October 16, 2014
by Ariel Adams
The heftier cousin to the Chronograph Modern watch collection is the Maurice de Mauriac Chronograph Diver. These slightly thicker models come in 45mm wide cases with 300 meters of water resistance and rotating bezels. Being the avant-garde brand that Maurice de Mauriac out of Zurich is, not all of the rotating bezels even have indicators on them.
This stylish element is either “cool” or “infuriating,” depending on your perspective. Although the lack of indicators of any kind on the bezel removes most of the timepiece’s “tool watch cred,” it does admittedly make for a high-fashion look, with available bezel inserts in colors such as red, orange, and blue. The bezel insert material is something called “HyCeram,” a Swiss-made material that is said to chemically bind high-tech ceramics with polymers for a durable, colorful result. So, can you handle a Swiss watch with a “clean” rotating diver’s bezel? Actually, you can order one with a traditional diver’s bezel, if you so desire…
Maurice de Mauriac watches aren’t like those from most brands in the sense that you can’t simply ask for a model or a style name. One has to be aware that almost anything is swappable, but that you go to the brand directly in order to get a properly “curated” timepiece. Sure there are specific Maurice de Mauriac Chronograph Diver watches on their website, and each is a design envisioned by brand founder Daniel Dreifuss – and he tends to make some very hip looking stuff – but your options really aren’t limited to those.
In theory, if you would have explained this particular layout of colors and styles to me, I would not have thought it a good idea. Mix red and yellow? A bezel with no indicators? Nevertheless, it somehow works together, and in a way that does not particularly agitate my sensibility to be way more into function than form. Many Maurice de Mauriac items are fashion watches for people who don’t like to say that they like “fashion” anything.
At 45mm wide, the Maurice de Mauriac Chronograph Diver isn’t too heavy, as the case and bezel are in titanium. The case here is in PVD black-coated titanium while the bezel is in natural titanium with the red insert. In fact, the heaviest part of the watch feels like the movement, which unfortunately isn’t viewable through the solid caseback of the Maurice de Mauriac Chronograph Diver watches, unlike the standard Chronograph Modern models with exhibition casebacks.
Maurice de Mauriac Chronograph Diver watches are also offered in steel cases, and there is a range of bezel options available. Ironically enough, none of the bezel options have traditional timing scales or numerals. I think that is sort of funny; that despite Maurice de Mauriac’s desire to want to offer a lot of options, none of those options for the bezel are the “classic” or expected option.
This is the first Maurice de Mauriac watch I’ve seen with their “M” branded crown. As the brand continues to develop, they are upgrading their ability to be easily recognized – though few other brands have such nicely rendered tool watches in fun colors. The Maurice de Mauriac Chronograph Diver has a slightly domed AR-coated sapphire crystal, and inside the watch is a Swiss ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph movement. Oh, and yes, the chronograph pushers are screw-down, which was an option on some but not all Chronograph Modern watches.
Some people will argue that the best thing about Maurice de Mauriac is Daniel’s tendency to be a strap fetishist. If you come for the watches you might stay for the straps. With easily the most impressive selection of NATO-style straps in Zurich, Maurice de Mauriac doesn’t stop with “the cheap stuff.” His leather and alligator straps are not only impressively high quality, but also very creative. See for instance the unique strap he designed for this Maurice de Mauriac Chronograph Diver watch.
The black strap combines leather and textile in very cool way. It is one of those things which is easy to miss, but once you notice it and understand that it isn’t a simple off-the-shelf item you can get from most watch stores, you begin to understand why people like to experience a boutique brand such as this. You can buy a big brand watch anywhere, but there is something genuinely cool about the less straight-forward process of getting a Maurice de Mauriac watch.
This particular Maurice de Mauriac Chronograph Diver watch in titanium retails for 5,500 Swiss Francs (currently about $5,750). Other versions of the Maurice de Mauriac Chronograph Diver range in price from about 4,500 – 5,500 Swiss Francs. I encourage you to visit their site and contact them for the full range of options. mauricedemauriac.ch
>Brand: Maurice de Mauriac
>Model: Chronograph Diver
>Price: 5,500 Swiss Francs
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Watch lover who spends as much time focused on their shoes as they do their timepiece.
>Best characteristic of watch: Mixture of classic sports watch looks with high-fashion flair.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Less than straight-forward purchasing process, difficult to choose the right model for you.