February 16, 2018
by Zach Pina
Like it or not, “athleisure” is still white-hot. Thankfully though, the style trend still continues to evolve, having seemingly outgrown the glut of tailored sweatpants and brogues with sneaker soles from previous years. Newly revised in 2017, the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Day Date is leading a similar growing evolution in the luxury sport watch category, where technical details are key, but so are good looks – and like a tailored blazer made with waterproof Schoeller softshell, or a windproof Merino wool sweater, the more classic the look and the stealthier the capability, the better.
Unlike the realm of a traditional dive watch whose design codes might technically relegate it to a singular purpose (whether or not that expressed purpose remains the actual wear context is another conversation entirely), the Pontos – and by extension, watches that share this category like the Omega Aqua Terra, the Black Bay 41, the Tag Heuer Link, and the Oris Artix, are not overtly sport watches per se, but stylistically versatile enough to pair confidently with three-piece suits, and bathing suits alike.
Look past the brushed sunray dial and beveled indices, and you’ll notice the rest of the sport-dress ’tells’ present with the Pontos – the more modern 41mm dimensions, the slightly chunkier case to accommodate for 100m of water resistance, the subtly integrated crown guards, and luminous hands and hour markers in the grained center ring. There’s also a healthy dose of nice texture and dimension in the dial not commonly seen around this price point – particularly around the beveled day and date apertures – details which should appeal to those looking for something a little more dynamic than comparably priced entrants in this category.
Even for what’s arguably designed to be a classic sport-dress watch, there’s still a lot going on here though – and that’s not necessarily a good thing. When it comes to the balance between sport and dress, there’s an incredibly fine line between the two – and in most instances, less is more. Ironically, many of the interesting custom elements that make the Pontos such a treat to look at, also feel a tad over-designed, yielding a highly distinctive, modern watch that’s ultimately missing the smooth, visual harmony that seems to define most of the classic entrants in this space. Is it a bad thing? Hardly – in fact, it feels more like a brand signature for Maurice Lacroix than a knock against it, as there’s a distinct modernity found throughout many of their offerings, both past and current.
In some form or another, the Pontos has been a mainstay in the Maurice Lacroix family for nearly two decades. And while there have probably been too many watches carrying the Pontos designation over the years, the line has seemingly maintained its sporty underpinnings, probably best exemplified by the Pontos S Diver, introduced in 2013 (and reviewed by Ariel here). The Pontos Day Date feels like a close relative though, and an admirable offering that dresses up the dial a bit, without compromising legibility or water resistance. It does feel like it wears a touch broader than the Diver though, but this is a pretty common side-effect of eliminating the depth or contrast that a rotating bezel brings. Not unlike the 38.5 Aqua Terras, in 39 millimeters, this Pontos would really sing. Thankfully, the subtly downturned lugs and relatively flat caseback keep the watch comfortable and close to the wrist.
And while the most interesting shapes and textures are mostly found on the dial, the Pontos Day Date also exhibits some very nice details in the case, which again, are not commonly found at this price, to echo a familiar refrain. The case sides with their contrasting brushed and polished surfaces, followed by the stepped lugs are probably the most visually obvious, as the latter provides a nice line of continuity with the crown guards on the 3:00 side of the case. Those lines repeat on the beveled and etched double-folding deployant clasp (it’s probably worth noting that this is one of the nicest deployant clasps I’ve handled in a long time, though the same can’t be said for the accompanying stiff calfskin leather strap), which is an extremely nice touch. Then there’s the crown, which has this deep, grippy knurling which subtly curves down, and inwards towards the case, as if to guide your fingers as you screw it securely back into place upon setting the time.
However, what you won’t find at this price point, is exemplary movement finishing – and though Maurice Lacroix has certainly done its best with some attractive circular and vertical graining, the ML143 (an automatic SW200 base movement) visible through the exhibition caseback is still a pretty basic caliber, adjusted in three positions and delivering equally basic chronometric performance at 4Hz, with 38 hours of reserve.
The Pontos Day Date, along with the rest of its leather-shod compatriots in the collection, comes on a 20mm calfskin leather strap, with a metal ‘M’ insert set into the strap’s padding at 6:00. It’s a neat little touch, and one that’s not terribly common – particularly on leather straps. If you’re planning on getting the Pontos wet though, all its aforementioned versatility ensures it dresses down just as well on a perforated rubber strap – or if you’re dressing way down, on a NATO as well.
This silver dial paired with the dark brown leather strap is particularly handsome, but perhaps the dressiest combination of the large Day Date collection. It’s worth noting there are certainly sportier dial options like grey, black or blue, and a wide range of different colored leather straps available, if you’re more inclined to wear it casually. There’s also a three-link bracelet collection, which, should the Pontos case and clasp design act as any indicator, should be of excellent quality.
Priced at $1,750, there’s certainly no lack of competition in this Swiss-made realm – particularly from offerings by Oris, Baume et Mercier, or Montblanc – all of whom deploy the same Sellita-based calibers. But Maurice Lacroix seems to be taking all the right strides with their signature Pontos, increasing its value proposition while strengthening the visual identity of this maturing, modern sport-dress watch. mauricelacroix.com
>Brand: Maurice Lacroix
>Model: Pontos Day Date ref. PT6358-SS001-130-1
>Price: $1,750 USD
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: The “hey, nice watch” guy at the office – someone who lusts after that certain modern, “Swiss-ness” in a watch, but one who also couldn’t dream of spending more than $2,000.
>Best characteristic of watch: Excellent build quality, very unique visual DNA with beautiful case angles, and lots of depth and contrasting texture in the dial.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Designed to be classic, but perhaps a touch over-designed. Also not quite as comfortable or elegant as competitors in this space.