Micro brands were well represented at the recent DC Watch Get Together. Among them was Mavrik, a new venture from Richmond, Virginia. Founder Evan Owen displayed the Model 2S, an automatic sport watch with an unusual "monostrap" system for attaching the head to the strap or bracelet. It launches on Kickstarter today, but your very own Time Bum has already field tested a sample. Evan sent me home with a 0002SJ with a white dial, black IP case, tan leather strap, and optional black bracelet.
The Mavrik's case is a stainless steel cylinder with straight sides decorated with two deep channels and a combination of brushed and polished surfaces. Measuring 44mm wide and 14.5mm thick, it cuts an imposing figure. These tuna can proportions are further accentuated by the low and lugless strap. An 8.5x5.5mm, signed, push-pull crown mirrors the case design. Clearly, this is a watch that demands attention, but the most unusual aspect is underneath.
Flipping the Mavrik over, you will find the monostrap system. This consists of a strap or bracelet with a fixed ring in the center, similar to that of the Omega Dynamic. The ring fits into a recess in the watch head and is secured with a threaded disc that screws into the actual case back, compressing the strap ring in between. It is this retaining disc that bears the decoration, including the serial number, date, and even the owner's monogram (as a special order option). Note that the prototype still has the black stains left by the engraving process; these will likely be polished out of the production pieces. The disc screws on and off easily by means of multi-pronged plastic tool, which can also be used to remove the case back.
While complicated to describe, it is quite simple to use. Imagine the strap is the meat in a case back sandwich and you have got the idea. The retaining disc and tool are easy to use, and the whole operation takes about the same time and effort as removing and replacing spring bars. The advantage is in its strength. Once you screw the band into place, it is not coming off on its own. The disadvantage is that it is a proprietary system. You want a different strap? You will have to have to get one from Mavrik or have it custom made. Evan recognizes this and will provide owners with a template for strap makers.
The Model 2S accepts a 24mm band. The prototype arrived with a nubuck leather strap, signed deployant clasp, and a black bracelet. Both the deployant and the bracelet are stretch goals. The tan leather complements the black case and light dial, but without lugs to provide a transition, the flat strap exaggerates the watch's top-heavy dimensions. I found the bracelet to be the better choice. The fat, barrel-shaped links echo the cylindrical case and provide better visual balance. It is also exceptionally comfortable and the push button clasp was a breeze. Interestingly, the monostrap bracelet design does have lugs, but they are fixed to the center ring, not the case. I know what you are thinking, and yes, I suppose is conceivable that you could remove the link and use the pin to fasten a notched strap between the lugs, but why would you? It would undo the signature element of the watch.
In contrast to the unorthodox case, the dial is relatively conventional though still thoroughly modern. The raised outer ring of the multi-level dial is matte white with square applied markers. The numbers are printed in a wide, lightweight font. The 12, 3, 6, and 9 are large and printed in dark brown. The other numbers are smaller, bit displayed as two digits. They are black as is the index. The center section is brushed metal with a date window at 6 o'clock. Text is limited to the bold Maverick brand at the top and a delicate and discreet "automatic" below. The baton hands are glossy black, each with a luminous bar. I like the open, uncluttered space and the added dimension of the multiple layers and textures. It is a clean and sophisticated design.
The movement is the respected and reliable SII (Seiko) NH35a. This 24 jewel, 21.6k bph automatic hacks and hand winds. It has a power reserve of over 40 hours and a quiet, bi-directional rotor.
On the wrist, the Model 2S wears large. It doesn't appear that way when viewed head-on, in fact, the lugless case makes it look much smaller, wearing more like a conventional 42mm, but view it from an angle and it towers over your wrist. Shirt cuffs are a challenge. Now, I am not a huge guy and my 6.5" wrists are on the smaller end of the spectrum so the proportions are more pronounced on me than they would be on someone larger, but by any measure, the Mavrik is a big sport/casual watch and with 100 meters water resistance and a sapphire-coated mineral crystal, it should have no problem being used as such. The case is going to polarizing feature. Personally, I think if it were about 20 percent thinner, and the crown a bit shorter, it would better suit the sleek dial and be a more versatile addition to its owner's wardrobe.
The Mavrik Model 2S is the sort of project I like to see on Kickstarter: new, innovative, and affordably priced. Steel versions will retail for $349, IP black for $369, but early backers can get theirs for as little as $239-259 for the steel, $259-279 for the black case shown here. The bulky case is not for everyone but there are some great elements in the overall design and the monostrap system could be ideal for those engaged in high impact activities.
Pro: Great dial, unshakable strap attachment.
Con: Exaggerated proportions, non-standard strap attachment.