HANDS-ON: The Maurice Lacroix GravityFelix Scholz
One of the watches that most impressed the entire Time+Tide team when we saw it at Baselworld was the Maurice Lacroix Gravity (it’s only just starting to his the shops). It’s an impressive watch because it’s so surprising. To be blunt this is not the sort of watch that Maurice Lacroix make – they make crowd pleasing, everyday pieces like the rugged and accessible Pontos – quality stuff to be sure, but not in the realm of the Gravity.
To be sure the Gravity is in their top of the line Masterpiece collection, along with whimsical pieces with square wheels and mysterious seconds, but the Gravity is very different beast, the sort of watch that usually has Haute Horlogerie written all over it, and a price tag in six digits. It’s a very sophisticated watch, but one that is (if not accessibly priced), competitively priced, with a US retail of $13,900.
What immediately strikes you about the gravity is the dial, or rather the lack of one. The Gravity is a watch that lets it all hang out, movement wise. The front of the watch is dominated by the assortment that is usually hidden at the back of the watch, the big, slow balance wheel and the purple flash of the silicon escape wheel (this escapement is silicon heavy, the slick, almost frictionless material is great for watches). Sexy stuff. The dials of the watch are off centre, a larger hours and minutes dial and a smaller seconds dial set on an attractive Clou de Paris finished plate. It’s a look that is simultaneously modern and traditional – and this is really highlighted depending on which model you’re looking at. The steel version amps up the traditionalism with blued hands and an enamel looking dial – in this version you could be looking at an 18th Century pocket watch. However strapping the black PVD version on is an entirely different proposition – sleekly modern with a go faster red second hand. Of the two I think the steel is the more attractive package.
It’s sized well too, at 43mm across – and none of this is superfluous, empty space. The in house ML230 calibre fills is completely (if rather spartanly) and it’s good to see Maurice Lacroix investing in their in house capacity. It’s a comfortable watch on the wrist too – big, especially with the high, domed sapphire crystal, but not obnoxiously so.
This watch bears some aesthetic similarities to some big players, I was reminded of the Breguet Tradition and some of the Audemars Piguet Millenary pieces when I picked this up. It’s also in the same stylistic canon as the MB&F legacy machines. But this watch costs a lot less than those pieces, and when you take a good look under a loupe some of that price difference becomes clear. The finishing on the movement, as well as the assortment and the plates is not in the same league as the pieces above. The Gravity has not had the many man hours spent on it, polishing every screw and beveling every edge. And that’s OK, all those hours cost money on the final piece – and the lower price is an important part of the package that makes the Gravity such an attractive proposition.
Australian Availability: Maurice Lacroix Gravity.
The Maurice Lacroix Gravity is limited to 500 pieces, 250 in steel and 250 in PVD.
Please note this review contains no Sandra Bullock/George Clooney puns.