Monday, September 26, 2016

Review of Maurice Lacroix Pontos Rectangulaire Automatic Chronograph

Model # PT6197-TT003-331

Brand/Model:  Maurice Lacroix Pontos Rectangulaire Automatic Chronograph
Movement:  Swiss automatic
Material:  titanium case, natural rubber strap
Complications:  date display, chronograph timing up to 12 hours in 1/5 second increments
Price:  MSRP $4,750  USD (can be found heavily discounted)

Plenty of photos follow the review. Click on the pictures to enlarge.

I talk a lot about ‘high value’ watches.  By this I mean watches that deliver the goods at a reasonable price, regardless of whether they have ridiculously high MSRPs that do not reflect what the watches actually sell at or are priced realistically to begin with.  Maurice Lacroix is what I consider to be a ‘high value’ brand even though their watches carry high price tags. Maurice Lacroix watches can usually be found heavily discounted, which is all the better for us WISes.

Maurice Lacroix is a legitimate Swiss brand that makes about 90,000 watches per year in a wide variety of styles and mechanical complications, with many movements modified in-house.  I have reviewed several Maurice Lacroix (‘ML’ for short) watches before and have always given them high marks; the watch being reviewed here is no exception.

The ML Pontos Rectangulaire automatic chronograph seamlessly blends style, dressiness, sportiness and functionality in a tank-style watch that can be worn in the board room or the locker room with equal ease. 

This watch is currently the only tank watch I have in my collection, as I’m not usually a fan of this case style, but this ML works so well in so many regards that I look forward to wearing it and showing off its unique attributes.  I have owned other tank watches over the years and the fact that I still own the ML speaks volumes to its design and overall ethic.

The ML Pontos Rectangulaire starts with a substantial titanium case that is largely brushed, with just a few areas being polished.  This finish helps to give the watch a more subdued appearance, which is a good idea because while not being overly large, being a tank style, it covers a fair portion of the wrist and due to the chronograph movement, it is also a bit thick.  Some might feel this watch is ‘too big’ for them due to the thickness and somewhat large tank dimensions, but being titanium, at least it doesn’t feel heavy on the arm.

The Pontos Rectangulaire measures 38.5mm wide without the signed  crown; 41.1mm including the crown.  Case height is 43mm and lug-to-lug height is 55mm.  The lugs do turn down rather severely so they don’t stick out too far from the case and the case is slight curved to better hug the wrist, which helps make the watch easier to wear if you have a slim wrist as I do.  Case thickness is 15.2mm and lug width is 26mm.

The crown is a work of art, being signed and knurled in a machined way that gives it both a good grip in the fingers and a cool look to the eye.  Nice!  The chronograph pushers are large and rectangular and are easy to use and function with a very satisfying mechanical ‘click’ when depressed.

The caseback is a display type that shows off the highly decorated movement with signed rotor and is secured with four small screws, one at each corner.

Overall fit and finish on the ML Pontos Rectangulaire is very good.  The watch is factory rated for a relatively modest 50 meters of watch resistance.

This particular ML Pontos Rectangulaire has what ML calls the ‘anthracite’ dial, which is a fancy word for gray.  The dial looks great and is fairly easy to read, as my experience with gray dialed watches is that they are sometimes hard to read, even though they look good.

The design of the dial has deep indents that radiate to the outer edge, with inset silver markers at the five minute marks, save for the places where the chronograph subdials extend into the edges of the dial.  A circular chapter ring has small arabics at the five minute marks and hash marks for the remaining minutes.

The hour and minute hands are simple silver with beveled sides, which help catch the light and make them easier to see.  The tips of the hands are luminous, as are the tips of just the chronograph hour and minute recorders; this is a detail that seems daft, as at least the chronograph and subseconds hands should also glow, along with some markers on the dial.  A small but confusing detail here that merits mention as a nit to pick.

The subdial at 12 is the chronograph minute recorder and the subdial at 6 is the chronograph hour totalizer.  The subdial at 9 is the watch seconds hand and is one place where the ML Pontos Rectangulaire really shines.   ML has used a clear disc with a white triangle as the pointer to create the seconds ‘hand’, so when the watch is running, is appears as though the seconds hand (triangle) is floating as it makes its way around the subdial.  This subdial is ringed in silver with seconds marks and small 60, 15, 30 and 45 arabics.  A super cool and detailed subdial.

