MICRO MONDAYS: Jack Mason develops a new collection comprising a GMT and a diverBorna Bošnjak
Some of the most iconic models in the history of horology became so because they offered something unique. A new case design or a new concept, that was then transferred to new types of watches. Take Rolex for example. The brand developed the Submariner and then adapted the case and dial design to make a GMT. We could take this further and say that Rolex also transferred the dial and hand design into the modern Explorer 2. Tudor is another good example of this trend, perhaps unsurprisingly. The brand developed the Black Bay collection a few years ago and then made it into a GMT. We also see the same phenomenon happening within the world of micro and independent brands.
Enter Jack Mason and its two most recent releases – the Strat-o-timer and Hydrotimer. The former is the brand’s first GMT and was released in late 2022. The latter is the brand’s take on the dive watch genre and was announced just two weeks ago. What Jack Mason essentially did was to create a solid foundation from which to develop these different families of watches.
Both models share the same case design and dimensions. They come in with a diameter of 40mm, a lug-to-lug of 47mm, and a thickness of 13mm. This is interesting to me as brands typically change the case dimensions when adding or removing a complication. Instead, Jack Mason added 100 metres of water resistance to the Hydrotimer, totalling 300m, while the Strat-o-timer has 200m – still very decent given the GMT complication. The case design is elegant and effective, and sits between the barrel and cushion style of cases, showcasing a rounded symmetrical profile. The crowns are oversized and the bezel inserts are wide, making it possible to add legible scales – whether it be a GMT or a dive time one.
To guarantee continuity between the two models, Jack Mason finished both in the same way. The cases have polished sides and chamfers on the case-back, and a satin-brushed finish on the tops of the lugs and the flat part of the case-back. This alternation of finishes is effective in highlighting the curves of the case whilst visually flattening its appearance when looking straight down at the watch. The bezels come with a pointy sawtooth construction which is easy to grip, with the Strat-o-timer sporting a 48-click bidirectional bezel while the Hydrotimer has a 120-click unidirectional bezel. Both come with ceramic bezel inserts that are lumed.
The one difference between the two models is that the case of the Hydrotimer was made more resistant to scratches and scuffs by way of a hardening compound. This increases its scratch resistance to 1,200HV on the Vicker’s hardening scale, which is six times the scratch resistance of untreated stainless steel.
Although the two models share the same case dimensions and design, they differ in how the dials were laid out. The Strat-o-timer has a more classic appearance given the rectangular applied hour markers and baton-style hands. The part of the applied markers pointing inward are angled toward the dial and have ample space for generous applications of lume. The hour and minute hands come with polished sides and brushed upper sections while the seconds hand is entirely polished. The latter also comes with a tricolour counter-balance, a nod to the Texan flag. The root of the brand is further indicated by the applied Texas star logo.
The Hydrotimer, on the other end, has a cleaner dial layout. Circular applied markers everywhere except at the 12, with polished surrounds and large lume plots. While the marker at the 12 is an inverted triangle, the ones at the 3, 6, and 9 have a split in the middle to visually differentiate them from the other circular markers. The hour hand comes with a circular section toward the tip and the minute hand is long and rectangular. The seconds hand has the same design as that on the Strat-o-timer, meaning it has a lollipop element and the tricolour counter-balance. The lume on the Hydrotimer is as potent as that on the Strat-o-timer.
The other and rather obvious difference between the two models is the fact that the Strat-o-timer has a fourth hand and a date aperture at the 3. In order to make the Hydrotimer a candidate for the next iconic diver, Jack Mason removed the date aperture from the dial to keep the package clean and to endow it with an additional layer of versatility.
The Strat-o-timer comes with a seven-link Jubilee-style bracelet and the Hydrotimer can be had with either a three-link, ladder-style bracelet, the same seven-link bracelet, or a rubber strap. The stainless-steel bracelets are interchangeable between the two models so if you are going to add both watches to your collection, be assured that you can easily swap bracelets. The bracelets do come with an extra trick up their sleeves: the clasp is of the tool-less micro-adjust variety making them very versatile and guaranteeing wearing comfort all day and in all seasons.
Being two very different types of watches, each is equipped with the right movement for its intended purpose. The Strat-o-timer comes with the Miyota 9075 “true” GMT calibre and was one of the first two micro/independent GMTs to be equipped with it. “True” in the sense that it is the local hour hand that rotates in both directions while the GMT hand sweeps across the dial. The 9075 beats at 28,800 BPH (4Hz) and comes with 42 hours of power reserve. The Hydrotimer is equipped with the premium Miyota 9039 calibre that also beats at 4Hz and comes with 42 hours of power reserve.
As you may have gathered by now, Jack Mason is a brand that always goes the extra mile. In the case of the movements, the brand regulates the movements in-house to run at -/+ 5 seconds per day. That is rather impressive given the specifications and associated price tags.
Jack Mason Strat-o-timer and Hydrotimer pricing and availability:
The Strat-o-timer is currently in production and cannot be ordered. However, I have it under good authority that it will come back in 2023. It is available in two colour variants, black or white, and retail for A$1,528 / US$999.
The Hydrotimer is currently on pre-order and is available in four colour variants – black, blue, vintage white and white – shipping in Q3 of 2023. Price: A$1,360 / US$899 (rubber strap), A$1,513 / US$999 (bracelet)
|Case Dimensions||40 x 47mm x 13mm (same for both)|
|Case Material||Stainless steel|
|Water Resistance||200m (Strat-o-timer)
|Dial||Black or white (Start-o-timer)
Black, vintage white, blue or white (Hydrotimer)
|Strap||Seven-link or three-link steel bracelet, rubber strap|
|Movement||Miyota 9075 (Strat-o-timer)
Miyota 9039 (Hydrotimer)
|Power Reserve||42 hours|
|Availability||Unavailable (returning soon) (Strat-o-timer)
|Price||A$1,528 / US$999 (Start-o-timer)
A$1,360 / US$899 (rubber strap), A$1,513 / US$999 (bracelet) (Hydrotimer)