Hands-On (w/ Video): the Arcus Mesos In-House Modified Monopusher Chronograph

Last year, I reviewed the Arcus Tropos, a watch that I was truly very excited about. It wasn’t the design, though I did find it appealing, so much as the movement in use, or rather, the brand’s modifications of it. You see, for their first watch, this duo of Canadian engineers developed and produced an in-house modification for the Seagull ST19 chronograph movement, turning it into a monopusher. More specifically, a sub-$1K monopusher.

There’s a lot to unpack there. To reiterate from my review before, I’ve seen microbrands come a long way since 2011, when Worn & Wound first started. Over the years, while we’ve seen the scope of movements in use by brands expand, little has been done in the way of movement development. While brands commonly customize date wheels (which is still fantastic), and occasionally remove date functions and unwanted sub-dials, the design and fabrication of parts and modules, as well as altering core functionality, is still largely unheard of. This is fully understandable given the cost and expertise associated with such feats.

Then Arcus, out of nowhere, dropped the Tropos using parts they designed and manufactured themselves in Alberta, Canada. The watch was exciting, but the potential even more so. Well, Arcus is back with a follow-up called the Mesos, which includes a variation on the chronograph that, to my knowledge, is not currently available from any other brand, but is still based on the Seagull, and still under $1k.

There’s a bunch to talk about with the Mesos, including that it’s also available with just a straight-up ST19 should you like the looks, but don’t want to fuss with their super-cool complication, as well as an appropriately odd dial design, but what I’m most excited about is the way the movement works, so that’s where I’m going to start this hands-on. For those unfamiliar with a monopusher chronograph, it uses a single (mono) pusher to start, stop, and reset the chronograph complication, in that order.


Hands-On (w/ Video): the Arcus Mesos In-House Modified Monopusher Chronograph

Modified Seagull ST19
Black or Blue
Water Resistance
39 x 47.5mm
Lug Width

Far less common than two pusher chronographs, they always stand out. On a Seagull ST19, let alone under $1,000, Arcus is the only way to go. The Mesos, however, takes things a step farther. Recreating a style of monopusher found on Omega Chronostops from the 60s, the Mesos only requires two presses: start, reset. The way this is functionally used is by pressing the pusher to start the chronograph, and then at the end of the timing sequence, whether that be a lap on a track or how long it took for your spaghetti to become al dente, you press the pusher again, which immediately pauses the chronograph. You can then mentally record the read-out, and release to reset the chronograph.

It’s different, it’s unique, it’s the only watch on the market that works like that, and unlike the Chronostop, it also has a 30-minute counter making it perhaps the first watch ever to have this specific combination. That’s just awesome on many many levels in my book, but there is one more aspect worth mentioning. The Mesos monopusher is $599. Five-friggin-ninety-nine. I can’t argue with that, so it comes down to whether or not you like the looks.

The Mesos features the same case as the Tropos I reviewed, so for greater detail check that out. But the quick breakdown is this: I liked it then, and I like it now. It measures 39mm x 47.5mm x 12.5mm of which 2mm is the sapphire crystal. It’s a great size in general, and is particularly elegantly proportioned and well-finished, with thin lugs, bevels, and a combination of brushed and polished surfaces. Really no complaints here. One new detail is a deep etching of the Canadian Rockies found on the crown. For reference, the Tropos was just a polished surface.

The case is the same, but the dial goes in a totally new and, frankly, kind of weird direction. There are two versions, black and blue. Both feature large Arabic hour numerals in an aggressive block-type. It’s the kind of typeface that won’t work for everyone and took me a little time to warm up to, but I’ve grown to appreciate its retro-future vibe. This watch feels mid-century less in style and more in weirdness. There is perhaps a resemblance to the Junghans Driver Chronoscope, but it’s not too close either.

At three and nine are the 30-minute counter and active seconds, respectively. Both are lacking in numerals, likely a good choice given the intensity of the surrounding hour markers, featuring just white lines printed on circular graining. One very cool detail is that on the black version, the main dial surface has a vertical brushing, while on the blue is matte finished. Both contrast the graining on the sub-dials in their own ways providing subtle emphasis and appealing texture.

Lastly, around the edge of the dial on both versions is a silver chapter ring with marks per minute/seconds and numerals at five minute/second intervals, working with both the minute and chrono-seconds hand. The chapter ring features the same blocky font as the main dial, but at the smaller scale, it has a less jarring look. I quite like the contrast of the silver on both dial colors.

The hour and minute handset is also unique, featuring a partially skeletonized triangular form. There is lume present on both by their tips, and all of the metal is polished. These also have a strange, futuristic look to them that plays well with the overall design. The chrono-seconds hand is a thin stick with a small arrow tip and a circular counterweight, and the sub-dial hands are pointed sticks. The arrowhead could have been more pronounced, as it looks a bit like a blob at a glance. On the black dial, the stick hands and tip of the chrono-seconds are an appealing pale blue, while on the blue dial, they are orange.

On the wrist, the Mesos is an appealing if strange watch. It fits great, and the dial has a nicely balanced feel. There aren’t any awkward open spaces, and despite the aggressive typeface, it’s neither busy nor ornate. It’s actually quite a serious and almost technical-looking watch. Though a bit odd, it’s not quirky or distracting either. In practice, it looks good and has its own vibe. It might not be for everyone, but I genuinely did enjoy it.

There are two dial and two movement options for a total of four versions of the Arcus Mesos. You can get either the black or blue dial and with either the unique, in-house modified monopusher mentioned above for $599 or with a classic ST19 for $475. An outstanding deal, if a less unique watch. As I said, I think the monopusher is just a remarkable watch, regardless of the approachable price point. So few brands are trying to do interesting things like this that it really stands out in terms of its watchmaking. If complications and chronographs appeal to you, this literally might be your only opportunity ever to own a watch exactly like this. Arcus

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Zach is the Co-Founder and Executive Editor of Worn & Wound. Before diving headfirst into the world of watches, he spent his days as a product and graphic designer. Zach views watches as the perfect synergy of 2D and 3D design: the place where form, function, fashion and mechanical wonderment come together.
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