Manufacturer: Mitch Mason | Price: from $449 USD (£325 GBP)
So here we are then, the highly anticipated second release from Mitch Mason. I reviewed their very first watch, the Chronicle back in August of last year and straight out of the gate it got a Platinum Award, as well as also being a strong contender for Watch of the Year 2020. Ok, it didn’t actually win the title however, it was up against some very strong competition. It certainly was a fantastic debut into the microbrand watch world though. Their second release, the Mitch Mason Maelstrom, is a compressor style diver and I’ll admit, I was super excited to get one of these in for review after hearing the rumours about it just a couple of months ago. So, are Mitch Mason just a one-hit wonder along the lines of Dexy’s Midnight Runners, or have they nailed it yet again? Let’s find out…
- Dimensions: Case – 40.2mm, Thickness – 11.8mm, Lug to Lug – 47.2mm, Lug Width – 20mm
- Movement: Miyota 9015, 28,800vph, 24 Jewels, Hackable, Self Winding, 42hr Power Reserve
- Case: Brushed & Polished 316L Stainless Steel, Drilled Lugs
- Bezel: Internal Rotating, Fully Lumed
- Dial: Sunburst, Sandwich Construction, Custom Hour & Minute Hands
- Lume: Swiss Super-LumiNova® Old Radium / BGW9
- Bracelet: Brushed & Polished 316L Stainless Steel, H-Link, Solid Links, Screw Pins, Milled Clasp
- Crystal: Double Domed Sapphire, Underside Anti-Reflective Coatings
- Water Resistance: 300m / 30ATM / 990ft
- Caseback: Screw Down, 3D Stamped Artwork
- Crown: x2, 6mm, Screw Down, Signed
- Weight: 148g (sized up for my 6¾″ wrist)
- Where to Buy: Mitch Mason Kickstarter Campaign (1st October 2021, 10pm SGT)
- Warranty: 1 Year International
Changes to Production Models
- Hour hand will be shortened
- Thicker lume application throughout and date will be lumed
- More consistent cream colour throughout bezel, dial & hands
- Caseback keyholes will be round due to milling
Case & Crown
The case of the Mitch Mason Maelstrom has an overall diameter of 40.2mm according to my calipers. The lug to lug is 47.2mm and the overall thickness, including the double domed sapphire crystal, I measured in at a rather svelte 11.8mm. That’s bloody impressive considering that the Maelstrom has a total water resistance of 300m/30ATM. The mid-case, caseback, fixed external bezel, both crowns and the bracelet are all 316L stainless steel. The finish of the case is also mostly brushed, but with the addition of a lovely and very well executed polished chamfered edge, that runs the entire length of the case thinning down to almost a point at the end of the lugs. Overall, the case of the Maelstrom is beautifully manufactured and the finishing is absolutely outstanding!
As previously mentioned the Mitch Mason Maelstrom has a total water resistance rating of 300m and the proportions of the Maelstrom are absolutely bang on in my opinion, 40 x 47mm will suit a whole variety of wrist sizes, mine included. It wears brilliantly on wrist and is very comfortable indeed, as the downward lugs make it hug the wrist superbly. The signed crowns are nicely sized at 6mm, look fantastic and are a piece of cake to operate with an absolute truck load of grip. There’s also zero wobble when either of the crowns are in use. As you can see in the image below, we are also treated to one of the best casebacks I’ve ever seen. The level of detail is absolutely outstanding and it’s also buttery smooth to the touch. Fantastic work Ben (owner) @ Mitch Mason!
Strap / Bracelet
The Mitch Mason Maelstrom comes fitted as standard with a very high quality 20mm, H-link, 316L stainless steel bracelet, that I’d most certainly class as premium. It is definitely leagues above the usual microbrand shizzle, and has all the bells & whistles that you’d hope to find from a bracelet of this quality. Here we get solid links throughout, female end links for that instant articulation and supreme comfort, screw pins for sizing, as well as a milled & signed clasp with a total of 6x micro-adjustment holes. When adjusting or sizing up the bracelet, even the screws used here are of superb quality, equating to zero chance of cross-threading.
