Women’s Watch Wednesday

Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Embrace

Equipped with rotating hearts for the small seconds and a retrograde love gauge, the Embrace is the first women’s watch to join the Masterpiece collection.

calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Rebecca Doulton | ic_query_builder_black_24px 5 min read |

With Valentine’s Day 2020 just around the corner, Maurice Lacroix introduces the Embrace. The first women’s watch to join the Masterpiece collection, the Embrace features a singular small seconds display composed of two revolving hearts and a retrograde date display converted into a kind of whimsical love thermometer to indicate the intensity of your feelings on any given day. Let’s take a closer look at the two new women’s watches from the brand based in Saignelégier, Switzerland, the Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Embrace.

Masterpiece Collection

Although a lot of our coverage of this brand has been devoted to the Aikon collection of luxury (yet affordable) sports watches, there is another collection that deserves attention. The Masterpiece, introduced in the early 1990s, is Maurice Lacroix’s creative playground offering innovative models like the famous Square Wheel with original displays, the Mysterious Second with a floating seconds hand, the Gravity model with an exposed silicon escapement and the Chronograph Skeleton. The guiding light behind the Masterpiece collection is mechanical creativity and unusual displays and, like the Aikon, prices that won’t make you faint. Formerly devoted to men’s watches, Maurice Lacroix expands its Masterpiece Collection with two new women’s watches equipped with hallmark complications and a dash of romance.

A large case

Both Masterpiece Embrace models come in 40mm stainless steel cases with a height of 14mm, on the large side for some women, but offering plenty of dial space for the two complications. The round case features polished finishes on the bezel and brushed finishes on the short lugs and sides of the case. A nice detail is the polished and cambered edge of the lugs adding a touch of refinement.  A pusher on the caseband, just below the rather large crown, corrects the date function. Although it is definitely not a watch you’d use in the pool, the fact that it is water-resistant to 100 metres is always reassuring.

Twirling hearts

Two versions of the Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Embrace are available: one with a white mother-of-pearl dial and the other with a blue aventurine dial. The beauty of natural mother-of-pearl is its iridescence that changes according to the light while glass aventurine sparkles like stars in the night sky.

Doubling up as a small seconds counter, the two hearts at 9 o’clock on the dial perform an intriguing ballet, similar to the spectacle offered by the men’s Masterpiece Square Wheel Retrograde model. The constant motion of the rotating hearts marking the seconds provides the dial with a great deal of animation. At one point in their dance, the pointed tip of the top heart slips into the cusp of the bottom heart uniting them for a fleeting second. To achieve this spectacle, every single tooth on the hearts has to be crafted to infinitesimal tolerances, allowing each tooth to engage and mesh seamlessly with its counterpart.

The hearts are decorated differently on each model: on the mother-of-pearl model, the golden silhouette of the heart is decorated with a lacy floral motif while the silver hearts on the aventurine dial feature a less complex decoration and the tip of the lower heart points to a subtle 60-seconds track.

Radiating from below the two golden hearts on the mother-of-pearl dial are engraved rays reaching all the way to the periphery of the dial. To avoid obscuring any detail on the dial, the hour and minute hands are openworked and rose gold-plated in the mother-of-pearl model and rhodium-plated in the aventurine.

Retrograde love counter

An arch-shaped counter in the lower right corner at 5 o’clock, used in the men’s Masterpiece Square Wheel Retrograde model as a retrograde date counter, is transformed here into a whimsical love gauge. The French words je t’aime, un peu, beaucoup, à la folie (I love you, a little, a lot, madly) are inscribed above the arch and a Cupid’s arrow hand indicates the intensity of your feelings on that particular day. The retrograde counter features the same golden or silver powder-printed dots used to indicate the hours and minutes.

Movement

The reverse side of the case reveals the automatic ML258 movement. It is the same movement used to power the Masterpiece Square Wheel Retrograde and explains the large case size of the Embrace model. Using a Sellita SW200 as a base, an in-house complication module developed at the Maurice Lacroix manufacture rests on top. This pragmatic solution allows Maurice Lacroix to contain costs and still offer an unusual complication.

The Manufacture ML258 calibre has 37 jewels, beats at 28,800vph (4Hz) with a 36-hour power reserve. The rotor is skeletonized with a central cut-out letter ‘M’ and decorated with vertical Côtes de Genève while the bridges are rhodium-plated, sandblasted and decorated with M motifs.

Thoughts

The Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Embrace will appeal to women who appreciate mechanical complications and want something different but that still looks like its dial was designed for women. The choice of mother-of-pearl and sparkling blue aventurine for the dials is right on-trend. The constant motion of the hearts on the small seconds counter along with the use of the retrograde date to gauge your feelings add a touch of fantasy and whimsy to the scenery.

Availability and price

The mother-of-pearl Embrace watch comes on a pearly beige leather strap to match the colour scheme of the dial; the aventurine Embrace watch comes on a matching blue leather strap, both models with stainless steel folding clasps and a retail price of CHF 6,900.

For more information, please consult mauricelacroix.com.

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