July 29, 2016
by David Bredan
With that noted, I still maintain that the Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure’s high-tech feel does in fact result in a lack of fun and soul – but that is not something that couldn’t be restored with a touch of creativity. I remember the struggle of picking which Armure to review: there are numerous different options, including dials satin-finished in grey or blue, as well as silver or black Geneva striped ones, along with 44-millimeter wide cases in 316L stainless steel or black-treated steel.
On a personal note, I’m utterly bored with black cases of any type as well as blue dials in general – two of the most over-done trends of the last 2-3 years, I think. Hence, I went for a regular steel case with a matching grey dial and a few splashes of red here and there.
While the amazing fit and finish give enough to be excited about – if you are the type who appreciates these kinds of things – the overall impression on the wrist, for me at least, remained very much “I could take it or leave it.” Taste is very personal, and some will definitely enjoy the under-the-radar look of this grey watch on a black rubber strap… But this combo, I will admit, left me feeling quite a bit upset.
I wanted to like the Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure more on the wrist, I wanted it to wear in tune with how fantastic it looked and felt when scrutinized up close – but, out of the box, it wasn’t happening. My frustration led me to try and find the culprit, and find it I did: it was the black rubber strap. It feels supple and flexible, so it is comfortable to wear; however, even from a few feet away (or when glancing down at it on the wrist) it looks 2-3 grades lower quality than it actually is. There is something about the slightly faded black and the three lengthwise grooves which make it appear to be from a much less refined watch – even if to the touch it unquestionably is a high quality strap.
So I removed it from the watch – and, for a glorious moment, I could at last feel the designs’ real potential surface. I took the simplest, most restrained brown leather strap that I had laying around, put it on the Armure, and the watch was immediately transformed. To my great relief, this simple strap change worked great with the smooth, angled surfaces of the case, it lightened up the grey tones visually, making it appear to be as high-quality as it actually is and – heavens forbid – luxurious. The Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure’s vibe turned into a great everyday wear from what looked like something you forgot to take off after your scuba dives while on your summer holiday.
I am not sure, but can imagine why the duo went for the black rubber strap, as it might have helped highlight the water resistant, go-anywhere nature of the watch. But the Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure has to also be equipped for everyday wear so that it works with all kinds of attire. For this reason, I feel the black rubber strap should have always been a secondary option that was supplied with the watch, while, out of the box, a higher-quality, but simple-looking brown or black strap would be a much better companion.
On a final note, the 44mm-wide and 14mm-thick case does have some sharp edges here and there, but absolutely none that would cause any harm while wearing the watch or using the crown – something that is not at all true for most other comparably angular case designs out there. With its flat case-back and short lugs, the Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure sits comfortably on the wrist, even if the steel case is not without the usual heft of this size. I am pretty sure that more material options will follow – and, for whatever reason, looking at this watch makes me want to see a version with a steel case and a yellow gold bezel.
We have already mentioned dial color options, but time now for a closer look. A total of 13 applied indices adorn the grey, satin-looking, subtly sunburst-finished dial. Enforcing the grey theme are the three hands, with the two larger (which objectively appear to have taken inspiration from those seen on the Royal Oak Offshore) having been perfectly legible to my eyes under all but the darkest of lighting conditions.
While the duo at Mauron Musy have seemingly done everything in their power to make the hands look very similar to each other, reading the time quickly has never been much of a struggle for me. Still, even if the hour and minute hands’ exact same shape were not an issue, the notches at their half point can at times can make them more difficult to tell apart than would be deemed ideal. The sweeping seconds hand tends to blend into the dial in any environment as dark or darker than a dimly lit room. Quality of the hands is fantastic with or without taking the price point into consideration: diamond polished and beautifully three-dimensional, they have plenty of volume and are properly sized.
The dial appears to be high-quality enough to nicely complement the case: both its color, sheen, and quality of execution make it a solid match to the somewhat unusual, more saturated silvery color of the case. I do wonder, though, what the indices and hands would look like with slightly wider strips of Super-Luminova: proportions are fine design-wise, but night-time legibility could be a lot better, for as bright as the lume might glow, there simply isn’t enough surface of it revealed for the eye to see with ease.
Lastly, the dial scores some extra points for the white-on-black date disc, the nicely balanced texts, and especially for the red on the 12 o’clock indices, the tip of the seconds hand, and on the fonts for the Swiss Made text at 6.
Inside the Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure is the proudly 100% Swiss Made Eterna Calibre 3909A. We have looked at the Eterna 39 in great detail in our Movement Hands-On series here, but in a nutshell what you need to know is that it is one of the most impressive series-produced new movements put into production since the quartz crisis. Despite its thin profile and 4-Hertz frequency, the Eterna 3909A provides 65 hours of power reserve, replenished with a genuinely unnoticeable automatic winding that works free of annoying vibrations or winding sounds.
Furthermore, the movement hacks and the crown operates smoothly, allowing for quick and accurate setting of the time – and remember, there is no screw-down crown to be fiddled with. I loved how the 39 ran so silently, allowing me to work with the watch put on the desk next to my laptop.
Revealed through an ever-so-slightly raised and in fact very discreetly labeled sapphire crystal case-back, the movement and its custom, skeletonized rotor appear to be remarkably flat – and yet, no loud ticking can be heard, even with the balance wheel falling so close to the crystal. A superb movement overall, and kudos to Mauron Musy for not renaming it to imply a fake proprietary movement – it further goes to testify to their intentions of getting a solid movement to power their watch, and that’s the end of it.
I have admittedly had my ups and downs with the Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure. The quality of execution of all the watch head’s components, and especially the machining of the case, is definitely among the very best in this segment. It is, however, light on fancy finishing and required a bit of work to get to its full potential. The black rubber strap, as comfortable as it may be, kills the watch’s vibe – put it on a simple brown leather strap and the watch transforms into one heck of a daily wearer. Mauron Musy is among the first to base a collection of watches on the Eterna Caliber 39, and their open-mindedness pays huge dividends: the Caliber 39 runs smoothly and silently, with no annoying vibrations and 50% more power reserve when compared to its ETA counterparts.
Priced at 5,500 CHF, the Mauron Musy Classic Steel Armure’s forte is in its proprietary case and nO-Ring design, as well as its fantastic overall quality of execution, allowing it to be a more unique and creative option for those looking for a daily wear watch that is everything but off-the-shelf. mauronmusy.com
>Brand: Mauron Musy
>Model: Classic Steel Armure Reference MU 01-202
>Price: 5,500 CHF
>Size: 44mm wide, 14mm thick
>Would reviewer personally wear it: Yes.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Someone with an open mind for new brands and an appreciation of luxury items with an emphasis more on fit and finish than story or soul.
>Best characteristic of watch: Case design and machining; intelligently matched colors and finishing throughout; superb movement.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Shipped exclusively on a rubber strap which fails to complement the watch and bring it to its full potential – so much better on a leather strap.