I like to revisit the work of Maurice de Mauriac from time to time to check out what watch designer Daniel Dreifuss is doing in Zurich. His small shop is like Lego land for watch people, where you can visit and customize a pretty darn nice looking watch with his help. Though you only get that if you travel to Zurich; for everyone else there are his “collections” of watches that you can order. Today let’s look at one of the Maurice de Mauriac Chronograph Modern Le Mans timepieces.
What Maurice de Mauriac thrives on is their options, but it is also a weakness. Most people are intimidated by the prospect of having to make their own design decisions in a luxury object. That their models come with so many options can be a problem, but for those who like to wade through the choices to make a decision that is right for them, these are good values and very nicely designed. What connects each of the Le Mans watches is the dial style, which includes blue and orange racing stripes and a number, even though they come in different sizes and colors.
That number can actually be customized with any two digital numeral. The dial comes both in the silvered form seen here, as well as in black. This particular silvered dial is uniquely matched to a black PVD case, which might sounds odd on paper but actually works out quite nicely. The reason for that is two fold. First, the lighter dial matches will with the light tones of the NATO-style strap, and second because the black case matches the black metal elements on the strap. Together the colors meld well, even though this is not a color combination that we might recommend without a lot of tweaking to get it right (which was done in this case).
Racing stripes are a curious thing, and have seen their share of success and utter failure in watch design. That actually goes with cars as well. Some automobiles have perfectly centered racing strips, and others have them off to a side. The Le Mans watch has both. The strap has a symmetrical stripe, while the stripes on the dial are off to the left. In reality, what you are seeing is just a dash of color, but it goes to show just how powerful color is in design – something that Maurice de Mauriac is well aware of.