Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure Watch Review

Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure Watch Review

Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Having seen the turbulent recent years of the watch industry, it sure takes some admirable self-confidence to start a watch brand from scratch. Arguably, one would need a solid starting idea, a unique selling point, coherent and powerful design DNA, a decent movement... all offered at a competitive price. In an effort to tick all of these boxes, the Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure marks the first collection of this new company that was established by two engineers, Eric Mauron and Christophe Musy. Let's see how this new piece of "Armor" fairs in battle.

Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews
The founders: Christophe Musy and Eric Mauron
The Beginnings – In A Nutshell

The two met in the late 1990s, when Eric was the managing director of Régis Mauron SA, a company that specialized in the machining of mechanical parts, and Christophe was serving an internship as a mechanic. It was more recently, in 2012, that they set out to create something new and that the Mauron Musy company in St. Aubin, Switzerland, was born. That "something new" was to be based on their extensive knowledge and experience in precision engineering – a prowess you can actually sense and feel when you pick the Armure up, but more on that a bit later.

Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

"nO-Ring" Technology: A Gasket-Free Case Design

So, what is that solid starting idea that makes Mauron Musy's work unique? There are a handful of things to consider, but what stands out most is their "nO-Ring" case design, that allowed them to fully omit the use of rubber gaskets and seals. Traditionally, watch cases are composed of several separate components which are made waterproof by inserting synthetic rings (sometimes called "O-rings") between them. The key problem with these gaskets, the two say, is that they have a limited lifespan: over time, the synthetic material deteriorates, it hardens up and fails to maintain a perfect seal between the case's middle element and the bezel as well as the caseback, not to mention the frequently used crown.

Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

To leave gaskets out of the equation altogether, first, the nO-Ring technology does away with clamping screws to avoid any risk of deforming the case components' flat surfaces. The glass and the back are clamped down by satellite springs placed around the entire perimeter, compressed and tensed by the closure of the case-band (the middle section) and the bezel. The parts are divided into several segments held together and secured by hinges during the assembly process, based on the same principle as clamp braces.

In essence, the technology is based on the components' surfaces being machined and fitting together with extremely high precision, held together by the controlled tension achieved by the springs and hinges.

Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The surfaces in contact with the various components are "hardened, lapped with a grinding tool and then reworked to ensure the required flatness and the appropriate roughness of the surface profile," the brand explains. So much goes for the case, but what's up with the crown? This makes us wonder why nobody else has tried it before: each crown shaft is fitted in its bearing, creating such a "nanometrically accurate fit" that there is no risk of infiltration, even when the crown is operated underwater.

Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

All this engineering nerdfest allows the Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure to remain water-resistant to a depth rating of 100 meters, and the brand says that you can even fiddle with the crown under water and you need not fear water entering the case. My love for watches allowed me to try this very briefly – it was a cringe-worthy experience, and while the Armure showed no water or condensation inside the case after the test, I'd still advise that you don't try this at home and always make sure that the crown is pushed all the way in (it does not screw down) when you go swimming or scuba diving with your Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure. M'kay?

Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Fit & Finish

Many of us watch enthusiasts are hardcore nerds at heart, who are fascinated by how things are made and put together. We have always had – and over the years have heavily developed – our sense for quality of execution and, for that reason, we find well-made things to be especially satisfying to look at, wear, or simply admire. More satisfying, than, say, rocking the latest trend, or the "dopest" brand name-dropped in rap songs.

Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

For that reason, a brand like Mauron Musy – established and run by two like-minded engineers who are utterly obsessed with high precision machining – we can still find to be hugely exciting. The Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure is cool and fascinating because these origins become immediately apparent once you have it in your hand, even if you have no idea where, how, or by whom it was made.

There is an unapologetic and almost complete lack of soul in the Armure – the only human element to it comes from how you can reflect on the painstaking work that must have gone into machining it with such unearthly precision. Some watches, like the ones made by Bexei or Voutilainen, have a tangible "handmade-ness" to them, comparable to what you can feel/touch/smell around vintage race cars or with handmade shoes.

Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The Armure is beautifully made and has several years of man-hours in fine tuning components and machining techniques – which is all human effort that went into its creation. With that said, the Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure still falls at the other end of the spectrum from those aforementioned independents (even if we disregard the price). With its intense-looking and -feeling design, where every layer, part, and cut-out feels functional first, and aesthetically pleasing second.

Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Having handled all kinds of high-end watches crafted from different types of steel, gold, as well as more modern materials including carbon and composites, I still have to say that the Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure, when held in hand and scrutinized up close, feels like very few of them. It is no news that today's manufacturing technologies are sublimely advanced, and you don't have to pay top dollar for a luxury watch to get a sense of that – it's there in nearly every premium electronic device, for instance.

Yet, the Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure feels and looks as though every single component has been machined and fitted just that tiny little bit more tightly, with tolerances so microscopic, that the high-tech machining know-how behind its manufacturing actually becomes tangible.

Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

If your primary preference in luxury products is seeing the traits of hand-finishing and the "craftsman's touch" in the finer details, in the Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure you'll not find exactly what you are looking for. If you appreciate the fit and finish of extremely well-made, modern products, you are definitely in for a treat, though.

Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

How can there still be a difference in fit and finish among high-end watches produced today? Nearly all luxury watches of our time are machined and put together with amazingly small tolerances, but there still seems to be a way for the human eye to perceive a difference achieved through imperceptible improvements – it just works that way.

Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure Watch Review Wrist Time Reviews

When it comes to finishing, there is a very clever mix of brushed, satinated, and polished elements. Once looked at more closely, it becomes apparent how the different layers of the case have been separated from each other: brushed and satin finished segments follow each other all the way up to the only polished part of the Armure, which is the end of the bezel. Even this bit is intelligently placed, as it adds some extra flair and sense of refinement to the otherwise rather industrial looking package, and also frames the dial and its polished indices. The Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure could easily have turned into a "robot turd" (to quote the infamous John Biggs), but instead it looks every bit as high-end and refined as it has to.

What do you think?
  • Thumbs up (12)
  • I want it! (7)
  • Interesting (1)
  • I love it! (1)
  • Classy (0)
  • Luciano

    Interesting and, even more important nowadays, original design (except for the clasp which looks like a Hublot with a different logo). Agree that a leather strap completely transforms the watch for the better. Strange how Mauron Musy is missing on this…

    • Big D

      Caliber Eterna 39!!!! For the same price you’ll get the super kontiki chronograph from Eterna with a in-house movement….

      • Shinytoys

        I love Eterna, but they really don’t make anything cosmetically that resembles this watch…

        • egznyc

          I think that’s because it’s completely unrelated as a company; they just happen to use an Eterna movement.

          • Shinytoys

            I do love that movement…cheers

          • egznyc

            You’re right – or should I say, I agree. It’s not bad looking for a basic three-hand movement. And 65 hours of power reserve is so much better than the typical ETA 2824 or 2892.

      • The Old Watcheroo

        eterna now chinese owned right? along with Corum

        • iamcalledryan

          The holding co is Haidian but they are still run out of Switzerland, and run with increasing panache. Take Arnold & Son as another good example of how the nationality of the primary shareholder by no means reduces the quality and standing of a brand.

  • Chaz

    Royal Ingenubloak

    • Hmmm, there is almost something “Hublot-ish” about it. But I find this more interesting that a “Porthole” brand case.

    • The Old Watcheroo

      “the panerai effect”

  • IanE

    For me the superstructure feels much too dominant – and all those little gaps and holes will pick up any dirt, grease and fluff that is going, and will probably be rather difficult to clean. It would have to be offered at half the price to feel like a worthwhile, if rather ugly, daily wear.

  • MEddie90

    A unique case which seems to flow well the in innovative “No-ring” concept however as Ian says it looks like a nightmare of a dirt/dust trap and all in all just doesn’t seem that attractive to me.

    In regards to rubber gaskets they last a good number of years, especially with modern materials and seeing as I tend to have my watch serviced more frequently than I need to change gaskets its never really been an Issue. Plus with its innovative case design I imagine servicing it anywhere but the manufacturer is a nightmare. Interesting idea but its not for me.

  • I like it but I have a few reservations. Glad to head that the case is not a wrist torture device (because it sure looks one). I’m with Ian and the others about the small crevices waiting to be filled with grim, skin flakes, body oils, etc. Too bad about the lume being less than stunning.

    I think the watch does convey a soul – one of an industrial designer, but that’s fine with me. It’s not another “me too” case which is something I greatly admire when it’s well done. I wish they used a truly fitted strap and while I’m not dead set against the rubber strap, I agree that the leather one David mounted does change up the look of the watch quite a bit.

    With all of that precision engineering I was surprised to see at water resistance of only 100 meters. At that point there does not seem to be much advantage over conventional gaskets and O-rings except for that wonderful crown operation.

