Like many other Swiss watchmakers today seeking to assert themselves in changing times, Maurice Lacroix is examining its character and concentrating on its strengths. A focus on youthful ideals, the ubiquity of e-commerce, as well as overall price reductions more or less define what the people at Maurice Lacroix are thinking about on a daily basis. These areas are also the impetus for their efforts which have indeed resulted in price reductions across the board, as well as beginning to embrace modern distribution and sales.

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Such a direction is probably a good idea for a brand that, from a design perspective, does a really nice job of combining the old and the new. I still feel that the core Maurice Lacroix personality (as a brand) has yet to be clearly defined, but the watches themselves speak very clearly to a younger, more contemporary design-focused audience that looks for value and longevity. That leads me to the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph, which I actually saw hands-on in this form at Baselworld 2016. I am pretty sure there will be additional updates for Baselworld 2017.

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You might agree that “Pontos Chronograph” is a bit too simple of a name for the collection. I probably feel that way because there have been many Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph models with the same or similar names before it. These reference PT6388-SS001/PT6388-SS002 family Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph watches are a wonderful sweet spot when measuring price, classic design, comfort, and stylish versatility – and as of right now, there are five dial varieties which come on either a strap or a matching steel metal bracelet.

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What I like about the design – as I’ve said in the past about many Maurice Lacroix watches – is the combination of contemporary “architected” aesthetics with classic proportions and design values. It’s an old-style watch in fresh skin, and I think that is exactly what a lot of people are looking for. Especially those newly into fine timepieces. When I was in my early 20s and just getting into good watches, this is the exact type of design that I would have been drawn to. Why? I would have considered it a design that is thoroughly contemporary, but that values conservative elements of watch design intended to make a watch appear both serious and sexy on a man’s wrist. In other words, this isn’t a watch that looks like a toy, nor does it look like a watch from another era irrelevant to those things which I would value today.

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Even though I’m a seasoned collector with a range of tastes, I still appreciate the familiar looks and sharp appeal of something like the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph. The 43mm-wide polished and brushed steel case is a good size for something sporty but also with a more elegant edge to it. The brand’s Pontos Diver collection will be a bit sportier than these, but with the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph you can get away with it acting as either a casual or more formal business timepiece.

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The case is water-resistant to 100 meters with a domed AR-coated sapphire crystal. As I mentioned, case detailing is good for the money, and something that people new to the world of watches costing “a couple grand” should be looking for. Those with more sober tastes can opt for the all silver dial, while those wanting a louder watch will no doubt like the silver and black “panda dial” model of the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph that is my favorite. There is even a Maurice Lacroix version of a “blue panda” with a blue and silver dial that is quite striking.

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Inside the watch is “either” a Maurice Lacroix caliber ML112 or ML157 automatic movement. That’s a weird thing to say indeed, but what I think that means is that the movement is either a base Swiss ETA Valjoux 7750 or Swiss Sellita SW500. Both are essentially the same movement, being automatic 12-hour chronograph watches operating at 4Hz with 46 hours of power reserve.

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Recently Maurice Lacroix has brought back a small design cue from its past, which is a small metal pin of the Maurice Lacroix logo which is placed into the black or brown strap. I personally think that on the strap the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph has a more mature look, while on the bracelet the same watch is more youthful and active feeling. I’m thoroughly a “bracelet boy,” so I’d choose the three-link steel bracelet option every time. Note the presence of nicely polished, beveled edged on the bracelet.

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Dial design is simple but spirited with legible hands and bold subdials. To prevent the dial from looking flat, it is given a series of appliques from the hour markers to the rings around the upper and lower chronograph subdials. Lume is painted on the hands and on the outside of the polished hour markers. I like how the right area of the dial is reserved for the brand name, while the date indicator window is discreetly placed above 6 o’clock, with a black or white disc so as not to stand out too much on the dial.

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More seasoned watch owners seeking more distinct designs will also find something from Maurice Lacroix, but in other collections. For those seeking something simple and capable for daily wear, or who are just getting into Swiss mechanical watches, the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Chronograph is a solid choice. Retail price on the strap is $2,750 USD and on the bracelet it is $2,900.

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