Monday, May 16, 2011

Review of Maurice Lacroix Miros Diver


Model # MI6028-SS062-330

At a Glance:

Brand/Model:  Maurice Lacroix Miros Diver
Movement:  Swiss automatic
Material:  stainless steel case and bracelet
Complications:  date display
Price:  MSRP $2,100 USD; street price $450-$600 USD


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

The Miros automatic diver comes in three known flavors, black dial/black bezel, black dial/forest green bezel and brown dial/brown bezel.  There was also a limited edition COSC edition.  I chose the black dial and forest green bezel combo because I like a touch of green in a watch, and believe me, this green is very understated and in some light, it appears practically black.  There are also some subtle forest green accents on the dial and the second hand is tipped in this color as well, but it’s superbly executed and comes together nicely.

Maurice Lacroix is one of those brands that present a paradox.  Their watches can range from outrageously beautiful and complex to relatively classic and simple.  Retail prices are usually in the low-to-mid thousands range, but some of their models can be had at extremely large discounts.  Similar to the Invicta or Stührling Original pricing model of a super high fantasy retail, but a street price that’s much less. 

But in the case of Maurice Lacroix (ML for short), their watches are much closer to the retail price in terms of quality and value.  It’s this pricing structure that piqued my interest in this brand and when I spotted the Miros, I was smitten and had to try one.

Listing at a lofty $2,100 dollars, the Miros can be regularly had on the street from between $450 to $600 new.  For this price, you get the standard list of expected quality features:  200 meter water resistance, screw down signed crown, sapphire crystal, Swiss automatic movement, solid link bracelet with solid end links, double locking signed clasp with a signed machined deployant and the expected level of fit and finish depicted by its price tag and Swiss Made heritage.  Is this a $2,100 dollar watch?  No.  Is it worth $1,000?  Maybe.  Is it worth $600?  Yes.  Get it for anything less and you’ve snagged a winner.

Comparing this watch with my Oris TT diver (which I paid about $735 for new), my mid-size Omega Seamaster and my Bulova Accutron diver (which was bought on closeout for $250) there are many similarities.  Of course, the Bulova was a complete steal and has, with very little doubt, one of the nicest bracelets I have seen on a watch at any price below $2,500.  The Oris is a quality piece, but I believe the ML Miros can easily hold its own with these two watches and maybe give the Seamaster somewhat of a run for the money.

The Miros starts with a 41mm stainless steel case that is high polished on the sides and brushed on the top.  Inclusive of the crown, the measurement is 43.5mm.  The case measures 11.8mm thick with 20mm lugs.  The overall dimensions speak of excellent proportions.  The lug ends taper down quite sharply, to better fit the wrist.  The screw down case back is polished and matte finished with an appropriately embossed Maurice Lacroix logo and wording in the center.

If this ML was a woman, think sublimely shapely with no excess baggage.  More Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie than Jennifer Lopez or Kim Kardashian.

The crystal is flat sapphire and appears to have some sort of anti-reflective coating on it.  Not as noticeable as the coating on the Bulova, but I suspect there’s some sort of coating on it nonetheless.  Water resistance is factory rated at 20atm.

The 120-click unidirectional bezel has a beautifully notched or scalloped edge that makes it easy to grip and turn.  The top of the bezel and the notches are polished, while the sides of the bezel are brushed.  It’s also a quality fit on the bezel, which nestles itself down below the lugs and part of the end links for a great look.  The bezel itself turns fairly easily with precision and has practically no backlash.  The forest green insert is matte finished and has an inset lume pip @ 12 with a ring of stainless around it for protection.  There are minute marks for the first 15 minutes, with arabics at the 20, 30, 40 and 50 minute marks.

The screw down crown measures 7.4mm in size, a larger size than normal, without being too big.  The case has very subtle curves on the crown side giving the crown a bit of protection without screaming ‘crown guards!’  The crown itself is appropriately knurled and alternately brushed and polished on the high and low sides of the knurls.  The ‘face’ is indented slightly and bears a proud embossed ‘M’ in its center.  The crown screws down to lock in about 3.5 turns, with a smooth feel and positive action.

One of the things I like most about the ML Miros diver is its overall classy and understated look.  The dial is a study in clean simplicity.  It is black, with a circle that radiates out from the center to the inside edge of the applied markers.  The markers are luminous and are finely outlined in stainless steel. 

The date is located @ 3 and is quickset.  The date wheel is black on white and while I would have preferred white on black (as many upscale watches seem to sport), I believe the decision to stay with a black on white date wheel stems from the point that it makes the dial more balanced, as this color combination makes the shortened marker @ 3 look more like a full-length marker. 

Speaking of the markers, they are perfectly proportioned, as are the hands.  The hands are sword-style, with finely polished edges.  The sweep second hand is silver with a forest green tip.  Sadly, neither the tip of the second hand or the overhang end of the second hand are luminous, as one or the other is de rigueur in a serious diver, so small demerit points for that.  But the overall look and readability of the hands are fantastic and the quality of the lume is bright, evenly applied and consistent in color on all surfaces.

