Review: Raven Trekker 39mm

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The term “tool watch” is thrown around a lot, typically used when referring to a watch that carries out a specific purpose. A dive watch with its timing bezel, a pilot’s watch with a clear and concise dial. Really anything sturdy and built to take a beating with a specific purpose-driven function involved. Raven’s Trekker 39 is a tool watch that’s part field watch, part dive watch, and all tool. The Trekker isn’t an entirely new model, but it has been scaled down and refined from its 40mm predecessor. When speaking with Steve Laughlin, the man behind Raven Watches, he pointed out a few key differences. The 2016 release of the 40mm Trekker featured thick slab sides, a longer lug-to-lug length, and a 1mm wider case. That changes for 2021.

In the world of watches, we all know how much difference even a single millimeter can make, and in the case of the Trekker 39, it does wonders. While the dial and crystal are the same ones seen in the 2016 model, the case around it has been slimmed down. They’ve added a polished undercut to the slab sides to reduce visual thickness, and feature a lumed ceramic bezel insert, and much more. The result is a watch that hits just the right balance between comfort and wrist presence. Let’s dig in and take a closer look at this familiar, but updated design from one of our favorite brands.

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$750

Review: Raven Trekker 39mm

Case
Stainless Steel
Movement
Miyota 9015/90S5
Dial
Gloss
Lume
X1 Blue Super LumiNova
Lens
Box Sapphire
Strap
Tapered Jubilee Style Bracelet
Water Resistance
300m
Dimensions
39 x 47.5mm
Thickness
13mm
Lug Width
20mm
Crown
Screw Down
Warranty
Yes
Price
$750

Case

Down from 40mm to 39, the Trekker has a smaller feel on the wrist. Constructed from stainless steel and finished with brushing, the simple lines of the case are an example of purpose-driven design. When measured from lug-to-lug, the 47.5mm length is ideal on my 6.75” wrist with plenty of room to spare on either side of the watch. At 13mm thick, the watch isn’t the thinnest out there, but 2mm of box-shaped sapphire crystal and a polished undercut on the bottom sides of the case result in a watch that comes off thinner than it really is. Steve of Raven has said he’s not a fan of small or slim watches, and the Trekker 39 is probably about as small and slim as we’ll get. That being said, it’s such a nicely sized and proportioned watch that I would not want anything smaller. There’s still a strong tool watch presence that’s undeniable. 

When looking at the watch from the top down, you’ll notice the bold coin-edged bezel surrounding the box-shaped sapphire crystal. The bezel is matte finished on the coin edge and rotates with just the right amount of tension, with a nice audible “snap” as it works its way through each of the 120 clicks. Looking straight down at the dial, the sapphire gives a nice vintage style distortion to the outer edges of the dial, but never impedes legibility. Moving a step down, you’ll notice the vertically brushed lugs. At 3 o’clock, the signed screw down crown extends from the case. The crown sticks out a bit far. I get Tudor Black Bay vibes where there’s a small aluminum crown tube. There’s no crown tube present on the Trekker, the distance is made up by the crown itself. It doesn’t get in the way of activity for me, but does look a little visually off. 

Moving to the side view, you’ll notice some clever design cues that keep the watch looking and feeling slim on wrist. Of the 13mm height, the top ~2mm are made up by the tall box sapphire. Originally used on one of Raven’s older Rolex homage models, the crystal was carried over from this out of production watch. The sapphire is high quality, and the box-style dome is done just right. Moving downwards, the chunky matte coin edge bezel takes up a few more millimeters, which provides a solid grip when turning it. The slab-sided case would read as much thicker if not for the polished undercut on the bottom surface. The lugs are drilled out for quick and easy strap changes —a welcomed feature.

Hanging just below the case is the solid screw down case back. On the included bracelet (more on that later), the case back nestles into my wrist, making for a comfortable experience. The case itself is a bit flat in profile. While the reasonable lug-to-lug makes it fit on a wide range of wrists, it could curve just a little bit more. The chunky and durable feel of the case leaves me in no doubt that you could wear this watch anywhere or while doing anything. It’s clear that the Trekker was built for hard use, but the compact size and clever design give it an extra bit of refinement that goes a long way in wearability.

Dial & Hands

A quartet of glossy dials make up the Trekker 39 line up. You have the option of a classic deep black, an interesting shade of light gray, a bright cheerful yellow, and now a mid-tone navy with yellow accents. One of the cool things that Raven does is offer several different variations on nearly all of their watches. The black dial is available with printed indices with large cardinal numerals, or with blocky raised and polished indices. You can also choose from a lumed ceramic bezel insert or a brushed stainless steel insert to fine tune the look you want. Not all of the models offer the “Explorer” style dial, but just the black and blue. There’s enough to choose from without being overwhelmed with options, and all of the available designs work well with the base of the watch. The 3-6-9-12 dial looks more unique, while the version with applied indices reminds me of a scaled down Tudor Pelagos (in a good way). 

Running around the outside of the dial, you’ll find a track of bold hash marks, with one mark at each minute. The printed version features longer rectangular hash marks at each hour, while the other version has raised and polished indices. A small Raven logo is printed on the dial under 12, which is balanced out by three small lines of text at the bottom. The black and navy models both feature a small yellow pop of color in the “TREKKER” text, with the other two lines underneath rendered in white. The gray model features all black text. There is a date model available, with the window at 6 o’clock. The execution of the date window is pretty standard fare. If you need a date on your watch, the option is there. I prefer the cleaner look of the dateless models.  