    At this price point, I’m glad they used an Eterna Caliber 39 instead of an ETA 2824 or 2892 for instance. One advantage of this movement is that the date is further outboard. A disadvantage (beside movement cost) is that the Caliber 39 is sort of thick even in its 3 hand execution as it’s based on the full Caliber 39 movement which is an integrated chronograph design (which I want to say is 6.1 mm thick).

    I wonder what a steel bracelet with similar styling/engineering would look like on this watch?

    Thanks for the review David, this is definitely an interesting watch.

    • egznyc

      I suspect that a bracelet that was as well-machined as the case would have a significant price attached to it. Of course, a bracelet would not have to contend with water-tight issues, so they could lighten up on the close tolerances. Long story short, I too wonder what it might look like. Could help with the overall machine-age vibe. Even if that’s not really my thing.

  • Marius

    Looking at this watch makes me ask five questions.

    1. Who cares about O-rings? The answer is: nobody. Most watch buyers don`t even know the exact model name of their watch. Even with this new system, the watch has a water resistance of only 100m, which is not exactly amazing.

    2. What`s so great about the Eterna Caliber 39? It`s a decent movement, but not exactly “one of the most impressive series-produced new movements put into production since the quartz crisis.” It`s basically an undecorated movement that is slightly better than a standard ETA. For almost $6,000 it`s not exactly a steal. For instance, look at what movements Grand Seiko/Nomos/JLC are offering for the same price.

    3. In case this brand goes bust, which it probably will, where exactly can you get this watch serviced? Given that the case has a proprietary technology, who would be able to service this watch?

    4. Who would wear such an ugly watch? I can only imagine two people wearing such a monstrosity: Marius Sr. and Dan Bildzerian.

    5. Is the case high quality or not? I mean, the article argues that the case is “fantastic,” “amazing fit and finish,” “unearthly precision,” or “it looks every bit as high-end and refined as it has to.” On the other hand, the very same article argues that “the case does have some sharp edges here and there,” and “the case is light on fancy finishing.”

    • Bill W

      That Marius Sr. is a tacky punter. 🙂

    • iamcalledryan

      You nearly answered your own question 2: It’s a decent movement, slightly better than an ETA. ETA are scaling back their supply of there movements in an open market and the Calibre 39 is one of the few viable replacements coming out of Switzerland. We are not talking about niche hand-finished movements – that is an entirely different market. You talk about Seiko/Nomos/JLC but how many of them are Swiss made and being offered on the open market? The Calibre 39 is not the only answer, but it is one of very few to the ETA question.

  • laup nomis

    Too much engineering on show for me. Looks like a part you’d use to fix the brakes on the car. Otherwise I’m sure its a lovely watch.

  • Gabe Wong

    Wow this is ugly… just an eye-sore.

  • Greg Dutton

    Interesting and not too outrageously priced. The lack of o-rings seems like an answer to a question nobody asked, though. Would love to see a bracelet option, what with all the emphasis on tolerances and machining.

  • A_watches

    get a preowned hublot instead..next!

  • I like the overall design. But would have to wear it for a bit before I would actually consider
    spending money on it. Too many sharp edges that look like they would actually scratch things they came in contact with. Too many places for dust and dirt to build up. A bracelet or acceptable rubber strap would be necessary, to allow for the occasional cleaning with mild soap and horsehair brush.

  • Omegaboy

    I kinda like it, especially on the brown leather strap. However, the design pretty much guarantees rhat it can’t be serviced by your local watch guy. Also, lots of sharp corners, lots of gaps to gather dust, skin flakes, etc. Something tells me the case would look nice if it could be artificially be aged with small dings and scratches – steampunked.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Too ” Pointy ” for me .

    • The Old Watcheroo

      Too “Diesel”

  • Ryan B.

    Very industrial / masculine in a Romain Jerome kind of way

  • SuperStrapper

    Can’t say I’m a big fan of the almost organic shapes and protrusions from the case, but it does look to be finished quite well. I could list of at least a half dozen brand aesthetics that appear to have influenced this design, but I won’t because overall the watch does have its own unique flair.

    All the best to these guys in their endevour.

  • DanW94

    Love the case architecture. The overall design has a Hublot Classic Fusion-like look to me, but as SuperStrapper mentioned there seems to be cues from a host of other watches in there.
    And a few mentioned below about the design with its nooks and crannies picking up dirt and grime etc…,but really, how much debris will actually accumulate? Unless your wearing it to your job as a chimney sweep or to the glitter, lint and glue factory, I don’t see it as much of a problem.

