When it comes to watch nerds, there’s one thing people love to disagree about: And that’s size. Vintage styling is all the rage right now and vintage watches, for the most part, were small. The average round dress watch in the 1950s was about 33 millimeters in diameter. While tastes haven’t shrunken quite back to those tiny wrist timers, many collectors are veering toward the minus 40mm department when shopping for watches.
Personally, I’m what you label polyamorous when it comes to the dimensional question. I’ll wear from 36mm svelte pieces all the way up to 47mm monsters. So, when I first saw the striking Mitch Mason Chronicle, I knew this would have mass appeal despite its demure size of 36.5 mm in diameter. And sure enough, the new company made quick work of smashing their kickstarter goal.
The first thing you notice when looking at the sleek case of the Chronicle – it does have a familiar look. That’s because the watch borrows its overall angled shape and mix of mirror polishing and brushed finishes from the Grand Seiko. But we shouldn’t make the mistake of calling this a homage, because that’s where similarities end. The creators of Mitch Mason wanted to make what they call the “ultimate field watch.” Inside the case, a Miyota 9039 will power the Chronicle. An oversized engraved crown begins to put this watch on a path to creativity continued with the dial features.
This is where the Chronicle really shines. A beautiful blue, vertically brushed finish changes from navy to light blue in different lighting. The hours are sandwich cut, showing off a creamy radium toned (and quite strong when charged) lume. The eye-catching minute track is punctuated with long lume plots near the 12, 3, 6, and 9 markers. The hands are really remarkable – using a creative pattern to form a sort of abstract cathedral hour hand and a sleek minute hand that just grazes the minute track. The look is finished off with a wonderfully quirky orange seconds hand to contrast with the mix of warm and cool colors established with the dial. The details Mitch Mason has manages to pack into a small package is quite remarkable. This is a watch with depth, character and charm.
Water resistance: 200m
Caseback: Screw-down with engraved artwork
Case material: 316L stainless steel
Lume: Swiss Super-LumiNova®
Strap material: Full grain vegetable-tanned Italian leather/ Top grade suede leather with calf leather lining
Strap stitching: By hand
Buckle/ spring bars: Signed/ Quick-release
Movement: Miyota 9039 high-beat automatic
Diameter: 36.5mmLug to lug: 43.5mmThickness: 12mm (excluding crystal +1.5mm)Lug width: 20mm
Price: $449 preorder with expected shipping in February
I’ll speak plainly here to conclude this review: I’m in love with this watch. The attention to detail for a new brand is remarkable. It has enough creativity to make it interesting, while cleverly borrowing design cues without feeling pastiche or pretentious. While I don’t mind the smaller size, I do think the company would do well to produce this model in a 40-41mm case as well to appeal to an even wider audience. (Pun intended).
Learn more at www.mitchmason.com.