A few months ago while with Maurice Lacroix at their manufacture I spent time with them going over small details on the prototype versions of these new Pontos S dive watches. We looked at little things like the polishes on the rings around subsidiary chronograph dials, colors, strap choices and other details on the dials. Going from idea, to computer design, to final product is challenging and requires a very close attention to even the little things. What I can say is that the best watch brands have product leads people who are both smart and highly independent when it comes to asserting changes to even small visual elements.
While I have yet to see the final versions, I like how the Pontos S fits in the Maurice Lacroix product line-up. It is a solid design that actually mixes retro and modern looks smoothly. It is like a futuristic version of a retro sport watch. The name of the watch is just Pontos S, but I think it would have been good for them to include "Dive" or "Diver" in the name - as that is essentially what it is.
Coming in several versions this good-looking casual sport watch is just what they needed. It has a lot of good detailing without a wildly expensive price, and a style that is both distinctive and mainstream. The case of the Pontos S is 43mm wide in steel with alternating polished and brushed surfaces. It has a sapphire crystal and is water resistant to 200 meters.
One of the coolest features of the watch is the system for turning the internal rotating bezel. Usually operated with a separate crown, the Pontos S has a crown for this feature that is integrated into the start/stop pusher for the chronograph. It works well and keeps the case from being too cluttered. Really nice little extra. Overall functionality is high as the dial is both decorative yet legible. The subsidiary dials are clear and easy to read, the hands and hour indicators are bold and applied with lume - it just all works rather well together if you are a fan of the design.
One unique look for the dial is the angular rehaut. Usually these are sloped or angled a lot, but here it looks like a shelf (despite a slightly angled chapter ring). Of course this rehaut turns as the internal rotating bezel. Maurice Larcoix will offer four dial versions of the Pontos S. Each is very similar but has a different "trim color." The trim color is used for part of the minute hand, tip of the chronograph seconds hand, part of the scale on the bezel, and for the bezel crown. The color options are gray, orange, blue, and red. Gray is probably going to be the most common color, but the others are appreciated.
The color options of course go best with the available striped NATO style strap. These have become really popular lately, and the cool black and blue or black and orange NATO straps look really neat with the watch. Being a bracelet guy I prefer the nice three-link bracelet with some nice finishing details and a comfortable fit. I think the gray version looks best with the bracelet. Overall I think Maurice Lacroix did a good job designing a fun sport watch that could also be dressed up a bit.
Inside the Pontos S is a Maurice Lacroix modified Swiss ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph movement. They call it the ML112, but are at least very forthright about the fact that it is a base 7750. The Pontos S is a strong mainstream sport watch that is versatile and attractive. It isn't the last watch you'll ever want to own, but makes for a really nice daily wear and out to do well for the brand in 2012. Look for it soon. Priced from $2,950 - $3,280.