There is no more hotly contested segment in the modern watch industry than the integrated-bracelet sports watch space. In the upper echelons of the luxury market, these designs form some of the most recognizable and desirable luxury products in the world, routinely trading in the secondary market for well above MSRP. The more affordable side of the market has seen its own escalating integrated-bracelet competition in recent years, and one of the leading contenders in this white-hot segment is Maurice Lacroix and its distinctive Aikon series. Since 2016, Maurice Lacroix has explored a wide variety of concepts and colorways with its “claw bezel” riff on the classic integrated-bracelet silhouette, and for 2022 the brand introduces its most vibrant and environmentally-minded Aikon to date. The new Maurice Lacroix Aikon #tide series brings a boldly chromatic new sensibility to the series, combining one of the trendiest designs in modern watchmaking with eco-friendly construction and a remarkably approachable price point.
Although the angular, ‘70s-inspired integrated shape of the Maurice Lacroix Aikon #tide’s case should be familiar to fans of the brand, the new ocean plastic-derived case material and veritable rainbow of available colors brings a playful new energy to the design in images. Measuring in at 40mm-wide and a manageable 11mm-thick, each case is made in cooperation with the ocean plastic upcycling specialists at #tide from a proprietary blend of ocean-sourced plastics and fiberglass to create a material twice as hard, five times more scratch resistant, and with a far smaller environmental impact than first-use PET plastic. Maurice Lacroix claims that for each Aikon #tide made the equivalent of 17 plastic bottles are removed from the ocean, making this series more than just a message, but a tangible (if small) positive impact on the ocean ecosystem. Rather than the stainless steel Aikon’s mix of brushed and polished surfaces, the full case of each Aikon #tide model is finished with a grainy matte surface. Although this is an undoubtedly simpler solution, and one which tends to hide many of the Aikon’s complex facets in images, it also serves as a clean canvas for the array of available case color options. Maurice Lacroix offers 10 distinct colorways in all, with five cases featuring the Aikon’s signature six-claw bezel in black, while the remaining five are finished in full monochrome color. The black-bezel models are clearly the more masculine-focused offerings in images, ranging from a stealthy and aggressive black-on-black treatment to a bright sunny yellow, hazard orange, grass green, and a bright blue. For the five all-color variants, the brand generally takes a markedly softer, more feminine approach in images, including full-color cases in mint green, candy pink, sky blue, bold magenta, and a stylish navy blue. Each model in the series offers a solid 100 meters of water resistance, which may not be fully up to diving standards but should provide adequate protection for sporting wear.
With the exception of the navy blue-cased version, each model in the Maurice Lacroix Aikon #tide series uses a dial color-matched to its plastic composite case. Maurice Lacroix plays into the ocean conservation theme here with a vagues du Jura dial finish, featuring overlapping semicircular guilloche segments that call to mind fish scales in initial images. With such dramatic use of texture and color, Maurice Lacroix wisely keeps the rest of the dial layout simple in images. Each model uses slim applied rectangular indices and simple pointed baton hands in clean glossy black, white, or navy blue, depending on the dial backdrop. For the mint green, candy pink, sky blue, and magenta models, the brand injects the simple design with an added layer of feminine flash, encrusting the indices with 44 individually set diamonds totaling 0.1 carats. The navy blue-cased model forms the odd one out in this grouping, opting instead for a bright optic white dial and dial hardware in case-matching navy blue. All in all, this simple, color-forward layout works quite effectively in images to create a contemporary and youthful feel, but each model in the line except for the black and white dial variants suffers slightly from the use of a mismatched date wheel at 3 o’clock.
Although Maurice Lacroix keeps the exact details of this movement close to the vest, each model in the Aikon #tide line is powered by a Swiss quartz movement. This may upset purists in the enthusiast community, but doubtless helps to keep the overall cost of the watch down while providing reliable and accurate performance. To complete the package, Maurice Lacroix fits each variant in the Aikon #tide series with an integrated textured rubber strap. Each model sports Maurice Lacroix’s signature applied “ML” emblem at 6 o’clock on the strap, rendered in case-matching ocean plastic composite. For the more aggressive black bezel designs, the brand offers this strap in a sporting black, while all-color models are instead paired with stylish white rubber.
Featuring a design that combines its fan-favorite integrated look with striking color and ocean-friendly materials, the Maurice Lacroix Aikon #tide line is an eye-catching and fashionable new entry-level addition to the hotly contested integrated bracelet sports watch landscape. Each model in the Maurice Lacroix Aikon #tide series is available now through authorized dealers. Starting MSRP for the Maurice Lacroix Aikon #tide stands at $750 as of press time. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.