Review: Maurice Lacroix Mysterious Seconds
These days, kids' birthday parties seem to revolve around blisteringly expensive games consoles and gadgets, but when I was a nipper, the main event was, by far and away, the magician. I remember gazing in amazement at the flamboyantly caped modern-day Merlin as he pulled an increasingly elaborate array of items out of his top hat. Later, once the cake had been devoured and the party bags distributed, I spent an undue amount of time trying to figure out how he had managed it—reasoning, in my six-year-old brain, that as his top hat was only capable of storing a limited amount of contents, there could be only one explanation: magic. Of course as I got older, I understood that most things in life have a reasonable explanation—but I never lost the wonder.
That's the same sort of feeling I get when I look at the Maurice Lacroix Mysterious Seconds. In a glorious display of showmanship that would have made a younger me squeal with delight (and makes the older me 'ooh' with somewhat more sedated glee), this watch features a curiously free-floating seconds hand. It skims across a black subdial, pivoting like a dancer, and seemingly anchored to nothing—the horological equivalent of a disappearing rabbit. At the same time I'm hit with a sense of awe, and a burning desire to know the watch's secrets.
When Maurice Lacroix originally unveiled the first Mysterious Seconds model in 2013, it was in no hurry to reveal how the inscrutable watch worked. Like the magicians of my childhood, the brand revelled in the reaction of its spectators, and aimed to keep the mystery alive for as long as possible. It kept the number of production limited, too—just 125 for the 2013 watch, and 250 for this descendent from 2014. Somehow, the exclusivity made it all the more mystical.
The secret has, however, slowly been uncovered since then—and, not all that surprisingly, the effect isn't in fact the product of fairy dust, but a clever rotation of the subdial disc itself. As the disc turns, the seconds hand also pivots on its axis, creating the illusion of it being free-floating. The numbers are printed on the glass of the dial, and the hand indicates a linear reading of the time in 15-second intervals.
Aside from the ingenious seconds display, the watch is finished to an extraordinary level of detail. As the watch's raison d'etre, the floating seconds display dominates the dial, with the hour and minutes indicated in an off-centre track between 12 and 3 o'clock. The remaining part of the dial is made up of intricate open-working that only adds to the fascinating novelty of the watch.
It's a delight to see in action, even with the understanding that the free-floating hand is simply an illusion, the product of smart engineering. But even without the allure of mystery, my appreciation of the craftsmanship and skill that went into the creation of the Mysterious Seconds has left me equally awed. After all, innovative watchmaking is in itself a kind of magic.
Watch Spec | Maurice Lacroix Mysterious Seconds
Case: Steel Dimensions: 43mm Crystal: Synthetic sapphire Water Resistance: 50m Movement: ML215, automatic Frequency: 18,000vph Power Reserve: 50 hours Strap: Crocodile Functions: Time, mysterious seconds | Shop Now