Straps and Accessories

In a trend I’m thrilled to see gaining momentum across the watch world, MAT forgoes the usual display box and instead opts for a zippered watch wallet that’s compact but nicely padded and a useful travel companion. In addition, each watch ships with three straps: rubber, leather, and canvas, along with a strap-changing tool and extra spring bars. All in all, a great package. While the leather and canvas straps are high-quality and made in MAT’s Paris workshop, I found myself wearing the Escadron on rubber almost exclusively, due to both comfort and aesthetics. The 24mm lug-width does make finding aftermarket straps a bit of a challenge, so having three well-crafted straps from the get-go is welcome. That said, I can’t help wanting to try this on an olive-green NATO strap.

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Final Thoughts

Over the review period, the Escadron has become my go-to rough-and-tumble outdoor watch. It’s a watch I gravitate to when heading out for a hike, trail run, or mountain bike ride. On the rubber strap, it’s quite comfortable for active pursuits and I simply don’t have to worry about whether it’ll hold up to a bit of abuse. The under-the-radar look and 12-hour bezel also make this watch a solid choice for a travel companion and one I could easily see grabbing when heading overseas.

When I think of genuine tool watches, the first country that comes to mind is Germany. And for good reason: Brands like Sinn, Damasko, Stowa, Tutima, and Guinand, to name a few, have gained a loyal following (I include myself among those fans) by creating function-focused tool watches designed to hold up to use and abuse in the field. After reviewing the MAT Escadron, I have to say that this small French brand deserves some consideration alongside that group. Every bit as function-oriented as the German brands, MAT is making tool watches in their own patently French way. Price-wise, the Escadron is in the same ballpark as those German stalwarts and, though you don’t get some of the much-lauded tech of Sinn or Damasko, what you do get is a distinctive, character-rich aesthetic and a tough watch designed to stand up to the rigors required of French Special Forces.

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Speaking of aesthetics, one of the things I appreciate about MAT is its consistent, on-brand design language. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking at one of MAT’s divers, pilots, or even California dial gilt-accented sport watches — they all are distinctly MAT. In large part, this is due to a consistent case shape that’s thin and angular with widely spaced lugs, though the Escadron forgoes a destro crown — another frequent calling-card of the brand. Coupled with broad, distinctive sword hands and copperplate Arabic numerals, once you know what to look for, these watches are unmistakable. Whether or not MAT’s aesthetic is to your personal taste, it’s been a refreshing experience wearing a new, decidedly French interpretation of a classic pilot watch. Lean more at

Necessary Data
>Brand: MAT Watches
>Model: Escadron (Squadron)
>Price: $1980 USD
>Size: 42.5 mm-wide, 13.5 mm-thick, 24mm lugs, and ~50mm lug-to-lug distance.
>When reviewer would personally wear it: When I’m looking for something aggressive and tactical or on outdoor adventures when I want something rugged that I know will stand up to the elements. It’s been my go-to adventure watch when I forgo my GPS watch.
>Friend we’d recommend it to first: A fan of pilot watches who’s tired of the typical offerings or a frequent traveler looking for a rugged, stealthy watch.
>Best characteristic of watch: The distinct case shape and refreshing take on a classic pilot watch. I also love the deep charcoal sunburst dial.
>Worst characteristic of watch: The black borders on the hands blend in with the dial, giving the impression that the hands are undersized (which they aren’t).


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