With its hand-wound Masterpiece Roue Carree Seconde (ref. MP7158-SS001-900), Maurice Lacroix ones again proves that a wheel doesn’t necessarily have to be round. It can be a square, too.
As one may gather, the 2011 Masterpiece Roue Carree Seconde comes as a successor to the Masterpiece Regulateur Roue Carree limited-edition proof-of-concept that was introduced in 2010. The production version, however, makes the concept of a square gear wheel even more fascinating to look at.
The concept used the setup of a rotating square wheel activated by a toothed clover-leaf wheel to display the current hour. Making a complete turn in 12 hours, the square wheel rotated at a glacier speed of half a degree per minute and effectively appeared motionless for a normal man.
Now, however, the setup is employed to replace a standard subsidiary second indicator. Rotating 720 times faster than the previous version of the module, the new complication is almost as fascinating to look at as a flying tourbillon.
Another interesting thing about the Roue Carree Seconde is that its dial, which is decorated with the traditional Grand Colimacon treatment and can be either black or rhodium-plated, is technically the mainplate of the Caliber ML 156 that powers the gadget.
I cannot readily remember any other watch from a major manufacturer that used such an unusual design. Maurice Lacroix claims the movement to be a solely in-house job, but, looking at the elements that are visible through the sapphire case-back cover, I am starting to think that it was, at least partially, inspired by the legendary Unitas 6498-1 hand-wound caliber. If that’s indeed the case, the modifications to the original design are still radical enough for the young watchmaking brand to rightfully call the movement their own.
Again, this is strictly my speculations: the brand is secretive about their movements and it’s fairly hard to get more info without actually disassembling one.
As far as finish is concerned, the decor is Spartan, to say the least, but it somehow complies with the overall styling of the parts visible through the front crystal. To my taste, this is one of the most organic-looking timekeepers that the brand is going to present in flesh later this year at Baselworld 2011.
The movement is protected by a mid-sized –by today’s standards– round stainless steel case 43 millimeters in diameter. Featuring sapphire crystals on its front as well as on the display back, the case provides an optimal view of the sophisticated ML 156 movement.
The watch will go on sale later this year. MSRP and international availability are not specified, yet*.
See also: Hysek Furtif Skeleton Tourbillon
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4/5
Value for Money: 3.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
* UPDATE ON PRICING: The minimum recommended price for this timekeeper is set to be $10,000: impressive, yet more or less justifiable given how unique its exterior is.
Photos: Maurice Lacroix
Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Roue Carree Seconde (ref. MP7158-SS001-900) specification
Price: $10,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Hand-wound, Caliber ML156, 18,000 vph, 34 jewels, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, power reserve
Power reserve: 45 hours
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 43.00 mm
Dial: Black or Rhodiumed
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Large-scale black crocodile-skin strap, lined with black calfskin and black over-stitching; folding steel clasp with push buttons (satin-brushed and polished finish)
Crystal: Sapphire, anti-reflective on both sides