To read the time, you’ll be looking at a set of rectangular hands. The hour hand is a bit shorter and stouter than the minutes hand, but both feature the same design. Each hand features a high polish finish with a split down the middle. The hands angle down toward the dial slightly, which catches the light in an interesting way. It helps break up the blockiness of the hands, while adding a refined look. In the middle of the hour and minute hands is a large plot of X1 Blue Super LumiNova that matches that seen on the dial and bezel. Sweeping around the dial is the seconds hand. It’s slim through the body with a rectangular block towards the tip. On the opposite end, it’s flared out slightly to counterbalance some of that weight at the tip. Again, the hand features a hit of lume within the rectangle, giving it some visibility in the dark. 

Overall, the Trekker is a clear and easy to read watch. There’s no clutter to be seen on the dial. The application of the logo and text are kept to a minimum, making the indices and hands the star of the show. When the lights go out, the X1 blue lume shines bright, providing you with quite the light show. The dials are easy to read, laid out well, and fit the adventurous theme of the watches well.

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Movement

If you’ve been reading Worn and Wound for any amount of time, chances are you’ve come across a watch with the Miyota 9000 series of movements inside. It’s a reliable, workhorse of a movement that’s made in Japan. It sports 24 jewels throughout the movement, a 28,800 beat rate, 42 hours of power reserve, and the ability to hand wind and hack the seconds. One thing worth noting is that Raven took the extra step and used two different movements in the same watch. The models with a date feature have the 9015 in there, while the dateless models have the 90S5. What this does is eliminate the dreaded “phantom date” feature.

Sometimes, a brand will use the same movement across the board, so models without a date window still have that date wheel under the dial. When setting the time the step in the crown is there for the date adjustment, yet it has no real function. Raven is a brand that pays attention to the details, and they show that off by using the alternate movement in their dateless models. Miyota’s 9000 series have proven themselves reliable and durable, seen on a wide range of brands. In the $750 Trekker, the movement is a solid choice.

Strap & Wearability

Typically, when you see a jubilee bracelet listed on a set of specs, your mind jumps to a multi link dressy affair. Polished center links. Bling. The whole deal. I’m glad to say that’s not the case with the Trekker’s take on the style. While the spirit of the jubilee is still there, the execution takes the tool watch approach. The bracelet’s links have been flattened, and each piece is treated with a brushed finish. Steve of Raven describes his favorite part about the bracelet is the lack of “visual noise” that comes along with a standard polished jubilee. I couldn’t agree more.

The bracelet also appears visually flatter, but you still get all the benefits of a highly articulated bracelet. Another great feature worth noting is the strong taper from 20mm at the lugs to 16mm at the clasp. Between the articulation and taper, Raven has made a heck of a bracelet. Adjusting the size is a breeze too, thanks to the screw in pins. This is a personal favorite way of removing links, as I find it to be the easiest and most straightforward.

Keeping the bracelet secured to your wrist is the locking clasp. The signed clasp clicks into place, while a folding security clasp keeps it locked in place. If you can’t get the right size by removing links, four micro adjust holes will help you fine tune your fit. If you’re a fan of swapping straps, both the black and gray dialed versions are essentially blank slates. There’s something about a black, white, and steel watch that’s just so fun to swap around on straps. While a leather strap would look good, these are right at home on a nylon strap. The watch is hefty, but not heavy, and is balanced out well by a standard nato style strap. 

On the wrist, the watch is comfortable for daily wear, whether you find yourself behind a desk or out in the wild. We recently got a huge dumping of snow in New York, and I found myself doing more shoveling than I typically enjoy. To my surprise, I had forgotten I had the Trekker on my wrist. With all sorts of bending, lifting, and heaving, the watch never got in the way. Again, it’s sturdy with just the right amount of heft, but that 39mm case and reasonable 47.5mm lug-to-lug place it right in the sweet spot for wearability.

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Conclusions

Dive watches are popular amongst land lovers for good reason. They’re built to take a beating, the timing bezel is useful in everyday life, and they’re just plain cool. The Trekker is a more adventurous take on the dive style of watches, mostly when considering the 3-6-9-12 numerals on the dial. Since 42mm is the most popular size for a dive watch, people who consider that too large will likely favor the Trekker. Those looking for a reliable and sturdy watch that doesn’t feel flimsy or meek will appreciate the Trekker 39.

After handling several watches from Raven, and owning one myself for a brief stint, I can say that they’re worth the relatively affordable asking price. That’s not to say they aren’t sitting in a competitive price range. $750 can buy a lot of watch, and you certainly have your pick of more than a few different divers. If you’re looking for something different from a lesser-known brand, the Trekker is worth your consideration. 

The Trekker 39 is a worthy successor to its 40mm predecessor. A sturdy, yet comfortable 39mm case makes up the base of the watch. The box sapphire crystal is beautiful to look at, and does a great job protecting the glossy dial underneath. Premium touches like the lumed ceramic bezel insert and heavy application of X1 Super LumiNova help the Trekker stand out from the rest of the pack. While the case is the right size in diameter and length, I think it could benefit from a gentle curve towards the lugs to help it sit a little better on the wrist. Several dial and bezel options are available, giving you several different watches to choose from. While the navy blue is a personal favorite, the black and gray versions are blank canvases if you’re a fan of swapping straps. The sturdy and tool-like take on the jubilee bracelet is a great touch as well. It’s always great to see a brand revisit a watch and make it even better, and that’s clearly the case with Raven’s Trekker 39. More from Raven Watches

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Ed is a Long Island-based writer and photographer with an affinity for watches, fountain pens, EDC gear, and a great cup of coffee. He’s always looking for the best gear for the job—whether it be new watch, pen, flashlight, knife, or wallet. Ed enjoys writing because it’s an awesome (and fulfilling) way to interact with those who share the same interests.
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