Thursday, October 1

Review: Maurice Lacroix AIKON Chronograph Skeleton

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Maurice Lacroix’s latest chronograph now comes in a Skeleton form. The AIKON Chronograph Skeleton features a glass dial revealing the skeletonised movement.

Maurice Lacroix AIKON Chronograph Skeleton

The Case and Dial

Sized at 44mm, the stainless steel watch is on the heftier side, but benefits from a water resistance of 20 ATM. Considering that it uses a Concepto modified Valjoux/ETA 7750 base caliber, the case is understandably thick, and has a tough look.

The dial shows a minutes counter at 3 o’clock and a seconds counter at 9 o’clock. Both subdials are in sapphire glass, and seem to float over the main dial, which is also sapphire glass. The chronograph center seconds hand in blue provides a good contrast to the otherwise dull grey dial. On the rehaut, a 1/5 seconds ring is used at the periphery of the dial. It is both functional, to provide a visual slope towards the floating bezel, and aesthetic, for a sporty look. The dial carries a 3 dimensional feel with a palpable sense of depth.

That said, the dial feels a little too cluttered, which is not unusual for skeletonized watches, but the lack of contrast of the main hands reduces the legibility of the watch as a trade off for a interesting visual of the movement.

The watch uses an integrated lugs design, similar to the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, but features an quick release system, and the strap or bracelet can be interchanged by pressing two buttons on the back to release. The Aikon Chronograph Skeleton comes with a standard black leather strap with a stainless steel deployant buckle.

Hexagonal screw-down pushers are used, accompanied by a PVD capped crown which is serrated for better grip. The overall shape of the case is reminiscent of the Royal Oak, fortunately, without a shaped bezel. The bezel seem to float over the case, with the use of the glass layers on the face.

A fabric-leather strap is used for a more casual look. Overall, the case finishing is adequate, with contrasting polished and brushed surfaces.

The Movement

Maurice Lacroix uses the automatic ML 206 on this skeleton watch. It is essentially a lever cam chronograph movement, that is based on the Valjoux 7750. As can be seen, the dial layout with two counters will require extensive modification to the 7750’s 12/9/6 typical layout, and this is done for Maurice Lacroix by Concepto. The top side of the movement shows a cut-out main barrel and a re-designed bridge plate for the skeleton design.

The cam actuator for the chronograph is visible in this photograph of the case back. Also visible are the two pushers for the quick release mechanism of the strap.

The dial side of the movement is treated with DLC Black Gold, but appears as a grey hue below the sapphire glass.

Competitive Landscape

The Maurice Lacroix AIKON Chronograph Skeleton is priced at S$10,400 or US$ 6,990. At this price range, the its closest competitors are probably from the stables of TAG Heuer and Rado. The Tag Heuer Carrera Skeleton Chronograph is similarly priced and uses a Seiko based movement, while the Rado Hyperchrome Skeleton Chronograph. Extending the range, the Hublot is also another dominant player in the Skeleton chronograph product line, but offerings are in more exotic case materials, and correspondingly more expensive.

Concluding thoughts

The Maurice Lacroix AIKON Chronograph Skeleton is a rather attractive watch in the genre of a sporty chronograph with a skeletonized dial. As expected, the dial is hard to read (it is a skeleton after all), but perhaps makes up for it by the rather stunning layered 3 dimensional looks. The finishing standards good and as expected of its price point.

Design wise, some may see the similarity in case features with the Royal Oak, and this can be a double-edged sword. While it provides a modestly priced alternative to the icon for some, it might be shunned by others. Though we think it is distinctive enough to stand on its own merits. And a pretty good value proposition.

Maurice Lacroix AIKON Chronograph Skeleton Specifications

Case
CASE DIAMETER
44mm
CASE MATERIAL
Stainless Steel
WATER RESISTANCE
Water resistance to 20 ATM
Dial
Skeleton dial on sapphire base plate
External printing black
Other printing in silver powder
Strap
STRAP MATERIAL
Black leather
EASY STRAP EXCHANGE
Yes
BUCKLE
Folding clasp in stainless steel
Movement
MOVEMENT
Automatic ML 206
FUNCTIONS
Hours and minutes. Small second at 9 o’clock
Chronograph second by central hand
30-minutes chronograph at 3 o’clock

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