I think most of us can agree that Tissot offers one of the best values for an integrated mechanical sports watch with the PRX Powermatic 80. Less expensive models like the Dumoreau DM01 Automatic and Batavi Architect are intriguing, but the PRX is a mature, well-executed piece from a major Swiss brand. Between this and pricier luxury models like the Bell & Ross BR05 sits the Maurice Lacroix Aikon collection, introduced in 2016 and expanded in 2018 with more accessible automatic variants. Slightly more luxurious, better equipped, and mechanically coherent, the collection has a lot to offer. The new Aikon Skeleton 39mm brings an eye-catching skeletonized movement to the latest, universal case size.
All about accessible luxury
Maurice Lacroix is known for accessible luxury with the Aikon automatic collection really emphasizing that. The sports watches come in many sizes for men and women, but the 39mm Aikon Automatic has a universal case diameter with a broad, unisex appeal. Launched in 2020 with prices starting at just CHF 1,590, it was a true luxury sports watch for an unbeatable price. Of course, the movements are Sellita-based and not in-house, but so are ones in the BR05 at more than double the price. Prior to the Aikon collection, the brand was known for the Masterpiece line that first incorporated in-house movements in 2006. Many were complicated and expensive, and showcased exotic dials like the Masterpiece Square Wheel Retrograde. Skeletonized variants like the Masterpiece Skeleton Full Black really showed what the design and engineering teams could do, but they weren’t exactly accessible (even with some based on the Valjoux 7750).
The Aikon Skeleton combines the accessibility of the Aikon Automatic line with a desirable skeletonized aesthetic. It’s not breaking new ground as skeletonized watches come in all shapes and sizes these days (with pricing all over the map), but an accessible, integrated luxury sports watch with a custom skeletonized movement is worth getting excited about. It’s also not the first skeletonized Aikon watch as a 45mm automatic and 44mm chronograph exist (among others), but prices for those are much higher. The brand claims that this latest design was inspired by urban architecture and the watch definitely carries that vibe. The movement was modified specifically for Maurice Lacroix and it’s another winner for consumers.
Universal case size
Even with somewhat small wrists, I usually prefer cases that are 40mm and above. For sports watches and divers, up to 43mm is ideal. That said, I also appreciate smaller watches in the 37mm to 39mm range, such as Hamilton’s Khaki Field Mechanical. The stainless steel Aikon Skeleton is well-sized for a wide audience at 39mm in diameter and 11mm in height. With a 200-metre water-resistance rating, it’s also a very versatile sports watch. It’s the same case as other 39mm Aikon Automatic models with the familiar six (double) arms on the bezel and a mix of brushed and polished surfaces.
The integrated design leads into a five-link matching bracelet with quick-release levers (easy-change system) for a tool-free swap to leather or rubber straps. There are sapphire crystals front and back that showcase the skeletonized movement from both sides, which is the highlight of this model.
As the name implies, there isn’t a conventional dial on this one. There are rhodium-plated, applied indices with Super-LumiNova X1 around the perimeter and attached to the chapter ring, appearing to be on the underside of the glass, although there’s a transparent disc between the main crystal and movement. Rhodium-plated hour and minute hands have lume inserts as well, and legibility is surprisingly good for such a setup. The white lume prevents time elements from getting lost in the mechanics.
The mainspring is clearly visible at 5 o’clock, acting as a rough power reserve indicator, while the balance wheel is seen at 12 o’clock. Decorations are minimal, but there’s nice graining and the open-worked architecture is certainly eye-catching. A simple seconds track sits on an angled flange at the outermost perimeter. As mentioned earlier, there’s definitely an architectural look with a theme of arching arms and circles.
Custom job by Sellita
Flip the watch over and the fun continues as the movement is consistent and well-executed. Sellita designed this at the request of Maurice Lacroix with custom bridges using a base SW 200-1 automatic. The custom rotor is open-worked with the brand’s logo and everything is again well finished (yet light on decorations). It’s a special edition of the ML115 calibre and otherwise runs like a standard SW 200-1 with 26 jewels, a beat rate of 28,800vph (4Hz) and a 38-hour power reserve. The date has been removed, however. This is also an alternative to ETA’s 2824 as it’s more commercially available. A standard (non-skeletonized) ML115 automatic runs in the regular Aikon Automatic 39mm.
From a user standpoint, this is basically just a skeletonized version of the standard 39mm Aikon, but the visual differences are drastic. Sellita did an excellent job modifying the ML115 and it adds a lot of character and “wow factor” to the piece. It’s always interesting to see what can be done with otherwise common movements – Tissot did a comparably impressive job with the T-Complication Squelette and ETA 6497-1. I think the standard three-hand Aikon Automatic offers the best value for a true luxury integrated sports watch (the PRX Powermatic 80 sits just a bit below). The Aikon Skeleton not only follows other ML skeletonized models with a more accessible price, it’s a solid alternative to more expensive watches on the market. It’s great to see the brand expanding the Aikon Automatic collection and this addition is a no-brainer.
Availability & Price
The new 2022 Maurice Lacroix Aikon Skeleton 39mm is not a special edition and will be available soon from retailers and the brand’s website. The price will be CHF 3,200 or EUR 3,200. For more information, please visit Maurice Lacroix’s website.