    • Dead skin and grime find their way into all sorts of small places on watches. Sure you can clean it but…

      • DanW94

        I get where you’re coming from, but all I’m saying is, if you have enough dead skin build-up on your watch that you have to mini-vac it and get out the bucket of soap and water every third or fourth time you wear it, then I think an appointment with a dermatologist is in order : )

        • Boogur T. Wang

          The simple facts are, one is more likely to have a problem with grit, sand, dead skin and “grime” invading the case that with just about anything else. It is an everyday consideration.

    • egznyc

      The up vote isn’t for the Hublot reference; it’s for everything else. 😉

  • Juan-Antonio Garcia

    I find it very authentic in its own right, a difficult task now days. Is not something I would wear, but it has very unique and interesting design elements.

  • Robert McKean

    Interesting mech-tech style, but almost 6K for a “daily wearer” and you have to replace the strap? Might be worth taking a chance on the servicing and company survivability issues at 1/2 the price. No sale here.

    • I hear ya about servicing case/crown/winding stem parts. But the Eterna movement should be no problem down the road. And usually that’s the service issue, so I’m more comfortable with this watch (with its Eterna caliber 39) than a small company with a truly in-house caliber.

  • BNABOD

    I mean there is something to it but any watch with Mauron in it is sadly a bit of a problem. What do we have here sir? A moron. Ok then
    Might be a tad shallow but the name does matter the noring biz is kinda cool yet not a deal breaker got to service movements so changing gaskets is the least difficult thing.
    6kis a bit much for a novelty but I am sure they invested serious cash so can’t say I blame them. I would personally get rid of the weird angles it makes the watch too bulky.

    • Kuroji

      The Eye of Mauron. Lol!

    • It’s the same thing with Junkers watches. As I am not a native English speaker, it didn’t bother me at all, but then I saw how Americans are bothered by it. Funny and sad at the same time :/

  • Larry Holmack

    I just think for a start up…they priced their watch way above what most folks would be willing to gamble on a company that may go belly up in 6 months. The case design looks like something Invicta would come up with, and sell on TV for $249.98 with 6 monthly payments of $41.67.

  • Rollin Crittendon

    When I saw the first photo I thought this was a “lifestyle” brand of watch. It looks to be much more than that from the description.

    I think this company has something unique in terms of what is literally the foundation of the the case. This is beyond my price range but for those that can, it seems to support innovation.

  • Shinytoys

    Love that Eterna 39…this watch is beautifully put together with fit and finish that is top drawer. Price that the average human could afford makes it a must see in person…

    • The Old Watcheroo

      Eterna is now Chinese owned right?

      • Yep and Corum is also Chinese owned. But some Swiss and “American” brands are owned by the Japanese, so this is just the way of the world these days. Cheers.

        • The Old Watcheroo

          oh gawd. i’m sure this also applies to my bordeaux wines and scotches

  • Kuroji

    I would guess these parts are mated using Krytox or something similar.

  • The Old Watcheroo

    Cant wait for the Blacked-out Expendables 4 version!!!

  • Shirley Furby

    Cold very cold.

  • beardedman

    I agree with the comments about too much engineering on display and too much industrial design, etc. It’s an engineering exercise, and a rather silly one since the case may not need any service but the movement will. I prefer something elegant on my wrist, and lean a bit snobby when it comes to movements if I’m going to spend mid-four-figures. Rolex prices start pretty close to this. You could just as easily have a quartz movement in this thing because it’s all about the case itself.

  • Boogur T. Wang

    Well done and written Mr. Bredan.
    I like this watch. And also, thank you for the link to your previous well done article on the Eterna 39. I am glad to see some folks apply mechanical prowess to problems and come-up with a new solution.
    I do have a small question about this great ‘new’ motor:
    “Eterna Caliber 3903A is the basic automatic winding movement (with
    hours, minutes, seconds and hacking) with date…”
    Is the 3903A (or 3909A in this case) hand-windable in addition to hacking and auto-wind?

    (And yes, I did post this query on the linked-to piece.)

  • Eugeny Buslaev

    ???????????? ??????????? – ????????? ??????. ??? ????????!!!

  • funNactive

    “you can even fiddle with the crown under water and you need not fear water entering the case” – no gasket engineering, very interesting.

    Very Industrial: “unapologetic and almost complete lack of soul” – I like the design, is says: Let’s go play.
    I have an engineer friend who has never spent more than $80 on a watch that I am sending this article to. Maybe a watch designed by other engineers will get him interested in nice watches?

  • Bill W

    Moron Busey