Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph 43mm
The Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph 43mm received a facelift in the second half of 2020. The brand has infused this already popular model with a dose of modernity and enriched its specification with a number of sumptuous details.
There is a time for evolution and there is a time for revolution. In the world of horology, ‘revolutionary’ models may employ new materials or express time using unconventional means. They are intentionally disruptive and likely to polarise opinion. There is an inherent risk that such cutting-edge know-how may flounder in the long term as problems come to light. However, the finest examples of revolutionary horology sometimes deliver significant technological advancement. Revolution is a necessary requirement for progress.
Alternatively, ‘evolution’ implies gradual change. Indeed, a highly accomplished product can only be refined to a limited degree given its excellence is already manifest. Evolution casts aside thought-provoking aesthetics or radical technology, favouring the tried and trusted and delivering reassuring certainty with the odd refinement here and there.
A few months ago (August 2020), Maurice Lacroix celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Pontos collection, unveiling three new models: a Chronograph Monopusher, a Day-Date and a Chronograph. The latter two models have always been staples for the Swiss watch brand and it would be a brave CEO that chose to set them aside and seek the aforementioned ‘revolutionary’ approach.
Maurice Lacroix knows that the existing Pontos models appeal to legions of fans. However, leaving a model untouched can potentially lead to its appeal diminishing with the the onset of age. Eager to avoid this problem, Maurice Lacroix has recently updated the Pontos Chronograph 43mm ensuring it remains relevant to future generations. However, don’t look for outlandish styling or radical change, evolution is the order of the day.
The Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph 43mm comes in two dial configurations. One version pairs golden hands and indexes with a grey dial, while the second option embraces blue details set against a white backdrop. In my opinion, the latter option looks more contemporary, fresher and exhibits a youthful appearance. Personally speaking I would always favour the blue/white combination.
Historically, the Pontos Chronograph 43mm has featured facetted baton-style indexes, however, these two new dial variants feature Applied Arabic numerals in a clean, unfussy font. On paper, this may not sound much, but in reality, it imbues the composition with a heightened sense of modernity.
The hour and minute hands have also been updated. The truncated tips of the former hands have been supplanted by new hands with pointed tips. The new hands are lined with luminescent fill, except near the fulcrum of the dial where they are openworked. Maurice Lacroix has expended much energy refining the smallest of details. Another subtle change relates to the central chronograph seconds hand. Previously presented in one tone, the hand on the new model is now two-tone with the tip picked out in a contrasting hue.
Three counters grace the dial, a 30-minute chronograph register, a 12-hour chronograph register and a small seconds display. The latter indication is smaller than its siblings, assuming a deferential role. The counters now feature snailing at their centre, framed with a smooth track; the reverse of the former model’s dial design. Each counter is recessed, while the two larger subdials are framed with a gleaming circlet.
The Swiss marque’s nomenclature is positioned adjacent to the crown and accompanied with an applied ‘M’ logo. A date aperture is located at 6 o’clock and the rehaut is marked with a minute track.
Maurice Lacroix has cleverly played with depths, contrasting hues and different textures to deliver an interesting, clear and sumptuous dialscape.
Like the former models, the new Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph is housed in a 43mm stainless steel case. The scale of the watch grants much wrist presence but does not feel cumbersome. Moreover, its dimensions afford each of the dial indications sufficient room to breathe without the merest hint of clutter.
The case includes stepped lugs, upholding Pontos tradition. The inner section of each lug is satin-brushed while the outer edge is highly polished. Conversely, the flank of the inner section is highly polished while the outer flank is satin-brushed. Throughout the composition, the Swiss brand has juxtaposed contrasting finishes. Likewise, the bezel is polished, save for the sides which are satin-finished. By adopting this design approach, the firm has heightened cost, however, the resultant appearance clearly justifies the expense.
The crown features an eye-catching grip which resembles perpendicular lines that have been subsequently twisted. This proves not only attractive but also facilitates manipulation.
Prospective Pontos clients can choose from a colour-coordinated calfskin strap or a 3-rows stainless steel bracelet. Both options are paired with a butterfly buckle in stainless steel. The calfskin strap is endowed with tone on tone stitching and the brand’s ‘M’ logo is tastefully integrated into the epidermis of the leather. Similar to the case, the bracelet is suffused with alternating satin-finished and polished surfaces, accentuating each facet of the bracelet.
The watch features an exhibition caseback, affording views of the model’s self-winding movement, the Calibre ML112.
Maurice Lacroix has equipped this timepiece with the ML112 automatic chronograph movement. It is rhodium-plated and embellished with circular graining and Côtes de Genève motif.
The balance has a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz) and the movement contains 21 jewels. Assuming the mainspring is fully wound, the movement will run autonomously for 42 hours.
In recent years, Maurice Lacroix’s models have attracted a plethora of favourable comments. This is partly because of the firm’s sublime AIKON model, but also because each collection delivers an impressive quality-price ratio. Once again, the Swiss brand has demonstrated that luxury does not need to be the preserve of oligarchs.
With the new Pontos Chronograph 43mm, the dial feels superior to its forebears because the brand has obsessed over the minutiae. The new hands, indexes, counter design and the prominent circlets framing each register make the watch appear more expensive than its modest price would suggest. Likewise, the case beautifully blends satin-brushed and polished surfaces with clear delineation between each.
This evolutionary approach builds on the merit of the former model without rendering the previous version obsolete. Indeed, these earlier models still proffer much eye-appeal. The new chronographs have been judiciously updated, but still remain recognisable as members of the Pontos family. Maurice Lacroix clearly demonstrates that there is sometimes wisdom in embracing evolution.
- Model: Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph 43mm
- Reference: PT6388-SS001-120-4 / PT6388-SS002-120-1 / PT6388-SS001-220-2 / PT6388-SS002-220-1
- Case: Stainless steel; diameter 43 mm; height 15mm; water resistance 10 ATM (100 metres); sapphire crystal to front and exhibition caseback
- Functions: Hours; minutes; central sweep seconds; date; day
- Movement: Automatic Calibre ML112 movement; self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 21 jewels; power reserve 42 hours
- Strap: Colour coordinating calf leather strap or three rows bracelet in stainless steel. Both are paired with a butterfly buckle in stainless steel
- Price: CHF 2,690 (strap) / CHF 2,850 (bracelet). Recommended retail prices as at 5.1.2021