Published by Stefan Tiuca on 22 Apr, 2020.


A bit of history…

Maurice Lacroix has its roots in a Zürich based company named Desco von Schulthess, which started producing watches and movements for other brands in 1961. As they were quite successful, in 1975 they decided to brand some of their watches and sell them under the name Maurice Lacroix. Just five years later, they were no longer producing watches for third parties.

The Aikon is a rebirth of the Calypso line of watches from the 1990s, following the same design language. The stand-out features on these timepieces are the six polished “arms”, as Maurice Lacroix calls them, placed around the bezel, as well as the bracelets, usually consisting of five links, with a design similar to that of an integrated bracelet. The first line of Aikon watches that came out in 2016 had quartz movements, and in 2018 the company released new, much more refined versions, powered by automatic movements this time.

The watch comes in either 42mm or 39mm, with dial colors ranging from blue to white and black. In this review, we will take a look at the 42mm blue dial version.

The Case

Maurice Lacroix produces its cases and bracelets in their own factories. The Aikon Automatic in particular is assembled and finished on the same production line as their Masterpiece watches, meaning the watch fulfills much higher standards of quality.

Sharp angles are predominantly found on the Aikon’s design, which fits the sporty aesthetic that this watch is mainly going for. However, some elegantly curved lines are thrown into the mix as well, such as the way the case curves towards the lugs, or how the bracelet tapers down to the clasp. The watch is very detailed overall as it features contrasts of satin-brushed areas with highly polished chamfers on the edges.

The Aikon’s 42mm stainless steel case might seem slightly large at first, especially for people with small wrists. However, thanks to a few design elements, the watch is actually much more wearable. First, the sharply curved down lugs and integrated bracelet design ensures a lug-to-lug distance of just 47mm. In addition to this, the bezel is approximately 3mm thick, which means the dial is about 39mm, giving the impression that the watch looks smaller on the wrist. Below you can see the 42mm Aikon on a 6.5-inch wrist.

The watch is 10mm thick, which is pretty standard for automatic watches. When viewed from this angle, the contrast between the types of finishing is most apparent: the side of the case is brushed, surrounded by chamfered edges that are highly polished, creating an outline. Moving up to the bezel, a tiny portion of it is brushed vertically, followed by the larger polished edge which goes up at a slightly different angle.

The bezel is satin-brushed vertically with chamfered and polished square arms. This gives the watch a pretty unique look and creates a visually pleasing combination of brushed and polished surfaces, however, the squares tend to pick up scratches easily. So if you’re like me and you obsess over keeping your watches as scratch-free as possible, take extra care when wearing this near door frames…

The watch does not feature crown guards, however, I see that as a plus, as they would’ve added bulk to the watch. The screw-down crown seems to be sized just right: it is large enough for you to use it comfortably, but it shouldn’t dig into the back of your hand. On the side of the crown, the Maurice Lacroix logo is embossed. Winding the watch feels very smooth, as well as screwing or unscrewing the crown.

The back of the case is brushed entirely in a circular pattern and it is held in place by seven small screws. The sapphire crystal ensures a water resistance of 200m while also allowing you to peek at the nicely finished movement. Yes, the watch has a depth rating of 200m without specifically being designed for diving. Whether that is overkill or not is up to you, but I believe Maurice Lacroix wanted you to enjoy this watch and never have to worry about water ruining your timepiece.

The Bracelet

The bracelet is almost entirely satin-brushed, with the edges being beveled and polished in-line with the case for a consistent look. It is comprised of five stainless steel links, held together by pins and collars. You might have expected screws at this price point, however, the pin-and-collar system has its perks and keeps the costs low. The bracelet starts out 24mm at its widest, and tapers down to 20mm near the butterfly clasp. The clasp gives the watch a clean and uniform look once the watch sits on your wrist, but this comes at the cost of not having micro-adjustments, so depending on your wrist size and how much you want that perfect fit, this may or may not be a problem. The clasp is also proof of the attention to detail present on the Aikon: it features perlage finishing on one side, while the other is highly polished with the logo stamped on it.

Note that the bracelet is not actually integrated, its design only mimics the appearance of one. Therefore, it can be removed if you wish, and to this end it sports a quick release system – two quick-release pins can be seen on the back of the bracelet. The system is very simple: push the pins together, and the bracelet is released. To fix the bracelet back into place, you can just place it under the case and push upwards – it will snap without having to push the pins. I also thought it’s interesting that the Maurice Lacroix logo is present on the tiny pins themselves.

It’s important to keep in mind that the watch does not feature a standard strap attachment system, and as such your strap changing options are limited to what the brand has on offer.

The Dial

The dial is most definitely the star of this watch. The incredible Clous de Paris pattern which dominates most of the dial’s surface is quite a thing to behold. The tiny little pyramids beautifully play with light, giving the dial different shades of blue, purple or even gray, depending on viewing angle and lighting conditions. They even managed to give the dial a gorgeous sunray effect.

The pattern stops around the outer ring of the dial, creating a separate, flat space for the minute markers, which increases their legibility. The baton-shaped hour markers are polished, with double indices at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. The date display is placed in a frame at 3 o’clock, which cuts the nearby double indices in half – I actually prefer it this way, I think it helps with the overall symmetry of the dial. However, the date wheel doesn’t match the color of the dial, but this is only a minor nuisance. The hour and minute hands are pencil-shaped, while the second hand is a simple thin baton. Every metallic part found on the dial has been plated with rhodium. Overall the elements of the dial are minimalistic, creating a very appealing aesthetic and allowing you to fully enjoy the Clous de Paris decoration.

Lume

Lume is present on the indices, as well as on the hour and minute hands. It does a fairly good job and lasts a decent amount of time, but it’s nothing to write home about, so don’t expect amazing levels of brightness or longevity. I actually consider the lume to be one of the weaker points of the watch, but only because it doesn’t live up to the standards of every other feature on the timepiece. In the picture that follows, you can see the lume at its brightest, in dim lighting conditions.

The Movement

The caliber ML115 is a modified version of the Sellita SW200-1. This has sparked a bit of controversy among watch enthusiasts, many of them considering that Maurice Lacroix should’ve gone for a higher grade movement. While the company has the capability of producing their own movements (and they love showing it off too, check out the Aikon Mercury, or any Masterpiece watch), an in-house movement would have skyrocketed the price of the watch.

While it’s true that there’s nothing too fancy about the movement, it manages to keep time very well, while also looking quite good. Decorations such as perlage, Côtes de Genève and satin brushing have been added onto parts of the movement. It may also be worth mentioning that the rotor is rhodium plated.

A frequency of 28800 vibrations per hour keeps the second hand moving smoothly across the dial. This also means that the watch has a power reserve of 38 hours, as higher frequencies will require more power. As far as accuracy goes, personally I’ve never had any issues in one year of ownership: usually the watch has been accurate within ± 6 seconds per day. These movements generally are pretty robust and reliable, so your experience shouldn’t be too different.

In Conclusion

The Aikon is an incredible watch for its price. It’s hard to believe Maurice Lacroix was able to produce this timepiece and sell it for under 2000 euros – its affordability and high quality make for a very attractive offer. It goes well with your everyday attire, but it’s suitable for more formal situations, too. If you can live with its minor drawbacks, there’s no way you won’t be able to enjoy this watch.

PROs:

High quality fit and finish
Sapphire Crystal on both sides
200m depth rating
Robust and reliable movement
Rhodium-plated hands, indices, and rotor

CONs:

Slightly weak lume
No bracelet micro-adjustments
Limited options when changing straps

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