Mitch Mason is back again. After a very successful launch (4x the campaign’s goal) of its debut, vintage-inspired field watch, the Chronicle, the brand that’s not actually named after a real person has come back with a beautiful new offering, the Maelstrom. It’s their take on the classic supercompressor diver–dual crown, internal bezel–but with a far sexier look than the utilitarian pieces the typify the style. I was a fan of the brand’s first release, so I was eager to get my hands on the new Maelstrom. I wasn’t disappointed.
On the Wrist
The new Mitch Mason Maelstrom does a great job moving forward from the debut model while keeping the brand’s design language intact. The dial is clear and easy to read, despite plenty of elements. It also comes in green, blue, black, and white (plus a limited burgundy edition), but the grey reviewed herein is the only one that pops with the contrasting minute hashes and the only one without vintage lume. So it’s clearly the best option.
The watch looks and feels amazing on the wrist. The case has beautiful finishing and is contoured in a way that you don’t feel any of the already modest dimensions. The chamfered-edge H-link bracelet is comfortable and easy to get right with sizing.
The dial on the Mitch Mason Maelstrom features a lot of design decisions that generally work well together. It brings a lot along from the brand’s debut model, including the sandwich cardinal numerals and accompanying lume arcs. As far as the dial text, the placement of “AUTOMATIC” up is odd (it’s usually at 6 o’clock) and it does seem a bit large relative to the brand name. Nor an issue, just a peculiarity.
You can count me as a fan of the contrasting radiant brushing of the dial and the circular brushing of the internal bezel. I’m not a fan, though, of the broad arrow hour hand–I don’t like the style in general, enough so that it has kept me from buying certain watches. I’d rather have seen the hour hand from the Chronicle, or some modification thereof. For what it’s worth, the hand will be slightly shortened for production (I don’t know why, as it looks fine to me).
One of the few actually issues with the Mitch Mason Maelstrom is the size of the date window. I get that it’s smaller to match the size of 5-second interval numerals, but there isspace to make it larger, which would have made it easier to read. Here the five is fine, but double digits were a challenge without a bit of squinting. And speaking of those interval numerals, how about that funky five? Again, though, I would’ve loved to see the same font used on the date wheel. And the font of the “Maelstrom” text seems at odds with the watch’s style.
The lume on the Maelstrom is quite good. As you can see, the dial lume is dimmer than the hands and bezel, which will be corrected for production. This is fairly common with sandwich dials: the recessed lume plots don’t receive the same amount of light as the rest of the watch and need (and can take) additional lume to ensure even brightness throughout. One awesome feature not seen on this prototype: the datewheel will be lumed.
Case and Bracelet
The case of the Maelstrom is a treat. It’s a classic supercompressor design with a sleek twist that makes it a bit of a dress diver. I’m wild about the tapering of the drilled lugs which, while blocked off, help the case disappear onto the wrist. The turbine-grooved crowns are another win. They both unscrew and operate easily, and the internal bezel gave me no problems locking into place.
There’s a double-domed sapphire crystal there, but it’s got the smallest dome I’ve ever seen, and I’m glad for it. You can really see that fine brushing against the polished chamfer here, plus the perfect match of the bracelet’s endlink (the tolerances will be even tighter on production models). If the motif on the bezel crown looks familiar, it should: that’s the same design found on the broad arrow hour hand. A nice touch.
Nothing special here. A normal milled flip-lock clasp with a chamfered edge. It maintains the profile established by the bracelet, but stylistically breaks things up a bit. I think the use of a fliplock here is superfluous stylistically and mechanically. A clean clasp without that interruption would have better complemented the rest of the watch . The H-link bracelet is super slim and incredibly comfortable, easily sized with screw pins and the clasp’s six microadjustments.
Thar be a whale on the back. Gonna be even whalier for production, they say.
Just like black and white watches (maybe more so), the grey-white scheme of the Mitch Mason Maelstrom makes it an absolute strap monster. The subtle blue minute hashes only add a pop of color that can either be ignored or matched when pairing straps (which is a snap thanks to the bracelet’s quick-release bars).
If you can get over the mishmash of fonts (there are at least four on the dial alone) and the date size and hour hand don’t bother you, then you’ll quickly realize what a wonderful watch the Mitch Mason Maelstrom is. It’s well-designed and well-executed, and in its grey variant, it pairs well with so many straps my little watch nerd heart almost exploded. Plus, it’s got a sleek, beautiful bracelet. If you like the look of the Maelstrom, you won’t regret picking one up.
Check out more dive watch reviews at The Watch Clicker
Check out the Mitch Mason website
Mitch Mason Maelstrom Specs
*Height of the watch from the wrist to the top of the crystal