Under examination with an 8X loupe, the dial appears clean and devoid of any dust, fingerprints, imperfections, etc.  All said and done, a magnificent dial presentation.

Inside this watch beats an ML Caliber 115 movement, which begins life as a Sellita SW200 26-jewel automatic, which is based on the venerable ETA 2824-2.  I have this same movement in my Oris and have been extremely pleased with it, as in that watch, it keeps time to within two seconds per day.  ML takes the SW200 and massages it, decorating the rotor and some of the plates and adjusting it to four positions.  Although not chronometer rated, it’s nice having a watch with a movement that is adjusted to this degree of precision.  Power reserve was clocked at an expected 42.5 hours.

Curiously, even with this extra care, the ML keeps worse time than the unadjusted Oris movement, but it still runs at just +4 seconds a day crown up, so I can’t really complain.  And I have to say, the sweep of the second hand on the ML is the smoothest of any watch I own.  It’s an absolute pleasure to watch the second hand make its way across the dial, almost like a high-frequency Accutron tuning fork movement.   So hats off to ML for tweaking the SW200 for extra-grade duty. 

The only complaint with the movement would be the rather cheap looking movement holder spacer and screws inside the case.  Since the case back is not a display type, no one will ever see the movement holder screws, but why bother to decorate the movement then, too?  It would be nice if they could have spent a bit of extra money to make the movement holder screws and spacer look more upscale.  Again, a very small nit to pick.

Now comes the bracelet.  I was hoping the bracelet would blow me away on this watch, but unfortunately, if there’s any place this watch lets me down, it’s with the bracelet.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s very nicely executed, but to me, it doesn’t scream $2,100 worth of stainless steel links.

The links are solid stainless which are brushed and the edges finely polished.  The fit of the solid end links into the case lugs is perfect.  The place where the bracelet disappoints is the links themselves.  They are pretty darn thin and they are a one-piece design, as opposed to the amazing 13-piece design on the Bulova mentioned earlier. 

The ML’s bracelet measures 20mm at the lugs and tapers to about 17.8mm at the clasp.  The clasp is a double locking type, signed, with a signed machined deployant.  The diver’s extension is a relatively cheap-looking stamped steel type, which is identical to the Bulova’s.

The links are secured by the cursed pin and center collar system, which is to be expected on a higher-end piece such as this.  I dread this system, while it does a good job securing the links, I find that the pins can be a real bear to remove and replace.  Fortunately, the pins on this bracelet came out fairly smoothly and were replaced with the same relative ease.  I didn’t ruin any of the pins, which has happened when I’ve sized up other bracelets that use this system.

The links themselves are fully finished on all sides and there was no manufacturing residue or black crud on or in any of the links, like I have experienced with many watches.  I have two theories on the thinness of the links on this Miros diver. 

I at first thought they have to save money somewhere and they chose to skimp out on the bracelet.  Then I got to thinking that going along with the classier ‘gentlemen’s’ aspect of this watch’s design, it was a conscious decision to make the bracelet more subdued, hence no BCD (Big Chunky Diver) syndrome here.  Honestly, I think the reason for the thin links is a little bit of both.

One thing that didn’t disappoint was the presentation.  This ML diver came in the largest watch box I own and that has to be one of the largest of any watch brand.  The entire box itself weighs close to four pounds! 

A heavy black cardboard outer box lifts off to reveal a polished wood-grained heavy plastic inner box that measures 4 x 7 x 7” HWD.  The inside bottom of the outer box is padded and has pockets for the instructions (in their own leather portfolio) and ML polishing cloth.  The watch box itself opens with metal hinges and more black leather to nestle the watch in.  I believe it to be leather, if not, it’s very convincing faux leather that is soft to the touch.  Overall, a superb presentation and totally befitting a watch with a $2,100 hang tag!

So, what then exactly does the ML Miros diver represent?  If you’re looking for a watch with true Swiss heritage and manufacture or want a classy watch with a sporting bent or a more casual watch that can pull double duty in the boardroom or on the links, this watch is an excellent choice.  If you’re wanting a honking big diver that sits on your wrist like a Big Mac, look elsewhere.

Overall, this watch presents a finer take on a 200 meter diver, with a high level of fit, finish and detailing.  A superlative effort on behalf of the house of ML and an outstanding value at the current street prices.

Pros:  Classy, understated, sublime and functional.  Swiss heritage and manufacture that some people have to have.  Movement adjusted to four positions.

Cons:  No lume on the second hand, bracelet links while well-finished are quite thin.  Diver’s extension could be higher quality.

Verdict:  Maurice Lacroix hits a home-run with the Miros diver.  A superb combination of quality, functionality and value steeped in Swiss manufacture.  In two words:  well-done!

Thanks for reading and enjoy the pictures.

Excelsior,

-Marc

UPDATE!

I have owned this ML diver for almost one year now and still enjoy it immensely.  The watch still keeps superb time, is very comfortable to wear and has that great understated, yet classy look about it.

-MCV, 5-16-11



 

3 comments:

  1. Very interesting review. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Excellent and thorough review, very helpful indeed.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Where can i get the price of $400 to $600?

    ReplyDelete