Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Retrograde Moon

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Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Retrograde Moon

Post by koimaster » August 12th 2017, 1:06pm

Founded in 1975, the relatively young Swiss watchmaker, Maurice Lacroix, is headquartered in Biel/Bienne and has a watch manufacture in Saignelégier.

However, the company we know today originally started with Desco von Schulthess, which began as a Zurich-based silk trading company, that after many years of exporting got involved in watch distribution, in 1946. They eventually did so well in the watch business that they acquired the Saignelégier-based watch assembler, Tiara, in 1961. The success continued to the point that Desco decided to create the brand Maurice Lacroix, in 1975.

Maurice Lacroix went on to acquire case maker Queloz S.A. in 1989, also based in Saignelégier. And today, Maurice Lacroix produces many of their own movements, thanks to the combination of vertically integrated manufacturing elements that were purchased over the years by Desco von Schulthess.


https://professionalwatches.com/2017/03 ... -moon.html
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Re: Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Retrograde Moon

Post by Thunder1 » August 12th 2017, 1:12pm

I could add this one to my collection of MLs, but it would have to be previously loved..l'll keep my eyes open..
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Re: Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Retrograde Moon

Post by MKTheVintageBloke » August 12th 2017, 5:50pm

I do like ML designs, but I don't like how they're not being quite fair about their "manufacture movements", most of which are simply Unitas 6498 with more or less extensive modifications. The ML 192, powering this one, appears to be a Unitas base as well. The 6498 is quite certainly the base for the hand-wound ones, the gear train arrangement and the location of the ratchet wheel and mainspring barrel in relation to the positions of the gears leave little doubt as to that, the movement used in the Squelette is clearly a Unitas base as well, the keyless works give it away.
This one has obviously two modules, one for the automatic winding, and one for the complications.

If not for that (and my slight obsession with transparency in the industry), nothing about these watches (save for the size, but then again, the 6498 is a pocket watch movement...) would grind my gears- seen some of the ML Masterpiece line at a local ML retailer, they're really one hell of a view. There - I (hardly ever impressed with modern avant-garde) have said it.
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Re: Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Retrograde Moon

Post by Thunder1 » August 12th 2017, 5:56pm

Comprende...those w/ the 6498, aren't claimed to be a manufacture product..I do understand that the auto in this piece is derived from an ETA movement...I still like it, though..
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Re: Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Retrograde Moon

Post by MKTheVintageBloke » August 12th 2017, 6:30pm

Thunder1 wrote:Comprende...those w/ the 6498, aren't claimed to be a manufacture product..I do understand that the auto in this piece is derived from an ETA movement...I still like it, though..

They do claim that they're in-house - as all the 6498-based movements are on their list of "in-house" ones...
https://www.mauricelacroix.com/KnowHow/Movements.sls

That said, I don't like their attitude, but hell take me if I didn't like the movements themselves. They may have a more industrial looks to them than, say, Dornbluth-modified ones, but a slightly industrial appearance has a distinctive charm of its own.
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Re: Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Retrograde Moon

Post by 3Flushes » August 12th 2017, 11:54pm

MKTheVintageBloke wrote:
Thunder1 wrote:Comprende...those w/ the 6498, aren't claimed to be a manufacture product..I do understand that the auto in this piece is derived from an ETA movement...I still like it, though..

They do claim that they're in-house - as all the 6498-based movements are on their list of "in-house" ones...
https://www.mauricelacroix.com/KnowHow/Movements.sls

That said, I don't like their attitude, but hell take me if I didn't like the movements themselves. They may have a more industrial looks to them than, say, Dornbluth-modified ones, but a slightly industrial appearance has a distinctive charm of its own.


While ML does modify lots of ETA and Unitas movements and assign them ML calibre designations, like Omega et al., they do claim to make the components used for the modifications, for the most part, in-house. That's my take on this statement from your link: Producing entirely in-house complex movements components for mechanical timepieces.

