19 March 2024

MASTERPIECE Skeleton Label Noir

Mastering contrasts

Created in partnership with Label Noir, Maurice Lacroix unveils a new version of its MASTERPIECE Skeleton. Equipped with a highly refined in-house movement, this model reveals many components usually hidden from view. Label Noir has played with light and shade, disclosure and stealth, as well as black and white hues, skilfully juxtaposing contrasts. The resultant watch, the MASTERPIECE Skeleton Label Noir, limited to 288 pieces, showcases the creativity of both brands and the wisdom of being inventive.

In 2020, Maurice Lacroix, the brand from the Franches Montagnes, collaborated with the Geneva-based watchmaker, Label Noir. This inaugural collaboration, a reinterpretation of the urban-themed AIKON, sold out within minutes of being released. Keen to repeat this achievement, Maurice Lacroix has, once again, joined forces with the watch personalisation specialist.

Founded in 2011, Label Noir has gained a reputation for revisiting existing designs, masterfully working with a palette of black and white to deliver a new and unique expression of style. Occasionally the Genevan firm employs a pop of colour to evoke excitement; however, it is the brand’s judicious application of monochromatic hues that has led to its work attracting much critical acclaim.

Skeleton watches can trace their roots to the 18th century. The traditional technique for openworking a movement involves removing superfluous metal by using handsaws and files. The resultant movement possesses an attractive filigreed appearance. However, on some occasions, the material removed adjacent to critical components, such as jewel beds, screws and the gear train, impaired reliability and created unwanted flex. Maurice Lacroix designed and developed its own in-house movement that addressed these potential issues.

The Jura-based brand optimised the design of the movement within the MASTERPIECE Skeleton using CAD (Computer Aided Design), calculating the forces acting on each part of its structure. The mainplate and bridges are made using a modern-day CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine, ensuring the resultant calibre remains stable, precise and reliable.

This contemporary skeleton timepiece, featuring a hand-wound movement, reveals numerous components typically hidden from view. The keyless works, motion works and gear train are freely shown. The spring barrel features an openworked cap, affording sight of the mainspring in various states of tension. Adjacent to 12 o’clock, the wearer can see the screwed balance wheel oscillate to and fro, the hairspring breathe and the pallet lever engage with the escape wheel. Indeed, the MASTERPIECE Skeleton Label Noir indulges the onlooker with a spellbinding mechanical performance, a spectacle heightened with Label Noir’s masterful use of contrasting tones.

Consistent with other MASTERPIECE models, the ultimate expression of Maurice Lacroix ownership, the Manufacture ML134 calibre is adorned with Grand Colimaçon, sand-blasted finishing and bridges with polished edges. The Manufacture movement and the final assembly of the MASTERPIECE Skeleton Label Noir takes place in the company’s own workshops. Refinement and Swiss quality are much in evidence, while the watch delivers high-perceived value, a characteristic common to all Maurice Lacroix models.

An exhibition caseback allows light to pass through the movement, illuminating every interior contour. The case of the MASTERPIECE Skeleton Label Noir is coated in the firm’s trademark black and anthracite matte DLC and measures 43mm in diameter, imbuing the watch with much wrist-presence. The timepiece comes presented on a matching M-branded black nylon strap paired with a folding clasp.