MICRO MONDAYS: Bold field watches for under $500 in the MAS Watches Arcticus rangeThor Svaboe
What’s in a name? Quite a lot in this case. MAS Watches was started in 2019 by Australian Matthew Francis, a watch enthusiast who shares his love of watches with his young son, Tate. His brand’s name is a direct nod to this family background – MAS stands for Matthew and Son. Fortunately, this cute back story is backed up with MAS’ fresh and budget-friendly range of wristwear. The brand’s debut was the colourfully bold and pebble-round 200m diver, Irukandji, and MAS are now demonstrating their continued evolution with their new Arcticus field watch .
Following their elegant second release, the dressy JCB, this time MAS has nailed the important field watch category. It’s no secret that smaller diameters are on trend, and the re-emergence of the understated field watch is a big part of this to provide a one-for all, tough, everyday watch.
The Arcticus is a contemporary take on a field watch, and with its sharp style is well placed to be a great daily wearer. At the same time, it would also fit the bill admirably for someone ready to take the plunge and get their first good mechanical watch.
With its proportionate brushed tool case in 316L steel, the Arcticus has a 40mm case with a slim elegance of 11mm, making it a chameleon-like wrist buddy, as happy under a shirt as with a frayed t-shirt on the beach. The crown is large and grip-friendly with an engraved MAS logo, and under the engraved caseback beats the Myiota 9039, a solid automatic I have in a few watches myself, happily attesting to its bullet-proof nature and cheap servicing.
When you add the 150m depth rating, nigh on perfectly short 47mm lug-to-lug length, plus a solid three-link steel bracelet, the value seriously adds up. Especially when you consider a launch price of $475AUD, out-Seikoing some Seikos – not to mention others in the hotly contested microbrand sphere.
Taking a closer look at this colourful range of field watches, the dials are eminently readable. As the field watch is a vintage classic, the aspect you’ll first notice is the sharp and contemporary twist to the tool-aesthetic, and a reluctance to jump on the fauxtina bandwagon that I find applaudable. The bracelet and case design is the stuff of the classic tool watch, with its brushed-smooth focus on function. The same goes for the dial work, but with a very modern interpretation of what we know and love.
The Coal Black version is the elegant reference that wouldn’t look out of place with a nice shirt – the dial with a sandwich design that makes the rounded font of the numerals stand out, and with powerful lume to light them up in the night. The hand-set has the great legibility trick of both differing the shape of the sword minute and rounded baton hour hand, at the same time splitting the lume-filled sections to make them easily distinguishable at night. Fresh orange pops of colour and the sharp graphics of the MAS logo add to the distinctive looks.
The three other references in the Arcticus range are the crisp Blizzard White, the earthy Burnt Orange and, my favourite, the Glacier Blue. Perhaps it’s my Nordic roots speaking, but the Arabic numeral sandwich cut-outs and brushed hands just give me the chills. That’ll be chilling in a positive, nay popsicle way, on the warm summer’s day I’m writing this. Fresh it certainly is, and when you consider a sum of the parts of the new MAS Arcticus, the value is superb.
MAS Watches Arcticus, price and availability:
The MAS Watches Arcticus starts at $475 AUD, a campaign has started on Kickstarter already, so check it out here
Made in partnership with MAS Watches. However, the opinions expressed in this article are our own in accordance with our Editorial Policy.