However, ML has been credited with as far as I can recall, three traditionally defined in-house movements. The only calibre I can recall for certain is the ML-156, a mechanical first introduced in the Roue Carree Seconde watch, which has two non-round gears on the dial that run together to mark the seconds. It is a very cool watch and comes in at a higher than usual ML price point. I believe the design with the seconds hand that appears to float uses the same calibre.

There's been a great deal of back and forth regarding ML's in house claims and I know they tout this one as 100% ML designed and produced, with the usual exceptions, B&H springs and whatnot. I'd be very much interested to know what you think of the 156, MK.
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Re: Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Retrograde Moon

Post by MKTheVintageBloke » August 13th 2017, 5:56am

3Flushes wrote:
MKTheVintageBloke wrote:
Thunder1 wrote:Comprende...those w/ the 6498, aren't claimed to be a manufacture product..I do understand that the auto in this piece is derived from an ETA movement...I still like it, though..

They do claim that they're in-house - as all the 6498-based movements are on their list of "in-house" ones...
https://www.mauricelacroix.com/KnowHow/Movements.sls

That said, I don't like their attitude, but hell take me if I didn't like the movements themselves. They may have a more industrial looks to them than, say, Dornbluth-modified ones, but a slightly industrial appearance has a distinctive charm of its own.



While ML does modify lots of ETA and Unitas movements and assign them ML calibre designations, like Omega et al., they do claim to make the components used for the modifications, for the most part, in-house. That's my take on this statement from your link: Producing entirely in-house complex movements components for mechanical timepieces.

However, ML has been credited with as far as I can recall, three traditionally defined in-house movements. The only calibre I can recall for certain is the ML-156, a mechanical first introduced in the Roue Carree Seconde watch, which has two non-round gears on the dial that run together to mark the seconds. It is a very cool watch and comes in at a higher than usual ML price point. I believe the design with the seconds hand that appears to float uses the same calibre.

There's been a great deal of back and forth regarding ML's in house claims and I know they tout this one as 100% ML designed and produced, with the usual exceptions, B&H springs and whatnot. I'd be very much interested to know what you think of the 156, MK.

They don't claim it to be 100% theirs, they claim it was developed in cooperation with someone (HE-ARC, a technical university, I believe) and only assembled (and finished) by them. The module is ML's own, quite certainly, and it's quite a spectacular one, but the base movement... Look at the gear train arrangement, the position of the crown wheel and ratchet wheel in relation to the train. The entire trick in masking it, in most of these movements, is simply a 3/4 plate and a custom balance cock.
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Re: Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Retrograde Moon

Post by 3Flushes » August 14th 2017, 4:59pm

The collaboration as I understand it was in the engineering to enable the non round gears to run together. At any rate, it appears your view is that the 156 is basically the 6498 with the ML module and other extensive modifications.

So, what if the156 was not built up from an ebauche and ML made the movement entirely by themselves using a similar alignment of the 6498 ? Would you consider it an in-house movement or do you think the entire movement must be uniquely the manufacture's, including the engineering of the entire configuration.

That is, if a brand makes a movement and it has similar engineering aspects of, but is not built up from another movement purchased outside, is it in-house? I'm thinking about the large number of column wheel chronos for example. Many cwc's are extolled as being in-house movements but share similar engineering structure.

My view is that if a brand starts from an ebauche, it's a stretch to call a movement in-house even if the modification components employed are manufactutred solely in-house regardless of whatever the final departure in function and structure from the base.
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I'm not sure if ML builds the entire 156 or purchases ebauches from Uni to modify for this particular watch; the premise of the question is in the service of formulating a consensus definition (even if only at WL) of what constitutes an in-house movement these days when the term has lost clear definition and seems to have largely come to mean what a brand says it means.
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Re: Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Retrograde Moon

Post by MKTheVintageBloke » August 14th 2017, 6:13pm

3F, I think that if we were all trying to agree on one definition, we would soon start fighting over that. Every debate on WUS about that resembled a brawl of troglodytes fighting with clubs and stones - while I doubt that would be the case here, I simply know the extent of possible disagreement.

