For its participation in the new edition of Only Watch, Maurice Lacroix has revisited the AIKON Mercury. This unique Only Watch model is now available for the first time in titanium case. It will be put up for auction by Christie’s on 9 November at the Hotel des Bergues in Geneva in aid of the Association Monégasque contre les Myopathies.
At first glance, the AIKON Mercury appears to be a normal watch, with central hours and minutes and small seconds at the six o’clock position. With the slightest tilt, however, the hour and minute hands spin freely, abandoning their chronometric duties. Hold the AIKON Mercury upright, and the hands fall back and give correct time.
The patented mechanism behind this innovative display took 3 years to develop and perfect in the manufacture facilities of Maurice Lacroix in Saignelégier.
The AIKON Mercury combines an unprecedented “free hand” system that works with natural forces of gravity to read and display time from a double snail-cam mechanism hidden beneath the dial. One snail cam is associated with the display of hours, making one complete rotation every 12 hours, while the other is associated with the display of minutes and rotates once every 60 minutes.
When the wearer turns his wrist to look at the watch, with its movement perpendicular to the ground, gravity acts on two weighted levers, pulling them into contact with the snail cams. Dictated by the continuous rotating snail cams, the levers then drive the hour and minute hands to indicate the correct time. When the wearer leaves the upright position, hands follow a mercurial pattern before falling to gravity. The mechanism still computes in the background, ready to give back the correct time when the mechanism is triggered by the position of the wrist.
The launch of the AIKON collection in 2016 was a return to the iconic design codes of Maurice Lacroix in the 1990s, updated for the new millennium. The sophisticated lines of the AIKON incorporated a robust profile with strong angles and sharp interplay between matt and polished surfaces.
While the emphasis in existing AIKON automatic models has been on subtle elegance, with their textured guilloche dials, the AIKON Mercury takes a cue from the powerful Masterpiece series and features a transparent sapphire dial showcasing a darkened skeletonised module. The skeleton design that has been a signature feature of Maurice Lacroix since the 1990s has now been updated, with a combination of circular brushing and hollowed, sandblasted bridges towards the centre of the dial giving a strong, contemporary look.
Maurice Lacroix is known for thoughtful, attentive design that focuses on detail, and the AIKON Mercury is no different. The distinctive AIKON bezel and the leather strap with integrated M logo are hallmarks of the collection, but the AIKON Mercury, as expected, goes one step further.
The counterweights offer additional visual interest whenever the dauphine hands cross and the M logo counterweight of the hour hand is briefly encircled by the counterweight of the minute hand. This effect, as straightforward as it appears to be, required the Maurice Lacroix development team to undertake numerous stages of calculation, computer simulations and prototyping to ensure that the hands are not only well poised on the dial of the watch, but that their centre of gravity is perfectly situated in order to allow the hands to move easily when the watch is turned away from the upright position.
For this unique piece, the hours and minutes are indicated by hands covered in white Super-LumiNova as well as a blue coating. The rack, the cams and the topstitching on the bracelet all sport this same shade of blue in honour of the colour chosen for this edition of Only Watch 2019.
The name of the AIKON Mercury makes reference to the quicksilver ﬂuidity of time, channelling a dynamic energy that is further reflected with the unpredictable hands. The versatility of the AIKON Mercury lies in its easy transition from urban chic to rugged elegance, in the organic curves of its skeleton design against the classic geometry of its hands and hour markers, in the high-concept time display housed in a contemporary steel case, offered with both black alligator leather strap and 5 rows metal bracelet.
Model: AIKON Mercury X Only Watch 2019
ML225 calibre, in-house developed and patented time memory module; hours, minutes, seconds; 4 Hz (28,800 vph); 54 jewels; 38-hour power reserve
Titanium, 44-mm diameter, sapphire crystal, water-resistant to 10 bar
Hours, minutes and seconds markers with hands featuring Blue Coating
Leather bracelet with Blue Coating-colour topstitching