Manufacturer: Mitch Mason | Price: from $379 USD (£295 GBP, €325 EUR)
I have to be honest before I start this review of the Mitch Mason Chronicle. When I first saw the intended specs of this field watch, I immediately thought it was a slightly poor choice, with them going down the route of a 36.5mm case. I just thought it would wear too small on most wrists. Similarly to what I said about the 36mm Smiths Everest PRS-25, when I reviewed it last year. Well, shock-fuckin’-horror! I really should start listening to my own advice, none more than one of the many things I learnt during my 12 years of service in the Army, “Assumption is the Mother of all Fuck Ups“. Yup, I was wrong. (Again!). #TL;DR As it turns out, the Mitch Mason Chronicle is an truly outstanding watch! Let me explain…
- Dimensions: Diameter – 36.7mm, Thickness – 12.7mm, Lug to Lug – 43.5mm, Lug Width – 20mm
- Movement: Miyota 9039, 28,800vph, Hackable, Self Winding, 42hr Power Reserve
- Accuracy: Claimed: -10spd >> +30spd Actual: +4.2spd
- Case Material: Brushed & Polished 316L Stainless Steel
- Bracelet/Strap: Vegetable Tanned Italian Leather / Suede Leather with Calf Lining
- Crystal: Double Domed Sapphire, 5x Underside Anti-Reflective Coatings
- Bezel: Fixed, Polished Water Resistance: 200m / 20ATM / 660ft
- Lume: Swiss Super Luminova® Old Radium
- Crown: 6mm, Screw Down, Signed
- Caseback: Screw Down, Engraved Artwork
- Warranty: 1 Year Weight: 76g
- Where to Buy: Kickstarter – from 1st Sep 2020
- Dial Options: Desert Sand, Field Grey, Jet Black, Steel Blue
Mitch Mason - A Brief Introduction
The Chronicle is inspired by the military field watches of World War II. It epitomizes the definition of the "daily beater" watch, built as the perfect tool for every situation all year round. It was during this period where men transitioned from pocket watches to wristwatches for their evident practicality. On the battlefield, it became a concern for soldiers to have a means to coordinate their maneuvers with extreme precision, yet be able to read time at a glance under any condition.
As such, watches had an exceptionally legible dial with high-contrast and generous applications of lume. Water and dust resistance were also key criteria to withstand the harsh elements of war. Movements used were simple and indestructible. All these attributes have been thoughtfully incorporated into the Mitch Mason Chronicle."
Case & Crown
The case of the Mitch Mason Chronical has a diameter of 36.7mm. The lug to lug is 43.5mm and the overall thickness, including the double domed sapphire crystal, I measured in at a lovely 12.7mm. Without taking the sapphire crystal into consideration, the watch has a thickness of only 10.5mm. The entire case, caseback, bezel and crown are all 316L stainless steel. The watch has pretty much an equal amount of brushed and polished finishing throughout, the way it has been executed though, is totally flawless. I’ve never seen finishing on a microbrand that’s been executed so brilliantly. 👍 I’m never usually a fan of polished finishing on any watch, but the mirror-like polishing on this thing is phenomenal!
The Chronicle has a water resistance rating of 200m, thanks to the screw down caseback & crown, which I will add, is actually pretty damn impressive, considering this is a field watch. The proportions of the watch, in my opinion, are just superb and the way it fits my 6¾″ wrist is just perfection. Although, as previously mentioned, I thought it’d wear a little too small given the diameter of just 36.7mm. How wrong I was, I absolutely love how the Chronicle wears on wrist!
The signed crown is fabulous and looks great, although it is a little difficult to photograph, but that obviously won’t matter to the end user. It has just the right amount of grip and there is no wobble whatsoever when the crown is in use. You can also feel a very nice little pop as you unscrew it and it feels buttery smooth when in operation. You’ll also see and feel just how much work has gone into it, making the crown feel very premium indeed. The caseback has a beautifully, deeply stamped Mitch Mason Coat of Arms on it, which I really appreciate. There’s also the usual various specs etched around the edge. To summarise though, it is easily one of the nicest casebacks that I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing.
