maurice Lacroix AIKON Mercury
The Maurice Lacroix AIKON Mercury is yet another example of the Jura-based brand’s ingenuity. A patented time memory module allows the wearer to view the prevailing hour on demand but also allows the hands to assume a static posture when not in use.
As I grow older, I become increasingly irritated by the actions of others. After purchasing a newspaper and boarding a plane, there is nothing I find more irritating than a fellow passenger sitting next to me, looking over my shoulder and reading my broadsheet for free.
Likewise, when travelling by train, trying to compose a romantic email to my wife, I feel an overwhelming sense of irritation when I catch sight of someone reading the screen of my laptop. Such actions are an invasion of my privacy.
Now, Maurice Lacroix has conceived a watch that displays the prevailing time when required yet has an innate capacity to hide all indications from prying eyes. Put simply, this mechanical watch is designed to frustrate ‘cheapskates’ and ‘nosy parkers’.
A patented system
Throughout its history, Maurice Lacroix has repeatedly shown a capacity to innovate. Indeed, this is the brand which developed the groundbreaking, patented ‘square wheel’, an ingenious means of indicating the running seconds.
When the Maurice Lacroix AIKON Mercury is positioned facing the wearer, as convention dictates, and the movement is perpendicular to the ground, the hour and minute hands show the prevailing time.
However, should the wearer allow their arm to drop to their side with the crown pointing downwards, the hour and minute hands rotate under gravity, indicating midnight. The highly original and patented system employs two snailed-shaped cams, one for displaying the hours and one for displaying the minutes. While the hands are in the dormant, midnight position, the balance wheel still oscillates and the small seconds hand continues to rotate. Most pertinently, the prevailing time continues to be calculated in the background. Once the wrist is rotated towards the wearer, the time is correctly shown by the generously proportioned hour and minute hands.
Both the hour and minute hands feature luminescent treatment and prominent counterweights. The hands convey meaning without any hint of ambiguity. Each hour is denoted with a baton-type index, lined with luminescent fill. Another reason why the hands and indexes confer superb readability relates to the sapphire dial. The module responsible for the ‘part time’ display of time is darkened, providing a contrasting backdrop for the time indications, augmenting legibility.
Beneath the sapphire dial is an openworked structure, typical of a skeleton watch. This enriches the horological vista without impairing readability.
A small seconds display, positioned at 6 o’clock, completes the inventory of functions.
The Maurice Lacroix AIKON Mercury is a sizeable watch, measuring 44mm in diameter. Its generous proportions exude masculinity. Personally, I found the watch afforded impressive levels of wearer comfort with the bracelet flexibly encircling my wrist.
Maurice Lacroix has expended much effort on the case and bracelet, juxtaposing highly polished and satin brushed surfaces. It is challenging to keep each finish discrete with all of the intended lines perfectly defined, however, Maurice Lacroix has fulfilled the task with notable aplomb. I particularly like the slither of brightwork adorning the upper and lower edges of the case band and gracing the sides of the 5-rows stainless steel bracelet.
When Maurice Lacroix conceived the AIKON it looked to a former model from its back catalogue, the Calypso. This model featured prominent arms gracing its bezel, a design element which has been adopted on the AIKON, albeit refined for a modern-day audience. The arms, once again, imbue the watch with a masculine persona and contribute to the model’s notably handsome aesthetics.
Appraising each facet of the case and bracelet with critical eyes and fingers, one is struck by the impressive construction of the Maurice Lacroix AIKON Mercury and its palpable quality. Indeed, this is a watch that looks capable of receiving a long service medal.
The brand’s Easy Strap Exchange system allows the wearer to readily remove the bracelet without need for tools and exchange it for one of the brand’s alligator leather straps. This facility is found on many AIKON models and having spoken to retailers, it is apparently very popular with purchasers who appreciate the versatility this confers.
An exhibition case back affords sight of the self-winding movement.
The Calibre ML225 is comprised of a base movement and an in-house ‘developed and patented time memory module’. The automatic movement features 54 jewels and the lone barrel is capable of delivering up to 38 hours of autonomous operation.
The frequency of the balance is 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the rate is adjusted with a curb-adjuster (raquette). The automatic device bridge and train wheel bridge are repeatedly embellished with the brand’s ‘M’ logo. Other surfaces of the base movement feature colimaçon decoration. Lastly, the movement features a hacking seconds, allowing the wearer to synchronise the watch with a reference clock.
When Maurice Lacroix unveiled its mechanical AIKON models, I remember being impressed by the quality of the case, dial and bracelet ensemble. Each square millimetre exhibits a high degree of refinement. The interplay between satin brushed and polished surfaces enriches the aesthetic and imbues each model with a sumptuous character.
Based on its inherent qualities, I am not surprised that Maurice Lacroix has enlarged the AIKON collection, encompassing automatic, chronograph and skeleton models. However, I could never have envisaged the brand releasing the highly unusual Maurice Lacroix AIKON Mercury. This reference does not really proffer additional functionality, but it will no doubt elicit a smile on the face of its wearer.
The Swiss marque has produced a very practical, wearable and competitive watch that proclaims the prevailing time with impressive lucidity. However, beyond its timekeeping duties, it delivers a wonderful sense of theatre and showcases Maurice Lacroix’s creative prowess while keeping ‘cheapskates’ and ‘nosy parkers’ at bay.
- Model: Maurice Lacroix AIKON Mercury
- Reference: AI6088-SS002-030-1
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 44mm; water resistance 10ATM (100 metres) sapphire crystals to the front and back
- Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds
- Movement: Calibre ML225; automatic movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 54 jewels; power reserve 38 hours
- Strap: 5-rows stainless steel Easy Change bracelet with butterfly buckle
- Price: £6,600 (RRP as at 21.11.2019)