Raven Defender Specifications:
- 42mm stainless steel case with DLC coating
- 49mm lug to lug
- 11.5mm thick
- 20mm lug width
- 90 grams in weight
- Miyota 9015 automatic movement
- Sapphire Crystal
- 300 meters water resistant
- Rubber and leather Straps
Price $599 USD
For those that may not be familiar with Raven Watches, they are the sister brand of Stevral Watch Company (Formerly Benarus Watches). Both companies are operated and managed by Steve Laughlin and Ralf Schreiner. While they run both companies and for the most part pricing is similar between brands, there is a distinction between the styles they produce. Raven concentrates more on vintage style watches that are mostly homages, while Stevral produces dive watches that are for the most part their own design.
That brings us to their latest model, the Raven Defender. While I will not outright call this watch an homage, it is inspired by watches of the past with the dual crowns, reminiscent of compressor cases of the past.
One of the great things about Raven is their use of mostly smaller sized cases, such as 42mm, which is what the Defender comes in at. Now, I’m fully aware not everyone shares my perspective on watch sizes, but these days a 42mm case is right on the money for me. My sweet spot if you will. If you are a member of any forums or watch groups, you will see that this is well received on many of them was well, as quite a few enthusiasts have scaled down in the size watch they wear, or just do not have the wrists to pull off a 45mm+ watch. The Raven Defender is not only 42mm in width, but also just 49mm in length, meaning it will fit an array of wrist sizes, down to a 6 1/2 inch wrist with ease. Because of the large dual crowns, it will wear slightly larger, but it feels right at home on my 7 1/2 inch wrist.
So lets get into the goodies of the Raven Defender. Firstly, it will only be available in a black dial, and 3 case finishes; DLC as pictured, brushed steel and bead blasted steel. It is also available in brass. If you followed this watch, you will know that it was available last year for preorder via a Kickstarter Campaign. Two other dial colors were available through KS, a blue dial and a grey dial. Those were KS exclusives, and are not available for sale through the Raven Website. Now, before I continue, let me just comment in a sentence or two about a brand that has been around since 2008, using the Kickstarter platform. Now, I will not put words in Steve or Ralf’s mouth, but the simple answer to that is, Why Not? Yes, they are more established than most companies that do crowdfunding, and also very popular. But KS allowed them to reach an audience outside of the watch forum/Facebook group sector, and it seems to have worked. I do not know if they will continue to use the platform moving forward or not, but seems hard to fault them for going that route.
As I am sure you are aware, the second crown operates the internal dive bezel. This is a non screw down crown, and rotates smoothly around the dial. The main crown of course screws down to retain the 300 meters of water resistance, and the entire case, crowns and case back are blasted then DLC coated. Something you do not immediately notice unless it hits the right light, would be the slightly pebble texture dial, and when you see it, it just gives the Defender that extra pop. Another thing you may notice is a difference in number and marker color. They are actually a pale yellow, like a light vintage tan hue. In certain lighting they come off as white, but the only white is on the internal dive bezel itself.
The Defender is a cross between a diver and a pilot watch. Raven describes it as a “Multi-purpose expedition timepiece that combines classic aviation design with scuba diving specs”. Personally, it is more a dive watch than anything, with an internal dive bezel, which we have seen before. Don’t get me wrong, I am not knocking it at all, I just do not see the aviation aspect of it. One aspect I did notice though is the watch is somewhat minimalist. As you can see, it lacks a date aperture, and when turning around to the case back you will see that it has no engraving, something you see on almost any watch, even ones with an exhibition case back. While I am not sure why they decided to leave it blank (the model name is also absent from both case back and dial), I kind of like the sleek, clean look it provides.
The Raven Defender comes with both a genuine rubber strap and a dark cherry/brown leather strap. I am not sure if this color leather strap is included with all variations, but it would make sense as it should look good with all of them, at least the black dial versions. Both the leather and rubber straps are on the short side, I am on the 4th hole up on both of them, meaning it most likely will not fit an 8 inch wrist. The reality is, it is hard to make one size straps that will fit everyone, sometimes the small wrist folks are shafted and other times its the large wrist-ed gentleman. They both come with the same DLC coated buckle, that slightly sticks out a bit when wearing on the wrist, as opposed to flat or curving towards you. Both are of good quality, though the rubber strap does attract more lint and dirt than I expected, similar to silicone, but I can tell it is definitely a genuine rubber. The leather strap is slightly stiff, but should only get better the more you wear it, and will also patina and change color over time, giving it a distressed look.
Lume is as expected from Raven/Stevral. They do not mess around when it comes to luminescence. The picture below was taken under my light box with my studio lights off, during the day, so not complete darkness. For a full darkness shot, see the picture gallery below.
To finish up this review, lets discuss the movement and the crystal. As usual with a watch of this price point you have an AR coated sapphire and the movement is the widely popular Miyota 9015 automatic. When I list all the specifications, the design itself, comfort and brand, I think Raven has another winner. Why did I say brand? Because another great attribute of Raven Watch Company is their dedication to the customer. Steve and Ralf will handle most issues you have within a few days, and if you are in the US, it is nice to know you are dealing with a company based their as well. Manufacturing is done in Asia, but Steve handles shipping and customer service stateside and is only an email or phone call away.
The Raven Defender is definitely priced well within its competition, and offers something a little different than your standard micro brand dive watch. It is also a look that I feel will be just as welcome now as it will be in 10-20 years. Maybe it is not timeless, but I do not see it being dated anytime soon.
Please leave your comments in the field below the photo gallery.
Thank you for reading.