When last we took a look at Raven Watches, they had just released two interesting models; the Raven Vintage and the Raven Deep. The Vintage was an homage to the Rolex Submariner ref. 6538, famously worn by Sean Connery as James Bond in Dr. No, that utilized a domed acrylic crystal, gilt hands and other specific details to make for a very fun watch. The Raven Deep took elements of various historical models, such as the 6538 and the 5517 mil-sub, and mixed them together to create a cool chimera with a high water resistance at 4000ft or 1220m. Between the two watches, there was a lot to like, including great build quality, exceptional lume and fairly tame prices.
Following up on these watches, they have now released the Raven Deep Tech, which builds off the Deep model concept, for a new hybrid style with a massive 8200ft/2500m water resistance. The Deep Tech is a funky mix of elements that refer to various Rolex and Tudor models. The case speaks to Sea-Dwellers while the dial is adapted from Tudor Snowflake subs, for something modern with hints of vintage.
The play off of the Snowflake design is perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the watch, aesthetically. With the popularity of Tudor peaking since their return to the US, the vintage Snowflake Sub market has sky rocketed, with prices regularly now hitting $5k. Then there is also the very popular and absurdly handsome new Tudor Pelagos, which in our books is the coolest watch Tudor (or Rolex) currently make.
Clearly Raven is playing off of those two facts to create a piece that can ride these trends. Of course, they are very different from the originals, with enough changes to make them only border on homage watches. Regardless of whether the look and bulk (which we’ll get to) interests you, like the Ravens before and the watches of Benarus, the parent brand, the Deep Techs are well-made beasts with tolerable price tags. The Deep Tech is available in blue or black color ways with either white lume or a yellowed vintage lume, features a thick sapphire crystal, a Miyota 9015 movement and a price tag of $740 ($840 for DLC models, but those are already sold out). We had a chance to spend some time with blue models with both types of lume, so lets take a closer look.
Raven Deep Tech Review
Movement: Miyota 9015
Strap: Steel Bracelet + Rubber Strap
Water Res.: 2500M
Dimensions: 42 x 52.5 x 16mm
Lug Width: 22 mm
Crown: 8 x 4.5mm
Weight w/bracelet: 250g (no links removed)
Weight w/strap: 171g
Warranty: 1 year
The case of the Deep Tech will seem pretty familiar to fans of Sea Dwellers and Submariners. The 42 x 52.5mm steel case has very similar lines and forms, including crown guards and drilled lugs, as its Rolex inspirations. It’s also massive, with a height of 16mm, which is largely due to the 4.5mm sapphire crystal, and 4.5mm solid steel case back. While it seems there are various ways to achieve high water resistance, Raven went for thickness, mass and an abundance of gaskets to get there.
Once you get over the height of these, the overall form is elegant and actually a bit smaller than expected. 42mm is reasonable in our book for a tool diver, so these don’t look too absurd. The case is chunky, but has some elegance to it, and decent though not exceptional finishing. The top surfaces are lightly brushed, while the slab sides are high polish. Coming off at 3 is an appropriately large screw down crown that measure 8 x 4.5mm, for easy grip. Internally, the crown features 3 gaskets for increased water resistance. On the case side by 9 is a helium escape valve.
The bezel on the Raven is quite thick, housing the 4.5mm domed sapphire. It’s a nicely built bezel with a stiff 120-click uni-directional mechanism. Since it’s so tall, the entire flat outer edge has coining for grip. One of the sexier details of the watch that speaks to the build quality is the seamless transition from the sapphire bezel insert to the sapphire crystal. Both are domed, and if you run your finger over them, you can barely feel the gap between them.
The Raven Deep Tech has a simple and clean dial design that is clearly inspired by Tudor Snowflake subs. The main index consists of large lume blocks with a triangle at 12. One departure from the typical Snowflake index are the pointed markers at 6 and 9. A subtle change, but I suppose enough to make this a different design. On the outer edge of the dial is a second index of small white lines for the individual minutes/seconds.
At 3 is a date window which replaces the 3 marker. I might have preferred a date free dial on this, but as is it’s not too obtrusive. That said, on the vintage lume variation, it is more noticeable. One interesting detail is the metal flange that the crystal rests on and seems to act as a retention ring for the dial. This is a detail you’ll see on Sea Dwellers as well, which visually compresses the dial and adds a break between the dial and bezel.
The sapphire bezel insert has a simple vintage layout, which seems atypical for either Sea Dwellers or Snowflakes, yet looks appropriate. There are numerals every 10 and lines between. There are no individual minute markers from 0 – 15, which adds to the retro look. Due to the sapphire inlay, the bezel has a nice gloss to it, which gives the insert interesting depth.
