Mitch Mason Chronicle | VARIO Review
Benedict from Mitch Mason contacted me late February 2020 and asked if I would like to meet up with him to give him some insights for his inaugural watch and I agreed. We chatted watches like watch geeks do and exchanged notes for hours and reluctantly parted ways. From the watch meeting, I saw a determined young man wanting to break into the microbrand watch industry and was giving his all to his “make or break” project.
I’ve been a lonely microbrand owner for the first few years of my new found career, and I’ve wanted to meet more watch brand owners to learn from each other, share experience but was probably too shy to approach other owners. I was thinking it would be cool to form a microbrand watchmaker’s club to introduce Singapore watch brands to enthusiasts around the world. So, I thought I would start small and contacted Ben to ask if I could review his watch and he agreed.
Mitch Mason’s Chronicle is a robust yet elegant series of history inspired field watches built for the modern individual. What strikes me most about this watch is the vintage Grand Seiko 44GS inspired case. The grammar of design that Taro Tanako created stood out above their competitors back in the day and Mitch Mason’s watch draws reference from the classic design and I have to say the watch case reflects light beautifully like a gem. At 36.5mm it may seem petite to the modern wrist but the squarish lug design gives it more real estate compared with your generic round case so it will wear bigger. Personally I love dress watches and somehow wished the watch is a tad thinner especially on Miyota 9039 but I understand this is a field watch first and Ben had wanted a more sporty feel for the watch.
Looking through the anti-reflective double dome sapphire glass, I could clearly see the 2nd feature that makes this watch special…a distinctive handset which I think is the star of the show. The handset is inspired by a knot of twine but to me, it looked like a modern interpretation of the classic cathedral handset and very well done in my opinion. It is never easy to design a handset and I think Ben did a good job with it. Ben mentioned the seconds hand will be shortened in the final version so it doesn’t stretch over the marker tracks.
Mitch Mason Chronicle on Vario Cordura Leather Watch Strap
Customers can choose between a sandwich dial and a printed dial and the printed dial is my favourite between the 2 because of its simplicity, legibility and cohesiveness. The dateless dial is a good choice because it would be a tricky task to deal with and the date window would detract from an otherwise attractive watch dial. The cream coloured lume on the cream dial gives it a minimalistic vibe and the slightly raised 5 sec marker lume gives it extra visual interest. Using it as a field watch, I wished the lumed markers would have some form of segregation so that the minutes around 3,6,9,12 can be defined clearly. At night, the lume is bright and befitting a field watch.
Powering the watch is the respectable Miyota 9039 which many microbrand watch collecters love. It features automatic winding, 24 jewels, hacking, hand-winding, a 42-hour power reserve, and a frequency of 28,800 bph. This is essentially the 9015 without a date complication or date position in the crown. The 9039 is a great choice as it is reliable, thin, more economical than Swiss options, and by being a true no-date movement it doesn’t have that phantom stop. The crown on the case is well proportioned and is easy to use as a field watch but small enough to make it just tad dressier. Setting the time with the diagonally knurled screw down crown was pretty smooth but Ben will be improving it with fewer and deeper groves for better grip.
Mitch Mason Chronicle watch on Vario Italian leather watch strap
Besides the screw down crown, the watch features a solid caseback in order to achieve a 20atm water resistance. The caseback is designed by Danny from ESCH design in Luxemburg who helped another Singapore microbrand Boldr with many of their case back designs. The coat of arm design inspiration is vintage inspired and inkeeping with the watch and to me I think it beats showing off the otherwise bland Miyota movement. The suede leather strap is well made and has a beautiful texture to it and the steep taper give it a vintage pilot watch strap look.
This watch is mish mash between a dress and field watch, built like a tank with its over engineered specs and Ben has created a unique design with his distinctive handset and the desirable GS inspired case and reasonably priced at $379. Do check out his website and Kickstarter pre-launch page for more info.
Case Diameter: 36.5mm
Lug to lug: 43.5mm
Thickness: 12mm (excluding crystal +1.5mm)
Lug width: 20mm
Caseback: Screw-down with engraved artwork
Material: 316L stainless steel
Crystal: Double domed sapphire with 5 layers of anti-reflective coating on underside
Dial: Metallic brushing with sandwiched numerals at 3,6,9,12/ vintage matte with printed numerals
Hands: Unique Mitch Mason handset
Lume: Swiss Super-LumiNova®
Calibre: Miyota 9039 (24 jewels) Automatic and hand-winding, 42 hours power reserve
Strap: Full-grain vegetable tanned Italian leather/ Top grade suede leather with calf leather lining (quick release)
Website/ Landing page (for more info and to register in mailing list) :
Kickstarter pre-launch page:
ABOUT MITCH MASON WATCHES
Founded by Benedict Ong in 2019, Mitch Mason is based in Singapore with a vision to be a microbrand watch company that offers vintage inspired watches with contemporary purpose. According to Benedict, this brand name was carefully chosen, with ‘Mitch’ meaning “Someone who plays truant” and ‘Mason’ meaning “One who builds“. The name was selected to inspire the idea of going against the norm to build great things. Find out more at mitchmason.com.
Written by Ivan Chua
Disclaimer: This watch was sent to me to review, but I was not incentivized in any way to make this review. This is in no way sponsored by Mitch Mason or any other entity. All opinions here are my own.
Shop our full range of Vario's 2 Piece Leather Cordura watch strap
Shop our full range of Vario's Italian Leather watch strap
You might also be interested in this article
More Microbrand Watch Reviews
6 Reasons why changing your watch strap is a good idea
Advice for picking the right watch strap
Buying A Microbrand Watch? Here's Everything You Should Know | VARIO
7 Reasons Why You Don't Need A Luxury Fashion Brand Watch | VARIO