Raven Vintage and Deep Review

Featured | Review | 02.27.2013

The Raven Watch brand popped up a little while ago with a pretty singular mission: create affordable, well-made watches with looks inspired by classic Submariners. Their first watch, which was a limited edition with a 42mm case, sold out immediately do to successful marketing on forums. Their second production, which consists of 2 watches, also sold out immediately by pre-order. Luckily, however, they have produced more than the initial run this time, making them available to the general public. The models currently available are the 40mm Vintage  (with and without date) and the 44mm Deep. While both have styling roots in the Submariner family, they are actually very different watches with different goals in mind. One is an homage watch that pays tribute to one of the most iconic Submariners ever made, and the other is a beefy tool diver with design cues taken from a few different classic Subs.

Specifically, the Vintage model refers to the Submariner Ref. 6538, which was a model from the late 50’s that was made famous in 1962 by Sean Connery when he starred as Bond, James Bond in Dr. No. This is identifiable through a couple of different design cues that Raven used on the Vintage. Namely, the bezel insert, gold hands, gilt line dial and lack of crown guards. They also use a domed acrylic crystal to give the watch more of a vintage feeling. That all said, nothing is quite the same, making it not a 1:1 homage.

The Deep model is sort of a collage of Subs. The dial, hands and bezel speak to Mil-Subs, which we discussed in our review of the Steinhart OVM, though the bezel also departs a bit by having a red triangle at 0/60 and by being made of sapphire. The case, which also lacks crown guards, speaks to a handful of models from the late 50’s early 60’s, but the sheer size of it makes it very different. Taken the watch in yet another direction is the 1220m water resistance, which is what a typical Rolex Sea-Dweller has. In the end, it comes together nicely, but isn’t as specific of a homage.

One thing these watches definitely do have in common is great value. Both feature Miyota 9015 automatic movements, strong C3 Super Luminova and come with steel Oyster style bracelets as well as other strap. The 40mm Vintage model comes in at $580 plus shipping, while the 44mm Deep is $700 plus shipping. In both cases, they are great deals, though the Deep, given its sapphire bezel, domed sapphire crystal and water resistance, feels like a genuine steal.

Case:  Steel
Movement: Miyota 9015
Dial: Black
Lume: C3
Lens: Acrylic
Strap: Steel bracelet, Nylon Zulu, Leather Nato
Water Res.: 200m
Dimensions: 40×50 mm
Thickness: 14 mm
Lug Width: 20 mm
Crown: 7 x 4.5 mm screw down
Weight: 155g (on bracelet, our measure)
Warranty: 1 year

 

Case:  Steel
Movement: Miyota 9015
Dial: Black
Lume: C3
Lens: Sapphire
Strap: Steel bracelet, Leather strap
Water Res.: 1220m
Dimensions: 44×54 mm
Thickness: 18 mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Crown: 8 x 4.5 mm screw down
Weight: 248g (on bracelet, our measure)
Warranty: 1 year

Cases

The Vintage and the Deep have similar case designs that differ mostly in scale. The Vintage model measures 40 x 50 x 14mm with 20mm lugs, and the Deep measures 44 x 54 x 18mm with 22mm lugs, making them significantly different. The case has a classic design that while reminiscent of the Oyster Perpetual, has an overall different shape. Both cases feature slab sides with clean brushing on the sides and the tops of the lugs. The finishing on the cases is very well executed, which can be seen in the polished line that runs along the top outer edge of the lugs. Though a subtle detail, it is one that elevates both cases beyond a typical steel case while referring to a detail of the Submariner case. Another subtle functional detail is that the lugs are drilled, which also refers to the Sub case and makes changing straps even easier. Lastly, the Deep model also features a helium escape valve on the left side of the case at 9.

Neither case has crown guards, which is one of the visually defining aspects of the two watches, giving them a distinctly early 60’s Sub style. The Vintage model features a 7 x 4.5mm screw down crown, that while large is not proportionally the same as the “big crown” of the ref. 6538. Nevertheless, it is a nicely machined signed crown that works with the watch. The crown on the Deep has the same design, but is a drop larger at 8 x 4.5mm, to suit the larger case.

Both watches feature nicely manufactured bezels with crisp and precise mechanisms and toothed sides for easy gripping. The Vintage model has an aluminum insert with markings that refer to the 6538 and other early submariners, with numerals for 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50, alternating with single lines and a red triangle at 0/60 with a lumed pip. The Deep has a sapphire bezel insert that refers to Mil-Subs, with markings for every minute, though it also has a red triangle. All of the markings on the bezel for the Deep are lumed, which is a nice functional touch.

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  • http://URL Charles A.

    44mm Deep is now sold out but snagged the raven vintage. Great write up on this watch.

  • http://URL Will F.

    I was sold on the Deep until I saw that it was 18mm thick. Holy crap, that’s massive even by today’s standards. A DSSD is thinner than that, and has a HEV.

  • http://URL Jon A.

    The Deep is available in SS. Only the black PVD version is sold out.

    Excellent review. I have the 40 mm Vintage with no date. I love it. You did not make much of the movement, but I think it is a very sensible choice and I am dorky enough to like the rotor noise. Zulu straps are not my thing, but there is a Bond pattern normal style nylon strap available that I will have to throw on it. Cheers!

  • http://URL Steve Laughlin

    Thanks for the review. The 44mm Raven Deep is available on the website and a DSSD is also 18mm thick, I just measured one. The Raven Deep also has the HEV.

  • http://garciagerald.tumblr.com Gerald Garcia

    Vintage no date is great, but I wish it had a rivet bracelet.

  • http://URL OhioHead

    I snagged a “slightly” used Vintage “no date” about 2 weeks ago.

    The watch has barely left my wrist, I love the gold gilt dial and when the sun is shining in the midwest, the dial “pops” & is very “visually stunning.” My only gripe is I wish the crown was a bit more vintage Rolex styled.

    Thought I might flip this watch and order a Nassau, but don’t think that will happen!

  • http://URL Ken

    Thanks for the review. I would like to see more time dedicated on discussing and showing the bracelet on the 44 deep (it’s a big part of the decision for many). Info regarding thickness of individual links, actual weight of just the bracelet and bracelet width at the clasp (does it taper? if yes, to what width) would be helpful.

    I look forward to your future reviews.

  • http://URL Scott

    “One thing these watches definitely do have in common is great value.”

    Seriously?

    The Vintage is a very pretty watch, and with its Miyota movement and acrylic crystal it would be a great value at maybe $400.

    At almost $600 it’s up against, for instance, the Steinhart Ocean Black and Squale 20 Atmos with ETA/Sellita movements and sapphire at $450 and $460 respectively, or the Chr Ward C60 Trident, also ETA/Sellita and sapphire, at $550.

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with acrylic crystals, nor with the Miyota movement, but watches that use them generally cost less, not more.

    The Vintage may or may not be worth be worth $600, but a great value it’s not.

  • http://URL FEJ

    I’ve got a 44mm Deep and it is best watch I own. I don’t have any watches over 2 grand, so I don’t know how it would compare with the higher end watches. I try to have a rotation with what I am wearing, but I find myself putting the deep on everyday.