August 17, 2021
Over the past several years, Swiss independent brand Maurice de Mauriac has built a sizeable aesthetic niche for itself with its signature red tinted crystal design. This unique deep red motif has appeared in a variety of chronograph designs, but until now the unique colored crystal look has never made its way to the brand’s dive watches. The latest addition to the brand’s L2 series aims to change that, combining a clean and utilitarian diver aesthetic with the striking blood red colorway the brand has made its own. Although its dramatic look may potentially impact underwater functionality, the new limited edition Maurice de Mauriac L2 Red Sea offers a truly unique take on the traditional diver concept while helping to support ocean conservation.
The Maurice de Mauriac L2 Red Sea shares its 42mm stainless steel case design with the rest of the L2 line, with a clean functionalist interpretation of classic dive watch cues. The wide notched bezel sports no insert, instead opting for an engraved 15-minute scale, while the narrow tapering lugs take on a pronounced downturn. Beyond the gunmetal gray DLC finishing, there is little in the way of embellishment on the fully brushed case, with no guards surrounding the large pillbox crown and simple vertical case sides without chamfering. Nearly every element is function-first in initial images, including the understated 9 o’clock helium escape valve. The only element that potentially runs counter to this clean utilitarian design philosophy, ironically, is the brand’s signature red-tinted sapphire crystal. Although this colorized crystal leads to a bold and dramatically colorful look in initial images, it could very possibly cause visibility issues when used underwater due to the way water absorbs light. Red light is the first color in the visible spectrum to be absorbed underwater, with red tones becoming noticeably duller and less vivid in as little as 15 feet of depth. While a red camera lens filter (functionally very similar to the crystal on the L2 Red Sea) helps to restore the look of reds and oranges in underwater photographs, it can also drastically reduce the overall amount of light that reaches the camera’s sensor, leading to a dimmer image overall. Although cameras can compensate for this reduction in light with slower shutter speeds, wider lens apertures, or more sensitive ISO settings unless the watch crystal fills the user’s entire field of vision the user’s eye is unlikely to compensate for the dimmer appearance at a glance while underwater. That said, the brand claims the watch has performed admirably in extensive underwater testing. Outside of the potential crystal issue, the L2 Red Sea shows solid performance, with a robust 300-meter depth rating.
Beneath the stylized red crystal, the dial of the Maurice de Mauriac L2 Red Sea is almost minimalist in its clean function-first approach. The clean lumed pencil hands and printed rectangular indices lend the design a stark, geometric look in initial images, which is further reinforced by the bold outer minutes track. The dial text is remarkably light, naturally drawing the wearer’s focus back toward the functional elements, while the 3 o’clock date window adds extra functionality without severely disrupting visual symmetry.
Inside the Maurice de Mauriac L2 Red Sea beats the ETA 2824-2 automatic movement. The 2824-2 is a long-running staple across the watch industry, appearing in innumerable brands for nearly four decades. While still reliable and easy to service, the 2824-2’s performance is starting to show its age somewhat with an underwhelming 38-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. Maurice de Mauriac pairs the L2 Red Sea with two included straps. The more luxurious option of the two is a big hole rally strap in black rubber, with an eye-catching red inner lining. For a more relaxed look, a black nylon NATO strap with a red center stripe is also included.
Presenting an offbeat blend of ultra-functional design with stylized splashes of deep color, the limited edition Maurice de Mauriac L2 Red Sea is perhaps the brand’s most distinctive diver to date. Only 42 examples of the Maurice de Mauriac L2 Red Sea will be made, and 10 percent of the proceeds from each sale will go to benefit the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, aiding the society’s ongoing efforts to preserve global ocean ecosystems. The Maurice de Mauriac L2 Red Sea is available now through authorized dealers at an MSRP of 4,670 CHF. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.