December 25, 2018
When it comes to higher-end watches, there are two schools of thought. Actually, it’s much like anything else that requires larger sums of disposable income. You can decide to fly under the radar, or you can blatantly call attention to what you’ve got. Are you hitting the streets in a 9-second sleeper car, or are you drawing all eyes to your overly powerful ride? For watches, I tend towards the more conservative, but now and again, something pops up that makes me say “yeah, I would totally wear that, no question.” The latest one to cross that boundary for me is the Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Gravity Limited Edition, a new version with just enough bright, in-your-face yellow to liven up a familiar design.
Now, I fully realize that with the Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Gravity Limited Edition, it’s much like the the Lamborghini Countach that I loved back in the ’80s – totally fun to look at, but something I was rather unlikely to own. Even so, there is just too much going on here with this watch to not want to daydream about strapping it on your wrist, even if only for a day.
As you’re probably aware, Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Gravity first hit the horological mean streets back in 2014. Here is our initial hands-on with the Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Gravity from that time. It was then that the brand brought the material known as silicon to their assortment, used in the balance staff, pallet level, pallet staff, escapement wheel, and escapement wheel pinion. I’m no expert on materials, but even I can understand that a material that is self-lubricating, non-magnetic, and three times lighter than steel is going to bring great advantages to energy usage and accuracy. You know, the sorts of things any mechanical movement should be looking for.
As with cars, though, all the exotic materials in the world may not be enough. Sure, your fellow watch collectors know what that all means. If you want to show off what you got, though, you need to make a splash. And with the bright yellow dial and subdial in a 43mm-wide and 16mm-thick case (50m water-resistant), this Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Gravity Limited Edition makes one take notice. It all but glows when set against the anthracite PVD finish that the rest of the dial has to it.
If that’s not enough, you’ve also got the hairspring and balance wheel (along with some colorful components of the gear train) on the dial side. I enjoy seeing that balance wheel in motion, and its slow 2.5Hz frequency might not seem as modern as the watch’s overall design aesthetic, but it makes it easier to visually appreciate. The 50-hour power reserve is also a welcome feature. The brand’s presentation, however, is also just so much nicer than the dial cutouts other brands may try to use for a similar effect. We see that on any number of watches, and it just feels like a lazy way to go. Here, how the Maurice Lacroix has packaged the ML230 movement shows that this is not just some commodity piece of hardware. Anyone can cut a hole in their hood for a blower – it’s a different level of engineering to package it all underneath clear windows set into the sheet metal.
If you can’t tell, the Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Gravity Limited Edition has grabbed my imagination just like that Countach of days gone by. All is not perfection in this dreamworld, though. Just as I realized my 6’3″ frame was not going to fold into the Lambo very well, the strap on this watch feels almost like an afterthought. Sure, they put the carbon fiber effect onto the calf leather (further helping my automotive analogy) and put the yellow contrast stitch to pick up the dial highlights. But to me, it feels, well, uninspired. Any number of inexpensive makers will give you a strap that looks like this. Perhaps that will be the most fun for future owners – you can get your own custom strap made up that will embrace the lugs and stock buckle. At least, that’s what I’d be looking to do.
For me, though, that’s not a problem I’d likely need to worry about (and I welcome Maurice Lacroix to change my mind with some hands-on time), as there are only going to be 25 examples of this Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Gravity Limited Edition being made. Hence the, you know, “limited” part of the name. And just like a limited-edition supercar, this is going to hit your wallet for something far north of what we’d call an impulse buy. In this case, it’s CHF 12,000 (including VAT). Again, much like the Lamborghini (or substitute the favorite supercar of your youth), the Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Gravity Limited Edition is a pleasant daydream, unlikely to grace my watch garage. Fortunately, that yellow dial will help me spot it if I see one in the wild. Learn more at mauricelacroix.com