Unique yet uncluttered and well-balanced design with a sporty edge
Escapement can be seen clearly, providing a visual treat every time you check the time
Well-adorned in-house movement that can be seen at the transparent caseback
Unconventional dress watch design which may not be favoured by all
The brand “Maurice Lacroix” portrays a varied perception across the different market segments, both locally and globally. Although the brand is considerably new in the scene as they had started only in 1975, they cover a wide spectrum in the market, from their fashionable quartz watches to their own in-house mechanical movements. We review here their latest from their Gravity collection with the Baselworld 2017 introduced Gravity Blue.
The brand produces about 100,000 watches a year. Their iconic Aikon quartz collection, a revival of the highly successful Calypso model from the 90’s positions the brand well in the lower price range, offering consumers high-quality finishing and affordability. They are well aware that there are certain consumers who would still prefer the ease of a quartz watch over the commitment of a mechanical watch. However over the past 30 years, Maurice Lacroix has also been producing in-house movements in their own watchmaking facilities. Just for the Masterpiece range alone, they have a total of 14 different movements. We reviewed their Maurice Lacroix Pontos S Regatta earlier and was quite impressed with the attention to detail, especially in the design.
Ask around and you’ll probably get a few collectors telling you that Maurice Lacroix is their first trusty Swiss mechanical watch that one would acquire due to its design innovation and affordability, alongside with other “starter” brands like Tag Heuer, Longines, Edox, Hamilton, Frédérique Constant… to name a few.
The Maurice Lacroix Gravity Blue
We had the opportunity to spend some time with this year’s Masterpiece Gravity Blue which is from Maurice Lacroix’s top of line range. At first glance, the watch seems to embody the brand’s ethos of finding order in chaos. For instance, there seems to be a lot going on in this piece, but if you look again, it is not at all cluttered and it tells the time legibly.
The Masterpiece Gravity was the first timepiece at Baselworld 2014 to feature the full silicium escapement that is visible from the front. The wearer can easily tell the time on the main dial that is accentuated by the engraved main plate.
The case, dial and hands
For a dress watch at 43mm, it might seem daunting initially but surprisingly the watch sits well and snug even on the author’s 5.5” wrist, thanks to the fitting leather strap and the smooth curvature of the lugs. The wrist shot below shows the watch on the Chief Editor’s 8″ wrist.
This Baselworld 2017 novelty does not differ too far from its predecessors with an elegant satin finishing on the main case and brushed finishing on the lugs.
The placement of the logo and brand name is subtle yet it stands out neatly on the main dial.
We have heard familiar stories of watch brands drawing inspiration from nature’s silhouette around them. The main plate of this year’s Masterpiece Gravity Blue is engraved with the patented “Vagues du Jura” motif, which Stèphane Waser (MD of Maurice Lacroix) shared that the design was inspired by the waves on the lake that is just next to their Swiss factory.
The front sapphire glass is kind of a domed at the edges.
The main dial at 2 o’clock tells the time clearly and distinctively to the wearer. We found out later that it is coated with blue lacquer, which explains its reflective, clean and pristine appearance. The raised indices are made from rhodium which complements the alternating blue-red markers, giving the main dial a fairly contemporary look.
The petite seconds subdial is placed at 4 o’clock, and out of the entire timepiece, we have to admit that the contrasting red seconds hand is our favourite detail, instantly giving the Masterpiece Gravity Blue an updated, modern look.
We also like the sporty white stitching on the blue crocodile strap which tones down the “dress factor” of the watch. This makes the watch more receptive to a younger wearer, and works well for weekend’s casual wear.
We turned the watch over and was immediately drawn to the charm of the case back. A handsome case back sets any watch apart from its competitors in the same line. For the Masterpiece Gravity series, the decorating their in-house movement was rather impressive, especially for the price range.
Inside the Masterpiece Gravity Blue is their automatic caliber ML230 with the hour and minute by off-centered hands at 2 o’clock, and the seconds hand at 4 o’clock. The movement is sort of backwards – most of the movement is visible from the dial side. The ML assortment and oscillator is clearly visible between 6 and 8 o’clock on the dial side. The purple silicium wheel is also clearly visible, and the balance cock is angular shaped, but open worked to allow the balance to be seen. The ML230 operates at 18,000 bph (2.5Hz) with a reliable power reserve of 50 hours.
We judge the finishing adequate for a watch at this price level, though we could have wished for finer finishing. The edges lack fine anglage. Perhaps worth mentioning is the fausse côtes applied to the movement side is in the form of a sweeping curved, becoming wider as it traverses and curved from the center, instead of the regular straight rules.
The Masterpiece Gravity Blue proves itself to be a dress watch that captivates the wearer as well as giving you the opportunity to get your wrist easily noticed. The design is distinctive, uncommon, and rather attractive. We think it get you the attention if you like being different without the watch-snob appeal.
Technical Specifications and Price
CASE: 43mm stainless steel case, box sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides
MAIN DIAL: Blue lacquered with rhodium indexes and logo, rhodium hour and minute hand
SUBDIAL: Red varnished seconds hand
CALIBER: In-house automatic calibre ML230, 18,000bph (2.5Hz), 35 jewels, 50 hours power reserve
STRAP: Genuine blue crocodile-skin strap, stainless steel folding clasp with push buttons
WR: 5 ATM (50m)
RECOMMENDED RETAIL PRICE INCL. GST: S$15,200
Editorial Note: Chelsey Chen joins as a contributor with this article. Chelsey started to take an interest in watches at the age of 14, during the time where many of her friends in school wore the Casio Baby G-shock that was trending in the mid 90s, but she opted for a Swatch Musicall instead. She officially started collecting watches around the age of 18 where she looked at affordable brands such as Casio and Seiko. Her first Swiss timepiece was the basic Carrera. Chelsey has a 5.5″ wrist but she prefers to wear men’s watches and is passionate about microbrands, mid-tier luxury brands and vintage pieces. In her free time, she spends time reading about watch trends and trying out new restaurants with her family.