Although Maurice Lacroix has been busy pushing its sporty Aikon collection, the real horological goodies are to be found in its Masterpiece collection. The Masterpiece Gravity, with its in-house escapement and regulating organ in full view on the dial, is far from a new model per se, as introduced back in 2014 but is revisited in 2021 with a more contemporary face and the same high quality and relatively accessible price that characterise the Swiss brand.
The Masterpiece collection, which appeared in the early 1990s, is home to Maurice Lacroix’s most interesting – and at times, downright quirky – horological offerings with original displays and affordable prices. Models like the Masterpiece Triple Retrograde launched earlier this year and Master Square Wheel Retrograde with its square wheel for the seconds driven by a clover-shaped gear wheel represent the brand’s predilection for unconventional displays and horological complexity.
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.
The new Gravity model shares the same case, finishings, display and movement of the former editions. What is new, though, is the result of a facelift designed to revitalise the dial and give it a more contemporary face. Compared to the 2014 model, the before and after pictures reveal the effects of the latest cosmetic surgery.
Respecting the original display, the left side of the dial is cut away to reveal parts of the movement that are usually only visible on the reverse side of the case. The spectacle is guaranteed with the slow-beating balance wheel (2.5Hz) and the bright purple silicon escapement. Unlike the earlier model, the bridges are sandblasted or brushed for a more contemporary look and feature well-executed polished bevels. It’s worth mentioning that all the components of the escapement and regulating organ – balance wheel, hairspring, silicon escapement wheel, anchor, pinions and pallets – were developed in-house by Maurice Lacroix and manufactured in collaboration with specialist suppliers. Maurice Lacroix was quick to spot the advantages of silicon technology with its virtually friction-free surfaces that dispense with lubrication and its low mass to mitigate energy consumption.
In a clear departure from the classical look of the 2015 Gravity model, the exposed mainplate on the dial exchanges the traditional Clous de Paris stamping for a livelier concentric Vagues du Jura motif. Another refreshing change concerns the off-centred dial for hours and minutes, which has replaced the white lacquered dial with its blue railway minutes track for a cleaner, sleeker silver dial. Set against a silver sun-brushed background, the printed black Roman numerals are still present but longer and slimmer, and the Maurice Lacroix ‘M’ has been removed from the centre of the dial to replace the 12 o’clock index. The blued hands of the former model are now plated with yellow gold to echo the metal of some of the components in the exposed mechanics. Just below the sub-dial for the hours and minutes is the small seconds counter with almost half its dial floating above the cut-out area below. Far more discreet than its predecessor, the small seconds sub-dial is dark grey with silver markings to match the mainplate. A glass box sapphire crystal magnifies elements of the dial.
With its large 43mm diameter, the stainless case with its domed sapphire crystal rising from the thin bezel reaches a substantial height of 16mm. The surfaces display brushed and polished finishings, again with crisp, polished bevels on the lugs and caseband.
As you would expect from a watch revealing its beating heart on the dial, the reverse side is not quite as lively. Fitted with calibre ML230, the automatic movement fills the caseback entirely and reveals its large openworked rotor and attractive industrial-style finishings with circular Côtes de Genève stripes on the bridge and rotor – you can see live photos of the movement in our hands-on article here. The movement beats at a leisurely 18,800vph/2.5Hz and provides a comfortable 50-hour power reserve.
The Masterpiece Gravity comes on a brown calf leather strap with a steel butterfly clasp. The watch retails for EUR 9,900 (incl. taxes) and can be ordered on Maurice Lacroix’s website with free shipping and a 2-year warranty.