Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Embrace: Embracing The Complexities Of Love
Love is easy.
Clarification: love can be easy, but love is also complicated. It really depends on who you ask and when. If you ask someone in the early throes of a new relationship, they will likely say that love is grand and so simple. All you need do is show up and it takes care of itself.
If you asked someone well into a long-term relationship, they would likely say that love takes hard work and commitment and learning how to listen and compromise. Both are correct because love evolves over time.
I’ve known a lot of people who have been in love for decades and others who have fallen out of love and decided to go their separate ways. Each decision was the right choice for them. But in both cases, they spoke of the need for patience and hard work, pointing out that love was not just a feeling but a choice, an action taken and performed each day with intention and purpose.
The initial infatuation and romance of a new relationship will fade, that is certain; love is more than a rush of endorphins and visual attraction. To maintain a long-term relationship, no matter how well matched people are, requires active participation by all involved and the daily choice to continue being in love.
Of course this is only one variation among thousands of possibilities that add even more complexity to love, but in the end we come back to my beginning statement: love can be easy at times, but it is also complicated. Funnily enough, the designers over at Maurice Lacroix understood this fact as well and have made a darn cool timepiece to help us visualize the core message.
With the Masterpiece Embrace, Maurice Lacroix has transformed one of its staples into a romantic reminder of just how beautiful and complicated love can be.
Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Embrace
Released in January 2020, the Masterpiece Embrace is the romantic evolution of the original Square Wheel Retrograde, which uses an atypical shape for a gear set featuring a square and tri-lobe design. The new Masterpiece Embrace swaps these geometric shapes for a pair of hearts that mesh with the point of one heart meeting the cleft of the other. The lower heart isn’t just for decoration, it also acts as a second hand with the point tracing a circle with numerals on the tens and small points on the fives.
On the lower right portion of the dial, centered at 5 o’clock, is a retrograde date dial. Beginning on the right and sweeping left, the indicator hand tracks the days of the month via a series of unlabeled points with every fifth dot slightly larger than the ones between. This makes the passage of time less rigid, so you focus more on the theme of the watch.
The central hands display the hours and minutes, much like the watch’s forebears. And given that it uses the same caliber and module designed for the larger Square Wheel Retrograde, at 40 mm in diameter, the size of the Masterpiece Embrace is slightly larger than a typical ladies’ watch. Smaller than the Square Wheel Retrograde by three mm, it still is a sizeable dial, though, giving some good real estate for the two variations with custom dials and heart gears. Still, the theme of the watch is the real reason for its creation, so let’s get back to that.
Love’s ups and downs
With the way that the hearts mesh and the symbolism in and around the retrograde date mechanism, it’s likely that the designers were focusing on ideas around the difficulty of love and how it can endure. The hearts mesh well (thanks to custom teeth designed to accommodate the odd shape), but they don’t rotate consistently with each other. While the driving gear is constant (since it is the second hand), the irregular shape creates a variation in the gear ratio so the driven gear moves faster as it nears the shallowest point of the cleft and the slope of the heart, and slower at the tip of the point and the extents of the heart lobes, oscillating between a 2:3 and 3:2 gear ratio on average.
This demonstrates how two people can fit very well together but still remain individuals with each one having to give and take at different times to stay in sync with the other. It also points out how some of the hard edges and quirks about us can complement someone else even if we don’t match perfectly. That compatibility and cooperation are key to a lasting relationship, and Maurice Lacroix clearly understands that.
The date mechanism is also used to allude to how love waxes and wanes at times, where passion and connection can vary over time but with persistence it can remain. Around the edge of the retrograde date is the phrase “Je t’aime un peu, beaucoup, à la folie!” which translates into “I love you a little, a lot, madly!” Anyone who has been in a long-term relationship will understand that one complication (see what I did there) of love is that feelings vary with moods, stress, and how focused we are on it.
The idea with this phrase on the watch is to demonstrate how over the month you can vary from being a little in love to madly head over heels and back again, and it’s all a part of love. The degree of affection and love may vary, but the effort and desire to keep love alive is the real constant. The date hand is a Cupid arrow to indicate that you can always be in love even with the fluctuations.
Variation is welcome
Once people understand the variances of love, there can be greater harmony in any relationship, desire coming from intent instead of hormones. Variation is also good with aesthetics, and the Masterpiece Embrace is available in two versions with very different vibes. The lighter, more delicate version features a mother-of-pearl dial engraved with radiating lines from the center of the driving heart.
The hearts themselves feature intricate filigree similar to a flower to indicate the delicateness of the heart and possible fragility of love, repeating the theme. The strap is a light taupe finish to keep the same aesthetic, and gold hands, gears, and markers round out the soft vibe.
The second version is a bit of the opposite featuring a dark blue aventurine dial and silver hands, gears, and markers, showing the deep side of love.
Both can occur in the same relationship, and both can be flip sides of each other. But neither is false love, just different ways of showing it. If I dig into the symbolism, this is what I get out of the Masterpiece Embrace. Some cynics might say themed watches are always a stretch, but I can feel the earnestness of the idea within these pieces and think it would make a fantastic gift for anyone who wants a practical representation of their love and a cool mechanical feature uncommon in the watch industry.
After everything that has happened in the past year, I am trying to look toward hope and love and this watch is a nice reminder of the effort it takes to remain in love and the value of intent in a relationship.
It also is a cool iteration of the Masterpiece Square Wheel, which has always been a favorite of mine from Maurice Lacroix. Not to mention that aventurine is one of my favorite dial materials, so this watch hits a lot of the right buttons. I’m happy to see Maurice Lacroix continuing with the idea of the irregular gears and finding interesting ways to make themes surrounding the design. It may not always be love for every version, but I like that this watch has taught us that there are bound to be ups and downs in love!
Now that I’m all sappy for the piece, let’s break it down!
- Wowza Factor * 8.6 The aventurine helps that version pop, but the heart-shaped gears are where it’s at!
- Late Night Lust Appeal * 86 » 843.372m/s2 The ideas of love can have you pondering for hours on their own, but watching those heart gears interact is enough to keep you up till sunrise!
- M.G.R. * 55 The base movement is solid, but a retrograde date gets things go to a whole other level!
- Added-Functionitis * Mild With a retrograde date we have a useful bit of extra functionality, even if the visual function of the hearts doesn’t give any extra info. Still this watch could use children’s strength Gotta-HAVE-That cream for the lovely swelling!
- Ouch Outline * 8.6 Tension in your neck that makes your head throb! Spending all day hunched over a computer editing video can make things tight. But if I had something like the Masterpiece Embrace to keep me distracted I could survive no problem!
- Mermaid Moment * One month, give or take! If love takes hard work and persistence, then it may take you a month to really figure out how this relationship is going to work!
- Awesome Total * 908 First take the water resistance of the case in meters (50) and multiply by the thickness of the case in millimeters (13), then add the caliber number (258) to get a loving, caring, and awesome total!
For more information, please visit www.mauricelacroix.com/us_en/watches/watches-masterpiece/masterpiece-embrace.
Quick Facts Maurice Lacroix Masterpiece Embrace
Case: 40 x 13 mm, stainless steel
Dial: choice of aventurine or mother-of-pearl
Movement: automatic Caliber ML258 (Sellita SW200 base) with retrograde date module, 28,800 vph/4 Hz frequency, 36-hour power reserve
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds, retrograde date
Price: 6,900 Swiss francs