December 21, 2015
by Rob Nudds
Maurice Lacroix launched their first in-house calibre in 2008. Since then, the Saignelégier-based brand has upped its catalogue of in-house-made movements to 13. As well as focusing on in-house development, the company has been churning-out an impressive 90,000 watches a year. In light of such productivity, it’s nice to see they’ve still got time for the odd curiosity. Recently, we saw the release of the Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Gravity Harrods Exclusive Limited Edition watch in London, which will be limited to just three pieces.
Now, that’s a mouthful of a name, but it seems to have been justified by the interest this piece has already received (rumour has it the watch sold out before it even went on display). We’ve seen watches created for Harrods before (check out the MeisterSinger Salthora Meta here), and they seem to sell like hotcakes. Limiting a watch’s run increases desirability automatically. Watch collectors go nuts for rare objects, especially those by established brands. But there is plenty to like about the Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Gravity Harrods Exclusive Limited Edition watch aside from its scarcity-appeal.
The watch has a very sleek appearance from the front. This style of floating dials and exposed mainplates with decorated dial-sides is polarising, but well-executed in this instance. Maurice Lacroix have chosen to keep things relatively simple with the functional elements that the open dial reveals. The balance wheel is proudly displayed on the left-hand side of the dial, visible from a multitude of angles thanks to the “glass-box” sapphire crystal. I’m quite a fan of these tall-sided crystals. I’ve seen them used to great effect on a couple of high-end Breguet watches, as well as on the case backs of a the new Omega Dark Side of the Moon range (hands-on here).
It really emphasizes the levels of chunky, architecturally bold movements like this. There isn’t much in the way of superfluous filigree to the Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Gravity Harrods Exclusive Limited Edition watch, but what does exist is incredibly solid. The dial side of the mainplate (or main bridge, as you might prefer to call it in the somewhat topsy-turvy context of this movement) is decorated with the exclusive “Vague du Jura” pattern and acts as a muted backdrop to the two blue dials by which the time is indicated. The pattern looks very much like a classic Côtes de Genève decoration and may only differ in name.
The top dial indicates the hours and the minutes, while the bottom dial is home to a running seconds hand, which partially obscures the back-end of the gear train. As well as the mainplate, the dial-side of the Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Gravity Harrods Exclusive Limited Edition watch features four cocks including the balance cock. The cocks reach out towards the balance, like fingers pointing towards an object of interest. From the render made available to us, it is unclear what the cock immediately to the right of the balance cock is there for (it appears to be a phantom wedge), but the cocks around 6 and 5 o’clock carry the silicium escape wheel and the final wheel of the gear train.
The Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Gravity was the first timepiece to feature a fully silicium balance, and the calibre ML230 used in the Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Gravity Harrods Exclusive Limited Edition continues that trend. The ML230 is visible through a sapphire case back, although there are, unfortunately, no images of this available. The in-house ML230 is an automatic calibre with 35 jewels, an 18,000vph operating speed, and a 50-hour power reserve. The plates, cocks, and bridges are rhodium plated. Aside from the main bridge, which is brought to life by the Vague du Jura decoration, all other surfaces are either media-blasted or brushed.
The case is 43mm wide and is made of stainless steel. The glass-box sapphire has anti-reflective coating on both sides. The case back screws down, boasts an edge-to-edge crystal, and is engraved with the serial number to indicate which in this ultra-limited range of three it is. The Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Gravity Harrods Exclusive Limited Edition is water resistant to 50 metres and comes on a black alligator strap with a fold-over clasp in steel. With only three models available, this watch will likely sell out quickly. If you miss out on the chance to own or view it, you can check out the similar models from Maurice Lacroix, such as the version we went hands-on with here, and more on the brand’s website. Price for the Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Gravity Harrods Exclusive Limited Edition is available on request. mauricelacroix.com