With its new Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Roue Carree Seconde (ref. MP7158-SS001-900) hand-wound watch the Swiss watchmaker ones again proves that a wheel doesn’t necessarily have to be round. It can be a square, too.
As one may gather, the new Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Roue Carree Seconde watch comes as a successor to the ML Masterpiece Regulateur Roue Carree limited edition proof-of-concept watch introduced last year. This new timekeeper, however, makes the concept of a square gear wheel even more fascinating to look at.
The original watch used the setup of a rotating square wheel activated by a toothed clover-leaf wheel to display 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 this watch is that its dial, which is decorated with the traditional Grand Colimacon treatment and can be either black or rhodium-plated, is technically the main plate of the Caliber ML 156 manual-wind movement that powers the new ML Masterpiece Roue Carree Seconde.
I cannot readily remember any another 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 personal 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 optimal view at the sophisticated ML 156 movement.
The watch will go on sale later this year. MSRP and international availability are not specified, yet*.
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.
See also: Hysek Furtif Skeleton Tourbillon
Photos: Maurice Lacroix
Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Roue Carree Seconde (ref. MP7158-SS001-900) manual-wind watch specification
Price: $10,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Hand-wound (manual,) Caliber ML156, 18,000 vph, 34 jewels, Swiss Made
Functions: Hours, minutes, power reserve
Power reserve: 45 hours
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Stainless steel
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 43.00 mm
Lug width: No data
Case height: No data
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
Case back: Sapphire