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Mauron Musy Armure MU03 Watch Review

Mauron Musy Armure MU03-401

The first thing you notice about the Mauron Musy Armure MU03 is its case. It feels like it comes from the same school of thought as Urwerk, a big block of metal alchemised into an industrial block of horology. The chunky bezel is eye-catching enough, but it’s made more so by the signature shoulders to the case at each lug, complete with visible screws. There is a reason they’re shaped like this, although I’ll get onto that later, but between them and the oversized crown, you could pick this silhouette out of a blacked-out line-up without much difficulty.

On the other hand, it doesn’t feel as big as it looks. It’s chunky for sure and not the kind of watch you’ll want to subtly slip under your shirtsleeve at a board meeting, but it’s at the top end of wearable for my wrists. It’s a weight of metal though, and I can see why other versions of the watch opt for titanium rather than the material here.

Mauron Musy Armure MU03-401
Mauron Musy Armure MU03-401

Speaking of, what’s most interesting for me about the case, and something you can see more readily in the metal than in static images, is the aged bronze. It’s been forcibly patinated so that it almost looks completely blacked out but worn through along all the edges. It’s similar in concept to Panerai’s recent Brunito steel, but more extreme. This is one of the few times I’m completely on board with bronze as it doesn’t look dirty, just like an old nautical antique more than a watch.

Dial-wise, this is the most pared-back of the Armures (meaning armour in English), with skeletonised and sporty versions amping up the space much more than this model. That’s not to say there’s not a lot going on though. The deep green of the dial is perfectly matched to the rubber strap, and the circular guilloche across both the centre of the main dial and the nine o’clock seconds subdial are much more striking that I’m used to. Indexes are as exquisitely machined as the case and, all-in-all, match that overly engineered aesthetic in a more classical way. It’s completely unmistakable, but it’s also – and here’s the key – completely wearable.

Mauron Musy Armure MU03-401
Mauron Musy Armure MU03-401

That all said, while the aesthetics are certainly distinctive, these kinds of over-the-top looks are nothing new, at least around this kind of independent watchmaking. What is new is what isn’t in the mix: rubber gaskets. Gaskets are basically rubber rings – also called o-rings – that seal up areas of the watch that need to be watertight. They’re invaluable with any watch that’s even heard a running tap. They’re largely why 300m water resistant watches are pretty common. Mauron Musy decided to be rid of them. Why? Because they could and likely because gaskets can wear out over time too. How? Some serious engineering, of course.

Dubbed ‘nO-Ring’ technology, the case is basically clamped shut to such a degree that all water is kept out. At the same time, it’s not so tight the case gets damaged. It’s a fine balance and not only results in a water-resistant watch, but those incredibly muscular shoulders that define the Armure’s silhouette. See, I told you there was a point to them. They’re obviously not the only way gaskets have been made redundant (god only knows how they managed with the crown) but the end result is a watch with 300m water resistance.

Mauron Musy Armure MU03-401

It’s a level of machining that’s all the more impressive given 100% of each watch is made in Switzerland. Not just that, but within 60km of the Mauron Musy studio. Now, while the country has the watchmaking infrastructure to allow that – not like here, for example – that kind of terroir-laced locality is impressive given that each Armure is made up of 200-ish components. It’s more locally sourced than an eco-friendly tasting menu.

That’s true of the superb movement too, something you can see through the sapphire caseback. It’s not what most of us would call in-house (made under Mauron Musy’s own roof) but it is exclusively made for them by a local supplier. And it’s a looker in matte grey.

Mauron Musy Armure MU03-401

The Armure looks like what it is, a technical showpiece and thesis on how to engineer a water-resistant watch. It’s not about to shake the industry up (rubber gaskets are incredibly cheap) but it is an impressive feat and, feeding through to the aesthetics, a seriously impressive looking watch. At just under £13,000, it also has a price tag to match and is limited to 88 pieces.

Price & Specs:

  • Model: Mauron Musy Armure MU03
  • Ref: MU03-401
  • Case/dial: 44mm diameter x 13mm thickness, aged bronze case, beadblasted matte green dial
  • Water resistance: 300m (30 bar)
  • Movement: Mauron Musy calibre MM01, automatic, 25 jewels, 167 parts
  • Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)
  • Power reserve: 55h
  • Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
  • Strap: Green, black or white rubber or brown leather
  • Price/availability: CHF 14,800 (approx. £12,900), limited edition of 88 pieces

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About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.