The Aikon collection has become the brand’s go-to line-up for accessible, sporty watches with integrated straps/bracelets and robust cases. However, Maurice Lacroix is also renowned for its higher-end Masterpiece family, a line-up of models with more complex and engaging mechanical displays and quirky designs like the Square Wheel Retrograde and the Masterpiece Gravity with its exposed silicon escapement and oversized balance wheel. The Aikon Master Grand Date is a fusion of both collections, borrowing the characteristic off-centred displays of the Masterpiece collection but housed in a sportier, more contemporary case. The latest Aikon Master Grand Date with an in-house automatic movement is back in a sleek black DLC-coated steel case.
Aikon meets Masterpiece
Released in 2016 with quartz movements and upgraded in 2018 with mechanical engines, the Aikon is a well-rounded sporty collection offering a wide range of models in versatile case sizes (35-45mm) and an easy strap exchange system for 39 and 42mm references. With time-and-date models, chronographs, skeletonised chronographs and even more complex models with in-house movements like the intriguing Aikon Mercury with its free-hand display, Maurice Lacroix incorporated the Master Grand Date into the collection last year.
As one of the largest watches in the Aikon Automatic range (along with the Skeleton), the Master Grand Date leans heavily on the aesthetics of the Masterpiece Gravity. The Masterpiece Gravity was launched during Baselworld 2014 and caught the attention of many journalists with its large cut-out area on the left side of the dial showcasing the brand’s in-house silicon escapement and slow-beating balance wheel.
Both the Masterpiece Gravity and Master Grand Date share an off-centred hour and minute counter at 2 o’clock, an exposed balance at 8 o’clock and a small seconds indicator. However, unlike the Gravity with its cut-away area on the upper left side of the dial, the Aikon uses this space to accommodate a big date window. Other differences include the shape of the balance bridge, which is curved on the Aikon, and how the hollowed-out small seconds counter intersects the time dial and provides a view inside the movement.
Making its debut in 2021, the Master Grand Date appeared with a blue dial and a unique piece for the Only Watch Charity auction. For 2022, the Aikon Master Grand Date returns in all-black attire.
This is not the first time an Aikon gets a black makeover, as we saw with the Aikon Automatic model of 2019. Treated with a black DLC coating, the stainless steel case’s hefty 45m diameter and 15mm height visually shrink in size. While the matte black DLC coating somewhat attenuates the sharp, angular architecture of the 100m water-resistant case, the six signature claws on the bezel are polished to stand out against the matte surfaces that engulf the watch in its new stealth mode.
With its slightly granulated texture, the black dial plate hosts the off-centred hours and minutes dial stamped with a Clous de Paris pattern and white markings. The openworked small seconds sub-dial intersects the time dial at 6 o’clock and offers a view of the moving parts. The large irregular-shaped aperture for the reversed escapement, visible between 6 and 9 o’clock, reveals the balance wheel held under an arched skeletonised bridge and the silicon escapement. The double date window at 10 o’clock follows suit and has a polished black frame, a black background and white numerals.
On the reverse side of the watch, you get a clear view of the ML331 manufacture movement. Although Maurice Lacroix predominantly uses third-party movements, a part of the collection is fitted with in-house developed movements, often featuring unconventional displays. This automatic movement runs at 18,000vph, delivers a 50h power reserve and is finished in black with a skeletonised, sandblasted rotor.
The Aikon Master Grand Date Black features the brand’s easy strap exchange system and comes with a new black rubber strap with the brand name embossed in relief and a second synthetic leather strap with a textile effect. The watch retails for CHF 8,570. More information at mauricelacroix.com.