The Maurice Lacroix Aikon Venturer has been on my radar for quite some time. The design is extremely eye-catching, the build quality seems pretty special (at a glance anyway), and I find it an attractive proposition for an affordable alternative to anyone after an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak style watch (or any Gérald Genta design). Stefan Tiuca published an insane review of the regular blue Aikon here – and it supported my theory that it’s a pretty special watch.
Here we have the Maurice Lacroix Aikon Venturer , a more rugged, aggressive and slightly more casual take on the Aikon. This one, in particular, is a limited edition – which comes with a slightly different second strap (additional to the steel bracelet) and orange accents for an extra €100. Let’s be honest, spending around £2000, you expect the case to be top-notch. And indeed, it is.Satin-finished with polished edges, it has a luxurious air to it that certainly backs up the price tag. How does it wear? Surprisingly well and easy for a 43mm diameter watch. The lugs and integrated strap and bracelet take an aggressive down-turn, allowing it to hug the wrist. The height of 12mm is to the tip of the crown arms, so the height of the bulk of the watch is surprisingly slender. The bezel’s distinctive six “arms” are much more aggressive, sporty and functional than the normal Aikon; providing excellent grip and visual indicator of the 10-minute intervals. The general grip around the edge of the bezel is also very grippy, so it’s simple to use. The bezel action is what you’d expect: buttery smooth, lines up accurately and just the right firmness. Additionally, the bezel insert is glossy ceramic, which catches the eye alongside all the other reflective elements. The bezel markings are engraved into the ceramic and are lume filled. A “Vagues du Jura” motif surrounds the engraved “M” logo in the centre of the case back, which is secured in place by 7 screws. Moving on to the screw-in crown; it is on the wide side of things (I probably would have preferred it to not protrude past the crown guards quite as much), but it is easy to use and grip. The “M” logo is embossed on the end, against a frosted backdrop. The crown guards are rather utilitarian in design, which I like.
Available in black or blue, the sun-brushed dial certainly is versatile and assembled to exquisite levels. The delicious sunburst backdrop is just the beginning; as the entire dial is so well balanced and crafted. The applied “M” logo is perfectly made and applied, whilst all print work is delicate and precise. The baton hour and minute hands are relatively plain, and in this instance, less is more. Simple, bold hands that get the job done; whilst still maintaining a smidgen of elegance. The seconds hand is a straight stick, with a lumed disc and orange painted tip. The hour markers are a pleasantly unusual yet simple design: orange discs, batons and a triangle with a lumed central channel with rounded edges to fit within their containers. I love the orange splash, which occurs on this limited edition only. Some may grumble at the date wheel not being colour matched to the dial, however that never really bothers me; when it’s white it’s much more of a feature and easy to locate and read. The window has a neat applied, polished border to it which allows it to stand out even more. The lume used throughout the Maurice Lacroix Aikon Venturer is Super-LumiNova. I’d say it’s average; sure you can see it but it doesn’t glow super bright or last a crazy long time.
The bad news for some is the fact that both the strap and bracelet are integrated (so no third-party straps). The good news, though, is that the strap and bracelet are simply incredible – and you’d be foolish to want to change them. The build quality, comfort, attention to detail truly are impressive. This limited edition comes with both the strap and bracelet featured in this review. They both feature quick-release pins (with a teeny-tiny Maurice Lacroix logo engraved on the end of the toggles) and are relatively straightforward to switch. I find the strap a lot easier to fit than the bracelet, which requires a bit of wiggling to catch. The bracelet is a delight to look at, with so many facets and angles reflecting the light in so many wondrous ways. It’s got an aura of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak to it – and indeed, this is a worthy affordable alternative. The bracelet is constructed of a myriad of interlocking links, which mould to the wrist well and provide very comfortable wear. The precision of manufacturing is plain to see, with perfect finishing to boot. The bracelet features a concealed butterfly clasp, which could prove difficult for some to get a perfect fit (as there are no half links). The Maurice Lacroix logo is deeply and accurately engraved on the top side of the clasp.
The leather-backed canvas style strap is another winner in my eyes. I’m usually 100% a bracelet guy, but this strap is so good I’m enjoying the Aikon Venturer on both. As you’d expect, it integrates seamlessly into the case, and the small “M” logo embedded in the top of the end facing you is a little piece of heaven. The blue naturally matches the dial, whilst the orange stitching is an eye-catching nod to the hour markers. The butterfly clasp is solid and detailed, with a variety of angles and facets that catch the eye. It’s reassuringly sturdy and feels reliable in the hand.
The movement powering the Aikon is labelled as the “ML 115”. Whilst it may sound like an in-house movement, in reality, it’s just a Sellita SW200-1 with a custom rotor. It’s a bit confusing when brands do this, almost a little bit “cloak and dagger” as it requires a bit of digging to find out more about it.
The Sellita SW200-1 is a great movement, and there’s no harm in specifying that. For me, I don’t feel a custom rotor justifies renaming a movement for marketing purposes. The good news is that as it has the incabloc anti-shock, it means that it’s the premium grade.
Accuracy is a mediocre +9.7 sec/day. For a watch costing this much, I would have preferred a more regulated movement; however, I usually say mechanicals under +/- 10 secs/day which aren’t COSC are acceptable.
Specs include a high beat rate of 28.8k bph (8 ticks a second), 38-hour power reserve, 26 jewels, hacking seconds, hand and automatic winding.
This limited edition is slightly more expensive than the regular Aikon Venturer (€100). Is it worth it? It’s all down to if you’d prefer this strap over the rubber strap, and also if you dig the orange accents. To me, at the RRP the extra price isn’t going to make a huge difference and I love the orange and strap.
Is it a good value watch in general though? I’ve been extremely impressed by the watch from top to bottom. I’m genuinely struggling to find any negatives to note here.
I love the design (been a fan of the Aikon for a while) and in the metal, it’s impressed me greatly. Sure, at the RRP, it can be classed as a luxury watch – so I’d hope it would. But you certainly get the impression you’re getting your money’s worth here.