Just in time for warmer weather comes a bright and vibrant new collection from Maurice Lacroix, the Aikon #tide. Those familiar with the brand will instantly recognize the characteristic Aikon bezel and integrated lugs but with a strap rather than the usual bracelet. From a design and marketing standpoint, the #tide is unabashedly aimed toward a younger demographic with its use of vibrant colors and environmentally conscious ethos.
The Aikon #tide is a quartz-powered watch constructed almost exclusively of upcycled ocean-bound plastic, the culmination of a nearly two-year-long journey of Maurice Lacroix exploring the use of sustainable materials in its timepieces. As the brand searched early on for eco-friendly solutions, options were limited. “The only thing we could do was with packaging, but we weren’t really satisfied,” said Maurice Lacroix Managing Director Stephane Waser, speaking recently from the Aikon #tide worldwide launch event in Miami. Things changed, however, once the brand began working with Tide Ocean, a Switzerland-based company that specializes in turning ocean-bound plastics into premium upcycled raw material. That partnership resulted in the creation of a plastic and fiberglass composite that is twice as hard and five times more resistant than standard plastic and comprises nearly the entirety of the #tide’s construction: the case, case back, bezel, crown, and strap buckle of the watch are all made of this reclaimed plastic material. In fact, the rubber strap is the only element of the watch that is not currently fully recyclable, though the brand intends to bring a fully composite bracelet to market later this year.
On the wrist, the #tide offers a comfortable and predictably ultra-lightweight wearing experience; you almost forget that it’s on your wrist, save for the bright, eye-catching hues that ensure such a thing never happens (the only exception being the black-on-black version, which is actually quite stealth). According to Waser, the plastic and fiberglass composite can be rendered in any Pantone color, so it’s reasonably likely that we’ll see Maurice Lacroix release a wider variety of colorways for the #tide in the future. But for the moment, each of the 10 available references is rendered in a matte 40mm-wide case with a subtle sheen on the bezel that lends a properly finished feel despite its plastic composition.
And indeed, the Aikon #tide is no mere fashion watch; the dial crystal is sapphire, the screw-down crown offers a very respectable 100m of water resistance, and the exceptional durability of the composite construction means that the #tide is a watch that can be worn without worry during more active pursuits. The dial features a date window located at 3 o’clock and a handsome “Vague du Jura” wave motif that, in addition to being a nod to the watch’s oceanic origins, brings a pleasant contrast to the otherwise uniform overall aesthetic. Finally, the #tide offers an Easy Strap Exchange system that allows the wearer a quick and toolless method for swapping out straps to fit their daily fashion mood.
It’s admirable to see Maurice Lacroix take a proactive and practical approach to sustainability in its watchmaking. The brand has measurable goals: It has made a commitment to removing 10 million plastic bottles from the world’s current ocean pollution, which they aim to achieve by sponsoring various plastic collection activities, the purchase of wooden longtail boats and warehouses, funding educational initiatives, and, of course, through the production of the #tide watch collection. Each #tide timepiece and its associated packaging removes an equivalent of 17 plastic bottles’ worth of waste, which when compared to the scale of the planet’s current climate crisis seems like a relatively small number, to be sure — a mere drop in the bucket. But as far as Waser is concerned, each of these drops combines to make a larger impact. “You’re not going to change the world by yourself, but at least you can do something. We don’t say that tomorrow we’ll be a 100% green company, but it’s more important to just start and contribute. That’s what our customers expect,” he says. The Maurice Lacroix Aikon #tide is a step in that direction, and with all the features of the traditional Aikon but in a more striking, fashion-forward package, the watch offers a fun and eco-conscious entry into the broader Maurice Lacroix universe. Pricing for the Maurice Lacroix #tide starts at $750 USD. For more information, visit www.mauricelacroix.com.