Mitch Mason Chronicle

Review and photos by Mike Razak

The Chronicle is the first offering from Singapore-based Mitch Mason, founded by Benedict Ong. The brand’s stated mission is producing reliable timepieces that are at the confluence of vintage and modern. The accomplished mission with the Chronicle is a decidedly vintage looking piece with modern features. You’ll see hints of the Dirty Dozen from WWII, old school Rolex Exlporer cues, and the undeniable silhouette of Grand Seiko. The sum, though, is greater than the parts. Often you’ll find that there are one or two aspects of a watch that outshine the rest, but the Chronicle delivers equally on every front.

Mitch Mason Chronicle

The 316L stainless steel case is 36.5mm. It takes guts to enter a jumbo-oriented market with a 36.5mm case. While things are thankfully trending back towards rational proportions, dropping something under 38mm is to be admired, even if it isn’t for you.

Mitch Mason Chronicle

If you’re familiar with vintage Grand Seiko cases, this design won’t be too unfamiliar: primarily the straight 20mm lug box (the area where the strap slots into the case) and the multiple angles. The flat top of the midcase with beveled facets running along the side is classic and executed well with the mix of brushed and polished finishes. The edges here are crisp enough, but I would’ve liked them to be a bit sharper, especially where the polished facets meet. The good news is the finishing and tolerances will all be improved for the final production model. Huzzah.

Mitch Mason Chronicle

With a 43.5mm lug-to-lug, the Chronicle will rest atop almost any wrist with no risk of overhang. While the midcase has a nice gentle arc to it, there is no wristhugging, as the lugs do not descend below the caseback; you’ll be experiencing every bit of the 13.5mm thickness, especially with a 36.5mm diameter. That may be an issue for those who prefer a lower profile, but I didn’t find it to be an issue outside of when I was overanalyzing the watch. Making it thinner would have been preferable overall, but this may have involved some sacrifice, and in talking with The Good Mr. Ong, his design vision was sacrosanct and those sacrifices were simply not going to happen.

Mitch Mason Chronicle

Completing the case is a polished fixed bezel around the double-domed AR-coated sapphire crystal and a twist-grooved screwdown crown decorated with the Mitch Mason logo. Also seen on the dial and echoed in the hands, the logo features interlocking M’s, creating a knot motif and representing the intertwining of vintage and contemporary design toward which the brand strives. While I found the crown perfectly grippable and easy to use, there will be a decrease in the number of ridges and an increase in their depth to aid those with permanently greasy fingers.

Mitch Mason Chronicle

If the case doesn’t rope you in, surely the dial will. A brushed blue sandwich dial with a pop of orange? Shut up and take my money. I’m going to let the photos do most of the talking here, as they explain the dial better than I ever could. Everything is in balance, with cutout cardinal numerals. The Old Radium Super-LumiNova shines evenly across the dial and hands. Speaking of the hands, they are big, bold, and exceptional. The Hour hand, as mentioned, features a cropped take on the Mitch Mason logo. All told, the dial is not only pleasing to look at, but it is exceptionally legible at any hour, in any light.  

Mitch Mason Chronicle

The only change I would make is shortening the seconds hand—and it’s being made. While the hour and minute hand neatly extend to a natural terminus (the interior edges of the numeral cutouts and the chapter ring, respectively), the seconds hand extends just past the outer edge of the chapter ring. I’m happy to report that this change is in fact being made, and the seconds hand will meet the outer edge exactly. Huzzah again.

Mitch Mason Chronicle

The Chronicle is available in 4 dial options: sandwich dials in brushed blue or black, or matte dials in tan or grey. The matte dials feature printed unlumed cardinal numerals, slightly different numeral text and forgo the logo at 12 o’clock. It makes for an even more vintage-forward design and I encourage you to check out the campaign page for a better look.

Mitch Mason Chronicle

The solid screwdown caseback ensures 200m of water resistance and is fully decorated by artist Danny Luis, who has also done caseback work for brands like Boldr and Prometheus. It is a regal and ornate design with swords and a shield and banners and foliage. All quite well done, and it means the text around the caseback takes a back seat—as it should be. Unscrew the back and you’ll find a Miyota 9039—the dateless microbrand wizard. It’s a robust and easily serviced movement with 42 hours of power reserve and the only complaint anyone ever has about it is the rotor whirr, which I happen to like.

Mitch Mason Chronicle

The straps for the Chronicle are just as great as the watch itself. Custom designed and handmade, the blue dial model will come with a slightly burnished deep blue strap with contrast stitching. The strap is supple, just the right thickness, and features quick-release spring bars, a single extra-wide keeper with the logo, and a sturdy tang clasp with the brand name. Since I just can’t help myself, I went ahead and played around and found somewhat obvious success with a new orange strap and an old rough leather NATO. Happily they both looked great, and the standard thickness NATO passed through with only a little coaxing necessary. I’ll note that the black dial comes with a brown strap of the same type, while the non-sandwich “Heritage” versions feature a taupe suede strap. Again, check the Kickstart page for more.

Mitch Mason Chronicle strap

Here’s the cherry on top of this delicious sandwich dial (or not sandwich dial, either way, you’re getting a cherry): the watch will be only $500 at retail. That’s an amazing price for this level of finishing and these specs. Two of three of my qualms are being dequalmed for production (finishing and seconds hand). The other is thickness, and that’s down to personal taste, as it actually didn’t interfere with its wearability for me. So let’s wrap: brushed sandwich dial, killer lume, GS-style case, all the vintage vibes, proper dateless movement. And it gets better because the watch will be available September 1 on Kickstarter for as low as $379. At that price, it’s solely a matter of taste. Do you like the watch (at all)? Buy it at launch, thank me when you do.

Mitch Mason Chronicle

The Chronicle also comes with a very nice leather watch pouch, the closure strap of which can be seen in the top photo. For a third and final time, huzzah.


Share:
© The Time Bum | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig