The NTH “Mack” Sub – Made for a brother in arms

The NTH “Mack” Sub – Made for a brother in arms

5 min read
Richard Brown



Richard Brown



At WatchGecko we are very proud of our relationship with NTH Watches from the USA. As we highlighted in a recent review of the NTH Näcken Modern Blue they are first class tool watches, with a strong look and are very competitively priced. The creator behind NTH is a US military veteran called Chris Vail and he works hard to design watches that will resonate with a wide demographic of buyers.  You can see inspiration and technical elements of Chris’ ex-career in his designs as many NTHs are eminently suitable for military use with their bold clean dials and powerful lume.

The new NTH Mack is however an altogether different creation which does not try to be subtle in its military heritage. Quite the opposite – it embraces it. That is because the Mack is a highly personal watch created in memory of a very close friend of Chris, US Army Ranger Brian A. Mack.

The best person to describe Mack is Chris himself:

“Brian Mack was a Ranger Instructor at the Swamp Phase of the US Army's Ranger School, where I was medical cadre in the mid to late 90’s. Professionally, I was going through a bit of a rough patch when I met him. Brian took me under his wing, requesting I be assigned to report to him, as he was preparing to coach our Battalion’s entrants in the upcoming Best Ranger Competition, and needed a medic to cover the dangerous training they were about to undertake.

For the next six months, I spent every workday with Brian and the guys preparing to compete in the Best Ranger contest. Brian taught me how to soldier, in every sense of the word, both with the things he said and by his example, in true Ranger fashion.

My wife and I would also go out to dinner or the movies with Brian and his wife, Lisa. It was great for us to be able to socialize with people who weren’t part of my chain of command. The things I remember about him, and the things he taught me, would make for too many stories to tell. But even now, twenty-five years later, I can still hear his voice in my head, repeating his “Mackisms” - pearls of Ranger wisdom he passed onto me.

I left the Rangers before the advent of social media, smart phones, and everyone having a private email account, so I lost touch with Brian. It was a few years, in fact after I left the service, before I realized the impact he had on me. I’d be at the office, talking to colleagues, when suddenly, I’d hear myself saying something Brian said to me. Therefore, I tried to find him, to reconnect with my old friend, and thank him for being there for me, when I needed him most.

I was absolutely devastated to learn he’d been killed in combat, on 13 January, 2005, when an IED exploded near his Stryker Armourer Vehicle in Mosul, Iraq. My old friend was gone.

It took me a little while, but I was able to track down his surviving family, who will now receive a portion of revenue from the US sale of every watch with his name on it, as a tribute to the man who inspired me and so many others to be and do more.”

Left Image: Brian Mack (far right). | Right Image: Brian Mack.

It is a real privilege for us at WatchGecko to have a very limited number of Mack’s for sale. We discussed how best we could support the cause behind the watch with Chris and Mack’s surviving family via Chris. We proposed that we could contribute from the sale of each UK Mack to a British Military charity. Brian’s widow Lisa was delighted with this initiative and suggested that Brian himself would also heartily approve, he had great respect for the UK Military. We have therefore decided to donate a proportion of Mack sales to SAAFA – The Armed Forces Charity - who support UK military staff in many ways from transition to civilian life to disability assistance for soldiers wounded in action.

Now that you know the story behind The Mack let’s look at the watch itself.

When you first lay eyes on the Mack it is highly contemporary and genuinely striking. The desert bronze of the bezel offsets perfectly against a deep black dial, giving the watch a highly stylised and fully authentic Military or Field look.

The white numerals and hands, especially the sword hour hand, pay tribute to military watches from a bygone era and create a striking starkness resulting in a dial with excellent legibility through AR coated sapphire crystal.

At 140g the Mack has a thoroughly solid feel. Nothing rattles and the machine feels well crafted. The screw down crown and the 120 click bezel are well serrated to provide superior grip with gloves on. The curved end pieces of the Oyster style bracelet join seamlessly with the case. Pin holes allow for easy strap change if a G1098 NATO is your chosen style.

The Mack is powered by either a Miyota automatic cal. 9015 with a date or the 90S5 for no date. First introduced in 2009 this work horse movement is relatively easy to obtain and offers similar parameters to the ETA 2824-2. The 42-hour power reserve, NTH regulation of the 9015/S5 to -5/+15 seconds a day and Parashock protection should meet most even the toughest needs.

Like every NTH SUB it is in low light the Mack really delivers with Tritec Superluminova impregnated into the bezel, hands and indices. 12 and 24 hour markers glow together as does the unusual lower triangle on the bezel which aids navigation if you are using the watch as a compass. Last but by no means least, this impressive package is sealed to 300m (1000ft) water resistance.

The NTH Mack is a unique chance to own a watch inspired by a friendship forged in the toughest of environments. Not only can you own a superb watch but you will also have the knowledge that your purchase is providing much needed help to military families across the UK.

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Richard Brown

About the Author: Richard Brown

I truly believe one of the best partners in exploration and adventure is a fine watch. Over 30 years of collecting, my fascination with the technical capabilities of both vintage and modern timepieces has never abated and it is a privilege to be able to share this passion through writing.

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