In a previous review, I attempted to explain the existence of a rather pricey micro-brand diver, prompting a handful of readers to basically set the post on fire and dance in the warm glow of the comment area. Within the confines of that same micro-brand market, the new Raven Trekker 40 follows a more predictable format. As a sibling brand to Stevral, which used to be called Benarus, Raven is well-known in the enthusiast space. Benarus was a relatively early player in the online micro brand game and has been turning out a variety of nicely made, tough-wearing, and affordable mechanical watches for many years. Following last year’s Kickstarter-funded Defender, the new Raven Trekker 40 is the kind of meat-and-potatoes dive watch that first got me into watches so many years ago and still manages to capture my attention today.
As much as I love watches, the deeper I get into general watch appreciation, the more I realize that I tend to be pulled towards the sort of watches that are adventure companions. They can be more historical like an old Skindiver, Doxa, or a well-worn Explorer II, or they can be more directly tied to adventurous goals like a Rangeman, a Fenix 3, or similar. I like a watch that makes you want to go somewhere new, get wet, and maybe even scare yourself a little. Available in all shapes, sizes, and prices, adventurous watches yearn for more than desk diving and they feel at their best when you’re off the beaten path, be it underwater, in the backcountry, or just outside your comfort zone.
The “40” in Raven Trekker 40 denotes the width of its steel case, which is 50mm lug to lug and 13.5mm thick, including the raised edge of its sapphire crystal. The vintage-style box sapphire crystal sits above the inner edge of the bezel, and while it looks great, I did find it to be more reflective than I would have liked. Not in a way that challenged general legibility, but more in a way that showed up in most photos and is likely inherent with this type and shape of crystal.
Lug width is 20mm and the lugs are drilled to simplify strap changes, something you’ll likely do often if you get a Raven Trekker 40 to call your own. The case and bezel seem to be loosely inspired by a mix of Tudor’s design language, but the Raven Trekker 40 blends a field watch-style dial and handset to offer a distinctive look, one that kinda reminds me of the early Blancpain Aqua Lung divers. The Raven Trekker 40 is available with or without a date, with or without the yellow accent coloring, and in either a brushed or blasted finish. Additionally, there is a DLC Raven Trekker 40 (the RTO7) which also does without the yellow accents. The model seen here is the yellow-accented, brushed, and dateless RT05, and I love this combo. The yellow adds a touch of interest that works well for a diver, and the optional no-date dial means no awkward window at 4:30 along with a breezy pick-up-and-go practicality.
The Raven Trekker 40 is an excellent example of the higher value proposition available in the micro-brand space. At 40mm, steel, with a solid case back, a screw down crown, and 300m water-resistance, the Raven Trekker 40 conforms to what most would expect from a sporty yet wearable dive watch that won’t break the bank or your wrist. Legibility is excellent and low-light is bolstered by ample BGW9 lume for the hands, five-minute markers, and all of the markings on the bezel. The bezel uses a matte coating that is applied to an insert using an anodizing process similar to PVD, forming a strong base for the luminous painted markers. The result is a smooth matte finish that seems to repel fingerprints and didn’t pick up a single scratch over a few weeks on my wrist. The unidirectional bezel has 120 clicks and is aided by a coin edge and a precise (very clicky) travel that presents minimal wiggle between clicks, making the setting both quick and accurate.