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Hands-On With The Impressively Redone Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic Watch

Hands-On With The Impressively Redone Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic Watch Hands-On

Baselworld 2018 saw the release of a slew of re-issues with modern designs, but none quite like the updated Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic collection. The long-promised model has been anticipated by fans of the brand and piqued interest for those who may not have considered Maurice Lacroix before. With the inclusion of an automatic movement and some aesthetic refreshes, the Aikon Automatic positions itself as a very attractive and affordable model in the sports watch landscape. Here we will go hands-on with the model, discuss what’s new, and why it’s important.

Hands-On With The Impressively Redone Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic Watch Hands-On

The older Aikon Gents Model

Sports watches have been in the spotlight more and more recently; the biggest players being the AP Royal Oak, the Patek Philippe Nautilus, and the Vacheron Constantin Overseas. While obviously beautiful and high-quality watches, you would have to sell a spare BMW to afford even one of them. That’s where I was when I scooped up the previous iteration of the Aikon Gents. I was in the market for an affordable sports watch that didn’t break the bank and that’s exactly what I got. The quality was top notch, the size was perfect, the fit was pleasing, and it was one of the highest quality bracelets I’ve ever had in the price segment. The only drawback was that it was quartz and while that didn’t necessarily deter me, it turned a lot of enthusiasts off to owning one – something the Aikon Automatic 3-hander rectifies.

Let’s start with the case. For a sports watch, I find the stainless steel barrel shape to be a perfect size at 42mm x 11mm thick – not too big, but large enough to be legible. The Aikon has always taken a lot of its inspiration from the Calypso models of the ’90s and those were always immediately recognizable from the “Claws” surrounding the brushed steel bezel. Something they’ve improved on with Aikon Automatic is the shape of the case. Gone are the rounded and bubbly lugs and claws and included are refined and crisp lines making the watch look and feel more modern than vintage. It also prevents the taper of the lugs to the integrated bracelet from the slight flare outward on the wrist (though admittedly, larger wrists may still see it). The brushed bezel with a polished outer edge has a harsher angle and that makes the polished claws seem more uniform to the bezel instead of sitting on top of it – especially when looking at it straight on.

Hands-On With The Impressively Redone Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic Watch Hands-On

All images by Bilal Khan

Moving on to the dial, there are three color options with sweeping, though largely subtle changes that many would miss if they hadn’t handled the previous Aikon Gents recently. Brandishing all-new indices that are slightly thinner, a bit more refined, and with thicker lume qualities, the Aikon Automatic takes a more legible approach to darkness. Additionally, the handset has been reshaped and thinned out creating more dial space for the slightly larger logo and ‘Automatic’ text above 6 o’clock.

The dial has been changed from a striped pattern to a Clou de Paris texture, which isn’t going to help with the accusation that the Aikon Automatic has borrowed design qualities from Audemars Piguet (we will get to that later). Personally, I prefer the look of the new dial over the old – it feels more contemporary. Both have high-quality finishes, but the Aikon Automatic feels more meticulously crafted and there is something satisfying about seeing the different shadows and shades when the handset moves over each pyramid. Much to my enjoyment, the date window at 3 o’clock has been… MATCHED! Now instead of a simple white date wheel across all models, the black dial version will feature a black date wheel adding a much cleaner aesthetic.

Hands-On With The Impressively Redone Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic Watch Hands-On

One of my favorite aspects of the Aikon Gents was the bracelet – in fact, it was one of the highest quality bracelets I’ve had in a watch under $1,000. The 5-link brushed steel bracelet seems to flawlessly flex and contour the wrist without being too thick or too thin. The slightly raised center links tended to be scratch magnets so it’s nice to see a bit of that shaved off of the Aikon Automatic. Because of the harsher lug taper, the flexibility of the bracelet sits more flat on the wrist. Overall, the ever-so-slight modern updates improve on an already fantastic bracelet. One downside: since it is an integrated bracelet, the options are limited to the bracelet or a brown, blue, or black leather strap – all solely available through Maurice Lacroix. It’s pretty standard within the luxury segment but will come as an inconvenience to those who would like a more spunky strap. The upside is that it does feature a quick-change system.

