The Raven Airfield proves that you do not need to just be an homage of a famous brand to make a good watch, and Raven watches proves time and time again to be innovative in the microbrand space, offering watches of all sizes and styles. This Airfield is a combination pilot and field watch as the name suggests and comes in 3 dial colors, all with either day/date or no date options, and a Seiko NH36 or NH38, for a price of $590. While all colors look good, the green dial called to me, as I love that more and more companies are making green dials, and this one just really stands out with its green apple hue as I have dubbed it.
These days there are a lot of 40mm watches, and this size, as well as 38mm, is becoming more and more popular, and microbrands seem to be the ones embracing this trend (and possibly starting it). While dive style watches still seem to be the most produced, there is a good amount of pilot or field watches out there as well, but Raven decided to combine that 40mm stainless steel case with a mix of styles, and the result is the Raven Airfield. The case design slightly resembles Tudor and/or Rolex of the past, drilled lugs are in play for easy strap changes, but we not only have a large and intriguing screw-down crown but also a unique bevel of satin brushing under the mostly polished case sides, which is not seen much when being worn on the wrist but just gives this watch that something extra to make it stand out from others in this space. As is usual with Raven watches, the finishing is excellent, especially for this price point.
The green dial is easily my favorite, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like the look of the white and black dial versions, as with the subtle accent colors, those both look great as well, but there is just something about this green. I just realized writing this (not when doing photography, not when doing the video, or the other times I was wearing it, but right now), that green and yellow were my high school colors. You would think I would have remembered that, but alas, I am well on my way to getting old (and to many I am already old), so high school seems like a whole lifetime ago.
Anyways, the dial is textured, but if you notice the day and date wheel is not, and even though the date wheel is color-matched to the dial, the difference of texture does make a difference and makes it look a little off. Now, I say that not to be negative or damning, it is just something I noticed after staring at it for hours. Nevertheless, I still love this dial color and if the day/date is not for you and you want a cleaner dial, you can get it no date and because of the movements used, you won’t have to worry about a phantom date wheel. The printed markers are slightly outside the lines if you will once you get really close, and if this was a $2000 watch I would knock it, but I judge accordingly. On the outer edge of the dial, you have the chapter ring and I did say incorrectly in the video review that this was ceramic. It is not. The ceramic part is actually on the fixed bezel, around the sapphire crystal, something I do not think I have ever seen implemented, at least not in this way before.
The jet turbine-style crown is not only beautiful but very easy to grip and use. While some may say it is too large and sticks out too much from the case, I would disagree. With a smaller diameter watch, I need a larger crown to be able to use it properly, and that smaller diameter also means that the crown is not digging into the back of my hand at all when on the wrist.
Speaking of on the wrist, this is a very comfortable watch. I personally would love if it was 42mm, 40mm is more than fine and honestly, no one would probably ever say this watch looks small on my 7 1/2 inch wrist (when I say no one, I mean the general public, not us watch nerds), but 40 is still just a little too small for me. But again, this is comfortable and sleek and looks great on the wrist with no bezel and that larger dial opening, and a solid but nicely tapered (20mm to 16mm) oyster style bracelet.
The bracelet on the Raven Airfield standard fare, but uses screws, has a simple but functional clasp with 4 micro-adjustment holes, and just stays out of the way. That may sound odd, but so many times on these smaller watches, brands forget to size down the bracelet and the clasp, and especially when a watch is not a dive watch, you do not need a huge clasp with dive extension, etc.
When it comes to lume, you Raven fans already know it is going to be pretty good in the dark, and you would be right. The X1 blue SuperLumiNova is a beautiful blue hue and as you can see, it is generously applied to the markers and hands, and even the chapter ring, so you can see it in the dark for hours. (About 4-5 solid hours of glow).
Now, I would be remiss if I did not mention the movement. I mean, we always state what the movement is, and of course, at this point, we had discussed the NH30 series ad nauseam, but the price is what comes into question here. I have long shouted from the rooftops that these movements should not be in watches over $500. Now for many, this just does not matter or they do not care, but I review watches here and pic them apart. That’s what I do. So, in the case of this Raven Airfield, and quite a lot of other watches you will see reviewed here shortly, am I giving them a pass?
Well, no, but I guess I am starting to take a softer stance on it, as the price on watches with these movements does slowly seem to be going up and up, and I guess things are just changing. I mean, I do not need to tell anyone what is going on in the world, so maybe there are just movement shortages, prices going up, price gouging, and who knows what else, but for the time being, it seems that just because a watch has an NH movement does not automatically mean it is going to be inexpensive.
And, in summary, I feel we should always look at a watch as a whole and what it offers, and even though I would like to see the price a little cheaper or a different movement used, I think the Raven Airfield still does have a lot to offer, and it is not just another homage or catalog case, and not only is it a solid and well-built watch, but I find it quite attractive as well, especially with that green dial. If you are looking for diversity in your collection, are sick of dive watches, or just want something a little smaller for your day-to-day wrist-wear, it is a nice option to have. Raven always puts out a solid offering and I think the Airfield lives up to its predecessors.
I've been an avid watch lover since the age of 7. Watches are not only my hobby but a passion. My favorite style used to be dive watches, but field or non bezel watches have been growing on me. When I'm not reviewing watches I am either cooking or with family and friends.
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