“Driver” watches fill out an interesting style for me. Many of them look like divers, without the rotating bezel, or maybe aviators, without some of the classic handset or marker cues. They are frequently loud, and they often times have racing stripes, for whatever reason (how many of us have cars with racing stripes?). But maybe because of the blend of styles, they do get my attention. On Kickstarter, the Straton Vintage Driver has already picked up a lot of attention, getting funded and blowing past their first two stretch goals in just their first weekend on line (with a Friday launch no less).
There are five colors available, the black, blue, white, grey and the (loud) orange, each in a 44mm stainless case. The black and blue dials have a black plated finish (I am guessing IP, not PVD), while the grey looks to have a gunmetal plating and the white and orange dials are housed in the polished stainless. All the watches have knurled bezel, which does give a nice texture. The pushers look ample, as do the screw downs for them, which I appreciate. Wimpy crowns and pushers can really take away from the look of an aggressive watch. Watches are available with and without a date window (another touch I appreciate), and are packaged with three NATO straps, one solid and two with racing stripes. A rally style leather strap is also available.
Being a crowd funded project, be aware that you are funding development of the project and not buying a product, so things may change during production, and it is possible that project will not get finished. The latter case is rare, but it does happen. Powering the watch is a Seiko VK63 mecha-quartz chronograph movement. The Seiko runs off a battery, so you do get the quartz precision, but the movement functions like a mechanical chronograph, so the chrono has flyback reset, a nice feature if you have ever reset a quartz chrono. With the support to date, the second stretch goal of a sapphire crystal has already been unlocked. The early bird watches are all gone, but there are plenty available at about $250 per watch, and you can save a bit more if you get 2 or three. The leather rally strap adds about $30 if you order it with the watch. Project Page
- Brand & Model: Straton Vintage Driver Chronograph
- Price: ~$250.
- Who we think it might be for: You want a sporty looking chrono.
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: I like the look, but it would not get into the regular rotation on my wrist.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: The crystals look flat. A domed crystal would go with the vintage look.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: The movement is a good choice at this price and the look is sporty.
Tech Specs from Straton
- Movement: Seiko VK63
- Functions: Mecha-quartz chronograph with flyback reset
- Case: Stainless Steel
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Water resistance: 100 meter
- Lug width: 26mm
- Straps: Nylon NATO (three included) with optional leather rally style strap.
- Diameter: 44m
- Case Height: 12 mm