Hands-On With The Impressively Redone Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic Watch Hands-On

Hands-On With The Impressively Redone Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic Watch Hands-On

Moving on to the real draw of the watch, the movement. Inside of the Aikon Automatic 3-hander is Maurice Lacroix’s ML115 caliber. The ML115 is a modified and decorated SW200 base that was commonly found in the Pontos S divers. Visible through the sapphire caseback, it’s not the most attractive movement, but the decorations feature a nice Geneva Stripe pattern and perlage that dress it up a little and add a pleasing aesthetic to a relatively pedestrian movement. The ML115 beats at 4Hz and has a power reserve of 38 hours. While nothing fancy, it’s certainly a tried and true caliber that keeps the price down.

Hands-On With The Impressively Redone Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic Watch Hands-On

Then there is the value proposition. I’ve seen a lot of complaints about the use the SW200 instead of one of their more complicated calibers (AKA their “Masterpiece” movements). I would like to remind our readers that there is a large gap in pricing and that’s not what this model has historically tried to fill. They already feature the Aikon Skeleton Automatic that had the ML234 movement designed specifically for the Aikon, but offering them as a standard hinders the affordability and attainability of these models – in the case of the Aikon Skeleton Automatic, it’s over triple the price.

Overall, I’m a huge fan of the new Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic Collection. Between the three models, I find the black dial the most attractive. Funny enough, it’s the same design of the Aikon Gents in my watch box. The affordability of a high quality, well finished, and superbly comfortable steel sports watch is hard to beat. The Aikon Automatic 3-hander takes welcome upgrades to almost every facet of the Aikon Gents and presents an enticing option for enthusiasts in the market for an all-steel dress watch that’s reasonably attainable – even if an automatic has been long overdue.

Hands-On With The Impressively Redone Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic Watch Hands-On

Hands-On With The Impressively Redone Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic Watch Hands-On

Price for the Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic will be $1,890 on leather and $1,990 on the steel bracelet. mauricelacroix.com

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  • I like it and would happily wear it, and I don’t care if it’s an AP homage at 1/10th the AP’s MSRP (probable 1/20th at street price).

  • CognacSocialist

    That feeling when you really wanted to buy a Royal Oak, but couldn’t afford it and bought a Maurice Lacroix instead … ???

    • Julius Swerving

      I actually have a RO and would consider buying one of these, with a different dial color.

      So I suppose you could say “that feeling when you really wanted to buy two Royal Oaks, but couldn’t afford two and bought a Maurice Lacroix and a Royal Oak instead.”

      They are certainly similar, but sufficiently different enough to justify owning both, IMO. But for this brand, I’d wait a bit and get one on the grey marlet with a steep discount.

      • A_watches

        Well there we go guys, It’s been given the ok by Julius who is a real AP owner

        • Really – up voting your own comments?

          • Julius Swerving

            @a_watches:disqus also edited a comment then lied about what it originally said. But hey, some people like trolling.

          • A_watches

            Well I do like what I’ve said otherwise I wouldn’t have said it

  • commentator bob

    It is a better Royal Oak knock-off than a Hublot, but not quite up to Bulova or Didun standards.

    https://d23x6d9cx8qezf.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/bulova2.jpg

    https://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTYwMFgxMjAw/z/BrgAAOSwfXJasEmE/$_20.JPG

    • A 35mm quartz 1980’s Bulova RO over at eBay currently starts at $1400 so they hold their value better after 40 years than the ML will after 6 months 😉

  • A_watches

    Ap knock off that’s not even that cheap. Just buy a fakey

    • SuperStrapper

      Really?

      • A_watches

        Really what?

        • SuperStrapper

          If no one buys a ticket to the movie, do they really still show it?

          • A_watches

            my point is that if you wanna buy something that is such a blatant copy of the AP RO what’s the difference between this and the millions of Chinese fakes. Some are probably even better quality than this ML and cheaper

          • SuperStrapper

            Sure kid. Promoting fakes is totally legit. Got it.

          • A_watches

            Where am I promoting fakes I’m making comment that this is a blatant copy worse than some fakes

          • SuperStrapper

            Sure kid

          • A_watches

            Sure frog

          • SuperStrapper

            Savage af

          • A_watches

            I’m sure thats what u like

          • SuperStrapper

            How sure

          • 5 more

            Fairly sure, apparently.

          • SuperStrapper

            Its surely apparent, to be fair.

          • Berndt Norten

            Let’s wait for Shirley Furby to chime in.

          • SuperStrapper

            Leslie neilson approves.

          • Don’t feed the troll – it only encourages them.

          • SuperStrapper

            I’m troll proof my man.

          • Julius Swerving

            Just buy a fakey

            That’s what you said.