The clasp has polished chamfered edges, which is an appreciated extra wee touch, that also compliments the overall aesthetic and finishing of the bracelet. Oh aye, before jumping on to the next part of the review, the bracelet itself also has a lovely taper to it, going from 20mm at the lugs, down to 16mm at the thinnest most part, before heading back up to 20mm at the milled clasp. Being honest, I’ve really struggled to find any negatives whatsoever with this bracelet, but if there was anything I’d really like to see added, it would be an on-the-fly adjustment for the clasp, similar to what you’d find on Zelos, Halios and Christopher Ward.
Movement / Accuracy
The chosen movement for the Mitch Mason Maelstrom is the high beat, smooth sweep Miyota 9015. This Japanese movement is self-winding, has 24 jewels and the oscillating weight spins up, giving you up to a very reasonable 42 hour power reserve. The balance runs at 28,800vph ‘4Hz’ and the movement is also hackable. Checking the accuracy on my trusty old timegrapher after wearing the Maelstrom for just a couple of weeks, I was pleasantly surprised, with the Mitch Mason Maelstrom coming in at an average of just +6 second per day, with minimal beat error. That’s an excellent result, especially for a pre-production prototype.
Dial, Bezel & Hands
The Mitch Mason Maelstrom has a nicely manufactured bidirectional internal bezel, that is operated by the screw down crown at 2 o’clock. The printed text on the dial are the words Maelstrom in an italic style font, all printed in a light grey, The printed MITCH MASON logo (all in caps) is at the usual spot of just under the arabic at 12 o’clock, with the text AUTOMATIC also printed directly underneath. As you can clearly see in the images, the dial itself is of a sandwich construction, with the lumed disk underneath leaving the arabic cut-outs for the hour markers at 3, 9 & 12. Taking everything into account, it all adds up to a very unique, yet beautifully designed dial.
Another massive plus from me, is the perfectly done date complication that matches the cream colouring perfectly, and not forgetting the colour matching of the background to the dial colour. Love it! That my friends is perfect attention to detail. I just wish more brands would follow suit! Next up are the hour and minute hands that are actually very nicely executed, with their proportionate and lovely, almost cathedral style hour hand. Before you all say, “Proportionate? What the fuck!” The hour hand has already been shortened as you can see in the header image at the top of the review. The lumed arrow shaped section of the seconds hand is rather nice too, with the actual tip of the hand reaching right out to the edge of the printed minute track. Zero complaints from me regarding this dial.
The lume on the Mitch Mason Maelstrom to be fair, is actually better than I had initially expected. It had me double checking the spec sheet to find out exactly what kind of lume it is, especially after seeing these results in low light. The lume that’s been applied to this Mitch Mason is only listed as Super-LumiNova®, although its obviously Old Radium of some description. I was actually really surprised with just how initially bright it is, even after not a great deal of charge. I’ve been wearing the Mitch Mason Maelstrom quite a great deal since it arrived and even although it’s bright, it doesn’t last very long, especially the disc of the sandwich dial. To be fair, Mitch Mason have stated though, that there will be a far stronger lume application everywhere for the actual production units.
To summarise then… if the Maelstrom was a design that I had come up with, I would be extremely proud, as it’s most definitely another sure-fire hit from Mitch Mason. I only have one question though… WHERE’S THE FUCKIN’ WHITE ONE!!? C’mon Ben, with the changes you’ve mentioned for production, and if there was a white dial option with black surrounds for the markers and BGW9, or even C3 X1 grade lume? I reckon it’d easily be the best compressor style diver from any microbrand. As it stands though, with the choices that are currently available, the pick of the bunch for me is the Ocean Grey, with white markers and BGW9. Seriously though, a truly outstanding job Ben @ Mitch Mason and congratulations on yet another platinum award. Very well deserved! Before I sign off, I’m sure people will ask, will I buy one? Well, there’s no free watches for me at Zaltek, so if I really like something after I’ve reviewed it, I’ve got to stick my hand in my pocket. So to answer that question…. NO, AM I FUCK! Just kidding, yeah I will be backing the Kickstarter Campaign, the Ocean Grey being the easy choice for me.