I’ll be perfectly honest: I don’t really know how to talk about the Maurice Lacroix Aikon. It’s a line of watches I don’t have a ton of personal experience with (maybe 10-15 minutes total) and that reminds me of something very specific whenever I see one. I bet you can guess the watch that it conjures in my head. It rhymes with “Boil Cloak.” It’s also, I’ve been made aware many times, a watch that many enthusiasts in our community have a strong affection for, due to the modern design language and relative value proposition these watches offer. The newest watch in the Aikon lineup appears to be a genuine technological leap forward for Maurice Lacroix as a brand, and offers something genuinely different and, I have to say, aesthetically impressive, even if the new dial layout has me thinking of a particular German watch that rhymes with “Dang Son.”
The main draw of the new Aikon Master Grand Date is the newly developed ML331 movement, which features a dual windowed big date display in what we’d normally call the 10:00 position, and a dramatic oversized balance bridge revealed through a partially skeletonized dial at 8:00. The balance bridge is designed to appear as if it’s floating between the sapphire crystal and the display caseback, and also serves to frame the interior dial used for time telling that sits at 2:00. There’s a natural symmetry between the exposed balance and the dial diagonally across from it, and the prevalence of circular shapes throughout the dial (note the skeletonized small seconds register) lends a coherence to the Master Grand Date that’s tough to pull off in a design like this.
Of course, the king of pulling off this type of offset dial design is A. Lange & Son, and it’s their Lange 1 that pops into my head first when laying eyes on the Master Grand Date (though, to be fair, the Lange 1 pops into my head all the time). But where the Lange 1 is exceedingly refined and very much a dress watch, this Aikon is…not. The case is large, coming in at 45mm, and it has the familiar integrated bracelet profile of other Aikons (it also ships with a strap). The notched bezel that the Aikon is known for is also present here (Maurice Lacroix calls these “bezel arms,” and the date window is designed to match them), and the watch certainly makes sense in the context of previous Aikon releases, with many shared visual cues. This watch can be thought of as something of a souped up version of the simpler Aikons before it.
It also answers a question most of us probably never really thought to ask: what would a sporty version of the Lange 1 look like, anyway? It’s an interesting thought experiment, mostly because it’s not likely to ever happen, but the Master Grand Date is an intriguing mashup for that very reason. The design is aggressive, but everything would appear to be quite well made and thought through. The retail price of $8,150 certainly isn’t cheap, but it’s an option that is worth keeping in mind if you’re in the market for a truly off the beaten path statement piece. Maurice Lacroix