Success breeds success. Last year, Maurice Lacroix set a cat amongst the pigeons in mechanical watchmaking by developing a square wheel mechanism – the first in watchmaking history. Quite apart from its sheer aesthetic appeal, it introduced a whole new way of marking the passage of time. This year, Maurice Lacroix’s Roue Carrée offers a fresh angle on the passage of time, by focusing on the seconds display. As a result, the Masterpiece Roue Carrée Seconde is a truly fascinating spectacle to behold.
Designed by watchmaker and engineer Michel Vermot in collaboration with the Haute Ecole Arc du Locle, the square wheel mechanism has taken years to perfect. As the gear profiles of non-circular wheels cannot, by definition, be regular, the principal challenge was to define the shape of the teeth in order to ensure constant power transfer. The wheels were made using LiGA technology – a revolutionary process that combines the techniques of photolithography and electroforming to make high-precision micro-components that cannot be made with traditional machining methods.
The eye is mesmerized from the very first glance by the hypnotic movement of the Masterpiece Roue Carrée Seconde. The small-seconds display comes to life before your very eyes thanks to the steadfast, rhythmic movement of the square wheel with its geometric openwork. Its prominent phosphorescent corners serve as a reminder of time’s constant march onwards. The square wheel, whose corners and contours mesh with the same precision as its circular counterparts, is activated by a toothed clover-leaf wheel and turns continuously to create an extremely dynamic visual effect.
In order to leave the seconds hand firmly in the spotlight, the hours and minutes are indicated by a simple central hands coated with Superluminova. A power-reserve indicator at 3 o’clock adds balance to the picture. The hours, minutes and power reserve are displayed directly on the main plate, which serves as the dial. The watch’s readability is enhanced by its Grand Colimaçon (or snailed) black or rhodium finish, which makes the indicators literally glow, while the alternation of satin-brushed and polished finishes adorning the 43 mm steel case showcases its silhouette to perfection. A large sapphire-crystal case back reveals the refinement of the ML156 mechanical movement, decorated with Grand Colimaçon in finest Swiss watchmaking tradition.
The Masterpiece Roue Carrée Seconde – an unprecedented fusion of technology and talent – encapsulates the philosophy of Maurice Lacroix and its Masterpiece collection. A philosophy in which engineering and beauty dovetail to challenge the boundaries of design, in an attempt to change the very face of time. Resolutely masculine and eminently technical, this new item – a contemporary watch that breaks with preconceived ideas to stay ahead of its time – confirms the brand’s status as expert innovators. Galvanizing the most technical of watchmaking skills, it offers time a new lease of life.
Engineer and watchmaker Michel Vermot has taught at the Haute Ecole Arc, located in Le Locle (Switzerland), for 20 years. A specialist in mechanical and electronic watches, he has managed many industrial mandates in the framework of his role at the HE-ARC. He now runs the Movement Development Department at Maurice Lacroix.
Movement – ML 156 mechanical movement, hand-wound. Developed in collaboration with HE-ARC, manufactured and assembled by Maurice Lacroix. Design patented (square wheel / clover leaf). Vibration – 18,000 vph, 2.5 Hz. Power reserve – 45 hours. Jewels – 34. Adjustments – 5 positions after full winding and after 24 hours. Decoration – Grand Colimaçon, rhodium finish.
Movement Bridge / Dial – In keeping with the Masterpiece Régulateur Roue Carrée (*) design, the dial has been created on the main plate of the movement itself and is decorated with a large “Grand Colimaçon”. The square wheel and clover leaf mesh to transfer power with the same precision as the cogs in their circular counterparts; in addition the wheel is used to indicate the seconds. The hours and power-reserve indications are engraved on the main plate. Dial available in black or rhodium. The square wheel and clover leaf are highlighted by a circular opening on the movement main plate itself, decorated with a sandblasted background.
(*) Limited Edition launched in 2010.
Hands – Trailing square wheel for the seconds display, circular satin-brushed finish upper part and polished circumference, seconds pointer coated with white C1 Superluminova (blue luminescence). No visible rotation axis. Diamond-polished and faceted hours and minutes hands, coated with white C1 Superluminova (blue luminescence). Diamond-polished and faceted power-reserve hand.
Functions – Hours and minutes indicated by central hands. Small-second display by square wheel at 6 o’clock. Power-reserve hand at 3 o’clock.
Case – Steel, Φ 43 mm, satin-brushed and polished finish. Domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides. Screwed case back with wide sapphire crystal. Water-resistant to 50 m / 5 atm.
Strap / Bracelet – Large-scale black crocodile-skin strap, lined with black calfskin and black over-stitching.
Buckle – Folding steel clasp with push buttons. Satin-brushed and polished finish.
Source: Maurice Lacroix