As previously mentioned, the Deep Tech is available in either black or blue. We had two blue models on hand to examine. The blue chosen is quite deep and beautiful. It’s a medium blue with a bit of green for slightly teal hue. With the white lume markers, it’s crisp and clean, and against the vintage markers, it’s warmer and more green. Either way, it looks great.
The lume is one of the more interesting features of the Deep Tech. The white lume version, which glows blue, gives the watch a much more modern and reserved look. The lume itself glows decently, taking a charge easily and holding it fairly long. The cool blue color also looks great against the blue dial at times when both are visible.
The yellow vintage lume is altogether strange. Attempting to look like aged tritium, the yellow color is very acidic and really changes the feel of the watch. Typically, vintage/tan lumes are less bright than there white or green counterparts, but on the Deep Tech, it’s exceptional. The lume glows a bright green with a hint of yellow, it’s shockingly bright and long lasting. I certainly didn’t expect it to be the brighter of the two.
The Deep Tech departs from the Rolex/Tudor tradition for the handset. Instead of the tell-tale snowflake hour hand and sword minutes, they went with a peculiar blunted rectangle. The hour and minute hand are in the same style, just varying in proportion. Both are in polished steel with lume fillings. The seconds hand is a counter-weighted stick with a lume filled rectangle towards the tip. While the hands are not ugly, I don’t think they were the right choice. I understand not using the Snowflake hand, as that would have made this a clear homage watch, but I think something bolder and blockier would have been more apt. These just feel underwhelming.
Straps and Wearability
The Deep Techs come with both a 22mm oyster-style steel bracelet with solid end links and a 22mm black rubber “Cuda” Isofrane style strap. The bracelet is quite nicely made, with a good solid feel to it. The links are removable via two screws on either side, which is a bit of a process, but not horrible. The clasp is very simple, with a fold over lock and a dive extension built in. In terms of looks, it is very appropriate for the watch, though given the added weight (over 50g) I didn’t find it very comfortable.
The black rubber strap has an aggressive style that works well with the watch. It’s very thick and soft, so it’s also quite comfortable. Though it dresses the watch down a bit, which is fine, I found this to be the preferable option. The lack of end links also brings out the geometry of the case, which in turn gives greater presence to the dial.
The watch also looks excellent on a heavy, vintage leather strap. I tried it on a 22mm honey Hirsch Liberty, and the watch really shined. The blue and brown are a natural pair, and the rugged quality of the leather made perfect sense with the overbuilt tool design. The subtle vintage hints in the design came out more too. The only issue was that due the size and weight of the watch, it did shift around when on the leather. Perhaps a thicker strap would have helped.
Make no mistake, this is a big, heavy watch and it feels as such. The 42mm diameter makes it wearable, but the height is very pronounced on the wrist and the lug-to-lug is fairly long. On my 7″ wrist, it was tolerable, and after wearing it around for a bit, I did get used to the size, but I don’t think this would work on smaller wrists. I would also be hesitant to put it on a NATO or other pass through straps as that would likely make it very cumbersome.
In terms of looks, the watch has a very nice, and clearly familiar, style. The mix of scale and snowflake elements is bold and fun, hinting at vintage but feeling pretty modern. Even the yellow lume version has a modern feel to it, since the watch itself is so clean and glossy. The blue version has a unique handsomeness to it too. The color softens the overall look, and adds some depth. It’s also a very versatile blue that is bright enough not to clash with black, yet dark enough to not be overwhelming. It also looks great against leather. With the two included straps, you have casual and dress options out of the box, but I would definitely add a brown leather strap to the mix too.
The Raven Deep Tech is a cool follow up to the original Raven watches that takes the brand into slightly different territory. It’s easy to forget given its styling that this watch achieves technical successes as well. 2500m water resistance is uncommon, especially at this price point, and while totally unnecessary, at least for a guy like me, it adds to the mystique of the brand and the watch. Without that, it would just be a mish-mash of Rolex and Tudor designs without a greater purpose. As is, it’s a well-priced and thoroughly over built tool-diver with those familiar design cues.
The sapphire bezel and crystal (which don’t forget is 4.5mm thick) are highlights as is the quality lume. The Miyota 9015 inside will get the job done and the blue color is really quite attractive with either lume option. The black version, which at a glance looks an awful lot like the Pelagos, is already sold out, but probably can be found on forums occasionally. That version has a bit more of a severe look, but still very nice. So, if the Snowflake-esque design calls out to you, but you want something different and quite a bit more affordable, the Deep Tech is certainly an option.
Review units supplied by Raven Watches
By Zach Weiss