Postcard From Switzerland: Watchonista Takes The Maurice Lacroix Aikon Venturer To Les Rochers-De-Naye
The Maurice Lacroix Aikon Venturer takes in the panoramic views from the top of Les Rochers-de-Naye.
One positive side-effect of COVID-19 is that it gives us the opportunity to explore the beauty around us instead of jumping on the first airplane to a faraway destination. And when it comes to natural beauty, Switzerland has it all – lakes, mountains, forests, rolling hills, and more.
A Historic Rack Railway
The best way to get around in Switzerland is by train. Not only is the Swiss railway system one of the most efficient in the world, it is also one of the most picturesque. You can get on a Swiss train with no destination in mind and soak up the views as you cross the country. One of my favorite train journeys is the trip from Montreux, a town on the shores of Lake Geneva, up to the top of Les Rochers-de-Naye, a mountain in the canton of Vaud.
This rack railway goes 10.36 km up the mountainside at a 22-degree angle, starting at an altitude of 371 meters and rising to 2,042 meters. The first section of the line came into service in 1892, and it was finished in 1909. The trains have that “Old World” charm with wooden interiors that make them feel like they haven’t changed since they were introduced – and, thinking about it, they probably haven’t!
It’s Not The Destination, It’s The Journey
We decide to drive to the mid-way station of Glion as there is a gorgeous little restaurant there – Le Buffet de la Gare – where we stop for lunch before setting off on our hike. We get a little lost in all the gastronomical choices and lose track of time.
Just as I am finishing off a delightful “Grand Cru” dark chocolate sorbet, I glance down at my Maurice Lacroix Aikon Venturer and notice it is time to take the train, so we pay the bill and run down to the station where the train is just pulling in. As I catch my breath, I take a moment to look at this striking timepiece.
The New Maurice Lacroix Aikon Venturer
I had already tested one of the earlier Maurice Lacroix Aikon Automatic Bronze versions last year on safari in Tanzania (HERE), but this timepiece and trip are quite different.
The Maurice Lacroix Aikon Venturer comes in a 43mm bronze case with a water resistance of 300 meters, making it a great sports watch for any adventure. It comes with a green sun-brushed dial framed by a brown and bronze bezel. The timepiece is powered by the automatic ML 115 movement, which indicates the hours, minutes, and seconds from the center and features a date aperture at 3 o’clock.
Each timepiece comes with the choice of a green rubber strap or a brown calf leather strap that can be easily changed by the watch’s owner thanks to a quick-release system.
View From The Top
Exiting the station at the end of the line, it feels like you are on top of the world with breath-taking views over the Swiss and French Alps, Mont Blanc, the Eiger, and Lake Geneva in the valley far below. We walk along the ridge, taking it all in. The Maurice Lacroix Aikon Venturer is in its element with its warm tones of bronze, green, and brown that match the colors of the landscape. I stop to take a few photos next to a little stream, while my fellow hikers look on in confusion and my children roll their eyes at the sight of their mother rolling around in the moss with her camera!
They soon forgive me as we walk over to the marmot zoo. These shy mountain creatures are extremely rare to see in the wild, but this discrete attraction at the top of the mountain houses 11 different species of marmot from Europe, Asia, and North America and is worth the trip just to see their cheeky little faces.
La Rambertia Alpine Garden
From the marmot enclosures, we climb to La Rambertia, an alpine garden on the south-east side of Vie. It is easily accessible via a 400-meter long footpath. This magical place houses many different flowers from the Swiss Alps and other mountainous regions across the world. There is an expert on-site during the summer to answer any questions. And even if flowers aren’t your thing, it is worth the climb just for the views of the pre-Alps, the Valais Alps, the Bernese Alps, and Gruyère in the distance.
The hiking possibilities are endless, and there is something for every level of walker. It is relatively flat at the top, but if you like a challenge, you can exit the train one of two stops earlier and hike up on different paths. We take the easier option and decide to walk down to the Caux station via Les Dentaux instead!
Coming down the mountain, I notice that the good looks of the Maurice Lacroix Venturer shine no matter what I am doing. It is a timepiece for hiking across mountains, but also for running around the city. It is one of the timepieces that once you strap it on, you aren’t going to want to take it off, as I am finding now that I am back in my office and need to send it back!
All The Details
Watch: Maurice Lacroix Aikon Venturer CHF 2,490.
Travel: Train tickets are available online at cff.ch. Book in advance for the best deals.
Restaurant: Le Buffet de la Gare, chemin des Chemins de Fer 5, 1823 Glion, 021 525 27 86.
Activities: Marmot Paradise and La Rambertia Alpine Garden are free and can be found at the exit of the Les Rochers-de-Naye railway station.