Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic
At Baselworld 2018, Angus Davies fell under the spell of a Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic, sporting a sumptuous blue dial. Endowed with handsome aesthetics and refined finishing this Swiss watch delivers incredible value for money.
This detailed review of the Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic includes live images, specification details and pricing.
In the 1990s, the Maurice Lacroix Calypso was a huge success for the Swiss watch brand. Indeed, at the time, it was the company’s best selling model. Regrettably with successive updates its allure diminished leading to its eventual demise.
When David Sanchez arrived at Maurice Lacroix and assumed the role of Product Director, he discovered images of the original Calypso. He could clearly see elements of the design deserving of praise. Eager to recapture the allure of the Calypso and, no doubt its commercial success, he began sketching ideas for its modern-day successor, mindful that his new design should be relevant to today’s audience.
In 2016, the inaugural Aikon collection broke cover. Initial Aikon models were offered in quartz only. However, this year Maurice Lacroix unveiled mechanical versions of its Aikon timepiece, including a stunning chronograph model.
While the latest additions to the Aikon collection certainly grabbed my attention with their stylish, good looks, I cannot help reflecting on the chosen nomen of these watches. The name, ‘Aikon’ would suggest that Maurice Lacroix wishes for the public to consider the watches as icons. Indeed, in its press materials it describes its ‘two new watches to be contemporary icons’.
Clearly the Le Corbusier chair, the Bialetti Moka express and the Swiss army knife are ‘design icons’. Their shape, functionality and recognisable appearance make them icons. Is the Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic destined to become an icon? Allow me to return to this point later.
The Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic is offered with a blue, silver or anthracite dial. Personally, I am drawn to the blue dial option. The dial surface is adorned with Clou de Paris motif. The small pyramidal structures confer interest, providing small episodes of light and shade.
The hour and minute hands are rhodium plated and lined with white luminescent fill. Their elongated, slender profiles brim with elegance and articulate the time with notable clarity.
A date display is positioned at 3 o’clock. Black numerals are presented on a white date disc. Maurice Lacroix has framed the date aperture with an eye-catching silver-toned border. Despite its modest asking price of £1490 (RRP as at 23.4.2018), the watch company from Saignelégier has imbued the dial with several examples of quality detailing. For example, the indexes are applied, rhodium plated and lined with Superluminova.
A central sweep seconds completes the inventory of functions. The dial features a limited number of functions, restricting its repertoire to the essentials of time and, in so doing, delivering an uncluttered and attractive display.
The case of the Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic proffers universal appeal. It measures 42mm in diameter, with a case thickness of 11mm. Few would-be buyers will take issue with these dimensions. Furthermore, the integrated case directs the bracelet downwards, facilitating an ergonomic union with the wearer’s wrist.
A flat sapphire crystal accentuates the straight, angular edges found on some areas of the case. Cleverly, the case blends circular and straight edges, delivering a cohesive aesthetic. Inspired by the Calypso, Sanchez has equipped the bezel with six ‘arms’. These arms evoke a feeling of strength.
Looking at the Aikon Automatic from the side, one can see that the five-link steel bracelet is highly flexible, augmenting wearer comfort. The bracelet is equipped with the brand’s ‘EasyChange’ system, allowing the owner to easily swap the bracelet for one of the brand’s leather straps. The EasyChange can be performed quickly and without tools.
Examining the exterior of the watch reveals a mixture of both polished and satin-finished surfaces. Whenever these surfaces are juxtaposed, it necessitates much care and, by default, increases cost. Once again, Maurice Lacroix has delivered this quality whilst still making the watch accessible.
An exhibition case-back grants sight of the self-winding movement within the watch.
I confess I don’t particularly like quartz movements but concede they deliver some benefits which make them popular. Personally, I appreciate the seeing a balance wheel pirouette to and fro. Sadly, a regrettable downside of mechanical watches is they usually cost more. However, in this instance, Maurice Lacroix delivers keen pricing, putting an automatic watch within grasp of many potential buyers.
While Maurice Lacroix has delivered value, it has not shortchanged wearers. The rhodium plated automatic ML115 is decorated with perlage, colimaçon and Côtes de Genève.
The movement has a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz) and contains 26 jewels. The power reserve is sufficient to provide 38 hours of autonomy.
Despite being inspired by a watch from the 1990s, the Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic looks fresh and modern. The blue dial of the sample watch pictured looks sublime. Indeed, its good looks sit side by side with peerless legibility.
A fundamental strength of the Aikon Automatic is that it plays host to numerous refined features and surfaces. The Clous de Paris motif would not look out of place on a much costlier timepiece. The blend of polished and satin-finished surfaces confers a luxurious finish. Even the logo on the vertical plane of the crown is presented in relief, exhibiting a sumptuous appearance.
By releasing an Aikon with a mechanical movement, Maurice Lacroix has indulged the desires of horophiles. Its appeal has been heightened with the fitment of an exhibition case-back and sight of the automatic ML115 which, despite the modest asking price of the watch, is pleasingly decorated.
The Aikon Automatic has a strong jawline, featuring a successful blend of curved forms and straight lines. It evinces a robust character with its six-arm bezel, yet it looks elegant, befitting formal attire.
Perhaps the biggest single attribute of this watch is the value for money it represents. Despite its humble asking price of £1490 (RRP as at 23.4.2018), the execution of this timepiece would suggest it is far more expensive. Evidently, David Sanchez has carefully sourced materials and employed intelligent design in order to deliver the Aikon Automatic. He should be applauded for his success.
Lastly, I return to my earlier point, ‘Is the Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic an icon?’ Not yet. To be an icon, a design needs to have walked the planet for a number of years. As a young design, the Aikon lacks the necessary familiarity to be considered an icon. However, with its peerless styling, close attention to detail and its impressive value for money, there is sufficient substance for this timepiece to become an icon in the future.
- Model: Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 42mm; height 11mm; sapphire crystal to front and case-back; water resistant to 20 atm (200 metres)
- Functions: Hours; minutes; central seconds; date
- Movement: Automatic ML115; Self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 26 jewels; power reserve 38 hours
- Strap: Five-link steel bracelet
- Price: £1490.00 (RRP as at 23.4.2018)