          • A_watches

            I didn’t say that

          • Julius Swerving

            Editing your comment doesn’t mean you never said it.

            Nice try, though.

          • A_watches

            I’m not sure what you mean

          • Julius Swerving

            Yeah, you do.

            I mean you edited your comment to make it look like you didn’t say that. I read it, and so did another commenter who also replied to your now-edited comment about buying fakes.

            You said “just buy a fakey.” I read it, and so did others.

            Stop being so disingenuous.

          • A_watches

            Sure kid

          • A.S

            Noob ^

          • Rob Honer

            If that is the case, Patek, GP, Bvlgari, Hublot, and IWC are all ripoffs. Yes it does borrows heavy from RO but as mentioned there are other big name watch manufacturers that borrow the same Gerald Genta designs.Not everybody makes the big money to afford a AP, Patek, GP or even a Bvlgari but want to own Gerald Genta inspired design, and this ML is affordable and is a quality timepiece for the money

          • Julius Swerving

            my point is that if you wanna buy something that is such a blatant copy
            of the AP RO what’s the difference between this and the millions of
            Chinese fakes.

            I’m sitting here wearing my RO 15400ST and I can actually see quite a few differences (bezel, some hour markers, date window, dial pattern, crown, chamfer/finishing). Sure, it’s definitely similar, but it’s not a copy.

            And to your point about Chinese fakes, wearing the ML is (1) legal, and (2) honest. Wearing fakes is illegal and disingenuous.

          • A.S

            Bravo!

          • A.S

            Haters gonna hate!

    • Lindsay

      “Knock off” implies it’s identical. Which I suppose it is, if you ignore all the elements that aren’t…

  • IanE

    ‘a Clou de Paris texture (à la Royal Oak)’
    Since when did the Royal Oak have a Clou de Paris texture – have I been dreaming for the last few decades?

  • SuperStrapper

    I dont see so much AP tapisserie in this dial, although I might prefer the riva-esque dial of the original. The updated watch is certainly an improvement though.

  • Filip Vanura

    Sorry, but why this again: “Sports watches have been in the spotlight more and more recently; the biggest players being the AP Royal Oak, the Patek Philippe Nautilus, and the Vacheron Constantin Overseas.”

    Is Rolex not producing sports watches anymore or what?

  • Debashish

    It is certainly a lookalike of Royal Oak at a very reasonable price. I am certain it will be quite popular among people, who are not very wealthy.

    • 5 more

      Quite! Lol

  • Mikita

    I like the dial and the bracelet, but this bezel just screams tasteless 90s aka TAGs and Breitlings of that period. On the one hand, the value isn’t bad for a 2k watch nowadays, but, honestly, this watch falls everywhere in means of design compared to AP RO Jumbo, except being 90% cheaper.

  • Horum Positivium

    Your views of ‘impressive’ and mine are rather different.

  • Nice appearance and execution. Happy to see them add a mechanical movement to the line, and still keep the price reasonable.

  • ????? ??????????

    Am I the only one who finds this suspiciously similar to Audemars Piguet Royal Oak? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/03d4b667e4150394de9dc2cc54a7155cc8bafe390b2f5a2e85f785f66707d234.png

    We see here the same (at least similar) bezel, marks, hands, date window, even bracelet links as in AP RO.
    Please tell me if I’m wrong…

    • Raymond Wilkie

      A vague resemblance but even from a distance you can tell the difference. Your comment kinda cancels itself out with your caveat (at least similar). All watches are kinda watch shaped.

      • ????? ??????????

        “watches are watch shaped” – LOL. Agree.
        Every decent brand has own DNA unmistakenly resembling its origin and pedigree.
        And here I found too much particular design similarities beyond watch generics.

        • Raymond Wilkie

          It’s a brother from a different mother.

  • ????? ??????????

    According to other posts below – I’m ot the only one who noticed this. LOL.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    Maybe reasonably priced but ugly as fuck. Eighties revival?

  • Julius Swerving

    Contrary to the article, the dial patterns are not the same as the RO, which uses a Tapisserie pattern.

    • At least this one wasn’t “Mario Bros inspired”.

  • Bruce Wang

    “Budget Swiss Made” AP Royal Oak…..

