I’ve held off on reviewing this flashlight for far too long but for good reason. I think it’s important to disclose before writing this that I’m biased because of the recent threads that have popped up recently regarding Muyshondt in general. I also took a look at the Muyshondt website quite recently and was shocked by the new product descriptions to say the least. I’ve owned and used the flashlight almost a year, but take what I say with a grain of salt; here we go.
Here is the official product page complete with the Aeon Mk. III’s list of features or rather lack thereof. The base model in aluminum will run you $295 and goes up from there for the more exotic metals. I don’t recall what the exact pricing was but for a frame of reference the Muyshondt Maus Mk. I in Opus goes for a whopping $1250 – I know that the Aeon Mk. III will cost more because the base model of the Aeon is more expensive than the Maus.
My particular Aeon Mk. III is the aluminum model in Midnight Black. The below image depicts how the flashlight arrives. I won’t lie when I say that Muyshondt knows how to do presentation. Included is a very high-quality box, certificate of authenticity card, instructions, a drawstring bag for the flashlight, and spare O-rings:
Presentation is probably the best of any flashlight I’ve owned. The paper and packaging are all quality. Fun fact: I’ve also owned the Maus Mk. I which is half the size of the Aeon Mk. III; the packaging of the Maus Mk. I was twice the size of the Aeon’s.
Design and Execution
The Aeon Mk. III itself is quite small because it is based off of the diminutive CR2 cell. Please don’t ask me the rational behind using this cell because I couldn’t tell you. You can now find them on the Muyshondt website under the name “MPC-CR2L Power Cell”. I searched online and couldn’t find that cell name anywhere else other than on the Muyshondt site. CR2s are quite expensive so I highly recommend using rechargeable CR2 cells (which will conveniently void your warranty on the flashlight). Just make sure you use rechargeable cells that are 3.0 volts – they’re difficult to find but can be found. I, of course, have never used rechargeable CR2 cells. Yup, totally never have used them.
The anodization on the Aeon MK. III is specified as Type III, or at least it used to be specified as such because it no longer says on the official site. While the anodization might be Type III on the Midnight Black aluminum model, I highly doubt that holds true for the Desert Tan and Indigo Blue models. Many users have reported the anodization on those particular models scraping away quite easily.
I think that the metal of the Aeon Mk. III deserves mention as well. This is an excerpt directly from the product page:
“The Aeon is made from an exceptionally strong alloy, bringing together the strength of steel with the featherweight of aluminum. Originally developed in secret by the Sumitomo Metal Company in Japan during the 1940s, it’s substantially more difficult to machine, much more difficult to anodize, and far stronger than more common alloys, with one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios of any metal. It finds use in high quality rifles, airframe parts, and high-performance cycling and climbing equipment – and also: the Aeon Mk. III.”
Okay, let’s skip the overbearing history lesson please. Basically what you need to know is that the Aeon uses 7075 grade aluminum which is significantly stronger than the 6061 grade that is used in most flashlights. If there’s one thing I can commend in the design, it’s the choice of metal.
Moving on to the retention method. Hat off to Muyshondt for putting a clip on a flashlight this small. The pocket clip is very good and is one of my favorites. Maybe it’s a littletoogood though. My clip actually blew off when I tried to take the flashlight out of my jean’s pocket; one of the screws was galled and wouldn’t screw back in, I’ll touch on this later on. I often use the clip to turn on the flashlight; I like to catch my finger in the larger notch of the clip.
If you look closely you can see that there’s two “ridges” to the clip. These keep the flashlight very secure whilst in a pocket.
There’s also a hole in the tail that allows you to attach a lanyard if you so choose.
The flashlight uses a reverse clicky. What this means is that you press down till you get a “click” to turn the flashlight on, there is no momentary activation. To cycle modes you then simply “tap” the switch. Reverse clickies aren’t my cup of tea; however, the reverse clicky is the logical choice for a flashlight like the Aeon MK. III so I can live with it. At the tail of the flashlight there are two attachment points: one for the clip and one for a lanyard. These points allow the Aeon MK. III to stand on its tail if need be.
Let’s move on to the modes, output, and choice of emitter in the flashlight.
