Raven Trekker 40 Review

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Over the last year or so, Raven Watches has begun to redefine themselves as a brand. Part of the SteVral group, which also includes tool-dive favorite Benarus, Raven used to be a sort of homage-watch brand. Their watches specifically played off of famous Submariner references, sometimes combining elements from different models, reimagined in larger cases and often with extreme water resistances. They were undoubtedly cool watches that along with limited numbers gained a cult status and sold out quick.

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With the Defender model released in 2015, Raven changed direction. Their watches were still tough tool watches made to face the elements, but rather than be homages to specific brands, they spoke generally to mid-century military watch design, mixing together details that feel familiar into new concepts.

To follow up the Defender, they furthered this new concept with the Trekker 40. Another hybrid design, this one speaks to vintage military dive watches as well as field watches. As the name suggests, it’s an outdoors watch that is meant for a mix of circumstances above and below water, featuring a 300m WR and great lume. It’s also more modestly sized than most modern tool watches at 40mm, increasing its versatility and comfort.

The Trekker 40 comes in several variations, including matte or brushed case, white or white/yellow indexes and with or without date. The one we are reviewing features a matte case, white/yellow dial without date, which is reference RT06. The Trekker is powered by the Miyota 9015, and comes with a bracelet, rubber strap and nylon mil-strap for $750 plus shipping.

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$750

Raven Trekker 40 Review

Case
Bead Blasted Steel
Movement
Miyota 9015
Dial
Black
Lume
BGW9
Lens
Domed Sapphire
Strap
Bracelet, Rubber and Nylon
Water Resistance
300m
Dimensions
40 x 50mm
Thickness
13.5mm
Lug Width
20mm
Crown
7.5 screw down
Warranty
Yes
Price
$750

Case

The case of the Trekker 40 hints at some classic designs while not having any direct references. There’s a touch of sub in there, but also something more military, like a Benrus type II. It’s sort of nostalgic for the period, giving you the feel of something mid-century in a modern tool watch. The 40 x 50 x 13.5mm case is a healthy medium that should be easy to pull off with a variety of wrists. The height is also partially negated because of the box sapphire crystal. This is one of the few purely aesthetic details of the watch, but one that adds a lot of character. Sure, it could have been a flat sapphire, which might have been more true-tool-watch, but the tall crystal really adds mid-century flair, bringing to mind old Tudor subs and the like. Plus, it’s still sapphire, so very tough.

The case itself has a very simple in design. The mid-case has slab sides and broad tapering lugs that look like they could take a beating. From the side, the profile hints a bit at a sub, with fairly straight lines that curl down slightly at the lugs. They are drilled through for easy strap swapping. On the right side you’ll find a massive 7.5mm wide by 5mm tall screw-down crown. It’s a cool design with a narrow cylinder that leads to a wider, gripped cylinder. The narrow cylinder creates a gap between the crown and case, which has a cool effect. The outside surface then has a raven shield logo cleanly etched in.

The bezel stands tall off the case with coined sides that align flush to the midcase. It has deep grooves that visually reflect the texturing of the crown, tying them together. The bezel mechanism is 120-click uni-directional with a good feel and little to no back-play. Obviously, this mechanism style is the classic dive style, rather than say a friction bezel or bi-directional bezel. That said, the watch is more of a versatile sport watch than specifically a diver, though it does sport a 300m water resistance, which ranks it amongst average divers.

The case back is solid steel with very minimal markings. In the middle is just the Raven shield logo and no other markings or details. I happen to like how reduced it is, making it feel sterile and technical. As for finishing, the sample shown is bead-blasted matte. It’s an very even and frankly a beautiful finish that gives the watch a subtle, soft sheen which lends a clear mil-spec feeling. It’s worth noting that build quality all around is top-notch.

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Dial

Once again, the dial feels familiar, but is its own design. It’s actually the more unique element, but clearly speaks to a variety of classic sport and military pieces. The surface is matte black on which are a couple of bold indexes. The primary index features large numerals at 12, 3, 6 and 9 with long rectangles at the other hours, all lumed with BGW9 superluminova. The design has a bit of an Explorer/aviator feel, but executed in its own style. Around the perimeter is then a minute/second index with yellow dashes per minute/second and small triangles at 0, 15, 30 and 45. The long rectangles from the hour index are part of this index as well, which is a detail that really works.

The yellow is the most unexpected element of the dial, and though optional, one that I think adds some distinct character to the timepiece. The yellow isn’t bright or obnoxious, rather it’s a little burnt and mustardy, adding some warmth to the dial and accentuating the white markings. Back to the hours, the typeface chosen for the large numerals is attractive, with a clean, narrow design that is very easy to read at a glance. Additionally on the dial surface is a set of Raven logos below twelve and “automatic” “300 Meters” above 6. All are kept fairly restrained and don’t distract. Lastly, there is no date, though date is available as an option. I quite like this watch in no-date variety as there is a very nice symmetry both horizontally and vertically about the dial.

The bezel insert extends the dial surface to the edges of the case. It’s solid black with a simple index that’s very retro-diver. At intervals of 5 are blocky indented markers filled with BGW9 lume and numerals at 15, 30 and 45. At 12 is simple a lumed “pearl”. It definitely brings early military divers like the Fifty Fathoms to mind, though has a bolder, blunter execution.

The hour and minute hands on the Trekker are a simple block shape with rounded edges and lume filling. They feel more military/field than diver and work well with the overall design. The seconds hand is then a stick with a lume filled block towards its tip and a large counterweight. The second hand is also in yellow to match the index below. It works as well, definitely drawing some attention. That said, I’d like to see a version of the watch with the white seconds hand and yellow index, or a yellow tipped second hand rather than all yellow.

