Mitchell Timepieces Raider

Mitchell Timepieces has just launched the Raider Kickstarter campaign. Created by an Air Force veteran, this vintage-styled watch pays homage WW2 aviators. I got to try this very well sorted prototype.

Mitchell Timepieces Raider
Military watch aficionados will spot some of the Raider's design cues right away. The case is very much like that of an Elgin A13 or A11 with its rounded, dramatically fluted bezel and large, signed, coin-edged crown. The crown is a push-pull that seals for a useful 100m water resistance. My only gripe on this pre-production version is that the crown is polished and, thus, out of step with the otherwise brushed case and hardware. I understand it will be brushed on the production models.

Mitchell Timepieces Raider

Of course, at 42mm wide, the Raider is considerably larger than those earlier watches, but its 48mm length allows a proper fit on my 6.75" wrist. Better still, the watch is only a touch over 14mm thick, including its seductive doubled domed sapphire crystal. This keeps the overall proportions well within reasonable limits and makes for a very wearable watch.

Mitchell Timepieces Raider

It owes its slimness to the Miyota 9039 inside. That 24 jewel automatic is essentially the beloved 28.8k bph 9015 architecture, sans date. As a result, it is thinner and eliminates the phantom crown position and unseen date change that bedevils certain watch freaks when confronted with a no-date dial like this one.

Mitchell Timepieces Raider

The dial harkens back to pre-war aviation watches. Heavy Arabic numerals with tiny, pointed serifs lend it a vintage IWC air that is further reinforced by polished poire squelette hands. Mitchell prints its brand name in an attractively streamlined typeface, similar to the style that was so popular in America immediately after the war. Above it is a single star. This, I really like. The model name below, less so. For that, they have chosen a stencil typeface, which has the right military association, but looks out of place when compared to the lightweight brand name. On the positive side, the folks at Mitchell have wisely kept the name small. Any larger, and would have easily detracted from the other elements on the dial. As it stands, the dissimilarity in the styles will likely bother no one but a handful of font nerds like myself.  

Mitchell Timepieces Raider

That aside, it is a handsome dial, and I appreciate the fact that the minute and second hands reach right to the outer track. BGW9 lume on the hands and numbers lights up exactly as you would like. A white, full-lume dial is also available.

Mitchell Timepieces Raider

That star on the dial is more than just decoration; it symbolizes the General's rank attained by Jimmy Doolittle after the Tokyo Raid of April 18, 1942. Flipping the watch over, you will find more references. The airplane engraved on the case back is a B-25, the type flown in the raid. It is oriented to heading 250, it's nose aligned with the 25 on the compass. As for the irony of using a Japanese movement in a watch commemorating the bombing of Tokyo? Let's just say a lot has changed since then.

Mitchell Timepieces Raider

The Raider comes on a 22mm canvas strap backed with a Horween leather and equipped with quick-release pins. The prototype had seen a little wear and was the better for it because canvas can be stiff right out of the box, whereas this was quite comfortable. I did notice a good bit of fraying, which is not at all uncommon in fabric straps where the material is not wrapped over the edges. I found it a bit too rustic for my tastes, but to many, that is the very point. The signed pre-v style buckle fits the Raider's character, even if it is on the large side.

Mitchell Timepieces Raider

Overall, the Raider is a charming watch - even more so when you consider its price. Its Kickstarter starts at $325, and full retail will be $399. That is not bad at all for these specs and a 9039. For more information or to place your order, head over to the Raider Kickstarter page now. ⬩

Mitchell Timepieces Raider

Mitchell Timepieces Raider


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