March 11, 2016
by Ariel Adams
It was back in 2013 when Swiss Maurice Lacroix first released one of the most beautiful contemporary dive-style watches with the Pontos S Diver. The sporty “Pontos” watch collection has had a number of members over the years, and arguably Maurice Lacroix would be well-advised to clarify the collection’s naming conventions, as, in my opinion, there have been too many “Pontos” watches. With that said, the Maurice Lacroix Pontos S Diver that now comes in a few versions is a great mini-family of Pontos watches unto itself. Let’s check out what I liked about wearing the Maurice Lacroix Pontos S Diver for a while.
In 2014, Maurice Lacroix and aBlogtoWatch offered a Pontos S Diver as a giveaway item and the winner offers a nice “winner review” here. Now, even after all has been said and done regarding the Pontos S Diver on aBlogtoWatch, I am offering my own personal take on this appealing diver, having spent a good deal of time with one. Is this just a pretty-looking dive watch with otherwise generic elements, or is this modern, yet vintage-inspired sport watch a special item in a crowded sea?
I’ve said this before, and I will say it again – contemporary dive watches are hard to come by. Today, the sleek simplicity and nostalgic value of retro or vintage-inspired sport (or otherwise) watches in a sense overshadows the need to have timepieces which look as though they are spawned from today. Modern dive watches represent a look and feel which evokes today, rather than yesterday or tomorrow. Thankfully, the popularity of dive watches makes them a good target for all manners of designs, but the vast majority of modern, contemporary dive watches come from smaller brands, distinct from what most of the bigger brands are offering.
For example, even though Rolex’s Submariner, Sea-Dweller, and DeepSea watches are all modern in their construction, their designs are all based on historic models. Omega has a mixture of vintage and modern-styled dive watches, while the rest of the market mostly leans toward vintage senses of style. So with that said, I was happy wear the Maurice Lacroix Pontos S Diver as not only coming from an established medium-sized brand like Maurice Lacroix, but also as something which, in my opinion, felt like a dive watch of today (albeit mechanical).
That doesn’t mean the Maurice Lacroix Pontos S Diver tries to reinvent what a dive watch is all about. Look at the case and dial design closely, and you’ll notice vintage-inspired elements throughout ranging from the text and markers on the inner rotating bezel as well as the overall dial design proportions. With that said, I can easily say that the vintage-inspired elements are mere nods to the larger corpus of dive watches out there and less about defining the timepiece as a whole.
At 43mm wide in steel (also offered in a PVD-coated black version), the case of the Maurice Lacroix Pontos S Diver is produced in a few parts with various brushed and polished surfaces. Apologies for the lack of case-back image – but it is a solid screw-down caseback with some machine-engraved graphics. The case isn’t the thinnest in the world, but it does offer 600 meters of water resistance (as opposed to the more traditional 300 meters of many other “professional” dive watches), and it contains an automatic helium release valve (a feature that nevertheless has arguable utility) at 9 o’clock on the side of the case.
With its AR-coated domed sapphire crystal, the Maurice Lacroix Pontos S case has a handsome, high-end look that is large but not at all unduly so given the 43mm-wide size. Heavy, with a well-made feeling, the watch looks equally handsome on the chunky milled-link steel bracelet (with its attractive contrast polishing) or the black or brown leather NATO-style strap.
When Maurice Lacroix added the PVD-coated black version of the Maurice Lacroix Pontos S Diver, they unfortunately didn’t add a bracelet option – and thus that version comes on a rubber strap. Quite good-looking in a more stealthy manner, the matte-finishing of the black-colored Maurice Lacroix Pontos S Diver unfortunately hides some of the mixed polished and brushed surfaces that help make this “natural” steel model a lot more visually interesting.
Dial-wise, the Maurice Lacroix Pontos S Diver offers an interesting exercise in modern instrument design. While not inherently minimalist, the dial is free from superfluous elements and ensures a high degree of legible precision thanks to a full scale of both hour and minute markers. The more simple, raised outer ring is the 60-minute rotating timing bezel, and it offers a welcome sense of open space as it moves to the more crowded minute and hour scale on the outside on the inner dial.