All the subdials are recessed into the dial and the chronograph subdials at 12 and 6 have a very subtle circular patterning on them.

A silvery on black date wheel is at the 3 position.  The date is quickset and aligns properly in the window, which is outlined in a silver frame.  The font used for the date numerals is also a bit fancier that the typical date font, which helps lend a bit of class to the dial.

Just to the left of the date window is the dial’s only printing (save for the ‘Swiss Made’ at the bottom).  Below a small applied silver ML logo are the words “Maurice Lacroix, ‘Chronographe’ and ‘Automatique’.  All very small and unobtrusive and since I am a ‘less dial printing is better’ kind of guy, it works very well for me.

Capping the dial is a slightly domed sapphire crystal that is also curved to match the curvature of the case.  Under my 8X loupe exam, the dial exhibited no dirt and a ‘clean’ assembly.

Overall, the dial on the ML Pontos Rectangulaire is a work of art and really sets this watch apart from run-of-the-mill chronographs.

Running the ML Pontos Rectangulaire is ML’s Caliber ML112 automatic chronograph movement which is a base Valjoux 7750 25-jewel workhorse.  ML decorates this movement with nice Geneva stripes, a bit of perlage and some polished pieces, giving it a superb appearance through the display back.  The rotor is also nicely signed and decorated.

Being a Valjoux 7750 base, it performs like we all expect it to, with a strong 52.5 hour power reserve and superb accuracy of +2 seconds/24 hours.  The watch winds and sets properly and all the chronograph functions work as they should.  Chronograph operation (start/stop/reset) is fine.  All told, no complaints about the watchworks.

The ML Pontos Rectangulaire comes on a high-quality smooth rubber strap with a chamfered edge.  The strap is non-scented (thank you!), soft and rather thin, so it’s very flexible.  The strap is tastefully signed on each side, on the right, near the lugs.  It’s also signed underneath and marked ‘caoutchouc veritable’, meaning it’s genuine natural rubber and also signed ‘Swiss Made’, so you know it’s a quality piece.

The strap measures 26mm at the lugs and tapers quickly to a 17.7mm dimension at the signed titanium buckle.  There are two keepers, one fixed and one floating.  The inclusion of a rubber strap on this watch helps give it a sporty feel and a nifty look.  It’s one of the best rubber straps I have in my collection and worthy of the ML name.

Presentation is typical (meaning great) ML, with a large two piece square black heavy cardboard outer box and a faux-wood-look plastic inner box with black vinyl lining.  The packaging is heavy and has a substantial look and feel about it, keeping with the overall quality of this piece.

In summary, the Maurice Lacroix Pontos Rectangulaire is a cool watch that combines several unique elements into a design that is stylish, functional and bold, without being too flashy or superfluous.  This watch has a great look, high-quality construction and materials and a price, when purchased at a discount, that qualifies it as truly ‘high-value.’  Maurice Lacroix does it again!

Pros:  lightweight titanium construction; reliable, accurate, decorated Swiss engine; detailed dial, unique style with functional elements 

Cons:  overall dimensions can be too large for some, pretty darn thick, needs more lume on the dial

Verdict:  a real winner in the world of tank-style automatic chronographs with true Swiss quality, modern design and a strong value proposition.  The Maurice Lacroix Pontos Rectangulaire may be a mouthful to say, but it is a watch that says a lot! 

Thanks for reading and enjoy the pics.



Monday, May 16, 2016

Review of Edox Class 1 GMT Worldtimer

Model # 93005-3-NBUR

Brand/Model:  Edox Class 1 GMT Worldtimer
Movement:  Swiss automatic
Material:  stainless steel case with solid ceramic bezel, rubber strap
Complications:  date display, independently adjustable third GMT hand
Price:  approximate MSRP $3,492 USD (discontinued)

Plenty of photos follow the review. Click on the pictures to enlarge.

