I’m not really the best person to test out a dive watch. I’m not necessarily against the water, I just prefer to be in, on, or vaguely near it rather than underneath. After all, who knows what’s down there? But I am well versed in dive watches, which given the sheer armada of them that surface each year, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone out there. So, while I can’t say I really put the new Maurice Lacroix Pontos S Bronze through its paces, I can say quite firmly that it’s a great piece.
A retro diver in the vein of the super compressor classics of the 1950s and ‘60s, the Pontos S eschews the more standard unidirectional rotating bezel for the sleeker internal rotating bezel. Said inner bezel is operable through the two o’clock crown. Usually in watches like this, that would mean the winding crown gets shifted down to four or five o’clock to maintain symmetry, but not so here. Instead, it’s been kept at three o’clock, giving the whole piece the kind of silhouette you might expect from a monopusher chronograph.
There are three different colour combinations available: white and blue with a steel case, black and orange with a steel case and this, by far the most handsome of the three, a striking combination of blue and bronze. With that bronze comes all the blessings and curses of the material, all of which can be condensed into one word: patina. As the metal ages and is exposed to different things – air, oil, seawater – it gets a unique sheen that will be different from watch to watch.
Some collectors love it, some loathe it. If you’re the latter though you can always polish it up (which is, incidentally, what I do with my sole bronze piece). There’s no denying though that the combination of blue and bronze is a looker, and it’s well worth the potential for a bit of elbow grease.
The new piece is basically a welcome refresh of a watch Maurice Lacroix released way back in 2013, billed as a vintage- flavoured diver long before the phrase became an industry buzzword, and there have been a few tweaks. Least notably, it’s been downsized by 1mm – 42mm from the original’s 43mm – and most notably the helium escape valve has been removed.
The former change is one I’m a huge fan of. 42mm is the size boundary for me, anything larger just starts looking silly, especially if it has dive watch proportions. The latter unfortunately means a huge drop in water resistance, cutting it in half from 600m to 300m.
Honestly, that’s not the dramatic misstep it might seem like. 300m is good enough for pretty much anything, including professional diving, and while I might not be inclined to try that out myself, Maurice Lacroix’s latest ambassador and world champion freediver, Lidija Lijic, is. If someone that can spend nearly six minutes underwater has confidence in a 300m water resistant watch, it illustrates that anything more might just be showboating.
Obviously one of the most significant comparisons with the Pontos S would be Longines’ Legend Diver. Both have 42mm bronze cases, both have rotating inner bezels and both have two crowns. They even have very similar dials, even if a bit more attention has been lavished on the Maurice Lacroix. They do however feel different. The Longines is a more elegant design, much more symmetrical and with a flatter dial (without applied indexes) is a lot more svelte overall. It’s lovely, but I’d be more inclined to put my waterproof faith in the Maurice Lacroix. Sure, they both have the same 300m water resistance on paper, but the chunkier shape, layered depth of the dial and stopwatch-esque two o’clock crown make it feel like a more serious tool watch. Personally, I prefer elegance over practicality, but that’s just me. I’m not exactly the most practical person – I write about watches for a living.
That practicality isn’t to say it’s not wearable. It’s not the kind of watch I’d pair with a three-piece suit, but as a holiday diver it’s fantastic and on the chunky, integrated rubber strap it’s perfect for hot weather and comfortable in the cool. The blue here matches the dial, but if you fancied a bit of contrast, it’s a quick-change number. It needs to be quick-changed to a Maurice Lacroix strap which limits your options, but any options are good.
Inside is the ML 115 calibre automatic movement, a Sellita-based workhorse with a 38-hour power reserve. No surprises here, not even in terms of finishing; it’s hidden by a scale stamped caseback. There’s not a huge amount to be said of it other than at this price point, it’s the kind of movement we’ve come to expect. That price point, in case you were wondering, is £2,530. For a cool, bronze watch with professional level diving specs (specs tested by a professional diver, no less) it’s hard to argue that you’re getting some incredible value. Who knows? Maybe it’ll even tempt me under the water this summer.
Price & Specs:
- Model: Maurice Lacroix Pontos S Bronze
- Ref: PT6248-BRZ0B-430-4
- Case/dial: 42mm diameter, bronze case, dark blue grained dial
- Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
- Movement: Maurice Lacroix calibre ML115, automatic
- Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
- Power reserve: 38h
- Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
- Strap: Vintage dark blue leather
- Price/availability: £2,530