The Danes have taken over my wrist.
It seems like every day I’m wearing some Copenhagen designed minimalist watch.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it. But sometimes I miss that all-American aesthetic.
Bold features, thick case, sturdy feel—you know, refined with a little rugged thrown in.
I needed to break out of my modern minimalist mold and try something different, so I reached out to Jack Mason.
Straight from Texas, I figured these guys and gals could get me excited about American design again.
Jack Mason sent me their Halyard Sport Chronograph to
So did I like the modern nautical design enough to pack my minimalist watches away for the winter?
I’ve been wearing it for the past few weeks, and I’ve come to a decision.
Read my full review and see what I thought.
What is Jack Mason?
Jack Mason brings over 75 years of combined experience in the watch industry. The Texas-born company is built on three principles: thoughtful design, luxury feel, all at an attainable price.
Since their 2015 inaugural Airstream tour, Jack Mason has gone global. Despite the growth, they’ve stayed close to their roots. At their core, Jack Mason is always pushing to create timepieces that reflect their love of movement, action, and heritage.
Even though I’m landlocked in North Carolina, I jumped at the chance to see if Jack Mason’s Nautical line really lived up to their ideals.
So are they pushing boundaries or just pushing another designer brand?
It’s time to find out.
Jack Mason Halyard Sport Unboxing & Review
Jack Mason packages their watches in a sturdy, blue canvas coated box.
The inside of the box is padded with a soft, velvet material. The watch is wrapped around a hard removable plastic loop. First impressions are everything with Jack Mason.
From the red, white, and blue pull-strap to the presentation of the dial—they know how to show off their watch.
The small booklet inside explains how Jack Mason came to be and serves as another reminder of the watch’s Texas-designed legacy.
With this box, it’s clear the designers want you to be able to pass this watch down through generations. Other brands in a similar price point skimp on the packaging, so it’s nice to see a substantial box that will look great when I’m not wearing my timepiece.
The only downside to the box is that it’s not easy to pack. If you travel and plan on taking the watch in your luggage, you’ll probably need to find something a little slimmer to keep it safe.
The 42mm case is a perfect size for this style. And I’m not just saying that because 42mm is a perfect size for my wrist.
Many chronographs run with a 44mm case because there’s so much to fit on the dial. Depending on how thick the case is, the watch can end up looking too chunky.
The Halyard Sport stands out to me because of the case thickness. If I had to guess (which I do because this information isn’t on the Jack Mason website) the case is 14mm thick. It definitely has weight and heft. It’s not thick enough to venture into oversized watch territory, but it has an authority that I enjoy.
Had Jack Mason gone with a 44mm case, I think the watch would have lost its balance. It would have been a wrist-hog rather than an accessory. By keeping the case smaller, but still substantial, they’ve touched on a nice middle-ground.
The case is made with brushed stainless steel. The polish is saved for the bezel and the crown, so this watch keeps a nice casual look to it.
The Halyard has a double-flanged polished crown with two button pushers. There’s a quality feel to the whole construction.
I like that the crown and pushers come out quite a bit. Jack Mason isn’t afraid to make a statement and be bold with their design. But even with a few larger features, there’s nothing overstated or gaudy here.
The watch is all about confidence. It doesn’t need to be loud or flashy, but it still makes its presence known. It’s like a man with a toothpick in his mouth when he’s not picking his teeth.
That’s just raw, Clint Eastwood level confidence.
The Halyard Sport’s dial features two sword-shaped hands that mark the hour and minute. What appears to be a second hand is actually a timer controlled by the pushers.
The second hand is placed in the smallest sub-dial where the date is.
This feature is unique in my watch collection. I’ve always loved the smaller sub-dials in chronographs, but the only movement happens slowly. With the second-hand sub-dial, there’s always some action.
My only issue with the static hand at 12 o’clock is that it blocks out the Jack Mason signature on the dial. I may be alone in that gripe, but I’ve been letting the timer hand run to about 10 seconds so I can have the Jack Mason logo completely on display.
To visually balance the three sub-dials, the watch only has the Arabic numeral 12. Every quarter is marked with a cube and all other hours are marked with a baton.
