BY JOVAN KRSTEVSKI
The steel sports watch is an interesting and challenging category. The recipe is straightforward, and the ingredients are simple but combining them to achieve the desired result is an art that only a few have been able to master. While limited variation is something one could live with, what’s more concerning is that most of the good examples out there such as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, the Patek Phillipe Nautilus to name a few come attached with a hefty price tag making them out of bounds for the average watch enthusiast. So, out of curiosity, I started searching for one which had all the bells and whistles and did not break the bank and came across the Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic 42mm. This watch features a guilloche dial, an all-steel case with an integrated bracelet, 200 meters of water resistance, is powered by a Swiss automatic movement and is being offered at a competitive price. But does all this culminate into a great watch? To find out stay with me as I put this watch through its paces.
Constructed from stainless steel the case on the Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic is 42mm wide, around 10mm thick and has a lug to lug distance of around 48mm. The relatively short lug to lug distance prevents the case from overhanging and its thin profile helps the watch to easily pass under the cuff of a shirt. That said I would like to bring it your notice this watch at least on its bracelet wears slightly bigger than its dimensions suggest, which can be attributed to the way the lugs have been designed. While wearing comfort is good, what impressed me the most is the level of finishing. From the fine brushing to the beautifully polished surfaces the entire case has been tastefully finished and exudes a sense of luxury rarely seen at this price point. Attached to the case is a tapering steel bracelet which is quite reminiscent of the bracelet found a Royal Oak and has also been exquisitely finished. Akin to the case it features a mix of brushed and polished surfaces and simply dazzles when it interacts with light at certain angles.
What I also like about the bracelet is that Maurice Lacroix has equipped it with a quick-release mechanism that would make strap swapping a breeze, but due to the unique lug design you would have to remain satisfied with leather strap options from the brand itself. Moving further, sitting on top of the case is a fixed brushed steel bezel with 6 polished elements that gives this watch a distinctive visual identity. The bezel keeps the sapphire crystal on front secured and even though the case is water-resistant to 200 meters it is good to see that the case back has a display window that can be used to view the movement that drives this watch.
The dial on the Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic 42mm has been neatly laid out and has been executed with a high level of refinement. The first thing that caught my attention when I looked at the face of this watch is the sun-brushed Clou de Paris pattern. While the pattern has not been hand done it looks quite stunning and offers a great sense of depth and as the case plays well with the light. Placed on top of the blue dial are baton-style hour markers, with double batons at 3,6,9 and 12. The hands and the indices are polished rhodium-plated that gives them jewelry like luster and adds to the dressy vibe of the watch.
Since this is a sport watch Maurice Lacroix has coated the applied elements with superluminova to aid low light visibility. While I was unable to capture low light shots, I can say for sure that the lume is just average and there is a scope of improvement in this regard. Another small dial change that I would like to suggest, and which is quite subjective is the placement of the date window. While it does the job well shifting the date from 3 to 6 would, in my opinion, make the dial look more symmetrical. Apart from these few niggles which are certainly not deal breakers this dial is perfect and offers a high degree of legibility.
Powering the Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic 42mm is what the brand calls the caliber ML115. This is a modified version of the workhorse Sellita SW200-1 movement. It operates at a frequency of 4Hz and offers a power reserve of around 38 hours. It has been beautifully decorated using perlage, Geneva striping on the rotor and blued screws, and can be viewed in all its glory through the sapphire case back. The movement is capable of tracking hours, minutes, seconds and date, and all these functions can be set using the crown at 3 which I had some minor issues with.
The crown, in general, is quite smooth in operation. It threads in and out with ease and provides a decent level of grip to wind the movement. But, a lot of times when I pulled out the crown to set the time, it accidentally ended up changing the date. Now, I am not sure whether this is an issue with all Aikon automatics, but this is something that bothered me a little.
To wrap up this review, I would like to say that I really enjoyed my time with the Aikon automatic and feel that Maurice Lacroix has succeeded in their endeavor to create a great steel sports watch. It feels luxurious, is exceptionally finished, offers great specifications and above all punches well above its price. So, in case you are in the market for a reliable and great looking everyday watch, I would highly recommend giving this watch a try. The Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic 42mm retails for CHF 1,750 on the integrated bracelet and CHF 1,590 on the integrated leather strap. The watch is also available with several dial variations which include the blue dial (which we reviewed), a black and white dial.
Visit Maurice Lacroix here.