Generally, it's sometimes hard to tell in-house from generic, because there's a ton of things in between. Exempli gratia: Aegler movements made for Rolex- in-house, because used by them only? Generic, because supplied by a third party? Well, fuck. No easy answer to that, believe you me. The closest to a "middle ground" that I've ever seen was the concept of "reserved" calibres, which means that it's either made by an external supplier for one manufacturer, or the entire works built on a generic base are so far from the regular generic thing, that it's hard to say "but it's the same thing." As to the definition, my take on that is somewhere between "can have generic components" and "designed from scratch." Obviously not every component has to be made from scratch, that would be ridiculous- stuff like mainsprings, hairsprings and balance wheels are often made by third party suppliers; only a handful of manufacturers makes their own hairsprings, let alone designs the alloys used for that.

Food for thought: Habring2 rattrapante movements. Technically a 7750 base and gear train, but the rest can't be found anywhere else but in their movements. Generic? In-house? I'll be fucked if I know. Guess "reserved" solves the problem, to a certain extent.
What I find very pleasing about that brand's attitude, is that they don't really make much of a generic vs. in-house claim. They say "we took this and that from the generic movement, we did this and that ourselves." No claim, no problem, and in a not-so-black-and-white case like that, they had a good sense not to make a claim- the good sense that ML (in my opinion) doesn't seem to have.

Generally, what has to be remembered, is that generic movements are delivered to manufacturers in various degrees of completion. Sometimes it's a complete movement that only has to be decorated, sometimes it's a raw (raw meaning pure brass with no finishing) base plate, and should the manufacturer wish to redesign the bridges and (rarely) the balance cock, sometimes also without the bridges.

How "finished" are the ebauches bought by ML? I don't know. I'd be betting on a "fairly raw" condition. I mean, to accommodate a module to drive the complications directly connected to the gear train, a stock gear train and its pinions may be out of question. So then again, probably also the amount of generic components supplied depends on the complications intended for the movement. And, of course, how the manufacturer designs a particular complication.

I think it wouldn't be a bad idea to ask ML themselves about how in-house is in-house in their case, but I'm getting the odd feeling that they wouldn't be happy to reply.

As to the similar engineering structure, you can't avoid certain similarities. In chronographs, that would be the clutch- there are generally three types of that, so the choice is limited. A bit like with escapements, if you ask me. So is the case with column wheel vs. cam-switching. To me, as long as it's built on a completely unique base plate, the rest of the engineering can stay similar, since one way or another, it always will be - after all, as the principle behind the way something works has to remain the same, and that's the limit of the room for creativity. For example, I've seen a lot of movements with a gear train designed to accommodate the biggest balance wheel possible, and the first of that kind is the Zenith 135. Does that make the movements from other makers, using the similar solution, any less in-house (as long as they weren't made only to be supplied to someone else)? IMO, no. Copying solutions has always been the case, so that's not really a factor in determining whether something gravitates towards generic or in-house.
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Re: Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Retrograde Moon

Post by 3Flushes » August 14th 2017, 7:46pm

MKTheVintageBloke wrote:3F, I think that if we were all trying to agree on one definition, we would soon start fighting over that. Every debate on WUS about that resembled a brawl of troglodytes fighting with clubs and stones - while I doubt that would be the case here, I simply know the extent of possible disagreement.

Generally, it's sometimes hard to tell in-house from generic, because there's a ton of things in between. Exempli gratia: Aegler movements made for Rolex- in-house, because used by them only? Generic, because supplied by a third party? Well, fuck. No easy answer to that, believe you me. The closest to a "middle ground" that I've ever seen was the concept of "reserved" calibres, which means that it's either made by an external supplier for one manufacturer, or the entire works built on a generic base are so far from the regular generic thing, that it's hard to say "but it's the same thing." As to the definition, my take on that is somewhere between "can have generic components" and "designed from scratch." Obviously not every component has to be made from scratch, that would be ridiculous- stuff like mainsprings, hairsprings and balance wheels are often made by third party suppliers; only a handful of manufacturers makes their own hairsprings, let alone designs the alloys used for that.