Straps

The Raven Trekker comes with a bracelet, rubber strap and nylon mil-strap. Additionally, a leather strap is available through Raven for $55. I tried them all, so let’s start with the bracelet. It’s a thick steel jubilee-style with wider links on either side of smaller links. It’s 20mm at the lugs with solid end-links that tapers to 18mm at the clasp. The links have a cool design. They are totally flat against the wrist, but domed on the top-side from edge to edge, like each was cut from a split rod. This, when mixed with the bead blast finish, gives each link a cool gradient that shifts in the light. Aesthetically, the bracelet continues the vintage-style/modern build theme and is quite comfortable thanks to some side-to-side flex.

The rubber strap is very simple, with a totally flat top surface and no texture. It’s straight cut, and relatively thin, making it fairly comfortable. It’s very utilitarian looking, and while would get the job done where water is concerned, didn’t add anything to the watch aesthetically. The nylon mil-strap, on the other hand, had a lot more personality. It’s a light gray color with a hint of powder blue, making it a unique color that works really well with the design of the watch. It’s also extremely soft nylon, softer than other nylon straps I’ve felt before. This would definitely be a handy option for hotter weather.

Lastly, the leather strap that is available has a nice rugged look that compliments the vintage aspects of the Trekker well. It’s a 20mm straight cut strap made out of thick, oiled dark brown leather with a nice pull-up, bringing lighter colors to its surface. It’s stitched around the edge with a thick, off-white thread that provides some contrast to the leather. It’s finished with a pre-v-esque buckle (it’s a bit smaller and rounder) that is also matte finished. Generally speaking I prefer leather straps on my watches as I like the character leather adds to a watch, as well as the comfort of leather. With the Trekker it really adds a stylish, rugged edge to it that made it fit in well with my attire.

Wearability

Part of what makes the Trekker a desirable watch is simply its size. At 40 x 50mm, it’s very wearable and compact. I’d go so far as to say 40mm is an ideal size for a dive watch/watch with bezel, as the diameter allows the bezel to be substantial without overly minimizing the dial. Meanwhile, it doesn’t feel or look oversized on the wrist. The slightly longer lugs then make the watch work on wrists that are larger as well. It’s comfortable too. I spent many a day both inside and out with the Trekker on my wrist and found it to be one of those watches that you could easily forget was on your wrist. The only occasional discomfort came from the crown, which can dig into your hand at some angles.

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Boots Courtesy of Grantstone

Style-wise, the Trekker is a winner as well. It has that no-fuss military feeling that many brands try for and few succeed at. It reminded in many ways of wearing a Benrus Type II, which I’ve only had the pleasure of doing a couple of times. They’re both rugged and manly, but modest in a way and certainly not flashy. I found the Trekker looked right at home with my fall/winter staples of work boots, jeans, over-shirts, etc… It’s also a watch that will age nicely, definitely looking good with some scrapes and scratches.

Conclusion

The Raven Trekker 40 is a great watch that represents a cool direction for the young brand. The watch looks great, is sized well, is solid as a rock and is a decent value. At $750 with a bracelet, rubber strap and nylon mil-strap, this 9015 powered automatic is fairly priced and a nice kit. It’s not “cheap” but anyone who has tried on or owned a Raven or Benarus watch will tell you the quality is there and surpasses watches that cost far more. It’s also worth a bit more, as this is likely going to be a watch you’ll wear a lot and in circumstances other watches wouldn’t fair as well in.

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Apart from the watch itself, this new direction for Raven is very promising. Tool and military-design watches are undeniably cool, and while a lot of brands play at them, they are often contrived. Raven seems to get what makes them work on a fundamental level. And while their homage watches were fun, these are likely to have a broader audience and more staying power in a collection. Looking forward to what they come out with next.


The Raven Trekker is available through Jan 1st at a discount of $650, pick one up today.

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Zach is the co-founder and Executive Editor of worn&wound. Before diving head first 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.

wornandwound zsw
  • Terrific review Zach. I concur about the mid-century look, 40mm sweet spot, and all the other design cues. The only thing I disagree with is the logo, which has two issues: 1) a double representation with the graphic PLUS lettering, and 2) the formality of the shielded graphic and underwhelming visual impact of the Raven. Taken together, I do think the watch would be much stronger if the dial was either sterile or had either the crest or lettering balanced by “automatic” at the bottom sans the “300 meter” marking. Still a very nice watch. It will be interesting to see how it does at $750 which is an odd price point.

    • Jeff Bacca

      I really like the Raven logo. The silhouette of the Ravens head in the full moon is pretty cool.

      • I can see why you would like it Jeff (doesn’t really look like a Raven to me–they have very thick beaks and distinctive heads) but my real gripe is that there are 4 lines of text/graphics on the dial and I think it detracts from how nice the dial really is.

  • What is the bezel insert made of? Apologies if I missed it.

    • Michael Tihon

      Indeed it’s not mentioned…

    • Jeff Bacca

      I think he is using space age polymers.

  • Julius Swerving

    I’m curious as to why a 40mm watch has such long lugs. Doesn’t make any sense to me.

    • Jeff Bacca

      I’m pretty sure the Rolex 40mm sub is similar lug to lug. It may have more to do with pin and end link engineering

      • Julius Swerving

        It’s possible. The l2l on a 116610 is 48mm.

        To me, that’s a make or break difference. The 48 is about as far as I would go.

    • Shinytoys

      It helps in wear abilty and comfort, sits better on the wrist, provides a better attach angle for the band so the watch doesn’t move around.

  • Svetoslav Popov

    Blancpain Fifty Fathoms homage 🙂 Beautiful of course.