If you like vintage diver designs, specifically the early days of the Rolex Submariner, but not current vintage diver prices, Raven Watches has something you should see. The company, part of STEVRAL who also owns Benarus, recently release their new Raven Vintage 42mm. The name sets up what you are getting right away: vintage design cues in a modern, 42mm case. Some of the hard to find Rolex Submariners are the early non-crown guard models (6536 & 6538) and the military models with sword hands (5513 & 5517). The Raven Vintage 42mm combines elements from these models into this release.
The case size of the Raven Vintage 42mm is clear in the title, with the lug-to-lug length coming in at a reasonable 50mm. Like the early Submariners the Raven has a large crown without crown guards. It really captures the look and spirit of those early watches, although the crown on the Raven is not quite as large. The domed acrylic crystal puts the height of the watch in at a thick 15.5mm, but it’s worth it for that cool dome. The lugs take a 22mm strap and are drilled through which makes strap removal a snap.
The dial of the Vintage 42mm is a flat black and uses gold printing for the minute track and most of the dial text, including the logo, “RAVEN” and “AUTOMATIC”. Only the depth markings (200m/660ft) are not in gold but rather red. The dial comes in both date and non-date versions. The sword hands are pulled right from the military Submariner, giving it a great look. C3 Superluminova is used for both the hands and the dial luminescence, so it should glow like a torch. The movement used is the popular Miyota 9015 automatic movement, which is protected by 200M water resistance. Rubber gaskets are used in both the case back and screw down crown. Rounding up the vintage appeal is a riveted bracelet as used on Rolex models from the 1950’s and 1960’s.
If the name Raven Vintage sounds familiar then you’ve been reading worn&wound for a while as we covered the a Raven Vintage in early 2013, along with the Raven 44mm Deep. Fortunately the Vintage 42mm is not a straight copy of the earlier model, it instead borrows from both of the previous Raven watches. The earlier vintage release was 40mm and used the common Mercedes style hands over the sword. The bezels of the two watches differ as well, with the 40mm using a red triangle at 12 whereas the 42mm a silver triangle. The hands are the same across the 44mm Deep and the Vintage 42mm, and they look just as good on either dial. Yes, the Raven Vintage 42mm does seem to be a compilation of the previous Raven models, but that does not mean it looks any less good.
There have been more of these homages to early Submariners available lately and the Raven Vintage is a worthwhile watch to consider in the category. If you want the look but don’t have the thousands, to hundreds of dollars available this is one to consider for scratching that itch. The Raven Vintage 42mm is available in four models: black or blue bezel, date or no-date dials. Each of them are priced at $710 (USD) plus applicable shipping and is available from ravenwatches.com now.