Jack Mason may have started with what many would refer to as a “fashion brand” watch, but this Jack Mason Hydrotimer is anything but a fashion watch. With 300m of water resistance, an all-stainless steel case with a hard coating, ceramic bezel insert, gilt hands and indices, and just an overall solid feel and finish, and a Miyota 9039 Automatic movement, this watch and brand are definitely in the micro brand category, one most watch enthusiasts would own, or at the very least, take a hard look at. I reviewed 2 models just a little over 5 years ago, and while I review every watch for what it is, I certainly thought they could do better. It may have taken a while, but they have done just that with the release of this Hydrotimer and the Strat-o-timer GMT which was released late last year.
As I said, the new Jack Mason Hydrotimer is a very different beast from its predecessors, and with that, I have seen brand interest renewed, mostly by the internet watch community folks. These days, forums are kind of a thing of the past, but social media such as Instagram, Facebook watch groups, and of course Reddit is where all the watch nerds talk and I have seen a lot of talk about these new pieces. For a while, I wasn’t sure if the hype was worth it, but when I got this piece in hand, I was convinced this was a new Jack Mason. Now when I say hype and all-new brand, remember I mean from where they started to where they are now, and not to downplay the Hydrotimer at all, I just always like to put things into the proper perspective. This watch is on par with watches from brands such as Raven, Traska, Boldr, and others in this $700 price range that you associate with a quality timepiece.
The Jack Mason Hydrotimer is available in 4 different colorways, the black gilt I have here for review, an all-white, a white dial with black bezel and patina lume, and a very funky one that has a blue dial with yellow surround and a white full lumed bezel. That one is unique for sure. No plain blue and silver or black and silver yet, or maybe some red, green, or orange dials that I would like to see, but who knows what they have planned for future drops? Even though the picture below shows some with a rubber strap or some with a 3-link bracelet, all of the Hydrotimers get two strap choices, and that determines the final price as well. The default strap is a black tropic style rubber strap, and you get a choice of a second strap, 2 of which are bracelets, either the 3-link or the 7-link as I have on my example, or another tropic rubber strap, in either white or blue. Both bracelets and straps have quick-release spring bars.
When it comes to the case design, this definitely reminds me of a vintage turtle case with a screw-down crown minus crown crown guards, and a lot of high polish, where only the top part of the case is satin brushed, again, much like a Seiko Turtle would be. Some may call this a copy, but the way it’s done, I think it would be much more in the homage camp, at least the true definition of the word. The word homage is so missed these days in the watch world (even by yours truly at times), and we forget that it shouldn’t be an almost exact copy of the watch it is taking inspiration from. The 300m water-resistant case has a scratch-resistant hard coating, to help protect from those minor scratches, but metal is metal, and coatings are just that, so don’t think you can drop this on some gravel or concrete and then go back to Jack Mason and say it scratched, pretty much any watch would when taking that kind of abuse. I would probably prefer drilled lugs, but with the quick-release pins, it is not needed, and while I do find them useful, I am old school, or in reality, just old, and I like what I like, but I know many prefer the quick release method these days.
The glossy black dial used here is a good look, and with the gilt hands and indices, it classes this version up a bit, I think this would probably be the only one of the four that you could wear with some nicer clothes, and dare I say even a suit, as this watch isn’t large or imposing at 40mm. I hesitate to call this an enamel dial, as that is a specific application method, but the inky black dial is a very deep black, there is no confusing this for grey or blue or anything else for that matter, even with the hint of the AR coating under the double domed sapphire. Text is kept to a minimum and the markers are large and easy to read, as well as the hands, and yes, that is a weird hour-hand design, kind of a Tudor snowflake, and a Rolex Mercedes had a baby, but I’m ok with it, though I can see some not being in love with it. As has been pointed out to me, the start logo medallion is a touch on the small side, and they could have gone up a size or two, but they were probably trying to keep everything in proportion, and overall I still find this to be a great looking dial. You will also notice there is no date, and the best part is, that this is no date movement via a Miyota 9039.
Yes, can you believe a brand has produced a watch with a no-date dial and a no-date movement? It can be done apparently, and it can be done on a watch under $1000! I thought for a while I was going to have to call up China myself and see what it took to produce a truly no-date watch! Okay, I am exaggerating a bit here, as others have done this, but it is few and far between, and it’s nice to see that there is no phantom date wheel going on with the Jack Mason Hydrotimer. And while you can’t see the Miyota 9039 on the backside of this watch, there is a nice screw-down, stamped case back to look at, and it’s comfortable against the wrist, which I think is more important than anything else.
Speaking of the wrist, let’s talk about the bracelet and straps and how everything fits. The tropic style rubber is a very good example, and the keeper tabs have a little trick with a round piece of rubber that sits prominently on the rubber strap, almost like a button, and the second keeper has a hole to receive it (yes, I know how that sounds, but this is a watch review, so get your mind out of the gutter), and keep the strap and keeper from moving. It’s a nice touch that I haven’t seen before, and hope to see it on other straps at some point.
The bracelet or more specifically the clasp has a trick as well, or maybe it’s a treat, whichever it is, you do have a quick adust clasp extension, or maybe it should be called a link extension, as that’s essentially what it does. The system works a little differently than others that are currently available as there is no button to depress under the clasp, instead, you just pull it up and towards you and this releases it from inside the clasp, and then you can slide it into position and then just snap it back down into place. In the YouTube video I give a good look at how this all works, so make sure to watch that if you already haven’t. How is it on my 7 1/2 inch (19.05cm) wrist? I have to say, it is a very close tie on which I prefer, the bracelet or the strap, I lean strap just because I wear more straps than bracelets these days, but the bracelet is just as good, if not better, as it is so smooth and looks great with this case design, but the rubber is what I prefer at the moment.
Lastly, we get to the lume of the Jack Mason Hydrotimer, and yes we do discuss lume here because some people do love lume and want to know if a watch is up to snuff with it. Not everyone cares about lume, but if you do, I think this watch will hold up. It’s on par with a lot of other microbrands in this price range, though I will note that the bezel lume fades before everything else.
What more can I say about this Jack Mason Hydrotimer? For me, it’s almost like night and day from the previous models, and taking the watch for what it is today in the massive microbrand watch landscape, I think this piece can hold its own. Of course, like all watches, some will quibble about this or that, I do it myself as well, and maybe I would like it even more with a different hour hand, or drilled lugs, but a lot of that is subjective. No one can deny this is a huge leap forward for Jack Mason, and I am looking forward to seeing what else they have up their sleeves, but for now, I can say they did a damn fine job with their latest watches.
I've been an avid watch lover since the age of 7. Watches are not only my hobby but a passion. My favorite style used to be dive watches, but field or non bezel watches have been growing on me. When I'm not reviewing watches I am either cooking or with family and friends.
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