This is another fantastic review done by Jon Gaffney for the blog. Jon is a professional photographer, Contributing Editor for Gear Patrol and Huckberry. He is currently on an extended road trip across America. The easiest way to keep up with him is on Instagram.
Keep him in mind for field photography, gear testing and for writing fantastic pieces.
The Raven Vintage 40mm
For the better part of the last year, one of the primary watches I wore has been the Raven Vintage 40mm. Styled after the well known and lusted after Rolex Submariner Ref 6538 aka The Bond Sub, the Raven Vintage is another excellent offering in the burgeoning homage watch world. If you’re unfamiliar with term homage watch, they’re a watch made to either imitate or improve upon watches of yore. Typically they are evolutions of hard to obtain and prohibitively expensive vintage watches that most will never have the opportunity to own. Not all homages are worth a second look, but there are some great ones if you dig, and Raven is one of those. With that said, back to the Raven.
Much like the Rolex it takes after, the Vintage is a stainless steel diver that’s made to be used, not sit on a shelf. The Vintage is slightly larger than vintage Subs, clocking in at 40mm. For me this falls right into the ideal watch size. While trends seem to be pushing watches bigger and bigger, 40mm-42mm is ideal in my opinion. Big enough for the dial to be clear and easily legible whatever the environment, but small enough to still fit under a shirt cuff and remain light enough to not be a burden on the wrist.
My version of the Vintage has a uni-directional coin edged bezel with deep grippable cuts into its edges. It clicks with confidence, and while I don’t use it for dive timing, I did find the ability to track a second time-zone very helpful. The dial has gilt printing and green lume which I found to glow through most nights if charged shortly before bed. This is dateless version of the Vintage, which I prefer as I find resetting a date more annoying than just remembering the date, or just asking someone who does.
The dial has the Raven logo and its Water Resistance designation printed on it and the finished product is a great vintage look. The crown is also engraved with the Raven logo, a detail often skipped on lesser watches in this price point.
Inside its stainless steel case the Raven Vintage is powered by a Miyota 9015 movement. People often turn their nose up at the Miyota, but after putting it through the ringer (I am not easy on watches) I’ve been nothing but impressed. It’s kept excellent time with no issues, even after some inadvertent hard knocks. The only thing I’ve noted is its rotor is louder than other watch movements I’ve had. For a crystal, Raven opted for the historically accurate domed crystal. It looks great, and fits the watch perfectly. If you’re prone to dinging your watch be prepared to scuff the crystal here and there, and easy fix with the proper polishing paste and cloth.
The Raven Vintage comes on a stainless steel bracelet and has drilled lugs which makes strap changes easy. I opt to typically wear it on a black NATO, which suits it well and is comfortable. I think it would also look great on a tropic style rubber strap.
In the end the Raven Vintage has impressed me as more than just an homage watch. It’s just a good solid watch no matter its inspiration. For the price point it’s an excellent value, delivering on the small details usually reserved for higher priced watches. I’m looking forward to watching as Raven continues to build their lineup.