August 26, 2020
Since its introduction in 2000, the Pontos series has been a centerpiece for Maurice Lacroix, with a wide range of designs and complications united by a dedication to reinterpreting classic style. To celebrate two decades of this versatile sport-dress collection, the brand has announced not one but five new iterations ranging from modern reinterpretations of midcentury chronograph cues to refreshed three-hander colorways. All told, the new releases are split among three models, including two new versions of the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Day-Date, two new iterations of the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph, and the flagship limited-edition Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph Monopusher.
Without a doubt the most technically impressive of the new arrivals, the limited edition Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph Monopusher is a fitting tribute to 20 years of a series that has always threaded the needle between modern and classical cues. The 41mm stainless steel case follows the familiar Pontos form, with a simple smooth bezel and wide-set hooked lugs, but this dichotomy between contemporary and vintage ideas is exemplified in the new additions this model brings. The black PVD finish gives this model a stealthy, aggressive modern feel, but the single oversized piston pusher at 2 o’clock evokes the look of classic ‘40s and ‘50s chronograph designs. The dial continues this trend of combining old and new cues, however, the result feels defter and more cohesive than the case. The dial surface itself is a unique alternative to the standard black, combining both a degradè and sunburst finish for a dynamic, faded look. The semi-skeleton hour and minutes hands continue this more modern trend, while the central chronograph seconds features an eye-catching pair of blue and red stripes corresponding to the tachymeter and telemeter scales. The rest of the dial skews more vintage in its styling, from the large applied Arabic numerals to the outer railroad minutes track, as well as the oversized two-register layout. The real visual centerpiece here is the pair of concentric rings containing the tachymeter and telemeter scales. This, like the monopusher layout, is very much a vintage-inspired touch, but the relatively simple style and the punches of color it adds to an overwhelmingly monochrome design help it to integrate handsomely into the overall package. Even the 6 o’clock date window is impressively integrated into the package, maintaining the symmetry of the dial while providing a useful visual counterweight to the large applied Maurice Lacroix emblem at 12 o’clock.
Inside the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph Monopusher beats the new ML166 automatic monopusher chronograph movement. Maurice Lacroix is cagey about whether the ML166 is a completely in-house powerplant or based on existing architecture, but the movement is handsomely decorated and visible through a sapphire display caseback. The plates and bridges are rhodium-plated for extra flash and embellished with a mix of perlage and Côtes de Genève, while the rotor features additional Côtes de Genève and circular brushing. In terms of performance, the ML166 offers a solid 58 hours of power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. Maurice Lacroix finishes this package with a classic black alligator pattern leather strap and a PVD coated butterfly deployant clasp. Only 500 examples of the limited-edition Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph Monopusher will be made.
The second group of new additions to the Pontos lineup are two new dial variants for the standard Pontos Chronograph. The 43mm stainless steel cases are carried over from prior versions of the Pontos Chronograph, with the distinctive combination of wide curving rectangular pushers, narrow polished bezels, and the signature stepped lug design. While the overall shape may be familiar, both new variants introduce a special engraved caseback celebrating the Pontos line’s 20th anniversary. The dial designs, on the other hand, are a dramatic departure from previous iterations. The first and more striking model of the pair is a clean white-dial model, featuring airy blued applied Arabic numerals alongside blued semi-skeleton hands. While the blue on white colorway is a classic choice, Maurice Lacroix takes a few liberties with the combination to make the look its own. Perhaps the best of these come with the blued highlight rings surrounding the 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock subdials, creating a visual focal point that helps to distract somewhat from the often unbalancing 9 o’clock running seconds. There’s a subtle bit of functional color coding here as well, with all chronograph functions highlighted in regular stainless steel against the blue hands for general timekeeping. The second colorway is a silver sunburst dial with dramatic light play, accented by gold plated hands and numerals. While a two-tone dial design like this can work, the absence of any gold on the case or bracelet leaves this one feeling slightly unbalanced as a result, while the color-coding of its stablemate is abandoned in favor of an all-gold look for the handset.
Both new Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph models are powered by the Valjoux 7750 based ML112 automatic chronograph movement. With a 42-hour power reserve and a 28,800 bph beat rate, this is a reliable and familiar performer. Maurice Lacroix offers these new Pontos Chronograph models on either an oyster-style three-link bracelet or a signed alligator pattern calf-leather strap. While the bracelet adds a sporty energy to the overall design, the strap feels much more in harmony with the dial. The navy blue strap available for the white dial version makes a particularly handsome combination, giving off a dressy, marine chronometer-inflected style.
The final two additions to the Pontos line are two new versions of the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Day-Date. Closely following the overhauled look for the Pontos Day-Date series unveiled in 2017, these two models cleave close to the new family look but take the style to bold new spaces. While the first variant features an identical 41mm stainless steel case to the 2017 model, the second version takes this distinctive 41mm stepped-lug form and renders it in a reddish bronze. This bronze tone immediately sets this new version apart on the wrist, showcasing a finely executed mix of brushed and polished surfaces while offering the potential for unique patina as the watch is worn. This warm and dramatic colorway continues to the dial of this bronze model, with a verdant olive green sunburst dial accented by rose gold PVD hands and a similarly treated 12 o’clock marker. While the use of rose gold PVD for the other indices may have led to a more cohesive overall look, the applied rhodium markers give this a slightly unorthodox, contrasting charm. The new stainless steel case model, on the other hand, uses the same silver sunburst dial surface as some of its earlier predecessors while adding rose gold PVD hands and indices. Like the new Pontos Chronograph models, this combination may suffer a touch from lack of gold in the case or bracelet, but the combination feels more cohesive here in a less complex dial environment.
Like previous models in the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Day-Date range, these two new models use the Sellita SW200 based ML143 automatic movement. Outside of branding and light decoration, Maurice Lacroix does little to change the ML143, which features a relatively standard performance of 38 hours of power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. For the stainless steel model, Maurice Lacroix offers both an athletic three-link bracelet and a black alligator pattern calfskin strap with deployant clasp, which alternately emphasizes the sporting and dressy sides of the watch’s character. For the bronze dial version, only an alligator-pattern strap is available, but the deep tobacco brown plays handsomely off the bright warm tones of the case and hands.
In celebrating 20 years of the Pontos series, Maurice Lacroix has successfully shown off the depth and breadth of this wildly versatile line with a series of variants highlighting several different aspects of its character. The limited-edition Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph Monopusher, Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph, and the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Day-Date are available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for the limited-edition Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph Monopusher starts at €3,890, with pricing for the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph starting at €2,690, and the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Day-Date starts at €1,490. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.