BY ERIK SLAVEN
Maurice Lacroix is spicing up the Aikon collection with bright colors in an almost Swatch-like way. It’s more than just a fun direction in design as the watches, straps and packaging are made of recycled plastic from waters around Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. The brand has teamed up with #tide, a group specializing in “upcycling ocean-bound plastic waste.” The recovered plastic is converted into a composite material that’s two times harder and five times more resistant than standard plastic. First introduced in 2016, the Aikon models are now even trendier as they help clean the world’s oceans.
The case is 40mm in diameter and 11mm thick with a water resistance rating of 100 meters. A flat sapphire crystal protects the dial. The entire case, bezel, screw-down crown and strap buckle are all upcycled plastic, while bracelets made from the recycled composite will be available later this year. Current straps include black or white and come with the brand’s Easy Strap Exchange system (quick-release levers). All of the Aikon signature design elements are here, including the classic six arms on the bezel and integrated strap, and the composite construction keeps them lighter on the wrist than their metal counterparts. Maurice Lacroix’s partnership with #tide and recycling initiative might seem minor overall, but each watch recycles 17 bottles (including packaging) and the brand provides financial support for waste collection, longtail boats, warehouse storage, educational programs and more. In addition, Maurice Lacroix has committed to removing 10 million plastic bottles from the ocean.
Of course, the dials are also recycled and feature a “Vague du Jura” motif, which is a nod to ocean currents. Some dials feature diamond-set indices for a more upscale look. Hour and minute hands and all indices have luminescent inserts, and a date window sits at 3 o’clock (color-matching on the black dial variant). Case/dial colors include blue, pink, yellow, green, orange, black and white, and most really pop with a fun, easygoing vibe that separates them from the conventional Aikon series. Matching this relaxed style is a simple yet reliable and very accurate quartz movement.
The final composite material is made by shredding recycled plastic into flakes before washing and compacting them near the point of collection. It’s then transported to #tide’s upcycling center where the flakes are processed into smaller granules and mixed with a specially developed formula, resulting in the hardened, very resilient composite material. The carbon footprint is six times less than PET. All watches come with a 5-year warranty and retail for CHF690 or CHF850 with the diamond-set indices. It’s an affordable way to help save the planet while getting a fun, stylish Aikon piece.
Visit Maurice Lacroix here.