Maurice Lacroix Pontos
I can’t deny I am pretty excited to share this timepiece with our readers, the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Diver. A vintage styled, luxury (in my opinion) diver. Since it was first released last year, I fell in love with it via pictures. Getting it in hand for review only strengthened that love, although there are a few things that could be improved. Though I have a few minor quibbles, if you like the look, and want a luxury timepiece that can stand with the big boys, you might want to continue reading.
The Maurice Lacroix Brand is 40 years, old, and while they have not been around a century or more like some brands, they are producing in house movements for some of their watches. While the Pontos is not one of them, they are pushing the limits and trying to establish themselves as a true luxury watch brand.
The Pontos line offers a few choices, such as automatic chronographs, dress watches, and of course the 3-hand vintage style diver with inner timing bezel I am reviewing today. This version is the stainless steel with black dial, red accents and solid stainless steel bracelet.
Maurice Lacroix Pontos:
- 43mm stainless steel case
- 51mm lug to lug
- 15mm thick
- 22mm lugs
- 215 grams
- Domed Sapphire Crystal
- Stainless Steel Bracelet
- Helium Escape Valve
- ML115 Automatic Movement (base SW200)
- 600m water resistant
Retail Price $3400
This is not the newest version of the Pontos, as they have released some new variations/colors since its debut in 2013 at Baselworld. But it is the one I chose for review because I just loved the look of the bracelet on the photos, and once I got it in hand, I knew why.
As I touched on , the Pontos is somewhat vintage inspired, with the shape of the case, the lug opening and of course the dual crowns. The case sides are donut shaped, not as prominent as the Oris TT1 or Aquis divers, but it is definitely noticeable. I would say the case and bracelet are 90% brushed satin with high polished accents on the bezel edge, chamfers on the side of case and lugs and on the outer edges of the bracelet center links. The brushing is also done vertically, as opposed to horizontal, which is more common.
It might be hard to see in some photos (due to the domed crystal), but the dial is a charcoal grey with a light pebble texture. Some watch dials can be over textured, but this one is done just right. Adding to the dial’s beauty is the applied chrome Maurice Lacroix Logo, markers and hands. The date, located at the 6 is easy to see on the uncluttered dial. The minute and second hand are done in red for contrast, though the second hand is missing lume, something I feel is an oversight considering this is a dive watch after all. Another great aspect is the multi layer dial, with the inner bezel raised high above the main dial. Even with that added height, everything lines up perfectly to the rest of the dial, even when viewing from different angles.
The domed crystal sits high above the bezel, almost to a point that it bothers me a little. It is not a super domed crystal like we have seen from some micro brands, but it is a good mm or two above the bezel. While it is sapphire with blue AR coating (double sided) and sapphire of course is extremely scratch resistant, it is not always impact resistant. Only long-term wear could tell if a good crack would shatter the crystal. While I like the look of it, I do prefer crystals that have some protection, either from a tall bezel or ones that are flat with the top of the case.
Both crowns securely screw down, and are not your run of the mill crowns. I am not sure what shape to call the time setting crown and therefore will not attempt to make up a name for it. While neither crown is protected, they are both very solid and secure, and time and date setting is very smooth.
The caseback is not decorated with sea gods or creatures, but rather a center circle with a grid design and deep relief engraved lettering. So while it does not have an “art” piece or drawing, the case back is understated yet still striking.
Maurice Lacroix dubs the movement ML115, which is a base SW200. It has a frequency of 28,800 vph (4Hz), 26 jewels; power reserve 38 hours. I know some have issues with this caliber of movement, at this particular price point. Many would rather an ETA 2824, or other higher ETA grades, or possible something in house. I honestly have no issue with the Sellita, it functions just as well as the ETA’s I have had and is smooth and accurate. This is not a high end, spectacular movement, but this is a dive watch after all, not an exquisite dress piece.
The Pontos is available with the stainless steel bracelet, leather or rubber strap. I show it on the bracelet in the review photos, but you can see the leather strap in the video. It is a nice leather nato strap, soft and supple, but just doesn’t match well with the watch in my opinion. A black (also available) would look better. To me, the watch should only be on this magnificent bracelet. It is weird for me to say that as I am fonder of rubber or leather straps these days, but I love this bracelet. It is solid and chunky, has beautiful lines, polished edges on the center links and a great clasp. The links are held together using the pin and collar system, and the tolerances are very tight, so prepare for a little aggravation when sizing. Once sized for my 7-½ inch wrist (3 links removed), it fits and feels fantastic. The major flaw here… no half links or micro adjustment options on the clasp. This was why I was so surprised that I was able to obtain a perfect fit. I have one of those odd wrists, and normally without these aforementioned options, it is either going to be too tight or too loose. An updated clasp with either adjustment holes or a ratcheting extender would be great for next year’s version. Otherwise I would keep the bracelet exactly the same. Edit: There are micro adjustment holes in the clasp. I didn’t see them because they are not drilled all the way through and I didn’t think to look for them. A Instagram follower sent me the message, along with this photo. Thanks @Wristi!
When the sun starts to go down, the Maurice Lacroix Pontos is more than up for the challenge. It glows bright, lasts longer than most and while it might be not be noticeable at first glance, the hands and markers are a lighter green than the internal bezel, giving it a nice contrast. All of the lume glows as intense and there are no blotchy areas, which is expected from a watch of this caliber.
Everyone buys watches for a different reason. Some because of the movement, some because of design, some like a good balance between both. The Maurice Lacroix Pontos is certainly no budget diver, but I would call it a good bang for the buck, because for the price, you are getting a lot of watch. The dial, case design, finishing and bracelet alone are worth it. Add a Swiss Movement and domed sapphire crystal and a beautiful; aesthetically pleasing dive watch is what you get.
I make no bones that I love this watch, and it is easily my favorite watch I have reviewed this year thus far. It is not perfect, but it is damn sure close, in my opinion. A few tweaks here and there and the Maurice Lacroix Pontos could be the ultimate mid range luxury diver. Whether you agree or not, you have to admit the Pontos is a beauty.
Thank you to Maurice Lacroix for providing this model for review and thank you to all our readers. Please leave your comments below.