Five years ago, aBlogtoWatch reviewed the debut timepiece from the new brand Mauron Musy when we looked at the Armure Classic Steel watch here. Our David Bredan liked a lot of the watch but remarked that the novel case design concept was not matched with the dial experience. Since then, Mauron Musy has appreciably upgraded the design of its dials and also released this limited-edition skeletonized watch that I review today. Gone now is any complaint about the dial being less-than-exciting, but the price point of the watch has increased. That said, the Mauron Musy GMT MU04 models and other products such as the MU03 pieces (aBlogtoWatch review here) are going to be a bit more affordable than this lovely skeleton. But after wearing the Mauron Musy Skeleton Armure MU05-101 in titanium as reviewed here, I think there is a very important value proposition to this watch. Then again, as of writing, it is sold out — but it means enthusiasts should pay close attention to what comes next from this novel and niche Swiss watchmaker.
The highest-end version of the Mauron Musy Skeleton Armure was the (also sold out) MU05-301 in a hardened gold case. This MU05-101 watch is produced in titanium, which suits me just fine. Mauron Musy is, if anything, a micro-mechanical machining expert who knows both how to precisely machine metal parts and also finish them with incredible beauty and precision. This is a distinct skill from, say, traditional hand-finishing, which is about using manual polishing techniques. Not that there is any lack of hand-effort in these cases, but the Armure case is a celebration of modern milling technology and what you can get when you obsess over even the smallest details.
While the effort that goes into the machining of these watch cases, dials, and movements is a bit abstract, one tangible point is to mention that the Armure cases are water-resistant to 300 meters without the use of any gaskets. Mauron Musy calls this “nO-Ring” technology because it means that the case does not need to use traditional ring-style rubber or other material gaskets between case parts to ensure that water and dust do not enter the case. Instead, the titanium parts fit together with such precision, that no extra measures are necessary to achieve water resistance. More so, we aren’t just talking about basic water resistance for hand-washing and showers. Rather, we are talking about a full 300 meters of diver’s watch-style water resistance without any extra help. As far as I know, that is unprecedented in the timepiece industry, and Mauron Musy is rightly proud to currently have exclusivity in this department.
The case itself is beautiful, as well. It is 44mm-wide, 13mm-thick, and wears very comfortably thanks to relatively stubby lugs. The titanium case is also very light, so wearing it is extremely comfortable, in my opinion, especially on the included back rubber strap. I’d say that, for the most part, this watch wears modestly given its 44mm-wide dimensions. Finishing on the titanium surface is very high-quality, and the overall design is an interesting mixture of modern and classic elements that very much feels like what someone obsessed with machining metal might design. Over the dial and caseback are AR-coated sapphire crystals for excellent views of the face and movement.
What makes the Mauron Musy MU05 different from the MU03 models is the dial skeletonization, even though the operation is the same. The movement inside the watch is known as the caliber MM01-SK, and it is designed by Mauron Musy and produced in Switzerland by movement specialist La Joux-Perret. The automatic movement is contemporary in its design, and carefully skeletonized to allow for a dramatic view into the capable mechanism that operates at 4Hz with 55 hours of power reserve. The automatic rotor is attractively skeletonized, and over the dial, you can still easily read the time with subsidiary seconds while also admiring all the decorative skeletonization work and attractive surface finishing.
When I first saw the Armure Skeleton watch in pictures, I felt that the dial could be improved by using traditional versus skeletonized hands. The hands do have lume-painted tips, but I was a bit worried that they would get lost in the details of the dial and hamper legibility. After wearing the MU05-101 for a while, I actually found that legibility was less of an issue and that I appreciated the look of the dial and what Mauron Musy was going for. More so, I really feel that the combination of the brand’s distinctive-looking case design mixed with this skeletonized dial is the best way to appreciate the brand’s own design DNA and approach to modern watch aesthetics. In the Skeleton Armure, you get so much of what watch enthusiasts like today, but in a package the really doesn’t look like anything else on the market.
With all new things in the luxury space, it takes time for new objects to be adopted and approved by the greater timepiece community. Very few people out there know how cool Mauron Musy watches are so far, so collectors won’t immediately get that “oh wow, you have one of those” reactions. That will change in time. Great concepts take a while to saturate the community and, eventually, people will highly appreciate these timepieces for what they are. For the time being, those who don a Mauron Musy watch will be among the forward-thinking risk-takers, at least in my professional opinion.
Mauron Musy is also among those brands that reject the “Swiss Made” label for its products and opt for the “Swiss Crafted” terminology. That’s because “Swiss Made” doesn’t actually need to mean entirely made in Switzerland. “Swiss Crafted” is a term that implies the watch is 100% Swiss-crafted, going beyond “Swiss Made.” That more or less means the entire case and movement are produced in Switzerland, and that the watch is also assembled and tested entirely in Switzerland. For those who want a more “authentic” entirely Swiss watch experience, “Swiss Crafted” is a label to look for.
Mauron Musy includes a high-quality Nubuck-style leather strap (a bit large for me) and a custom rubber strap with each MU05 Skeleton Armure watch. Additional straps are available, and I like that the straps come with tool-less release features for easy swapping. I actually think anyone owning one of these watches would benefit from playing around with strap styles. I, for one, would like to also wear this watch on the brand’s white rubber strap that I think could also look very handsome.
Brands like Mauron Musy always take time to enter the market because what they do is expensive and hard for all but the most seasoned collectors to really appreciate. That means the “trickle-down” to mainstream timepiece collectors can take a little while. With about 20 years of watch collecting experience under my belt (and having handled thousands upon thousands of watches), I am in a better position to know which products are truly interesting, which are nice but redundant, and those that really can’t compete when compared to other products. Mauron Musy is an example of a brand with a high-brow idea that wants to be exceptional and different but relies on an audience that understands what they are doing. Style alone often isn’t enough to move the needle, but over time, if enough people get to know Mauron Musy, I think they will come to most of the same conclusions that I have about this very interesting and still quite niche Swiss Crafted timepiece. The Mauron Musy Skeleton Armure MU05-101 watch is a limited edition of just 13 pieces, and the price for each is 24,700 Swiss Francs. Learn more at the Mauron Musy website here.
>Brand: Mauron Musy
>Model: Skeleton Armure MU05 (MU05 -101 as tested)
>Price: 24,700 Swiss Francs
>Size: 44mm-wide, 13mm thick.
>When reviewer would personally wear it: As daily wear sports lifestyle watch with equal parts modern design and fascinating horological intrigue for the mature enthusiast.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: Seasoned collector who has worn at least a few of the “popular” luxury sports watches and is now seeking something novel and distinctive that isn’t like everything else their friends are wearing.
>Best characteristic of watch: Very well made case and dial, with an original design that doesn’t look like anything another band is making; 300 meters of water resistance without gaskets is a fun story, and the design of the skeletonized dial and movement is inspired and feel both high-end and refined. Comfortable when worn on your wrist.
>Worst characteristic of watch: Price is a hurdle that requires knowing the competitive landscape and also fully appreciating what Mauron Musy brings to the table. Very limited production numbers mean these watches are very hard to get.