As I teased back in our overview article on the MWW Beluga, we were working on getting in a review loaner. Â No surprises here, we did get one, and today weâ€™ll give you our take on the watch. Â Of note, while there is an option for a more traditional dive bezel on the watch, the loaner we got in has the controversial Ascent bezel on it. Â On to the review of theÂ MWW Beluga!
Presumably, the first thing you want to know about with theÂ MWW Beluga is that Ascent bezel, right? Â Well, hereâ€™s the thing – Iâ€™m not a diver, so I am in no way qualified to really speak to it. Â I will say that it being a clockwise rotation is a bit jarring, as weâ€™re used to them turning the other direction. Â So, that means if youâ€™re going to use it to try and time something (say, how long the kids are brushing their teeth), you need to look at it as a â€œcount upâ€, rather than countdown, bezel. Â Past that, though, I can use it like Iâ€™d use any of these bezels – mark the start time with the arrow, and go about life (and, more often than not, forget that Iâ€™m using the watch to try and time something).
I will say that the lumed sapphire insert on theÂ MWW Beluga is quite lovely.Â It gives a nice glossy shine to the top surface, of course, and glows brightly with crisp outlines. Â This then works quite well with the lume colors on the handset (green on bezel and hour hand), which then switches colors (to blue on the hour hand and indices). Â I also like the use of multiple lume colors. Â Again, I’m not sure how great that would be on a dive, but on land, it works.
The bezel of theÂ MWW Beluga also calls attention to the proportions of the watch. Â The eye canâ€™t help but be drawn to that large glossy circle, which makes the dial feel small. Â And thatâ€™s a shame, because the proportions on the dial are sharply done. Â Normally, Iâ€™m down for a smaller dial that works with the movement sizing. Â Here, along with the proportion thing, the smaller dial undersells that maelstrom pattern that the dial has. Â When you get it catching the light just right, itâ€™s a fun visual treat. Â And, with the smaller dial, that forces a smaller cutout for the date window, so youâ€™re not quite as alarmed by the non-color-matched date wheel. Â But, thatâ€™s a pet peeve of mine, I suppose.
Back to those proportions, as there was another thing that bothered me a bit on theÂ MWW Beluga. Â When it comes to dive watches (particularly those measuring in at 43mm in diameter and 50mm lug-to-lug), we expect a big, beefy bracelet. Â And, we do have a sturdy steel bracelet here. Â At first, I just rather liked that it didnâ€™t feel overly heavy. Â After viewing the watch in profile a bit, though, I realized that the braceletâ€“while functionalâ€“feels off in relation to the case size. Â Coming in at 20mm, with a taper down to 18mm, it just looks too narrow against that case profile. Â I think if it jumped to a 22mm lug, or had the first links flaring out to the width of the lug horns, could remedy that a good bit.
Given these last two paragraphs, it would seem like Iâ€™m damning theÂ MWW Beluga with faint praise. Â Thatâ€™s not quite what I was going for, but with how well-sorted the prior watches from MWW have been (at least for my tastes), these proportional issues seem to be surprising misses. Â Itâ€™s not that they make theÂ MWW Beluga a bad watch – itâ€™s just not as good as it could have been. Â One might surmise that a lot of focus was given around the bezel and itâ€™s new way of doing things, and then some of the other details didnâ€™t quite get the love and attention they may otherwise have.
But you know what? Â With an ETA 2824 inside and a price tag of $810, I would be surprised if the 300 pieces had a hard time finding new homes (though one wonders how many will opt for the more traditional bezel insert; thereâ€™s also word of a plain steel insert in the offing). Â And thatâ€™s a good thing, because that opens up the door for a 2nd gen of theÂ MWW Beluga. Â And, as we saw with the earlier watches, the brand is not afraid to change things up and improve the models for better traction. Â There was, of course, some pushback on the forums with the bezel, and the brand reacted quickly to that. Â Small brands do rise and fall on the sales of their new stuff, but theyâ€™re also able to pivot quickly. Â That means, while theÂ MWW Beluga may not have been quite a home run for me, I still am looking forward to seeing what comes next from the brand. Â manchesterwatchworks.com
- Brand & Model:Â MWW Beluga
- Price: $810
- Whoâ€™s it for? Â You like divers, you like Swiss movements, and youâ€™re not afraid to try out a new way of measuring elapsed time
- Would I wear it? Â Probably not – now that my eye has caught the proportion discrepancies, it would bother me as I wore it
- What Iâ€™d change: Â First adjustment would be flaring out the bracelet to match the lug horn width. Â Past that, slim the bezel a bit and enlarge the dial some.
- The best thing about it: Â A great (and new) texture on the dial, along with generous use of luminous paint.
- Ascent Bezel TM*:
- Patent pending bezel indicator with 120 click clockwise unidirectional bezel
- Ceramic bezel insert fully lumed with Superluminova C3 to match the minute hand
- Bezel diameter of 43mm for easy gripping
- Watch Head:
- Brushed and polished solid 316L stainless steel case with a 41mm diameter and 50mm length and 13mm height (including crystal)
- 500m water resistance with helium escape valve
- Screwed down caseback with double Viton gaskets; screwed down crown with double gaskets – Raised and beveled sapphire crystal with inner anti-reflective coating
- 24 hour brushed steel outer dial ring
- Signature microengraved maelstrom patterned dial with Superluminova BGW9
- Minute hand lumed with Superluminova C3 to match the bezel insert
- Hour hand lumed with Superluminova BGW9
- White seconds hand lumed with Superluminova BGW9
- Drilled through lug holes
- Swiss made ETA 2824-2 timed and regulated to 3 positions
- Hours, minutes, sweep second. Self-winding mechanism with ball bearing. Date, corrector. Stop second device. Regulator system ETACHRON and regulator corrector. 28.800 vibrations per hour; 4 Hz. 25 Jewels. 38-40 hour power reserve
- Custom made solid, brushed finish 316L stainless steel strap with screw bar link adjustments, machined solid endlinks and stainless steel clasp with solid bridges
- Included sand colored custom made ‘seatbelt’ nylon dive strap with extra spring bars Included Accessories:
- Steel strap changing tool
- Canvas travel roll custom made to fit watches up to 50mm in diameter
- Microfiber watch bag/cleaning cloth