Now you can reveal the anatomy of time. The Masterpiece Le Chronographe Squelette features a skeletal movement that commands respect. Its precise mechanics and updated appearance are the hallmarks of an undeniably innovative timepiece.
OPEN ROOF HOROLOGY
The joy of driving an open roof car on a winding country lane is something many men dream of.
To sense the wind in your hair and feel the sun on your face, on a bright summer’s day, bestows a sense of well-being.
It is the removal of the roof that provides access to the elements and confers a sense of connection with many objects ordinarily hidden from view.
The same scenario could equally apply to this latest contemporary timepiece from Maurice Lacroix.
The Masterpiece Le Chronographe Squelette reveals its inner workings centre-stage. This exceptional timepiece is skeletonised, presenting many challenges in its construction.
Removing material can adversely affect torsional rigidity. This presents similar challenges to car companies when creating an open roof roadster. However, Maurice Lacroix have shown on several occasions they have an impressive competence at creating skeletonised movements and this model is no exception. Its complex construction ensures there is no fl exing of the base plate and solidity is assured.
The contemporary design reveals many of the inner elements which unite together to form a handsome and unique aesthetic. There is a connection between style and functionality with this watch.
Many horological voyeurs enjoy viewing the mechanical heart of a timepiece. They hunger for the sight of a fi nely fi nished movement, residing within the case. Some will suffer pangs of melancholy when viewing a fantastic timepiece, knowing the wonderful craftsmanship residing within, is hidden from view.
The cognoscenti may well lament that their inquisitive eyes are denied the sublime spectacle of a beautifully fi nished movement on those watches fi tted with a solid caseback. They may feel a sense of frustration that only the watchmaker can enjoy the spectacle within because the inner beauty is concealed from view.
In recent times, an increasing number of high-end watch brands, including Maurice Lacroix, have employed sapphire casebacks to sate the appetite some have for comely circular graining and the spectacle of the pallet lever interfacing with the escape wheel. However, the Masterpiece Le Chronographe Squelette takes this concept much further, openly disclosing its inner thoughts.
The timepiece is offered in four variants, each produced in a limited series of 188 models. The prospective buyer can choose from: rhodium movement execution, ruthenium movement execution, pink gold movement execution or blue nickel movement execution.
IMBUED WITH LIFE AND ENERGY
The hours and minutes are imparted with silver coloured sword-shaped hands, lined with white luminous material. A central chronograph seconds hand is presented in a silver hue, with a charming arrowhead counterweight near its fulcrum.
At 3 o’clock, a 60-minute chronograph counter resides. The hand for the counter is affi xed to a circular grained wheel, engaging the eyes with its decorated form. There is an honesty to the workings of this timepiece, revealing the snailed architecture of the bottom plate.
At 9 o’clock a subsidiary seconds display features. It shares the same design language as the aforementioned 60-minute chronograph counter and, by default, bestows balance and symmetry.
The inner workings of the movement imbue the dial with life and energy. Yet, conversely they never distract or overwhelm the wearer with extraneous detail. The Maurice Lacroix team have worked tirelessly executing a design brief which evokes an air of sophistication.
Whether you speak to a teenager or a greyhaired gentleman, invariably males share an adoration for aerodynamic cars. Those streamlined shapes, which seduce the eyes and cheat the wind of resistance, have garnered admiring glances of appreciation for generations. And, so it is for this sophisticated beau from Maurice Lacroix, with graceful curve of line and chiselled features eliciting nods of approval.
The generously proportioned case measures 45 mm in diameter, providing a judiciously sized canvas for the artistic expression of time.
The satin-brushed stainless steel case, in combination with the blue bridge work visible through the sapphire glass, imparts a cool, relaxed persona. The push-pieces and bevelled edges of the bezel and lugs are highly polished and charmingly coalesce with the adjacent surfaces.
Admiring the satin-brushed caseband, the refi ned execution of the case is magnifi cent. The chronograph push pieces mimic the surrounding angles with their elaborate form. For example, if you look at the edge closest to the crown, it is curved, affording reverence to its cylindrical shaped neighbour.
The crown proffers wonderful tactility, resembling two gears stacked in series. No aspect of this watch is born from expedience but rather the thoughtful contemplation of a talented design team.
The caseback features a sapphire crystal to afford a dorsal view of the movement.
A REFINED POWERPLANT
The competent driver will traverse bends with aplomb. With experience comes technique. They will adopt the text book approach to driving: brake, lit off the throttle, turn in, look through the bend and skilfully apply the power. The best drivers understand the nuances of their car. They understand that all components, including the engine, have to combine the ensure there is substance to accompany style.
The calibre ML 106 is a manufacture movement made to exacting standards in the home of horology, Switzerland. It beautifully conveys the elevated skill practised by the maison’s most talented artisans.
The manual-winding movement shares its frequency of 18,000 vph (2.5Hz) with traditional wristwatches of yesteryear. However, this is no traditional timepiece, but a contemporary expression of fi ne watchmaking craft. Close examination of the movement reveals the oscillating splendour of a screwed balance wheel.
The spring barrel is sans barrel cap, revealing the mainspring to the fortunate wearer. The brass gear train is visible from the front of the watch and the winding stem is openly disclosed.
This is a vertically integrated chronograph, with the castellated column wheel beautifully presented on the movement.
A further testament to the quality of the movement is the swan-neck regulator, typical of the fi nest examples of haute horology.
The decoration is exquisite. Whilst Maurice Lacroix have embraced modernity with this handsome timepiece, they have not eschewed fi nissage with grand colimaçon decoration visible on the main bridge.
LESS IS MORE
The danger of removing substance from any object is that in the process, strength and rigidity are lost. Removing the roof from a fi xed-head coupé has often resulted in many cars suffering “scuttle-shake”, the less than ideal fl exing of the body.
Iconic open roof cars have often surmounted these problems, granting the driver with a smile-inducing experience. The fi nest examples of open roof cars accord abundant amusement. They have become revered classics.
The same equally applies to this watch. Experienced and talented minds have overcome the inherent risks in creating an open-worked watch and have ensured it meets the most demanding clientele. However, by shunning superfl uous material, Maurice Lacroix have enhanced the ownership proposition. The miniature components within are exampled to glorious effect, displaying their high quality lustre. Indeed, to quote Robert Browning in his poem Andrea del Sarto, “less is more”.
In creating the Masterpiece Le Chronographe Squelette, Maurice Lacroix have realised a potential classic to be enjoyed by a future generation.