In 2023, Zurich-based watchmaker Maurice de Mauriac turns 25 years old. The company was founded by the charismatic and artistic Daniel Dreifuss, who spent years doing various forms of watch design and manufacturing before starting his own brand. He built the company for his family and dedicated most of the last 25 years to tirelessly running and improving it. If there is one lesson that watch brand entrepreneurs can learn from Daniel Dreifuss, it is that to be successful in starting a watch brand, you need to apply endless effort in the form of energy and focus, as well as a honed eye for fashion and quality. Now semi-retired, Dreifuss has handed over the reins of Maurice de Mauriac to his two sons, Leo and Massimo. For the 25th anniversary of the Maurice de Mauriac brand, the “watch brothers” came up with this lovely (very blue) limited-edition timepiece known as the Maurice de Mauriac Chrono Modern Blue PVD “Big Date” reference MDM.330.TI.45.BIGDATE.BE.

The primary “25th-anniversary jubilee” Easter egg on the watch is a different luminant color (and brightness) applied to the 25 minute indicator. As you can see in the lume shot, the 25 minute marker glows blue (versus the typical green) and is appreciably brighter than much other lume. Maurice de Mauriac applied the limitation number on the rotor of the watch (which on the pictured timepiece is 2). Otherwise the Chrono Modern Blue PVD is a slight evolution of the Chronograph Modern (Chrono Modern) timepiece concept that has been working well for years. Check out my first review of a Maurice de Mauriac Chronograph Modern watch that I published back in 2010 here.

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Some people find Maurice de Mauriac’s take on the pilot watch a bit derivative at this point, but that is mainly because since the Chrono Modern first came out, there have been a lot of pilot watches released in the market. In fact, Maurice de Mauriac claims that it was first to use this particular modern dial font, which was later used in a similar form on Richard Mille watches. Maurice de Mauriac has also been an innovator in terms of colors and often materials. Being obsessed with color led Dreifuss to experiment early on with  brightly colored dials, bold color-coated watch cases, offering very spirited straps to go with the watches, creating a modular case concept that allowed consumers to mix and match parts to allow for their ideal timepiece, using color sapphire crystals, and collaboration products with interesting design personalities who are outside of the traditional watch industry. Maurice de Mauriac was an early innovator in these spaces.

For me, the Chrono Modern has always represented a uniquely contemporary take on a conservative Swiss sports watch. Recall that this is a “Zurich Made” timepiece, and with that comes the reputation of the city. It is the heart of German-speaking Switzerland, which, compared to French-speaking Geneva, is seen as being a bit more practical, functional, and utility-focused. That said, Zurich is still very much Switzerland, a place where “codes” and tradition are very important. In a lot of ways, the Chrono Modern is just what the name promises: a contemporary take on a product concept that has been popular coming from Swiss watch brands for decades. What makes the brand special is the personal touch and experience of traveling to the Maurice de Mauriac atelier in Zurich and having a watch assembled for you.

Years ago, Maurice de Mauriac never had limited-edition watches, or even clear product names. While I wasn’t there from the start with the brand, I do recall many seminal points in the company’s evolution that really did modernize in large part when being taken over by Dreifuss’ two sons. So, when I look at this 25-piece limited edition in honor of the 25th anniversary of the brand, I recall about 12 years ago talking with the brand about putting together models just like this. Those are Swiss Made time scales.

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The Chrono Modern Blue PVD “Big Date” begins with the larger 45mm-wide Chrono Modern case (Maurice de Mauriac has smaller versions in 39 and 42mm-wide sizes, I believe). Thickness is up there at around 16mm, and the lug-to-lug distance is 53.5mm. The case here is in titanium but coated with blue PVD. This is one very blue timepiece, and I really admire it for truly investing in that color theme accented with only white. The case has an AR-coated domed sapphire crystal over the dial, as well as being water resistant to 100 meters. The chronograph pushers screw down for water tightness, and you need to remember to screw them back in order to use this watch while swimming or showering. It isn’t easy to tell that the case is titanium unless you hold it next to a similar-sized watch made from steel; 45mm-wide is big, but the Chrono Modern Blue PVD “Big Date” doesn’t feel as hefty as it otherwise might given the lighter-weight titanium case material.

Most Maurice de Mauriac Chrono Modern watches have featured Swiss Made ETA Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph movements in them. Special higher-end models (such as this 25th-anniversary watch) contain different movements but each that celebrate the same functional chronograph theme. In the Chrono Modern Blue PVD Big Date, Maurice de Mauriac goes back to their friends at Concepto. The movement looks to be made from Valjoux 7750 architecture but adds a big date complication. You can see the decorated movement through the caseback, which I believe operates at 4Hz with about two days of power reserve. The big date window is located at the 12 o’clock position on the case and is among the less appreciated variations on a calendar complication that can make a dial look at more interesting visually.

As always, the strap chosen by Maurice de Mauriac to pair with the limited-edition Chrono Modern Blue PVD “Big Date” is perfect. This is the archetype by which most fabric-style rubber straps should model themselves. The blue rubber strap wraps around your wrist very nicely, and the canvas-style inlay with the white stitching appears to be of high quality and seems designed to age well. (I cannot say this about all such straps.) Maurice de Mauriac also has an appreciable strap-selling business, so it is not a surprise that they would get the strap part of the equation perfect.

What I like most about the Maurice de Mauriac Chrono Modern Blue PVD “Big Date” watch is the piece’s casual good looks and the personal memories it evokes for me. Those without my history with the brand can also enjoy the handsome appeal as well as the niche nature of the brand and the personal way in which customers are treated. Those with a connection to Zurich or the Dreifuss family will likely be the first takers of this limited edition set. Price is on the higher side, but there is a cost for low production numbers and maintaining an independent status as a brand. Price for the reference MDM.330.TI.45.BIGDATE.BE Maurice de Mauriac Chrono Modern Blue PVD “Big Date” limited edition of 25 pieces watch is 11,950 Swiss Francs. Learn more at the Maurice de Mauriac brand website.

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