April 29, 2022
The ongoing popularity of integrated bracelet steel sports watches shows no sign of slowing down in 2022. While examples at the upper levels of the market continue to be some of the most sought-after luxury products on Earth, there is fierce competition among integrated designs at nearly every price bracket in the luxury watch industry. The Maurice Lacroix Aikon line is one of the frontrunners on the entry-level luxury side of this market segment, and has expanded into a sea of sizes, variants, and complications since its introduction in 2016. The Aikon series is no stranger to skeleton models, but for its latest release, Maurice Lacroix brings a refined skeleton look to the compact 39mm Aikon platform for the first time. The new Maurice Lacroix Aikon Skeleton takes a considered, architectural approach to skeleton dial design, deftly blending visual drama with clean presentation and an emphasis on finishing.
Although Maurice Lacroix has launched skeletonized variants of the Aikon at 43mm, 44mm, and 45mm sizes, the new Maurice Lacroix Aikon Skeleton is the most modestly sized version to date with a stainless steel case measuring in at a compact 39mm-wide and 11mm-thick. The overall case form is shared with the rest of the Aikon series, with its angular, layered interpretation of integrated sports watch cues. As with previous iterations of the line, the Aikon Skeleton’s bezel is the centerpiece of this case design, featuring six signature “claws” that add a sense of depth and complexity to the bezel while providing a sharply polished contrast to the vertically brushed surface below in images. A steep polished bevel completes this element, and harmonizes with the continuous polished case side chamfers to give the case a cohesive feel. Around back, Maurice Lacroix fits the Aikon Skeleton with a sapphire display caseback, and rates the watch for an impressive dive-ready 200 meters of water resistance.
Maurice Lacroix takes a far cleaner and more structured approach to the dial of the Aikon Skeleton than with its previous skeletonized iterations. With dial hardware pared back to a simple set of tapering baton hands and a slim set of beveled rectangular indices, the Aikon Skeleton devotes nearly all the visual real estate under the sapphire crystal to presenting its movement. However, the brand uses a subtle clear sapphire dial surface to separate the functional dial elements from the movement below, which should help to create a stealthy visual boundary layer on the wrist to aid with legibility. While previous skeleton models in the line have trended towards open, complex movements with little in the way of visual organization, here the brand centers the design around a series of custom skeleton bridges with a recurring motif of interlocking concentric rings. Inspired by the world of modern urban architecture, these circular bridges establish a firm personality for the design in images and give the handset a firmer visual backdrop for (marginally) easier legibility. Although some of these bridge rings are partial or implied by their surroundings, they form a striking canvas for Maurice Lacroix’s finishing efforts in images. The brand gives these elements a layered effect with a two-tiered finishing process, treating the raised outer edges with a heavily grained sunburst brushed finish that contrasts handsomely with the matte sandblasted texture of the recessed inner areas. This more substantial buildup of skeleton bridges also allows Maurice Lacroix to visually frame key movement elements, and highlights like the 12 o’clock balance wheel, 5 o’clock open mainspring barrel, and the exposed gear train at the dial’s center sharply stand out from their surroundings as a result.
The Sellita SW200-based ML115 automatic skeleton movement inside the Maurice Lacroix Aikon Skeleton was designed hand-in-hand with Sellita with this particular watch in mind, and this deliberate approach to skeleton design shines through from the dial side. From the caseback side, the ML115 offers a somewhat more conventional presentation, but the brand tops these blockier plates and bridges with an intriguing arabesque sunburst brushed finish in images. The cutout winding rotor receives the same sunburst and sandblasted finishing treatment as the dial-side bridges, but here Maurice Lacroix adds a layer of anthracite gray ruthenium plating for a bolder contrast. Performance-wise, however, the ML115 remains unchanged from its Sellita base, with a below-average 38-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. The Maurice Lacroix Aikon Skeleton inherits its stainless steel integrated bracelet from the rest of the series, and its familiar five-row layout remains an attractive showcase for a blend of brushed planes and highly polished chamfers.
With a thoughtful, architecture-inspired approach to skeleton dial design paired to compact, wearable dimensions and eye-catchingly intricate finishing, the new Maurice Lacroix Aikon Skeleton is an intelligent and striking contender in one of the modern watch industry’s most hotly contested market segments. The Maurice Lacroix Aikon Skeleton is available now through authorized dealers. MSRP for the Maurice Lacroix Aikon Skeleton stands at $3,450 as of press time. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.