  • BNABOD

    ML makes a nice watch but here especially the bezel I am just not feeling it. Sure for 2k so 1200 bucks grey you are getting quite a bit for the dough w a nice bracelet. I do feel that the shiny protrusion bits on the bezel just take it back to 1982. while I appreciate they are trying to be different that the GP Laureato or RO the addition of polished protrusions are just going to be scratch magnets and are simply not modern looking.
    So I pass

  • Joe

    The claws remind me of an Omega Constellation too. Not one of my favourite designs.
    https://www.omegawatches.com/watch-omega-constellation-constellation-omega-co-axial-day-date-38-mm-12310382201001

  • Joe

    The claws remind me of an Omega Constellation too. Not one of my favourite designs.
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b16b563b3006b352ccce78694e077b382a920d0d07b53b0e20cd07464f847026.png

    • THAT’s what those bezel elements remind me of! I could’t quite place them.

    • ProJ

      At least the Omega’s ugly design is ORIGINAL.

  • WINKS

    It’s a Mo’reese Piggy! Designed by the legendary watch designer Gerry Gentile.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    ” Can i have a closer look at your Audemars Piguet Royal Oak? ”
    ” No you can’t, bugger off “

  • Carlton_Blues

    REPLICA

    • Julius Swerving

      Replica of what?

  • Framlucasse

    Why a glass on the back? There is nothing to look at…

  • Swidjin

    Ma ahan qaabkayga

  • GregV8

    Not bad, I wouldn’t call it a replica, but maybe an homage? I think it’s a good choice for a daily work watch, once the street price comes down to under 1000.
    The movement is meh.

  • Aditya

    Screwball pricing, should have been with a solid case back and what’s with the incongruous Bezel? Sub 1000 this would have ben great.

  • Marceau Ratard

    I can see the resemblance to an AP Royal Oak and the GP Laureato, but assuming a street price (grey market) of $1000ish it is an option worth considering for me. I’m going to keep my eyes open for one in the future. I’m a fan of the Royal Oak and the Laureato but I’m not shelling out that kind of money for a steel 3-hander.

    Is it the most original design? Not really, but it is very nice looking watch and the pricing makes it a realistic option for unwashed plebeians (I’m including myself in that group).

  • Lode_Runner

    I have to agree with the others; while there are definitely superficial differences with the design of the AP Royal Oak, the Aikon really lacks originality. There are a lot of pieces that drew inspiration from the AP Royal Oak (including the GP Laureato, Eterna Royal Kontiki, the upcoming Zenith Defy, and even the VC Overseas), but each of those other brands offer some interesting design elements that give them originality.

    The Aikon stands alone as a shameless ripoff. I acknowledge that the $1,999 MSRP places the Aikon well below the AP Royal Oak and all of the other watches listed above that drew inspiration from the Royal Oak, but I think someone spending that kind of money deserves a piece with a little more design originality.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8c553b1784baa698de19bd8e9344cb5494c16e9bad75158d2134187b835d36da.jpg

  • Lode_Runner

    I have to agree with the others; while there are definitely superficial differences with the design of the AP Royal Oak, the Aikon really lacks originality. There are a lot of pieces that drew inspiration from the AP Royal Oak (including the GP Laureato, Eterna Royal Kontiki, the upcoming Zenith Defy, and even the VC Overseas). But each of those other brands offer some interesting design elements that give them originality, making them fully respectable pieces notwithstanding having been inspired by the Royal Oak.

    The Aikon stands alone as a shameless ripoff, and I can see why it’s being savaged so badly on the forums and the comments sections here. It is true that the $1,999 MSRP places the Aikon well below the AP Royal Oak and all of the other watches listed above that drew inspiration from it, but I think someone who spends that kind of money (or less once Aikon prices drop like a rock in the secondary and grey markets), deserves a piece with a little more design originality.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8c553b1784baa698de19bd8e9344cb5494c16e9bad75158d2134187b835d36da.jpg

    It is true that the bezel design on the Aikon is different from the Royal Oak, but that doesn’t really diminish from the overall feeling that it’s a ripoff. Anyway, they stole that element from another iconic watch:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ad980de0c63a713ae0da83224dbf19006bcfdacaf93fbe0f9053e5bfcaced531.jpg

  • Dan Finch

    Lots of new entrants into the RO and Nautilus Homage category. Which is a testament to those watches’ Iconic design. We’ve seen a lot before in the upper and mid price ranges. But this take from Maurice Lacroix seems like the first credible one in the lower price tier. For the Money, I like it! For those complaining about the Sellita Movement, if Hublot’s $9,000 Fusion can get away with it, then why not this one!

  • A.S

    The author says that he will address the Aikon’s similarities to the AP RO later, but he never does. Am I missing something?