Masterpiece Régulateur Roue Carrée – limited edition
Squaring the circle
Imagine the unimaginable. Stretch the limits to the point where perception changes perspective. Maurice Lacroix has chosen its flagship Masterpiece line to open a new dimension in watchmaking. The Masterpiece Régulateur Roue Carrée bears its name well: it reinvents the wheel and finds corners in the passage of time, but without changing its immutable regularity.
A clever combination of technology, innovation and modern aesthetics. This is a response to the brand's ambition to take design and the mastery of watchmaking ever further. Here is the Masterpiece Régulateur Roue Carrée, a watch open to the world of today. Designed by watchmaker and engineer Michel Vermot, it roots Maurice Lacroix firmly in the third millennium.
Powered by the ML 153 Manufacture movement, the timepiece draws its inspiration from traditional regulator watches to show off its engineering to better effect. But it is neither the central minutes hand nor the small seconds indicated at 6 o'clock that grabs your attention. An incredible exercise in style combined with technological prowess, the hours display is surprising in more than one respect. Hours are indicated by a square wheel with geometrical openwork. A world first in the history of watchmaking.
Driven by another wheel, shaped like a cloverleaf, it rotates regularly with a raised corner highlighted with Superluminova pointing to the hour. The creation of this device, in collaboration with Haute Ecole Arc Ingénierie at Le Locle, required a long period of time for its fine adjustment, calculations, simulation and testing. Since, by definition, the gear profiles for non-circular wheels cannot be regular, the principal difficulty lay in defining the shapes of the teeth in order to ensure constant power transmission through the gear. After numerous simulations, including with 10:1 scale models, the wheels were made using LiGA technology. This revolutionary process combines photolithographic and electroforming techniques to produce very-high-precision micro-components with a delicacy unequalled by traditional machining methods.
Against all expectations, the angles and profiles of the teeth of these two truly remarkable wheels engage each other perfectly, meshing curve on matching curve to transfer power with the same precision as their circular counterparts. The visual effect is as incredible as it is hypnotic. In order to balance the setting, Maurice Lacroix has placed a power-reserve display at 3 o'clock. The readability of the whole is enhanced by Superluminova phosphorescent elements, such as the large minutes hand, and engraved numbers.
The movement's main plate plays the role of the dial. Its black gold rim with alternating sandblasted and linear satin finishes shows off the time indications with majestic effect. Alternating polished and matt finishes serve to emphasise the spatial layout of the 43 mm diameter case, fashioned in steel. A very wide sapphire case back reveals a panoramic display of the anthracite mechanical movement with its linear satin finish. A lovely touch of restraint that gives a lift to the most innovative of displays. An eminently masculine piece that lays the foundations for a new watchmaking theorem.
A watchmaker engineer, Michel Vermot has taught for 20 years at the Haute Ecole Arc, located at Le Locle (Switzerland). Specialised in both mechanical and electronic watchmaking, he has managed numerous industrial contracts for HE-Arc. He is now responsible for the Movement Development department with Maurice Lacroix.