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  • Writer's picturePhilip Dashiell

McDowell Time Maxton Chronograph Review

When I first received the Facebook advertisement, about the District Time event held in Washington, DC last weekend (9/30), and began to read-up on the various micro-brand watch vendors that would be presenting their brands at the venue, one timepiece immediately caught my eye, the McDowell Time, Maxton Chronograph. And after spying the Maxton timepiece up close and personal at the District Time event, and enjoying a nice conversation with Bill McDowell, President of McDowell Time, I knew then, that the Maxton timepiece would soon be joining my watch collection.

On basic aesthetics alone, the Maxton is a beautiful timepiece, with style that evokes images of vintage racing chronographs the likes of the Breitling Datora and Tag Heuer Monaco. The Maxton is available in 8 different dial, strap, and case configurations. Dial choices include Blue, Black, or Silver, with the 3-hole, Horween leather racing straps, available in choice of Honey Brown, or Black. The case is available in stainless steel or Black, PVD coating.

For me, the choice was an easy one. If I'm selecting a vintage-style racing chronograph, give me Gulf Racing colors, ala the classic Tag Heuer Monaco. You can almost imagine Paul Newman or Steve McQueen strapping a Maxton timepiece on, for their white-knuckle, motor-racing exploits.

After placing my order online, it only took a couple days to receive the Maxton Chronograph, so super fast fulfillment and shipping by the McDowell Time team! In full disclosure, McDowell Time is based in my home State of Maryland, but still extremely fast turn-a-round on my order. The timepiece arrived well packaged, within an outer box protecting a travel case, with the Maxton Chronograph contained within.

McDowell Time, Maxton Chronograph, Presentation Box & Travel Case
McDowell Time, Maxton Chronograph, Presentation Box & Travel Case

Taking hold the timepiece, and upon first inspection, you immediately feel the quality in the Maxton Chronograph. I opted for the stainless steel case, which sports a combination of brushed and polished surfaces, with the polished surfaces mainly prominent on the pushers and caseback.

The Horween leather, 3-hole racing strap is soft and supple right out of the box, and feels extremely comfortable when on the wrist. Even though the Maxton Chronograph sports a lug-to-lug length of 48mm, the case diameter only comes in at 39mm. The short lug length helps to allow the strap to begin hugging the contours of the wrist, right at the start of the lugs, promoting extremely comfortable wear. At 39mm, the case diameter is slightly smaller than most timepieces I'm used to wearing, but the lug-to-lug length, and square case design, actually allow this timepiece to wear slightly larger than it's actual case diameter, no clunky, over-sized timepiece here.

The dial is a treat and has optimal legibility, with silver textured sub-dials, and white index markers, with polished edges, popping against the blue dial. Add the orange chronograph and sub-dial hands, and you immediately think Gulf Racing.

The timekeeping and chronograph functions, powered by the Swiss ISA 8371 quartz movement, operate flawlessly, with one of the prominent features of the ISA movement, being the sweep chronograph second hand, emulating the sweep action of an automatic timepiece.

Additional fine touches featured within this timepiece, include a slightly domed sapphire crystal, ceramic tachymetre bezel, and generous amounts of Swiss, C-3 Superluminova applied to the index markers, and filled-in on the tachymetre scale, so lume freaks will be happy with the effort here.

The McDowell Time, Maxton Chronograph is a sport timepiece through-and-through, and looks and plays every bit of the part. Although, with a case profile of only 13mm, this timepiece would be versatile enough to split time between the business environment, easily fitting under a shirt cuff, recreational activities, casual settings, or more formal events.. With a water resistant rating of 10 ATM or 100 meters, the Maxton Chronograph will handle most water-related activities without fail. Although, I would probably advise against exposing the magnificent Horween leather strap to water in any quantity.

The McDowell Time, Maxton Chronograph is a fantastic racing chronograph. It's vintage-styling really hits the mark by honoring the iconic racing chronograph timepieces of days gone by, while incorporating enough modern styling as to allow the Maxton Chronograph a personality all it's own. You'll be hard-pressed to find a comparable, racing-inspired chronograph, with the build quality of the Maxton Chronograph, for the price. And for added protection, the Maxton Chronograph comes with a 2-year warranty from McDowell Time. With solid build materials, and eye-catching looks, the McDowell Time, Maxton Chronograph is destined for the winner's circle!


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