Straight out of the box, the Mitch Mason Chronicle comes fitted with a beautiful 20mm vegetable tanned, Italian leather premium strap with a signed keeper and fully milled, signed buckle & tang. You are subsequently given a choice of colours when ordering and oh aye, the strap itself does taper rather nicely from 20mm, down to approximately 16mm.
I have always been much more of a bracelet kind of guy though and after chatting to the owner of Mitch Mason, Ben, he did actually take the time to listen my feedback regarding adding a stainless steel bracelet to the Chronicle. Due to the near 50/50 split of brushed and polished finishing on the watch itself, I suggested adding the option of a fully fitted brushed beads of rice bracelet with polished centre links. Even after agreeing with me, it turns out that it’s not something that would be available until well after the kickstarter campaign, due to the lengthy design and manufacturing process.
The chosen movement for the Mitch Mason Chronicle is the 9039, a no date version of the very popular 9015, manufactured by Japanese company, Miyota. The 9039 is a fantastic, very slim calibre that is a 28,800vph, 4Hz, smooth sweep, 24 jewel automatic movement with self winding and hacking, yet with still a very respectable 42 hour power reserve. Checking the accuracy after running the Chronicle for nearly 2 weeks, mainly on wrist and occassionally in my watch winder, I was extremely happy with the results, with the Chronicle showing an average of just +4.2 seconds per day!
Dial & Bezel
The black and blue versions of the Chronicle are fashioned with a sandwich dial, compared to that of the more traditional dials of the other colourways that are available. If I’m honest, I prefer the sandwich dial. Moving on, there are arabics at the 3, 6, 9 & 12 o’clock positions with the lume disc underneath. There is a railroad minute track around the edge with smaller printed arabics at the other hourly markers. All said and done, it is a very clean design. If I was to change anything though, I’d lower the logo down, just ever so slightly, so to centre it a little between the centre of the dial and the arabic at the 12 o’clock position. I’m really splitting hairs here though, but I do think that it was worth mentioning.
As you can see in the images, the hour and minute hands are superbly done with their cathedral style design and I will state, they actually are my favourite aspect of the Mitch Mason Chronicle (along with the case design). The seconds hand is lovely too, with it’s orange tip reaching right out and just past the minute track when sweeping smoothly around the dial. Unfortunately, there isn’t a date option, but to be fair to Mitch Mason, I don’t think it would’ve worked on this field watch.
The lume on the Chronicle is surprisingly pretty bloody good, given the amount of real estate that’s available on the dial. The lume that’s been applied to the Mitch Mason is Swiss Super Luminova® Old Radium. You will notice the lume pretty much immediately in low light conditions, especially after its had a half decent charge from the big orange thing in the sky! It is initially rather bright and although it does fade over time, it is still legible many hours later.
Writing the conclusion for the Chronicle should be a relatively easy task for me. It is by far, the best and most unique field watch that I’ve ever experienced and Mitch Mason should definitely be applauded for this model. Even though as previously mentioned, I thought I wouldn’t like the decision by Mitch Mason to go with the smaller 36mm case. I feel it doesn’t wear as small as that diameter would suggest, as it wears much more like a 38mm in my opinion.
If you look at my review scores below, you will notice that I’ve given it a full blown 10 out of 10, and quite rightly so! If you manage to get one of these at the early bird pricing of just $379 USD, then consider yourself extremely lucky! There aren’t that many microbrands around that can hold their value even on the used market, but I have a very strong inkling that the Chronicle from Mitch Mason will certainly be a much desired and saught after field watch.
If Mitch Mason were to offer a solid choice of bracelet with this watch in the near future, I’d have absolutely no hesitation in coming back to this review and awarding the Chronicle our rare and only seen once before, top tier Platinum award. *EDIT – Feb ’21* True to my word, I have returned to edit the review and award the Chronicle my Platinum Award.
Mitch Mason – The perfect field watch with a ton of PREMIUM thrown into the mix. Fantastic job!
(Ben, if you’re reading this, all you have to do now is commission a white dial version, on a beads of rice bracelet and I’ll BUY EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM!😂)