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Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Gold & Steel and AIKON Venturer Bronze

The Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Gold & Steel and the Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Bronze are two new models from the famous watch brand based in Saignelégier. While these models share much in common, they also exhibit very different characters.

Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Gold & Steel and the Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Bronze

There is an old saying, ‘success breeds success’. It has been shown that when an individual enjoys success at a young age, it increases the probability of them enjoying success thereafter. This adage could easily be applied to the Swiss watch brand, Maurice Lacroix.

Over the years, Maurice Lacroix has often enjoyed the sweet taste of success. For example, the brand’s design prowess has been recognised with numerous Red Dot Design Awards. In 2016, the luxury marque upheld its reputation for design when it unveiled a new model, the AIKON. It was based on a former reference, the Calypso, a highly popular model of the 1990s.

The award-winning design team, based in Saignelégier, did not create a replica of the Calypso, but shrewdly harnessed some of its DNA, conceiving a new watch for a new generation. The six arms or claws that straddle the bezel of the Calypso were refracted through a prism of modernity. The AIKON rejected traditional lugs in favour of an integrated bracelet or strap. Each facet of the AIKON’s design was subjected to protracted thought and, thereafter, distilled for a younger audience.

Although the AIKON appealed to the brand’s existing clientele, its fresh aesthetics and crisp styling also attracted the attention of a younger audience, the so-called ‘Millennials’.

As stated earlier, the inaugural AIKON was released in 2016. This model featured a quartz movement and was keenly priced. The installation of a quartz movement allowed Maurice Lacroix to offer these early models for less than £1000, but there remained a palpable sense of quality. Indeed, the ‘habillage’, the term used to describe the case, dial, crown, hands – in fact everything except the movement, was of the highest order and was akin to the brand’s high-end Masterpiece models.

Maurice Lacroix refers to this approach as ‘high-perceived value’ where the wearer is able to recognise the impressive execution both visually and by touch.

In 2018, buoyed by the initial success of the quartz model, the Jura-based firm unveiled mechanical versions of the AIKON. Again, the public and retailers succumbed to the collection’s charms. Over the last two years, the AIKON family has grown and it now includes a breathtaking array of chronographs and skeleton watches.

Last year, Maurice Lacroix unveiled the AIKON Venturer, an overtly sporty watch with a maximum water resistance of 300m. This model was perfectly in tune with the needs of active wearers, often seen pounding the treadmill or diving into the pool, with their cherished watch affixed to their wrist. One reason why this urban sports watch has proved so popular is that it is incredibly versatile. Its styling befits a session in the gym but looks equally at ease with a lounge suit.

Now, the firm from Saignelégier has again embraced its creative side and released two new versions of the AIKON Venturer, the AIKON Venturer Gold & Steel and the AIKON Venturer Bronze. Both models share elements in common but exhibit very different characters.

The Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Gold & Steel – dial

The dial of the Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Gold & Steel is presented in ‘anchor blue’ with a sunbrushed epidermis. Consistent with other watches endowed with sunbrushed decoration, the fine lines emanating from the centre of the dial cajole light to illuminate some areas of the dial at the exclusion of other areas. The resultant appearance of the dial surface is delightful.

Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Gold & Steel and the Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Bronze

While the indexes vary in shape, depending on their location, they are all gold plated 2N and lined with white Super-LumiNova. The hour and minute hands uphold the same theme, pairing gold plated surfaces with bright white Super-LumiNova. Although the hour and minute hands are generously proportioned, augmenting legibility, they remain elegant.

The central sweep seconds hand is equipped with a luminescent ‘lollipop’, again heightening readability. A gold plated rectangle frames the date aperture, drawing the onlooker’s gaze to the prevailing date. Positioned below noon, the brand’s logo is presented in a luxurious golden hue, while the company’s nomen sits below, depicted in a chaste-white tone.

Although the Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Gold & Steel is undeniably modern, its blend of blue, gold, steel and white tones evokes memories of watches back in the 1980s. This is not a criticism, there will be many people who appreciate this look – perhaps young fashionistas with a penchant for retro trainers.

The Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Bronze – dial

Despite the Maurice Lacroix AIKON Bronze sharing the same gene pool, the deep-green sunbrushed dial looks remarkably different. In common with its aforementioned sibling, the dial surface flirts with light, exhinbiting a luxurious appearance.

The dial shares the same topography as the AIKON Venturer Gold & Steel, albeit the gold plate employed on the hands, indexes, date aperture and logo is 4N gold, meaning it exhibits a rose hue instead of a yellowy tone.

In the world of fashion, it is often said ‘blue is the new black’, etc. Likewise, in the world of watches, blue has been en vogue for a number of years and, to be honest, I don’t think its charms will fade anytime soon. However, both green and brown are also on-trend at the moment and Maurice Lacroix has clearly recognised this by pairing a green dial with a brown rotating bezel.

The Maurice Lacroix AIKON Bronze exhibits a relaxed persona. Indeed, the model is ideal for someone with a predilection for streetwear and cool trainers.

The Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Gold & Steel – case

Measuring 43mm in diameter with a case height of 12mm, the AIKON Venturer will suit a broad array of would-be wearers. The absence of elongated lugs means the bracelet projects at right angles from the watch head, readily encircling the wrist. Some rival watches with seemingly smaller case dimensions may actually feel larger when worn owing to their lengthy lugs.