There are three modes: moonlight, low, and high. The site lists the outputs as 1, 15, and 160 lumens respectively. These numbers look to be about right to my eyes although there were some discrepancies in the original stated numbers. The high went from a claimed 200 to 180 and finally to 160 lumens after some users tested the output numbers themselves. I don’t like the jump from 15 to 160 lumens to be honest. I get that there’s greater efficiency on the lower levels but what’s the point if you have to use the high more so than the low? Might as well go with something more reasonably spaced like 30 or 40 lumens.
I’ve found runtimes to be pretty good but also only because I didn’t want to waste money on another cell. If I actually used the Aeon MK. III like I would normally use my other flashlights, I’d easily be running through a cell every couple weeks. This is a flashlight that really makes you want to buy a flashlight that uses rechargeable batteries, especially for everyday carry.
Moving on to the emitter: it’s a Nichia 219b. No, it is not “Lumicron” technology as is stated on the product page, nor is it proprietary because everyone knows what a Nichia 219b looks like. Anyways, pretentious marketing aside…this is my favorite emitter. Although the Nichia 219c 4000k is growing on me, there’s no question that the 219b has an otherworldly tint to it. The beam of the Aeon also puts out my favorite beam of any reflector-based flashlight. It’s absolutely flawless with a great amount of both spot and flood, the beam even beats out my McGizmo Haiku.
If you haven’t been able to tell already, the Aeon Mk. III is a very well-built flashlight that is nonetheless fundamentally flawed in several aspects. That pretty much sums up my review of the flashlight itself, but as with every review I think it’s pragmatic to consider aspects that are not limited to just the design of the flashlight itself.
Let’s get something out of the way first off: there’s no way in hell that this flashlight is worth paying $295 for. First off, it’s not even made in the USA. As someone else once said, we all know that Muyshondt would be touting patriotic rhetoric not dissimilar to Surefire and Elzetta if Muyshondt products really were made in the USA. There’s been a lot of contention on where they’re made exactly but some have speculated that they’re made in the Lumintop factory in China. If you mustown a Muyshondt Aeon MK. III, I highly recommend purchasing one on the secondary market.
For reasons I’ll elucidate upon a little further, secondary prices on Muyshondt flashlights have plummeted in general. Most of the Muyshondt flashlights I’ve seen recently have gone for a little more than half their asking MSRP. Heck just the other day I saw a like-new Aeon MK. III go for $150. So let’s make something absolutely clear; don’t buy a Muyshondt expecting to get back what you paid for it. Buy one knowing that you’re stuck with it unless you let it go for a significant loss.
The warranty on this flashlight stinks too. You have one year from the date of purchase for warranty service. One year for a $295 flashlight my god. For $4 more, Okluma delivers not only a better overall product but also the best warranty in the business. If you modify any Muyshondt products in any shape or form your warranty is zilch and void. Muyshondt has also stated that they only have a certain amount of parts for warranty repairs so once those run out you’re kind of screwed.
Yeah, the Aeon MK. III goes well with a lot of set-ups. But you’re mainly paying for a name here.
With all the above being said, I do need to give some credence to Muyshondt’s warranty service. As I mentioned previously, the clip on my Aeon MK. III blew off thus galling one of the threads. When I sent Muyshondt an email I received a very prompt response from Nathalie asking for proof of purchase to be sent along with my flashlight to them. A couple weeks later and I had a brand spanking-new Aeon Mk. III at my doorstep. Overall, I will admit that I was very pleased with how my warranty experience was handled. All I can say is make sure you don’t void your warranty and save that proof of purchase!
Now to come back to why secondary prices have fallen: the main reason for this is the recent ascension of Facebook as the choice of medium for most flashaholics. Previously, while everyone knew that the customer service wasn’t the best at Muyshondt, it was somewhat shoved under the rug by everyone’s favorite flashlight forum. With the predominance of platforms like Facebook, however, it’s almost impossible to hide anything. I won’t go into too much detail but suffice it to say that Muyshondt’s reputation isn’t what it used to be back in the day.
I don’t want to come off as didactic but something really needs to change with the way this business runs. It might be the pricing but it also could be the customer service. There is a myriad number of complaints against Muyshondt in which a customer was slighted or downright disrespected. While I might come off as harsh, I sincerely hope that whoever’s reading this takes it to heart. I think that fundamentally – as just people in general – we need to be open to change. And on the topic of what I think, I think that maybe this review has strayed a little too much from the flashlight itself so I’m going to end it here.