A new watch, from a new brand with a new perspective...
Neo-vintage has been with us a while now. Recent years have seen an influx of new products that are all inspired by designs and eras from the past. Be it brand new straight out the factory looks, or creations that look to reflect the many years since they were first born, the inspirations for these watches come in many shapes and sizes. It seems that 70s design is starting to have its moment, but today we take a step back further than that to the 1940s, and to a time when the field watch was a vital tool.
Note: The watch we have with us is a pre-production prototype with finishing being improved, the crown will have reduced numbers of ridges and more engraving depth as well as a slight shortening of the seconds hand.
The Mitch Mason Chronicle
Mitch Mason is very much the new kid on the block, in fact, this is their very first watch as they aim to create a piece that uses the 1940s as inspiration. This is an era that tends to be avoided by newer brands with one of the main reasons being down to the sizing. 80 years ago the idea of men wearing watches on the wrist and not in the pocket was still quite a fresh concept, with sizing being extremely reduced when compared to what we see today. It wasn’t unusual to see watches around 30mm - 32mm, with 36mm being regarded as contextually large. Mitch Mason acknowledges this so they have adapted the case design of their Chronicle so it still respects the era but in a way that won't leave people squinting down to their wrist to tell the time. At 36.5mm wide, a sweet spot has been found which is assisted with a 43.5mm lug to lug and 13.3mm thickness. Yes, those are still small sounding dimensions but due to the bubble back style case, the chunky angled lugs and strong bezel presence the watch doesn’t end up feeling overshadowed by your wrist.
The example we have with us today is the Steel Blue variation, but there are three others to pick from. There’s a little bit of everything going on here with distinct bare essentials design meeting unexplainable charm commonly found in classic 40s style. But don’t just think Mitch Mason simply pulled these aspects together. There is a lot packed in to really make this their own design. The sandwich dial 12,3,6 and 9 adds some ever so slight depth. The vertically brushing also has a part to play in the depth category. The hands are bold and powerful, but through their design and polished finish are artistic at the same time. Colour is also important on this model as the blue is enhanced even more thanks to the vintage lume throughout the dial and hands as well as the pops of orange.
Powering the Mitch Mason Chronicle is the Miyota 9039 which is a slim version of the 9015. It is also the dateless equivalent, hence why we see it here. This is a fan favourite amongst microbrands and a logical choice. Going for no date means the end result is a visually balanced piece, something that is even more noticeable further when the lights go out and the lume begins to glow.
What is the Mitch Mason like in person?
We’re fortunate to be able to bring you some of the first images of the Mitch Mason Chronicle before launch. This early look at a prototype has brought up some key points on this watch with the first being that dial. As we’ve said there is a lot going on, but one of the most important and interesting factors to pick up on is how much that vertically brushed blue dial shifts in colour.
More often than not the dial is more of a deep blue with touches of brighter blue, depending on the light. In fact, in some lighting, the dial is essentially black. I find this is a welcomed addition though. With blue dials everywhere you turn, it’s refreshing to find a watch that can still offer the desirable blue but in a way that makes it stand out from the crowd.
‘Unique’ is a word that gets used a lot. Probably too much. Nowadays it takes a lot to create something genuinely unique. The AkriviA Chronomètre Contemporain is a rare example of this, but unfortunately, that wonderful design is hidden behind a 5 figure paywall.
The Mitch Mason Chronicle though puts a strong case forward as an affordable example of how unique doesn’t need to be costly. Case in point, let’s look at some alternatives for this piece. For $499 (price after Kickstarter) a strong contender would be the Seiko Prospex Alpinist. That purposeful demeanour is the same as the Mitch Mason Chronicle with similar levels of elegance. Or how about something from Hamilton such as the Pilot Pioneer?
My point here is that these watches share the same philosophy, but in terms of visual uniqueness, the Mitch Mason Chronicle takes it. And of course the price as well. The Alpinist and Pilot Pioneer are a similar price, but they’re more than Mitch Mason’s final retail price. Considering you can get the Chronicle with up to $120 off the final price on Kickstarter you’re looking at a seriously compelling offer.
Watch Straps for the Mitch Mason Chronicle
The Mitch Mason Chronicle is available in four colours. The Blue Steel and Jet Black both come on smooth leather straps and the Desert Sand and Field Grey come on suede straps to match the toned-down look of these versions. As always though, just a few simple strap changes can really transform a watch…
Four Oaks Vintage Quick Release Watch Strap in Reddish Brown
First up we have a choice that is tailor-made for this watch. The Four Oaks Leather is a newer strap to our range and it’s simply a hit. Using Italian vegetable tanned leather and a clean straight horizontal line on each piece this strap the strap takes a supporting role to ensure all of the focus is on the watch head. Here the Reddish Brown was the logical option as it picks up on the orange throughout the dial.
Geckota Kington Vintage Style Leather Dress Watch Strap in Brown
Next is a strap that is designed to make the most out of the thickness found on this watch. The Kington Vintage Style in Brown brings together comfort, colour matching from the stitching and a slender profile. Grab yourself one of these simple yet effective straps, they work on a huge amount of watches.
The Vintage Watch Company Military Watch Strap by Geckota in Admiralty Grey
And last but not least, for all of you Military styles strap fans, we have The Vintage Watch Company Military Watch Strap. This smooth nylon strap uses a simple nylon weave echoing the ‘no frills’ approach of the Mitch Mason. A solid toned-down option for when you really want to test the 200m water-resistance of the watch.
Is the Mitch Mason worth the money?
Rarely do we see a new brand come onto the scene offering something as distinctive, compelling and genuine as the Mitch Mason Chronicle. The original inspiration for this watch comes from an era not often touched in the neo-vintage world. But this example echoes an important era for watches that we now regard as ‘tools’. This isn’t just a re-issue, this interpretation and adaption of original field watches are justifiably enough for the watch to earn its place in your watch box. My choice? I’d go with the Desert Sand version as it captures the charm of vintage even more. But with plenty of colour options, you’re bound to find the one for you.
The Mitch Mason Chronicle will be available on Kickstarter as of the 1st September 2020. To back the project and make one of these yours click here.
Now pay attention, watch fans .. Swatch has (in)famously certainly been at the forefront of watch industry headlines over the last year or so, with the launch of the controversially ‘Marmite’ MoonSwatch (a very clever Omega x Swatch...
In the past, the realm of horology has predominantly catered to men. It was men that had the financial independence to purchase extravagant new timepieces and display them on their wrists as symbols of wealth,...