Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph Monopusher

The Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph Monopusher is a new limited-edition model for 2020, marking the 20th anniversary of the Pontos watch. Housed in a 41mm steel case, dressed in black PVD coating, this timepiece exhibits a youthful appearance. With its bi-compax dial layout and judicious use of red and blue tones, this latest creation from Maurice Lacroix is contemporary but harnesses the brand’s traditional watch expertise.

In the 1980s, I drove a Volvo 340 GL. It was safe, reliable and within my budget. By today’s standards, the dashboard was uncluttered and noticeably free of switches. The absence of functions made my cherished car simple to understand.

Now, I drive an Audi A6. Its dash is festooned with different switches and screens. One button activates the car’s lane departure system, correcting any wayward driving, turning the steering wheel as required. Likewise, another button, marked with a depiction of a house instructs the satellite navigation system to guide me to my front door. It’s all rather clever.

This demonstrates that invariably simplicity precludes functions and functions preclude simplicity. Its a basic rule that applies to virtually every scenario in life, however, nobody has informed Maurice Lacroix. The brand from Saignelégier has just unveiled a new model that sets aside this accepted wisdom.

The Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph Monopusher offers all of the functionality of a ‘regular’ chronograph, however, it is equipped with just one pushpiece at 2 o’clock which stops, starts and resets the stopwatch function. There is no need to flit between pushpieces, the monopusher can be commanded with just one extended index finger. It’s all very simple and highly intuitive.

While it would be easy to cease discussions at this point, the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph Monopusher has many other attributes which merit discussion.

The dial

Housed in a 41mm stainless steel case, dressed in a black PVD coating, the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph Monopusher exudes a stealthy appearance. The shade of the model’s housing has influenced the tones employed on the dial.

Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph Monopusher

The centre of the dial is light grey but assumes an increasingly darker tone as it nears the periphery of the dialscape, culminating in a brooding shade of black near its outer edge. The epidermis of the dial sports a sunbrushed finish, heightening visual interest.

The hour and minute hands are partially openworked and lined with white Super-LumiNova. The hours are denoted with rhodium plated Arabic numerals which exhibit a silvery appearance. While former Pontos models often featured baton-type indexes, this latest creation is endowed with bold Arabic numerals, heightening the sense of modernity. The brand’s ‘M’ logo sits at noon, supplanting the customary ’12’, reinforcing the overall sense of style.

Two snailed registers dominate the model’s display. They are both slightly recessed, framed with a chemin de fer and feature a silvery lancine-shaped hand. A 30-minute chronograph register is located at 3 o’clock, while a small seconds display is positioned opposite. By adopting a bi-compax layout, the overall composition is symmetrical and cohesive.

A telemeter scale, marked with a red circlet, allows the wearer to measure distance based on time. If the wearer observes a flash of lightning, actuates the chronograph and then stops it when they hear the subsequent crash of thunder, the telemeter scale shows the distance between the wearer and the event.

A tachymeter scale is positioned adjacent to the telemeter scale, depicted with a blue circlet. If a car covers a measured mile and the chronograph is actuated at the start and then stopped as the car crosses the finishing line, the tachymeter scale will display the average speed of the vehicle.

Maurice Lacroix has thoughtfully adorned the central chronograph seconds hand with a soupçon of red and a smattering of blue, engaging with the respective scales. This aids read-off and demonstrates the brand’s punctilious approach to design. The model’s horological vista is framed with a minute track, marked with ¼-second intervals and red strokes positioned every 10 seconds. The adjacent flange is marked with Arabic numerals, enhancing readability.

Lastly, the date is presented at 6 o’clock, employing black numerals set atop a white disc. The date aperture is framed with a silvery-white border, delineating the indication from the rest of the dial.

The case

As previously stated, the case measures 41mm in diameter, a size that should prove suitable for most prospective wearers. The Swiss marque has endowed the case with a black PVD coating. However, rather than presenting this case in a homogenous finish, which would have proved cheaper, Maurice Lacroix has repeatedly juxtaposed polished and matte surfaces. For example, the bezel is polished and evinces a glossy sheen whereas the upper sections of the lugs, just adjacent the strap, are presented in a matte finish.

Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph Monopusher

The lugs are stepped with the outer edge sitting below the inner edge. Once again, the outer edge is highly polished. By repeatedly combining two contrasting finishes, Maurice Lacroix has incurred additional cost, but the resultant appearance exudes a notable air of luxury.

The lone pushpiece at 2 o’clock stops, starts and resets the chronograph. In terms of ergonomics, a monopusher proves easier to operate than the more commonplace 2-pushpiece option, albeit it usually attracts a higher price. Thankfully, this is not an issue with the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph Monopusher which retails for an agreeable £3490 (RRP as at 7.9.2020).

The crown is generously proportioned and features a spiral-shaped grip. This latter detail provides a smile-inducing tactility and sumptuous feel. In fact, one characteristic of Maurice Lacroix products is the company expends much energy refining small details, imbuing each touchpoint with a discernible amount of quality. The watch is presented on a black calf leather strap, which, consistent with other Maurice Lacroix timepieces, features the brand’s ‘M’ logo.

The movement

An exhibition caseback affords sight of the Automatic ML166 movement. The oscillating mass is adorned with Côtes de Genève motif as well as sunbrushed decoration on its outer edge. In addition, the rest of the movement features both perlage and, once again, Côtes de Genève decoration.

The balance has a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz) and the movement contains 25 jewels. Assuming the mainspring is fully tensioned, the watch will run autonomously for 58 hours.

Closing remarks

The dark tones of the dial and case do not scream for attention but exhibit a welcome understated decorum. However, look closely and suddenly numerous details come to the fore. The hour and minute hands are highly legible but wonderfully stylish with their partially openworked design. With its plump Arabic numerals, light central area and red and blue tones, the dial looks fresh and modern.

By housing the watch in a 41mm case, it should appeal to a broad cross section of society. Close examination of the case reveals a bewitching interplay of polished and matte surfaces. Tellingly, the brand has employed this approach on its costlier Masterpiece models, reaffirming that the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph Monopusher represents incredible value for money.

Invariably, monopushers attract a significant premium when compared with the usual 2-pushpiece chronographs, however, nobody seems to have told Maurice Lacroix.

Once again, the Swiss brand has delivered keen pricing and impressive quality. It’s that simple.

Further reading

Technical specification

  • Model: Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph Monopusher
  • Reference: PT6428-SS001-320-1
  • Case: Stainless steel with black PVD treatment; diameter 41 mm; height 14 mm; water resistance 10 ATM (100 metres); sapphire crystal to front and exhibition case back
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date; monopusher chronograph
  • Movement: Automatic ML166 movement; self-winding movement; frequency 28,800 vph (4Hz); 25 jewels; power reserve 58 hours
  • Strap: Black calf leather strap with folding clasp in black PVD
  • Price: £3490 (RRP as at 7.9.2020)

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