Food for thought: Habring2 rattrapante movements. Technically a 7750 base and gear train, but the rest can't be found anywhere else but in their movements. Generic? In-house? I'll be fucked if I know. Guess "reserved" solves the problem, to a certain extent.
What I find very pleasing about that brand's attitude, is that they don't really make much of a generic vs. in-house claim. They say "we took this and that from the generic movement, we did this and that ourselves." No claim, no problem, and in a not-so-black-and-white case like that, they had a good sense not to make a claim- the good sense that ML (in my opinion) doesn't seem to have.

Generally, what has to be remembered, is that generic movements are delivered to manufacturers in various degrees of completion. Sometimes it's a complete movement that only has to be decorated, sometimes it's a raw (raw meaning pure brass with no finishing) base plate, and should the manufacturer wish to redesign the bridges and (rarely) the balance cock, sometimes also without the bridges.

How "finished" are the ebauches bought by ML? I don't know. I'd be betting on a "fairly raw" condition. I mean, to accommodate a module to drive the complications directly connected to the gear train, a stock gear train and its pinions may be out of question. So then again, probably also the amount of generic components supplied depends on the complications intended for the movement. And, of course, how the manufacturer designs a particular complication.

I think it wouldn't be a bad idea to ask ML themselves about how in-house is in-house in their case, but I'm getting the odd feeling that they wouldn't be happy to reply.

As to the similar engineering structure, you can't avoid certain similarities. In chronographs, that would be the clutch- there are generally three types of that, so the choice is limited. A bit like with escapements, if you ask me. So is the case with column wheel vs. cam-switching. To me, as long as it's built on a completely unique base plate, the rest of the engineering can stay similar, since one way or another, it always will be - after all, as the principle behind the way something works has to remain the same, and that's the limit of the room for creativity. For example, I've seen a lot of movements with a gear train designed to accommodate the biggest balance wheel possible, and the first of that kind is the Zenith 135. Does that make the movements from other makers, using the similar solution, any less in-house (as long as they weren't made only to be supplied to someone else)? IMO, no. Copying solutions has always been the case, so that's not really a factor in determining whether something gravitates towards generic or in-house.


What I'm not certain about is if ML buys ebauches for all of their watches, and you're right, they have been stingy about replying. I agree there are inescapable similarities, and for a movement to be 100% in-house, as with springs etc. as I mentioned above, is primarily a state of the industry past. But what degree of departure from the basis makes a movement in-house will remain elusive and debated as you noted for the foreseeable future. I suppose I'll stick with the made by themselves line of demarcation with the acceptable exceptions that we seem to agree on. And like your Habring example, the 156 on the 6498 base is so unique that it's not to be found anywhere else, so, like you said, who the fuck knows? I guess it is what ML says it is as there seems to be no real agreement in the industry or by governing bodies as to the modern parameters for the using the in-house label.

I'll continue to try to see what I can find out from ML about that base.

Anybody else have any thoughts on this deal?
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Re: Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Retrograde Moon

Post by biglove » August 14th 2017, 8:16pm

I don't think we will ever agree on what constitutes "in house." I do like the much more clear "reserve movement."

Maybe even a term like "unique movement" would be more honest and easy to define; but, knowing watch companies it would just be abused with a minimal change to charge a premium.
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Re: Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Retrograde Moon

Post by 3Flushes » August 14th 2017, 11:54pm

biglove wrote:I don't think we will ever agree on what constitutes "in house." I do like the much more clear "reserve movement."

Maybe even a term like "unique movement" would be more honest and easy to define; but, knowing watch companies it would just be abused with a minimal change to charge a premium.


With no guidelines to hold a brand's in-house claims up to, the term has become increasingly more related to market-making than to bona fide watchmaking.

Like MK noted, collectors and the WIS crowd have debated the matter for a long time. The label has become largely antiquated and unless the industry or governing organizations develop some guidelines, in-house movement will continue to mean merely what brands market it to mean.
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