Edox is one of those Swiss brands that fly under the radar and I became curious about the brand, since I had never owned an Edox watch before.  When some of their more recent, yet discontinued, pieces started showing up online at substantial discounts, I pulled the trigger on this Edox Class 1 GMT Worldtimer to see what the brand was all about.  Boy, am I glad I took the plunge!

Edox makes its watches in its Les Genevez factory in Switzerland and has quite the range of models and styles, with both automatic and quartz movements.  Edox history dates back to 1884 in Switzerland, when the company was founded.  Edox means ‘measuring of time’ in ancient Greek.  The company’s hourglass logo was first shown in 1900 and the company’s watch manufacturing has progressed steadily since.

Edox has developed some well-known horological innovations, such as the double gasket crown for improved water resistance which debuted in 1961 and the famous ‘Geoscope’ worldtimer, introduced in 1970, being billed as the ‘first genuine world time watch.’

In 2008, Edox became the official timekeeper of the Class 1 World Powerboat Championship, of which the watch being reviewed here is named after. 

The Edox Class 1 GMT Worldtimer being reviewed starts with an all stainless steel case that is both polished and brushed.  The left case side has a polished stainless steel inset plate secured with screws that says ‘Class I’ in reference to the brand’s Class 1 Powerboat timekeeping sponsorship as previously mentioned. 

Case diameter is 43mm; with crown it measures 47mm.  Lug-to-lug measurement is 49.1mm, so this watch sits comfortably on the wrist.  Case thickness is a rather svelte 12.3mm.  Lug width is 24mm.

The lugs have fixed screwhead covers on them that add a bit of style and all the screwheads are aligned vertically, which is cool.  Also, the screwheads for the lug covers and the inset plate on the case side are styled in the hourglass Edox logo.

The crown screws down and is signed with an inset black circle with the Edox logo on it.  Very classy!  The crown is just about the perfect size (slightly on the large side without being huge) and screws down smoothly with about 3-1/2 turns.

The caseback is a screwdown  type with an rather heavily embossed propeller in the center, and various engravings depicting the serial number, case number, etc. plus verbiage about the Class 1 Powerboat Championship.  The look of the caseback is nifty.

The quality and finish of the case is superb.

The Edox Class 1 GMT Worldtimer is factory rated at a good 300 meters of water resistance.

The dial on this watch is unique, functional and easy-to-read.  The dial itself is mainly black with a grey radar-style circular grid on the inner part of the dial.  A red and white roulette-style track is on the outside of the grey grid, and comprises the 24-hour subdial for the GMT hand.  Small arabics in black are on a red background and are separated by a small block of white between each red block. 

On the outside of the roulette 24-hour ring is a plain black area with applied rectangular luminous markers and finally the chapter ring, which is done in blue and black, with the hash marks and arabics (every five seconds) for the seconds markers.

This may all sound a bit busy, but in reality, it is not and functions as a cohesive whole.  Also, please note, even though this watch is billed as a ‘worldtimer’ it does not have any cities listed on the dial or bezel, so it can only track a second time zone, but not the time in individual worldwide cities.  Why Edox decided to add ‘worldtimer’ to this model’s name is beyond me, but I just wanted to be clear about this.

The hour and minute hands are silver with white inset lume and the seconds hand is a simple non-luminous silver stick.  The handset style is a pleasing rectilinear design that looks contemporary while also being easy to see.  The GMT hand is a semi-wide pointer style that is all red and extends only to the inside of the roulette-looking 24-hour subdial, which is a GMT style that I appreciate.

A quickset date is at the 3 position, which features a black on white date wheel.  Alignment of the date inside the window is perfect.

A flat sapphire crystal covers the dial and a solid black ceramic bezel encircles the crystal.  The bezel is a 60-click unidirectional design that is slightly tall on its sides with grooves for an easy grip (a good idea, as the ceramic is smooth and can be hard to grab hold of) along with standard infilled white hash marks for the first 15 minutes of the hour and infilled white arabics and markers for the rest of the hour.  There’s an inverted triangle at the 12 position with a lume dot in the center. 

The bezel is shiny black and also has four of those stylized screwheads as on the case that add a bit of pop to the bezel.  The screwheads appear at approximately the 7, 22, 37 and 52 marks on the bezel.  Personally, I could do without this embellishment because they really don’t add anything to the watch.  But I do really love the ceramic bezel, it looks and feels super and gives this watch an expensive cache.

