2014 brings another intriguing addition to Maurice Lacroix’s “Masterpiece” collection, the Masterpiece Gravity. This watch is notable for its use of silicon components as part of the caliber ML230 (Maurice Lacroix’s 13th manufacture movement, by the way). ML’s Masterpiece collection is the brand’s top range where it showcases its most exclusive — and often unusual — complications. Recent Maurice Lacroix “Masterpiece” head-turners include the mystery seconds (2013) and the very intriguing “square wheel”, though there are also more typical designs and complications such as skeleton models, worldtimers, retrograde indicators, and so on. But the Masterpiece Gravity is, as I say, notable for its use of silicon. Let’s take a closer look.
Indeed, this is the first watch from Maurice Lacroix to utilize a silicon (silicium en Francais) assortment: balance roller, lever, and escapement wheel. It is also worth noting that this was done using in-house development resources in collaboration wtih Haute Ecole Arc. The caliber itself is very clean looking, with a modest 188 components. The caliber oscillates at a frequency of 18,000 vph (2.5Hz), which ML says is “ideally suited for silicium as it proves gentler to the glass-like substance than those experienced in some higher oscillating movements.”
The off-center hour and minute display are on a white lacquered dial which is domed at its centre and retained with two mirror-polished screws. It has a minute rail edge with either rhodiumed indexes (on the more Contemporary model) or Roman numerals with blued hands for a more traditional look. A small seconds display partially projects over the disclosed silicon balance assortment.
43mm steel case with PVD finish
Maurice Lacroix is, understandably, very proud to feature a complete assortment produced in silicium, developed in house.
Though I still tend to view ML as a mid- to lower-tier brand, it has been interesting watching them in recent years as they have evidenced fairly clear aspirations to increase their standing and value proposition via collections such as the Masterpiece and Pontos, despite still retaining lower end/quartz-based offerings.