One of the smaller brands that we’ve become closely acquainted with over the years now are the folks out in Kansas with a brand by the name of Raven. Before that name, you may have been familiar with them as Benarus. Regardless, over the last few years, Steve Laughlin has really honed in on his design aesthetic, as has been turning out some rather lovely pieces. One of the latest, which is up for pre-order now, is the Raven Airfield.
As you might guess, the Raven Airfield calls back to a pilot watch, and that’s evident in the triangle at 12 o’clock on the dial. After that touch, though, the watch left turns over into being more of a field watch, at least in my book. You’ve got plunger-style hands, crisp and contrasting numerals, and an overall very clean and uncluttered look to the 40mm case.
The bezel and the sapphire crystal do rise up a bit from the case, but seen in profile, it lends a pleasant beefiness to the look of things. I mean, if you have a field watch, it’s for being in the field, and you want it to be robust. Your eye may have noticed the black chapter ring around the dial. More than just being a design element, it’s actually a black ceramic insert that helps to reduce the glare coming off of the dial. It’s all about the legibility, and based on my experience with Laughlin’s designs, and the actual practical usefulness of the watch as a tool.
Speaking of, I want to also call out the crown of the Raven Airfield. This one is more pronounced than the normal button crown we’d see on a watch; here, we’re verging a bit more towards an onion crown, though it’s nowhere near as pronounced as that on this design. It should help you grip things to wind the movement (NH36 or NH38) and set the time.
All in all, it’s a lovely, very practical toolwatch look for the Raven Airfield. It’s available in three dial colors (black, white, or olive drab), and you can pick it up in either a day/date or simple three-hander look. While I tend to be drawn to date displays for practical needs, I think the date-less version looks a bit cleaner; the difficult decision I think would be around the dial color. Then again, the color-matched date discs on the olive IS quite nice… The Raven Airfield is up for pre-order now at $590l; once they start shipping in September/October, price will bump up to $690. Check it out, and pre-order your own, over at ravenwatches.com
Tech Specs from Raven
- Style: pilot / field
- Diameter: 40mm
- Lug distance: 48mm
- Thickness: 13mm
- Crystal: sapphire, single dome, AR inside
- Steel: 316L anti-allergic stainless
- Water resistance: 200m
- Bracelet: 316L steel 3 link included
- Lume: superluminova X1 blue
- Dial: printed with raised Raven logo
- Date: day/date or no-date
- Day display: English and German
- Movement: automatic NH36 / NH38
- Bezel: fixed steel with ceramic insert
- Finish: brused and polished case
- Hands: white and black
- Second hand: red, orange, yellow
- Drilled lugs: yes
- Weight: 76g head, 160g on bracelet
- Price: $690