Lume color is green and lume quality is good, but not overly strong, although the application of the lume is even.  The hour and minute hands, the markers on the outer edge of the dial and the lume pip all glow in the dark.

Dial lettering is about average, with the Edox logo, the name ‘Edox’ and ‘Automatic’ appearing below the 12 position and ‘GMT’, ‘Worldtimer’ and ‘300M/1000FT’ appearing above the six position.  Thankfully, the lettering is rather small and doesn’t detract from the readability of the dial.  As I already said, while the dial might appear busy, it functions great and is easy to tell both the local time and GMT time at a glance.

As with the rest of the case, fit and finish and build quality of the dial, crystal and bezel are all first-rate.  My standard 8X loupe exam showed no dirt or defects on the dial or hands.

Inside the Edox Class 1 GMT Worldtimer beats a Swiss automatic movement that Edox calls its ‘Caliber 93’.  This movement is based on the venerable ETA 2893 and runs at 28,800 vph in 21 jewels.  This movement is pretty much the standard bearer among GMT movements and works just like it should.  

In the first crown setting position, moving the crown clockwise sets the GMT hand in one-hour steps, while moving the crown counter-clockwise sets the date.  The local time on the main hour and minute hands is set with the crown in the outer most (#2) position.

The Edox Class 1 GMT Worldtimer winds and sets fine, the GMT and date functions are easy to set and perform flawlessly.  During my testing, accuracy was +11 seconds over 24 hours in the crown-up position with a strong power reserve of 50-1/4 hours, so overall performance is very good.

This Edox comes on a smooth black rubber dive strap that is scented.  I just don’t understand the allure of scented straps.  I really don’t care for them; just give me the natural rubber smell, but at least the scent here isn’t too overpowering.  

That being said, the quality of the strap is nice, with a soft and flexible feel and minimal embellishment, with just a small Edox logo on each side of the strap near the lugs, a pleasing departure from some brands that feel they have to use their rubber straps as billboards with garish and overly large brand lettering.  There are also two floating keepers.

The strap measures 24mm at the lugs and tapers to 20mm at the clasp.  The clasp is a pushbutton butterfly style deployant that is signed with the Edox logo.  While the clasp could be a bit more comfortable at times, a nice detail is the perlage that has been applied to the outside of the clasp, so you see it when you open the clasp.

The strap has two trimmable sections on one side if you wish to shorten the strap, with the other side of the strap having seven holes to choose from for the pin on the clasp to fit into.  I did not trim the strap and it works pretty well on my thin wrist, but I do find the butterfly deployant to be unnecessarily fussy when putting the watch on.  Please just give me a standard pin buckle or a single-style deployant, thank you very much.

While I haven’t tried it, I think this watch would look super cool on a black or dark brown leather strap, as I am one of those guys who loves their divers on leather straps.

Presentation is quite nice, with a large signed black two-piece outer box and a plastic two-piece inner box.  The inner box fits into a plastic Edox logo frame which makes it a bit clunky but kinda cool all the same.  A small slot at the bottom of the outer box holds the combined instruction manual and warranty booklet.

Overall, I am quite impressed with the Edox Class 1 GMT Worldtimer as my introduction to the Edox brand.  It’s a unique, high-quality watch from a true Swiss brand that has great functionality, style and lots of little details that make it stand out from the crowd.  Factor in that these watches can be had at decent discounts and you have a winner, with the added bonus that you won’t see too many out in the field.  Very well done!

Pros:  true Swiss quality from a real Swiss watch brand, reliable Swiss automatic engine, unique design, lots of cool details, solid ceramic bezel, 300 meter water resistance

Cons:  scented strap not for everybody, lume could be brighter, butterfly deployant hard to use and not that comfortable, screwheads on bezel don’t enhance the design

Verdict:  Edox has created an enjoyable watch that has its own unique personality, with real Swiss DNA through and through.  The Class 1 GMT Worldtimer is a true work of art and worthy of your consideration if you want a quality, classy/sporty GMT automatic.  Nice work!

Thanks for reading and enjoy the pics.