Maurice Lacroix was founded in 1975 as Desco von Schulthess (founded in 1889) started producing watches under the brand's name. Following the acquisition of Tiara in 1961, an assembly facility in Saignelégier, Switzerland, Desco von Schulthess mostly produced watches for third parties. Maurice Lacroix became so popular that in 1980, Desco von Schulthess stopped production for third parties in Saignelégier to focus exclusively on the brand. In 1989, they acquired casemaker Queloz S.A., allowing the brand to begin in-house production of major design elements. Maurice Lacroix grew rapidly in the 1990's with popular designs and an appealing price-to-performance ratio, and became an independent company in 2001 with its own workshops. In 2006, the first in-house movement was introduced, the ML106 hand-wound chronograph, marking the brand as a vertically integrated manufacture. By 2010, the company employed 220 people with 4,000 shops in over 60 countries.
Maurice Lacroix is arguably best known for the Masterpiece collection, introduced in the early 1990’s, with the Square Wheel line showcasing both innovation and design prowess. First launched in 2010, a square and clover-shaped gear, fully exposed on the dial, perfectly mesh together as they display mechanical action without the need for a full skeletonized aesthetic. Initial Square Wheels displayed the hours in a regulator format, but later pieces displayed the seconds for a more active show. The brand is also known for retrograde displays and in early 2019 the Masterpiece Square Wheel Retrograde added a retrograde calendar to the already unique dial.
In 2013, the Masterpiece Mysterious Second launched with a seconds hand that literally floated around a large sub-dial without a fixed central point. Using the in-house calibre ML 215, the sub-dial’s “background” rotated with the hand, creating an illusion of a floating seconds hand. The Masterpiece Gravity, launched in 2014, exposed the in-house silicon escapement and oversized balance wheel (with a magnifying sapphire crystal) for a modern, playful look. Masterpiece watches with multiple retrograde displays round out the collection. Models feature in-house calibres and also Sellita automatics with in-house modules for more accessible price points.
The AIKON collection launched in 2016 as a rebirth of the Calypso line from 1990, initially powered by quartz movements. These were more conventional sport watches and chronographs, with a unique skeletonized version (Aikon Automatic Skeleton) showcasing the new (Unitas-based) calibre ML234 automatic. Similar to other luxury sports watches, the AIKON pieces have integrated cases with both metal bracelet and leather strap options. Movements are outsourced Swiss automatics, but this helps keep prices at a surprisingly accessible level. In fact, the brand has been about affordable luxury since its founding with prices ranging from around CHF 1,000 to CHF 6,000, and AIKON sports watches can be had for under CHF 2,000. Additional collections include Pontos, Les Classiques, Fiaba and Eliros. With innovative, stylish watches from a sizeable portfolio, notably from the Masterpiece and AIKON collections with in-house movements, skeletonized aesthetics, multiple retrograde displays and novelties like floating seconds, Maurice Lacroix offers an incredible value for such unique luxury offerings.