If you have always been a fan of Raven, but maybe they were just a little too expensive for you, the Raven Solitude should be a little more within your grasp. Yes, this is a budget model from Raven, but when I say that, it makes the watch sound cheap. I don’t believe this to be a sub-par watch compared to other models, but yes, a few things were done to get the price down lower, which I will, of course, discuss in this article. Starting at $430 on a strap and $480 on the bracelet (*I incorrectly stated $430 for all in the video), most models can be had for under $500, which is a departure from the $600 and up watches Raven usually charges.
Raven Solitude Specifications:
- 40mm case
- Lug to lug is 47mm, height is 13mm.
- Water-resistant to 300m.
- Rubber gaskets in the screw-down crown and case back.
- 20mm solid stainless steel bracelet with an adjustable clasp.
- Crystal – domed sapphire – a chamfered edge.
- Crystal – inside AR coating.
- The rotating bezel has lume filled markers.
- Raised and polished hour indices and polished hands.
- Super-LumiNova BGW9 on the dial, hands, and bezel.
- Timed and regulated Seiko NH35A.
Price *Starts at $430 on Strap, $480 As Shown*
I have long been a fan of Raven Watches, way back to when they started out sometime in 2010 I believe. These days, the brand is run solely by Steve Laughlin. For those that are not aware or have just missed it, that name might sound familiar. Steve used to be a part of Benarus Watches. I have covered that transition in the past here on Watchreport, but Steve now incorporates designs of both Raven and Benarus watches into the new lineup and this Raven Solitude is no different. Keeping things on the smaller side, this model comes in at 40mm by 47mm, a size that should be wearable by most. Think Rolex Sub in terms of size. This watch is not a Rolex homage though in any way. Yes, it is a dive watch with somewhat similar hands and markers, but that is where the similarities end. The case shape, bezel, crown, and bracelet are very different and bring their own style to the market. I can’t pinpoint a watch using this exact case shape offhand, but it does have that vintage appeal to it. Satin brushing all around with some nice subtle polished chamfered edges to keep it from looking overly “toolish”.
The stainless and black Raven Solitude showed here is the most traditional looking of the bunch, but if it is too plain for you, check out their website for some more exciting color options such as a white dial, blue dial, green dial with gold accents and a few with a countdown blue and red bezel. Also available is one all DLC model. I wasn’t overly picky when it came to which review model to send, so I just said send whatever one you want, but I have to say, looking again, the steel and grey dial version with the black bezel might be my favorite. I would also suggest that if Steve was to ever do another run of these, the DLC model with a grey dial would be a great choice as well.
The dial of the Raven Solitude is clean, easy to read, and YES!, it has the date at the 6 o’clock position, my personal favorite. It is not loaded with text either, just letting you know this diver is automatic and water-resistant to 300 meters. That is something I want to touch on a bit and Ill use this Solitude as an example. While it is listed that the Seiko NH35 beating away in this watch is timed and regulated, nothing is mentioned about the testing done for the water resistance. Now, that’s okay-its not info available on most microband watch websites, and for that matter, on a lot of mainstream brands watches either. More than likely, each watch is not individually, nor is this watch ISO certified. Does that mean it can not handle the water? No, but it is something to always keep in mind.
A lot of talk about the Raven Solitude has centered around this link bracelet. I am not really sure why though. Some have stated that it just doesn’t look right, aesthetic wise, with the case. I do not agree. First, I am glad to see something a little different. Let’s face it, microbrand watches can get repetitive from one to another, with the same movements, same rubber straps, same case designs, etc, so I was glad to not see another oyster style or jubilee bracelet. The Solitude bracelet is solid, has well-rounded edges so it is not sharp against the skin, and a nice taper to the ratcheting extension dive clasp. My one gripe would be the use of pin and collar for the links, but while they may be annoying to size, they do a great job of holding the links together, possibly better than any other method.
As I mentioned, a few things were done to keep the price down on this watch, and one of them was the NH35 movement. I have discussed this movement ad nauseam- nothing wrong with it at all, though it is much cheaper than higher-end Miyota, Sellita or ETA movements of course. One other area would just be the fine details in general. If you take a look at the bezel, specifically the applied lume paint, it is a little sloppy. At first, I thought it could just be my example, but looking at pics on the Raven website and on social media, that is not the case. I also looked around and maybe I missed it, but I am not sure what the bezel material is. It looks like black painted steel, but I could be wrong. Normally the website will always say when it is aluminum, ceramic, etc.
Would I wear this watch on a regular basis? Sure. It definitely is my style and is a well-made watch. The bracelet version of the Raven Solitude does get closer to $500, so if you are like some and the bracelet isn’t for you, grab a leather, rubber or NATO-style for $430 and save yourself even more money. Raven Watches is based in Kansas (produced mainly in China), but that does allow them to give great customer service and unlike some microbrands, they are very reachable. It is a good offering for the brand, not only because of the size, but the price and should allow them to get Raven watches into more collectors’ hands (or on their wrists if we are being technical). Yes, as with anything else, there is a lot of competition out there at this price, and everyone has an opinion. I may be a little biased, as I have an affinity for this brand and the owner as Steve is a solid guy. Being in business, especially this business, for over 10 years now, says something and I can’t wait to check out the next model from Raven.