The hands and hours are coated with Swiss SuperLuminova lume pigment. I wasn’t totally blown away by the lume—I personally think the Japanese have the lume game on lock. That being said, the lume on the Halyard Sport is above average at this price point.
The unidirectional bezel has hash marks for the first 15 minutes of the hour and then shifts to a simple 5-minute scheme. The detail on the bezel plays nicely off the crown and pushers. The dynamic balances some of the asymmetry caused by the larger crown.
Looking closer at the watch, it was clear the design team spent a lot of time thinking about how the bezel would complement the watch as a whole. Well, all that work didn’t go unnoticed.
The Halyard Sport has a sapphire crystal, which is fairly common at this price point. It used to be a mark of excellence, but now sapphire is mostly created in a laboratory. Still, if the Halyard had anything but a sapphire, it’d be a red flag.
The crystal has an anti-reflective coating that works well. I noticed a lot less glare on this watch when wearing it out in the sun.
Ultimately, the crystal is clear and should hold up to scratches over time.
Many watchmakers love Miyotas because they keep time well, they rarely break, and they’re reasonably priced. It’s a great place where watchmakers can cut the cost of their finished product but still give the customer something well-built.
The Miyota 0S20 (by the way, those are zeros, not ‘O’s) is said to lose no more than 20 seconds per month, which is great. I can’t say it’s rare, but there aren’t many watches that use the 0S20 because of its unique build.
The second-hand sub-dial isn’t common in watches. So even though Jack Mason went with a common movement maker, they still went a bit off the beaten path.
Things get fun with the case back. As part of Jack Mason’s Nautical line, the Halyard Sport has a laser-etched captain’s wheel displayed on the back. A rigging rope runs around the circumference for that little extra mariner feel.
Wearing this made me feel like reading some Hemingway and taking a boat off into the unknown. Maybe even do as Papa Hem did and bring a rifle and hunt for submarines. Everybody needs to relax somehow.
Strap and Wearability
My biggest issue with the Halyard Sport comes down to the strap.
The leather is stiff. The band looks nice, but the watch isn’t the easiest to get on and off. It took a few weeks for the leather to break into the point where the band wasn’t noticeably hard.
After a few weeks, the band became more comfortable, and I had fewer issues taking the watch on and off.
I’d like to see something more comfortable straight out of the box. That’s not always possible because leather naturally takes time to adjust to the wearer.
It’ll likely be another few weeks before the band is totally comfortable. In the long run, it’s not that big of a deal. But it’s important to note that you’ll need to give this band three to four weeks before the watch really becomes “yours.”
My Overall Thoughts on the Jack Mason Halyard Sport
What I Like
The carefully thought-out design gives the Halyard Sport character.
It’s a well-built watch. Each element is at the quality level you’d expect at this price point.
The lifetime warranty is special. Few watchmakers will back their product up with that kind of promise.
Free 2-day shipping inside the US is phenomenal. Jeff Bezos better watch out.
What I Don’t Like
The band is stiff out of the box. After two weeks, it’s more comfortable, but I still think it’ll take another week or two to really break-in.
I didn’t like the wide tang on the strap buckle. I felt it made the buckle profile a little large.
After taking a closer look at Jack Mason’s Halyard Sport, one thing is clear.
What sets this watchmaker apart is their ability to tell a story through design. It’s their attention to detail.
Their crystal, their movement, the stainless steel case—none of these elements are unique in their quality.
Don’t get me wrong. The quality is there, and these elements will last for years and years (and if they don’t, Jack Mason has a lifetime warranty).
But with so many watches out there, sturdy and dependable materials are minimums.
I’ve seen plenty of watches with sapphire crystals and precise movements. But, until now, I haven’t had a watch that felt all-American. My go-to with blue jeans and a denim jacket.
If Jack Mason was a real person, he’d be blasting Bruce Springstein with a Coke in one hand and a raw steak in the other. Too Far? He’d have his fishing pole in the back of a Ford pickup.
Yep, definitely too far.
But my point is the same.
The confidence Jack Mason puts into their design is contagious. Because of that, the Halyard Sport has earned one of the top spots in my watch collection.
Jack Mason’s Nautical line tells a story through its design. The specs aren’t mind-blowing on paper, but the watch earns its keep through carefully placed details that convey confidence.