The story of the Mitch Mason Maelstrom MBW Edition
Disclaimer: ever since I started WatchPaper, I never wrote about another watch that would mean so much to me as the Mitch Mason Maelstrom MBW Edition. This post will be way too biased to be a news article or a review, it is rather the inside story of this (very) special edition watch.
I considered Mitch Mason, as one of the highlights of the 2020 microbrand scene. Founded by Benedict Ong in Singapore, the land of so many amazing microbrands, Mitch Mason was launched during the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic. I was not alone in being impressed by his debut collection, the Chronicle. Collectors, enthusiasts and reviewers all praised the original way of blending the old and the new in such a wonderful way. At that time, in my review of the Chronicle, I wrote that if there would have been an award for microbrands, Ben and Mitch Mason should have been awarded the newcomer prize.
About a year ago, Ben reached out to share with me a few sketches of the Maelstrom. He suggested that we do a limited edition version of the Maelstrom only for the Microbrand Watches (MBW) Facebook Group members. I was overwhelmed with joy! First of all, I took his offer as a sign that the MBW group is a place where microbrands feel welcomed. Secondly, as a blogger, writing about watches for more than 10 years, I was really excited to be involved directly in the design process of a watch.
To be honest, my contribution to the MBW Edition was minimal, Ben had a very clear idea about how the Maelstrom would look and the connection to the Chronicle was obvious. We had to find a way to include the MBW brand in the design. Ben suggested having a custom caseback that would include a composition of marine creatures around the MBW logo.
Let me tell you a bit about our logo. It took some time for the MBW group to have its own logo, in the early days, we only used a little icon that came with the Facebook group setting, a budding plant in a pot. Out of all the options offered by Facebook it was the most fitting to symbolize the purpose of the group, a safe space for microbrands, upcoming and established, to share and interact with their fans. A place where they can grow.
As the group was growing, we needed a new symbol, something that would identify us in a unique way. The word micro is from Greek μικρός (mikrós), meaning small, and its first letter, the Greek μ (mu) is used in science for the unit micro (one millionth in the metric system). This is how this Greek letter ended up being part of our logo.
We could also play with the dial and one of the crowns, as well as the dial colours, unique to this special edition. Ben already had a few colours in mind and finally, we settled with three options, brown, burgundy and blue. The brown and burgundy would have vintage lume, while the blue would require white.
I did not want to interfere with the layout of the text on the dial, and I wanted to respect the Mitch Mason brand identity. The presence of MBW on the dial should not be invasive, I suggested that we replace the 9 with μ, a subtle hint to our logo.
Ben agreed that we use a 12-hour bezel for the MBW edition, instead of the dive bezel of the regular Maelstrom. A rather unexpected choice for a super compressor-style watch, but I thought it would be more practical for travelling. The logic behind it is that I don’t think many of you will dive deeper than your desk with the Maelstrom, although if you want, you can go as deep as 300 meters (1,000 feet) with it. But I do hope that many of you will take MBW Maelstrom as a travel companion, for your next vacation or business trip.
The MBW logo made its way onto the crown at 4 and the entire back is designed around it. The watch with the micro symbol submerged into the ocean, surrounded by sea creatures. There was a lot of work tweaking the stamp to properly match the tiny details of the original drawing. After seeing how much work went into these prototypes, I have a completely different appreciation for stamped case backs.
The Maelstrom MBW edition will be limited to only 100 pieces and it will be only available to members of the MBW group. We wanted to include you, members of the Microbrand Watches group in the making of this watch. It will be you who will decide the colour that will hit the production line. We have a poll pinned at the top of the message board, and you can vote on your favourite colour. The poll will close on October 14, a day before the pre-order period will start.
For pre-order, head over to the Maelstrom MBW Edition page, and sign up for the e-mail notification. You can also keep an eye on the MBW group where we will also post the link to the pre-order page as well as the password to enter that page.
I would also like to mention that Ben agreed to donate 10% of the sales to Kids Kicking Cancer Canada, the Canadian branch of a global organization dedicated to lowering the pain of children through the teaching of martial arts as a therapy. Children learn breathwork, meditation and traditional karate movements that empower them to teach others and thus gain purpose within their lives. I’ve been volunteering with KKC Canada since February. While because of the pandemic, KKC activities are mainly on Zoom, every time I would log in to one of their Heroes Circle, I’m dazzled by the amount of light they bring into the lives of really sick kids. Part of your pre-order/order will go to a great cause!
Even as my contribution was minimal, just seeing this watch get from sketch to 3D rendering, and now to prototype, sent to reviewers, ready for pre-order, and then production, it is an eye-opener. I now have a much better understanding of all the effort that goes into having a microbrand. It is colossal work! While I always looked up to the entrepreneurs behind microbrands, my respect for them is now multiplied by 1,000!
The early bird pre-order price of the Maelstrom MBW will be $499 USD, then $549 and finally $599 the full retail price. For more details and specs about the Mitch Mason Maelstrom MBW Edition, head over to https://mitchmason.com/pages/maelstrom-mbw