All AIKON models deliver incredible wearer comfort and the Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Gold & Steel proves no exception.

The modest pricing of the Venturer Gold & Steel precludes the use of solid gold components. However, the brand wanted to uphold its reputation for quality, hence the 2N gold plating used on the case is 10 microns thick. The plating’s depth allows the surface to be professionally polished should the need arise. This is a perfect illustration of how Maurice Lacroix looks closely at the minutiae in order to enhance the ownership experience.

Consistent with the AIKON design language seen on the inaugural model of 2016, the bezel is adorned with six arms. In this case, the arms are marked with Arabic numerals, save for noon where a circular index assumes a dominant role. The blue bezel is made of ceramic, a material usually seen on costlier watches. Unlike a coloured aluminium bezel, the ceramic will not fade with the onset of years. The bezel is unidirectional and clicks 120 times when rotated 360°.

The upper surface and sides of the case are satin-brushed with a highly polished bevel positioned in between. This proves a challenging task, requiring much skill and time. It is of vital importance that the two contrasting finishes remain discrete and straight. The Swiss brand has repeated this interplay of polished and satin-brushed surfaces on various surfaces, including the bracelet.

The crown nuzzles between two protectors, reaffirming the model’s sporty nature, as well as mitigating the chance of harming the winding stem. The watch is water-resistant to 30 ATM (300m) making it a practical ownership proposition for active wearers.

The screwed case back is adorned with a ‘Vagues du Jura’ motif. Maurice Lacroix has equipped this model with its ‘Easy Strap Exchange’ system, allowing the wearer to easily remove and replace the bracelet without the need for tools, immediately creating a new look.

The Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Bronze – case

As its name implies, the Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Bronze shuns the bicolour charms of its sibling, favouring the casual, distressed look of bronze. The 43mm bronze case is designed to age and acquire a darker brown tone with time.

The bezel features six gold plated 4N arms in a becoming shade of rose. The colour of the arms sits in tasteful concert with the brown tones of the ceramic bezel.

Interestingly, Maurice Lacroix has recognised that wearers appreciate the versatility of its ‘Easy Strap Exchange’ system. With this in mind, the Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Bronze comes with two straps, a green rubber strap with a central grooved pattern and a second strap in brown calf leather. Both straps, consistent with other AIKON models, are embellished with the brand’s ‘M’ logo.

Once again, the Venturer Gold & Steel and its bronze counterpart share much in common but look remarkably different.

The movement

Both watches are equipped with the ML 115 movement. Consistent with the Maison’s values, the movement is a quality, Swiss calibre. Within the brand’s Manufacture, a team of watchmakers ensure all movements meet the brand’s stringent criteria. This culminates in the regulation of the movement and its final inspection.

The balance has a frequency of 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the movement contains 26 jewels. Assuming the mainspring is fully wound, the watch will run autonomously for 38 hours.

Closing remarks

Throughout its history, the AIKON has attracted praise from the press and watch lovers alike. There are several reasons for the model’s ‘smash hit’ status.

Firstly, when appraising each element of the dial or case, it is clear the brand has expended much time deciding on whether a detail makes the cut.

Secondly, the quality of the execution is superb. The feel of every case facet, the reassuring click you hear and feel though your thumb and forefinger while you rotate the bezel and the delightful way the dial dances with light, differentiate the AIKON from many of its contemporaries. The brand often talks of ‘high perceived value’ and this is readily discernible with close inspection of the AIKON.

The Swiss watch brand has capitalised on the success of the AIKON, releasing both the Venturer Gold & Steel and the Venturer Bronze. Both models share many physical characteristics, yet are distinctively different in appearance.

The Venturer Gold & Steel looks chic and appears to doff its hat to the 1980s but with a contemporary twist. It is ideally suited for the gym, jeans and t-shirt ensemble, but also appropriate for more formal occasions. This is a highly versatile watch.

However, the Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Bronze has a relaxed persona. It would look at home with a hoodie, faded jeans and vintage trainers. Indeed, this watch is a paragon of cool, perfectly suited to a millennial with attitude. And that’s the point, Maurice Lacroix has enjoyed incredible success because it simply listens to its target audience and cares about what they want.

With the advent of the Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Gold & Steel and the Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Bronze, the success story is sure to continue.

Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Gold & Steel and the Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Bronze

Further reading

https://www.mauricelacroix.com/

Technical specification

  • Model: Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Gold & Steel
  • Reference: AI6058-SY013-430-1
  • Case: Stainless steel; diameter 43 mm; height 12 mm; water resistance 30ATM (300 metres); sapphire crystal to front and solid case back
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; date
  • Movement: Automatic ML 115; self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 26 jewels; power reserve =38 hours
  • Strap: 5-row bicolour steel with 10-micron 2N gold plating, EasyChange system and butterfly in stainless steel
  • Price: €2790 including VAT (RRP as at 10.6.2020)
  • Model: Maurice Lacroix AIKON Venturer Bronze
  • Reference: AI6058-BRZ01-630-1
  • Case: Bronze; diameter 43 mm; height 12 mm; water resistance 30ATM (300 metres); sapphire crystal to front and solid case back
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; date
  • Movement: Automatic ML 115; self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 26 jewels; power reserve =38 hours
  • Strap: Green rubber strap, additional brown calfskin strap, EasyChange system and folding clasp in bronze
  • Price: €2590 including VAT (RRP as at 10.6.2020)
  • Limited Edition: 500 pieces

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